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Preview: Mumblings of A Mommy "Monk"

Mumblings of A Mommy "Monk"

Monk: One who lives in solitary self-denial Mommy: What a child calls the woman who gave him/her birth MommyMonk: A woman attempting to find inner solitude in the daily self-denial of motherhood

Updated: 2017-09-24T03:42:20.109-05:00


The Fruit of our Labor


This summer has been glorious, warm, and filled with fresh produce.  Our backyard garden yielded plenty of  zucchini, yellow summer squash, carrots, green beans, broccoli, spinach and the sweetest corn.  In addition, we've filled our freezer with raspberries and strawberries.  Before I moved to the mid-west, I had never really had a garden (growing up in the arid southwest, it wasn't much of an option), so I had a lot of learning to do.  We fertilize our garden plot in the fall (and sometimes spring), prune apple trees in the fall, till up soil each spring and plant our favorite veggies in nice straight rows.  If it's a dry summer, we water the garden in the evenings and around the middle of July, we start picking, chopping and freezing the fruits of our labor.  Often, there are jars of strawberry, raspberry or grape jam made along with our traditional fall applesauce making day.  Someone peels, someone cooks up sauce, someone measures out ingredients, someone boils jars, someone mashes up the cooked sauce and we all help clean up the sticky floor at the end of a day of canning.Whew!  It's so much work to make all of these foods; why not just purchase them from the store?  The labor of growing and preserving our own foods really does make them sweeter.  I think no candy in the store can compare to the fresh sweetness of homemade strawberry jam.When I feed on the fruits of my own labor, I appreciate and savor each juicy bite.  I am eating wholesome food and I'm an active participant in every step in the process.How does that translate to our spiritual walk?  Are we fed a constant diet of "fast food," spiritually speaking?  If short, cute snippets of God's word are all we ingest, we aren't having a balanced diet.  Do we pretty much just "eat out" all the time?  Is our spiritual growth dependent upon whatever the pastor is preaching or what we hear on the radio or read online?Or are we digging into the word, getting our nails dirty, harvesting the power of repeated words, searching for deeper understanding, cutting apart paragraphs to find the juiciest truths?2 Timothy 2:15 "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."    We can all be workmen in our own spiritual garden of truth as we handle the word of God correctly.  The more we labor over God's word, studying it on our own, reading it as if it were candy from the store, the more we will grow spiritually.Psalm 119:103 'How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"In a world of constant communication, it can be easy to live of pre-digested, neatly packaged truth.  But, if we want to be spiritually mature, deepening our faith, moving on to a new level, we must spend time studying God's word.  In deep study, we dig up treasures in God's Word and feed on the meat of Scripture."But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil."  Hebrews 5:14Let's dig in!P.S. If you want to get started studying God's word, but aren't sure how to begin, just ask!Heather[...]

