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Between Here And Home

Knowing God In The Everyday Moments While Setting My Heart On What Is To Come

Updated: 2018-03-06T06:41:12.430-05:00


Day 3 - Joy Dare


My counting continues...

#264... the NIGHTSTAND beside the bed that belonged to my grandfather, whom we called Pa. I love the familiar clinking sound the handle makes as it opens and closes.

#265... morning