Prayer for the Woman in Ministry


Dear Woman in Ministry, This prayer is for you. I’m praying for you today because I know how valuable you are to the kingdom of God and I know your tender heart for God’s purposes. Lord, bless my sister with the peace that passes understanding. When things get busy and life is crazy with demands that seem unending, remind her to sit at your feet like a Mary (instead of a Martha; Luke 10:38-42). Give her the peace that passes understanding as she lays her burdens at your feet (Philippians 4:6-7). Remind her that Your burden is easy and Your yoke is light (Matthew 11:28-30) and gently guide her to the cross where she can unburden herself and trust in You.Father of our hearts, give this woman grace. Grace to respond kindly to those who criticize or judge unfairly, because You know Lord that those people are hurting and need Your grace as much as the rest of us. Mostly, give her grace as she judges herself. Let her know the overflow of Your grace (2 Corinthians 9:8) when she makes mistakes and when she drops the ball, or gossips, or hurts someone’s feelings, or doesn’t communicate well. Pour out your grace on her and remind her that You don’t use perfect people; You use people who are broken and poured out for You. Lord, guard her heart from the arrows of the evil one. May Your cloak of righteousness protect her from the temptations of the world: temptations to lose heart, to give up, to despair; or to find comfort in any place other than You. Guard her mind, Lord, from the thinking of this world and the lies of Satan (with the helmet of salvation). May she keep her mind focused on You and take every thought captive, committing her inner dialogues to You (2 Corinthians 10:5). Shield her all about with the protection that comes from faith. Let her hope be in You, for You will not let her down. Oh Lord, please protect her marriage and make her home a refuge from the battles she fights for You. Guard her children and pour out Your blessings upon her home as she commits her life to You, Lord. Give her a spirit of readiness, that she would be willing to serve You when You call. Oh Lord, give her wisdom to distinguish between what opportunities are from You and which are only going to be more BUSYness. Grant her compassion for the lost, the hurting, the helpless. Give her Your eyes and Your heart for the world that she might say, “Here I am Lord, send me ” (Isaiah 6:8). Above all, Father, make her a woman of prayer, an intercessor for the people You love. May she battle for their hearts in prayer and be a warrior alongside You to see victory for Jesus. God, strengthen this woman You have chosen to serve You. Make her courageous and powerful for Your glory (Ephesians 6:10:18).Dear Lord, use this woman to further Your kingdom, to glorify Your name and to spread the truth of the gospel far and wide. Lord, make her wholly YOURS, committed to Your purposes and completely sold out for You. May she fall deeply in love with Your Lord, that all her service to You becomes merely an act of pure love (2 Corinthians 5:14). Pour out Your love, Your grace, Your truth upon her: fill her with Your Spirit so that she lives only by Your Spirit and not in her own flesh (Galatians 5:16). Fill her. Use her. Strengthen her. Empower her. Bless her. Protect her. Live in her and work through her.By the power of the risen Lord, I pray. AMENP.S. Did you need me to pray anything else for you? [...]

Happy Fourth!


I've been recounting the past week with lots of smiles, despite my soreness.

After a grueling 3 weeks, I completed 6 graduate credits and had one week off before school starts up again.  We started our holiday on Saturday with a pool party at a friend's house.  It was wrapped up with a vicious game of kickball, girls v. boys. 

Then, we spent Sunday afternoon at the lake, tubing with the kids.  Two days in a row in the water, no one turning into a prune yet.

Monday was warm, so went to a nearby beach and played in the sand and water for several hours.  Day three in the water.

Tuesday night, the 3rd, was our family get-together for fireworks on the lake.  We had a barbeque and then hopped into the pontoon for the fireworks.  After waiting for half an hour, the kids begged to hop into the lake in their clothes.  So, day 4 in the water (before it got too dark).

We had planned to go camping for the remainder of the week, but it was supposed to be near 100, so we scrapped that plan and made new plans to go to Wisconsin Dells waterparks instead. 

The next two days were insane amount of fun, sliding down tons of waterslides and soaking up the sun.  Maybe too much sun.  Well, since my skin turned a few shades of lobster red, I might have spent just a tiny too much time in the sun. 

I'm recovering, and the kids haven't grown fins yet, even after six straight days in the water. 

40 Resolutions for 40 years


Jonathan Edwards and his 70 resolutions for his life inspired me to write up a few of my own. Of course, he wrote them when he was 19 years old! Anyways, here are my resolutions that define who I want to be and how I want my life to be lived. They aren’t really just for my 40th birthday, but it did seem like a good time to put these things down on paper and organize my personal goals and visions for my life. I resolve to:Live life to the fullest, with wonder and anticipation for God’s workMake every moment count, not allowing TV or internet to steal my valuable timeTake time daily for meditation and solitudeSpend time daily in prayer and worshipRead Scripture every dayDo the things that care for my heart and restore my soul with creativity and funContinue to grow and learn by reading challenging booksMake fellowship and connectedness a priority weeklyLove my husband deeply and unreservedly with time, actions and words Be characterized by faithfulness in all my relationshipsGive my time and heart unselfishly to my children Speak with gentleness to my children and others, remembering that we are all tender at heart and easily crushedBe a good friend, caring for others the way I want them to care for meBe patient with my children, giving them time to grow into all God has planned for them Challenge myself to try new things and to go beyond what I have already done Not allow myself to stagnate Live a life devoted to God, surrendered to His plans and His willKeep dreaming Have a heart that is open to whatever God asks me to do – live in obedience to His callingLook for opportunities to do good to othersBe a woman of prayerMake exercise a priority because it strengthens my attitude and my bodyEat healthy foods that nourish me and not foods that deplete my energyWork out the self-control in my life that God is working in meChoose joyExtend grace to those around me, just like Christ has for meKeep writing and sharing my heart with othersLook for every opportunity to speak about Jesus to individuals or groupsLive in victory over strongholds, not allowing anything to have mastery over me except ChristContinually put God’s Word in my heart, dwelling on Him and not the worldBe content with what I have and with my life, not allowing discontentment and unhappiness to choke out the joys of lifeBe consistent with routines and organization, keeping my home a place of peace, so that disorder does not take over my life and bring stress to my homeBe a woman of peace, with a bedrock of faith in Christ that cannot be easily rattled by daily irritations or frustrationsSpend time outside regularly, with eyes wide open to see God’s handiwork and praise Him for itBe filled to the fullness with Christ and when I feel empty to seek out whatever means I can to fill up again Look for opportunities to be an ambassador for Christ at work, in my neighborhood and in our communityTo love deeplyTo be a woman who is close to God Phil 3:10To be a woman whose life is spent ministering to the needs of others Isaiah 61:1-3Dwell upon whatever is true, noble, right pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy [...]

Stand Up To Scott Walker!


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Deny Myself?


When I was in college, I had very little spending money to go around, so I learned early on to be frugal. I remember looking through the cereal boxes for the cheapest one and landing on Kashi (back then it was just one type of cereal, not all the yummy great stuff they have today). This saved my morning meal and then I had generic shampoos and soaps and definitely nothing fancy or special (and by that I mean, popcorn or new mascara). It really didn't matter to me at the time though because I was too busy enjoying school and friends to worry about material things.

After marriage, I began to feel a little differently though. I was working full time, making enough money to enjoy a cappuccino daily in the morning and a hairstylist in an actual salon. Pretty soon, those things that had once seemed extravagant to me now seemed like necessities and just a part of my every day life. I had denied myself for a while, so it was time to make up for it with plenty of pampering.

Coffee, scones, new shoes, designer makeup, a gym membership... In a short period of time, I had bought into the world's thinking. "I deserve this," preceded small indulgences. Or, more likely, I never thought twice about my rationale for purchasing things because I just assumed there was nothing wrong with making myself comfortable.

Comfortable - that's all we really ask for these days, isn't it? I want comfortable shoes, a comfy chair at work, a comfortable environment at the corner restaurant and I want to feel comfortable in my relationships too. Being uncomfortable is just so, well, uncomfortable!

I seek out comfort in every avenue of my life: work, home, around town, and even church. We want to go to church and hear words to calm our hearts and encourage us, but don't push us past our comfort zones. Shouldn't church be a comfortable place? Of course, we want everyone to feel accepted and welcomed at church, but is our goal the comfort of the congregation?

When I read some of Jesus' words, I start to get really uncomfortable.

Deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow me.

Ahem, well Lord, I want to come to church and hear your voice, but are you sure that's what you want to say to me? What about something a little more cheery - you know, like Rejoice in the Lord always? I'm not so sure I like being challenged like this, being asked to obey, to risk, to surrender, to.....

get uncomfortable for Jesus.

And so, some of those things that I just got in the habit of expecting, some of that attitude of pampering myself, some of that entitlement is going to the cross today. And as I see my sinful self dying, I realize that I'd much rather be uncomfortable with Jesus by my side than back in my cushy lifestyle wrapped up in myself.


Made to Crave - Lysa TerKeurst


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Mercy Rising


(image) About two years ago, I went to a writers' conference in Wheaton Illinois. It was such a blast meeting all kinds of people who also had a passion to share their love for Christ through the written word. I felt a little intimidated by those who had been through this experience before, but I found a friendly face in a young woman named Amber Robinson. A group of us stayed up late, eating chocolate in the student lounge in our dorm housing. We chatted until the morning, just like college kids, listening to each others work, giving friendly critiques and deserving encouragement.

When Amber shared her passion for reaching real people with real ways to be more compassionate in a busy world, I knew she was onto something! I'm so excited to give you a little glimpse into her first book, Mercy Rising.

Mercy Rising is all about how we can be agents of God's mercy in a needy world, and how to do it NOW, within the limitations you face each day. Amber shares her own challenges with being a woman of mercy and compassion, as she has learned to put others first even in the midst of her own personal struggles.

Amber started on her journey towards mercy when she became a child sponsor through Compassion, International. She began to advocate for Compassion and supported them by manning booths at concerts to let everyone know how to love children like Jesus did. She has since expanded her vision of compassion to many more ways of reaching the poor and hurting around her and she shares it in this great book.

Want to read more? Mercy Rising by Amber Robinson

They Almost Always Come Home


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Wow! What a terrific read! This book transported me to the boundary waters and created in me a desire to return there in person with my husband while I can (he keeps trying to convince me...). The marital strife that Cynthia Ruchti wove into the plot was also challenging for me. I like to read something that takes me on a journey (or a canoe trip!) and makes me think about important life issues. The main character, Libby, is a perfect example of a Christian living for God on the outside but withering on the inside and her personal struggles were so honest and real, it made my heart break. I loved Cynthia's writing style and I was drawn into the story immediately, hanging on for answers until the very last page. This book was full of depth, character and great suspense. It had me on the edge of my seat, alternating between tears and curiosity the whole time.

The Promised Land (a note to graduates)


Remember the famous stories of Moses freeing the Israelite slaves from Egypt and bringing them across the Red Sea into the desert where they met with God? I’ve been thinking recently how their journey from slavery into the promised land often mirrors our own personal walk with Christ from slavery to sin into the true freedom of the Promised Land (i.e. living in the center of His will, filled with peace and joy, walking by faith, in the Spirit and conquering sin and the flesh). Are you at a crossroads in your life? Maybe it’s a fork in the road and big life changing decisions you have to make about marriage, jobs, children, moving, etc. Maybe you have just graduated and are starting a new life on your own. As you look at the path in front of you, where does it lead? How can you be sure it will lead you to your promised land, the place of your dreams, the spiritual place of contentment? Here’s a few things I see that the Israelites did wrong that led them to a 40 year wandering time before they finally received God’s gift of peace to them. First, they didn’t dream big enough. They saw the big clusters of fruit in the land and they thought it looked beautiful and wonderful, but they couldn’t imagine how they would defeat those “giants” in the land. They didn’t believe their God was big enough to tackle seemingly insurmountable odds. I wonder how many of us limit God’s work in our lives by this type of thinking. When they started to dream big and put their trust in a BIG God, that’s when walls started to fall down and rivers began to part before their very eyes. Second, they didn’t stay true to their values. They let emotions rule them as they succumbed to whining, complaining, impatience and finally relying on other gods when the One True God wasn’t working the way they wanted Him to. So often, I rely on my emotions instead of the TRUTH (the Way and the Life), and instead of letting God’s Word be my solid foundation. When we let emotions guide our decisions, we don’t always choose according to values, but what “feels good” and whatever is easiest. Ultimately, that path leads to death, while the path of obedience and hard choices leads to life. Moses made sure they knew that they had a choice to make and that their decisions would have lasting consequences. What feels good today may have the potential to change your life forever. So, choose wisely. Third, they were selfish. They wanted to have all the comforts of life and they wanted it NOW! They were only thinking about the moment and about their own pleasure. As a result, they didn’t get along with each other and they didn’t see how they might play a part in a bigger plan. When we get our eyes off ourselves and look out into the world with a vision to serve, we can team up with God and work with Him fulfilling His purposes. When our lives are only about what is best for us individually, we miss the opportunity to be a part of something that really matters, something that has eternal value. Those selfish Israelites died in the desert, never seeing what God had planned for them or how He would use the nation of Israel to bless the world. I want to be someone who gets involved with what really matters and to do that, I need to get my eyes off of myself and I need to trust in a BIG God who can fulfill BIG dreams. And ultimately, I need to make everyday choices that honor Him and put Him at the center of my life where He can work miracles. I’m choosing to take the path that leads to a Promised Future. How about you?Cartoon used with permission: (Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc -[...]

Let Jesus In


I'm posting at The Internet Cafe Today....When I was in high school, I was quite the goody-two-shoes, but as I've grown closer to God, I've begun to realize God isn't just interested in behavior, but heart motivation. I was the kind of kid who never wanted to do anything wrong for fear of "getting in trouble" or seeing the disapproval of the adults I admired and respected. I wanted to be good and I wanted others to think highly of me, so I followed the rules and did what was right. I was motivated by people pleasing, seeking the admiration of others and fearing their disapproval. But, I was also motivated by the fear of consequences. I was pretty sure if I did something wrong, I would get caught and I didn't want to face punishment, so I stayed inside the lines. I'll never forget the film we watched in health class one day about the consequences of drug abuse. Stamped forever in my mind are the images of teenagers acting out of control to the point of becoming badly injured or even dead. I wouldn't touch drugs because in reality, I was afraid - afraid of what it might do to me. I was motivated by fear. As a child, it may have been perfectly natural for my behavior to be motivated by fear of consequences or a desire to please my parents, but those motivations began to fail me in my early adulthood. I no longer believed that I would get caught for misbehavior, so why did it matter? I didn't think those consequences would happen to me, so I cut corners sometimes and smudged the lines between black and white. The only problem I still dealt with was my nagging conscience. All of my good behavior or guilty feelings came from the sense that Jesus was looking over my shoulder and He was disappointed. My college friends had a skit that they performed for a large group meeting one night and it was very eye-opening. One student was sitting in his dorm room at night with his best friend, Jesus. As he planned his evening, he mentioned to Jesus that He might not want to come along. "There might be some things that You wouldn't approve of, and some language You wouldn't like, so You ought to just stay home tonight." The character playing Jesus insisted that wherever His friend went, He would go too. An argument ensued with the student telling Jesus He was welcome anywhere in his life, but just not THIS night, just not at THIS party. Jesus was insistent that it didn't matter where His friend was going or what His friend was doing, He would come along. Reasoning with Jesus didn't seem to be working, so the student became physical. He grabbed Jesus and pushed Him up against the wall. As he explained one more time, that JESUS. WASN'T. INVITED! to this party, he slammed Jesus' hands up and hammered them into the wall in the shape of a cross. The sad thing about this sketch is that Jesus didn't want to come along as a shadow hovering over the student's shoulder tisking his bad choices or shaking his head in disappointment. Jesus wanted to be with His friend, just as He wants to be with us even in our darkest moments. Jesus wants to be invited into our temptations, not as a disapproving parent, but as a friend. So, I'm finally beginning to see that the best motivation for following God's ways is love. When I let Jesus in to those moments and tell Him that I honestly want to sin and I want to do something I know I shouldn't, He loves me and whispers encouragement to me and gives me the strength to make the right choices. People say that love conquers all and I've finally seen that it really does. Love is what gives me the motivation to be done with sin in my life and give everything in my life to Jesus. When I let Jesus in (even into my temptations), I discovered the power of His love.[...]

A Needy Heart


(image) My five year old came home from church this week explaining to me all about heaven. "There's no more bad guys there and no one will be sad or scared anymore. Nobody will need a doctor anymore because we won't get sick or hurt. I can't wait to go there!" His enthusiasm for heaven had me contemplating my own longing for that day, when we will be perfect with God. I can't wait - why can't it be like that now?

When I came to Christ many years ago, I imagined that all of my weaknesses would be wiped out and that my imperfections would be filled in as God fixed up my broken heart. My heart is broken in all the usual ways - unmet needs, sins that linger, impure thoughts, stumbling blocks and the like. And the truth is, He has healed me from my sinful nature and He has delivered me from the power of sin, but I still struggle with daily challenges, making mistakes time and time again and feeling a deep emptiness inside.

If I could name my greatest desire, it would be this: a perfectly healed heart with pure motives, right thinking and complete fulfillment in God. I ache with the knowledge that there is something more for me, that my experience in this life is incomplete and marred because of sin. I want God to take away that ache, to make it all better - and I know He will, just not quite yet.

When I wonder about His timing in bringing complete healing, complete freedom from sin, and complete oneness with His heart, I'm reminded of an expression someone once told me. He said, "thank God for your burdens, because they cause you to lean on Him." It's a simple sentence and yet one that transforms my heart when I feel heavy with burdens and the fallen nature of this world. It's at that moment when I am weakest, when I am the neediest, that I sense my need for God the most. That's when I turn to Him, when I rely on Him and lean hard on Him because I know I could not manage without Him.

Perhaps what God really wants from me and in me is not so much a perfect heart as a needy heart. He said blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled. My heart is hungry and thirsty these days, and so I thank God for that, for the hunger that causes me to turn to Him and feast on His Word and the thirst that draws me into His presence regularly.

What burdens can you thank God for today? What challenges are you facing that are causing you to rely on Him?

True Love


What is true love? I think my beginning understandings of love didn’t really happen until I had been married 3 years. For about the first three years, I still had stars in my eyes and I was really just living in “infatuation” instead of living in the hard reality of true love.

Around the third year of our marriage, the perfect image I had for our marriage had begun to fade and I started to see things through a different light. At the end of each day, which was filled with teaching teenagers, grading papers, planning lessons and juggling a little baby girl’s needs with my own, I found it easier to criticize my husband for anything I felt he was lacking. It was around this time that I began to learn the importance of acceptance and affirmation in a marriage.

I used to sometimes judge my husband because he wasn’t like the typical “seminary” student. He was uncomfortable in a suit and tie and it didn’t bother him to drink the milk straight from the jug or put his shoes up on the coffee tableor even let the occasional swear word slip. He didn’t really care if the school rules told him to wear slacks instead of shorts and he wasn’t excited by the manditory chapel every day. The funny thing is…if God had allowed to marry someone who met my expectations for perfect, I think I would never have learned about grace. When I began to accept Darren for who he is …. A country boy who is more interested in being REAL than in pretense, I began to realize that God knew I needed a Darren to balance out my tendency toward legalism and criticism of external behaviors.

You see, Acceptance comes from a deep understanding of God’s grace. When we come face to face with the love of Christ for us, when we see that He loves us despite our laundry list of sins and disappointing failures, when we experience the outpouring of grace in our lives, then we are equipped to share that kind of grace with others – namely our husbands.

The next step beyond that is Affirmation: Men thrive on the encouragement of their wives. As wives, we are in a unique position to build up one person more than any other. A husband doesn’t need a wife to point out where he is making a mistake or to help him see the error of his ways. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Our job is to affirm what he IS doing right and to encourage him when Satan tries to bring him down.

Here’s a question to ask yourself to see if you are accepting and affirming your husband: What would others say about your husband simply based upon what they’ve heard from you? Would they honor and respect him? What type of image are you painting of him with your words…at home and in public?

My Dark Place


This year, I have have transitioned into a new stage of my life as I continue to juggle my responsibilities of motherhood and I have now returned to teaching full time. I teach high school students-teenagers-the NEXTgeneration (always a scary thought) and my re-entry into the high school world has caused a few eye opening moments.

As August rolled into September, my excitement and anxiety grew. I was ready to get back into the classroom and do what I love to do, but I knew it would be a time of transitions too. I thought that I would struggle this year with trying to continue with my duties as a mother and hold down a very challenging job. I thought I might struggle with the content of my classes, since I'm teaching things I've never taught before (as college level courses too!). I thought I might be drained by the demanding schedule....but I never thought I might be challenged spiritually.

I don't know why, but I kind of forgot that I was walking into a very dark place when I opened the doors to our high school and walked down the crowded hallways. This week, as I side stepped around girls flirting with boys and dodged guys twice my size goofing off, I suddenly realized that many students in that busy hallway were lost children of God. It was the darkest hallway I've walked down in a long time. I saw kids grasping for life in trite relationships, in drugs and alcohol, in popularity and in the accolades of success.

They act like they know it all and they've got it all together, but they are walking around in darkness. I don't think adults are much different and if we opened our eyes, I bet all of us could think of a dark place where God has asked us to shine. (image)

It's so easy to get caught up in the daily routines of our jobs that we forget our eternal purpose. Yes, it's my job to grade math papers and it's my job to effectively prepare educational lessons and it's my job to train students to reach high expectations, but it's my duty to be a light in each of those jobs. It's my calling to be a light in this dark place; this place where God has brought me.

So, what's your dark place? Is it your neighborhood, your children's school, your grocery store, or your workplace? I pray that you and I will shine brightly with God's love and grace in these dark places, that our lights will elluminate the darkness and lead the way to our Savior.

I'm sharing today at Laced with Grace if you'd like to join me.

The Swiss Courier


I have been reading less and less these days, unless you count math books, statistics tests and geometry notes. But, last weekend when I needed a real break, I sat down with Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey's newest release: The Swiss Courier. What a treat (kind of like Swiss dark chocolate)!

The story is set in the last days of WWII, with a touch of espionage, nuclear physics and love. The central character is a regular girl, who is a half Swiss, half American young woman trying out her feet in the world and making discoveries about true love from the two men who are vying for her attention and her simple godly parents.

I enjoyed this unique perspective on stories from that time in history and the realistic internal struggles the main character faces. I don't think I've read anything from the perspective of a Swiss (neutral) national being involved in the war or about the building of the atomic bomb. The historical elements tied together with the real life experiences made this book a fun read. I hope you check it out!

Find out more here.


How to handle Gossip


Have you ever been in a situation where you realized that people were talking about you behind your back? I remember the moment I discovered that my so-called friends had been criticizing my every move when I wasn't there to defend myself.

It was my first year teaching (16 years ago) and things hadn't been going very well for all. I didn't have a classroom and the teachers sharing their rooms with me were hostile and irritated with my "new teacher" mistakes. I had more students than I knew what to do with (150+) and to top it off, I didn't get a lunch break, but instead spent lunch monitoring students. I remember sitting down at 3:30 for the first time all day, feeling completely spent and very overwhelmed by everything.

And in the midst of all this, my friends were doubting my ability to do the job. They were kind to my face, but when I was gone, they talked about my weaknesses and criticized my character.

Read the rest of the story at Laced with Grace today.

Yackity Yack


I talk and talk and talk all day long. I talk about quadratic equations, Geometry proofs and standard deviation. I talk about homework and accuracy and attention to details.

Yackity Yack

And when I'm done talking about math, I talk about responsibility and kindness to siblings, cleanliness and healthy eating habits. I talk about how the day went and I talk about trials and blessings. I talk about me and then I ask about his day too. Talk, talk, talk

Talk on its own is pretty meaningless though and I wonder how much of my talk is sweetened with love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I
am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
1 Corinthians 13:1

Read the rest of my devotion at the Internet Cafe this morning.

A New Day


Have you ever had one of those days where you wish you could just start over? Sometimes it's because of mistakes made and the ensuing consequences, like when you gripe at your family on the way out the door in the morning. Or it might just be the result of living in a fallen world.

All I know is that some days I'm really glad when it's bedtime and I get to close the book on that "terrible horrible, very bad, no good day." And in the morning light, everything looks different.

Mostly it looks new. Each day we are given a fresh start, a new chance to make this day better than the one before.

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:22- 36

Read the rest of my devotion today at the Internet Cafe!


God's Plan for Us


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you
and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will
call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me
and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29: 11- 13

This is one of those verses that makes it onto encouragment cards or even gets the highly honored name of "favorite verse." It's a verse that's so full of hope that we cling to it like a buoy in the stormy seas of life.
Read the rest of my devotion at Laced with Grace today.


Blue Like Play Dough


Let me introduce you to a wonderful book for any mother seeking to find God in the everyday moments of motherhood:

In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own.

As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible. Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places–in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child.

In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognize the loving hands of God at work in your life… and know He has something beautiful in mind.

Read an excerpt:

About the author: Using her own experiences as a teen mother, and leader of today’s generation, Tricia’s vision is to be a voice of hope and possibility for teenage girls, pregnant teen girls, mothers and wives through her educational and inspirational speaking, workshops and books.

Her intention is to serve ordinary women by encouraging extraordinary things with God’s help. Tricia expresses real life, real hope, for real women. Tricia is the author of 20+ books and has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Guideposts for Kids, Focus on the Family, Christian Parenting Today, Today’s Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine.

She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005.

Author website:
Link to purchase the book:
Blog tour schedule!



So thankful this week for many things...

God's voice through music (driving for 2 1/2 hours listening to worship music, hearing His whisper)
through His never-changing Word (isn't amazing when stories about King Solomon, so well-known can still capture my attention and draw me closer to my God?)
through His people (thankful for my husband and his ability to steady me when emotions swirl around).

Sing a New Song


It was a good thirty minutes past bedtime when I walked by my son's closed door and heard a sweet sound. "Waves of mercy, waves of grace..." he sang quietly to himself, not knowing he had an enraptured audience on the other side of the door. At the age of four, he is too old to have someone sing him lullabies as he snuggles into bed, so instead he has learned to sing himself to sleep.

Come visit with me at Laced with Grace today as we talk about music.

Getting into Trouble


Today, I get to tell you about one of my favorite authors and her newest release! Here's a note from Susan May Warren: Sometimes, do you feel like you just don’t fit in? You look around you and if anyone knew how difficult it was just to put yourself together, to smile when you feel completely overwhelmed, to even figure out what you were making for supper, they’d know what a mess you were. Maybe you totally relate to those words in 1 Peter – God’s elect, strangers and aliens in the world. Do you feel like when you look in the rear view mirror, all you see are your mistakes? Maybe not. But if so, then PJ is your gal. I wanted to write a story about the person in so many of us who just wants to get it right…but can’t seem to stay out of trouble. My friend and I have what we call the “stupid mouth” club…and we report our weekly foibles (usually on Monday, after Sunday church!). PJ is our charter member. She’s the girl that changes her mind, always hopes for the best, is always discovering that she is just a little different than everyone else. PJ is us. And that’s good news. Because God loves PJ. He loves her messiness, and her impulsiveness, her heart bent toward others, the hope that fuels her actions. And He has a plan for PJ – one that includes her weaknesses as well as her strengths. Yep, I need to hear that – need to hear that I don’t have to be perfect for God to love me, use me, sing over me. Need to hear that although I don’t fit in, well, I’m not supposed to…in fact, I’m supposed to be a little…alien. I wrote PJ for everyone who feels just a little messy, just a little like they can’t quite get it right. And who needs to hear that God loves them. Period. Full stop. Hallelujah.Heather says... What I really like about Susan's writing in general AND PJSugar in particular are the real issues that the characters face. PJ is anormal girl, who is trying to figure out who she is and what it means to be a new creation in Christ. I really related to her inner struggles and loved the way she discovers herself through the course of the story. Here's a little about the book:PJ Sugar knows three things for sure: After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that’s become her life, she needs a fresh start. The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister’s wedding is Boone—her former flame and the reason she left town. Her best friend’s husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade. What PJ doesn’t know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she’ll uncover much more than she bargained for—a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she’s been longing for.It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her hometown, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect.Although the police detective investigating the murder--who also happens to be PJ's former flame--is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend's husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the [...]

Sugar Bomb!


Today is the day to pour on the sugar, sweet and thick! :) Ha - it's not the kind of sugar you're thinking about though. Susan May Warren just had her new book published about PJ Sugar and she's encouraging us to get out there and start buying. If you like fiction that is fun, stories that are full of mystery and characters that remind you of yourself, you'll LOVE this book. Click on the button in the sidebar... "Get in trouble with PJ Sugar" Check it out!

Making Work at Home Work


These days, there are many women who are right in the middle of the stay-at-home vs. working mom debate. They do both! And because of that, they face unique challenges and blessings.I'm the first to admit that I thought working out of the home meant "easy" work. As I've discovered though, working at home can be full of challenges. Mary Byers has recently written a great book addressing many of these issues. Since I'm not an "entrepeneur," I shared the second half of the book with a few friends who are. They immediately appreciated some of Mary's ideas about how to simplify work at home.

Making Work at Home Work shows moms how to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set without sacrificing their families. It covers important topics such as developing a successful business philosophy, balancing time between work and family, setting realistic goals, and handling the challenges of being both "Mommy" and "CEO" while running a profitable home-based business.

In addition to including her own experiences, author Mary Byers profiles real moms with home-based businesses who offer their hard-won advice.

Mary M. Byers successfully juggles both a freelance corporate
writing and speaking business and her responsibilities as a wife and mother of
two school-aged children. She is the author of The Mother Load: How to Meet Your
Own Needs While Caring for Your Family and How to Say No . . . And Live to Tell
about It.

Visit her website to learn more: or her blog

Win a copy of Making Work at Home Work (or another one of Mary’s books--your choice) AND a $25 Amazon gift certificate (for some WAHM essentials – Day Planner, bubble bath, funky file-folders, toddler DVDs)!

There are three ways to win:

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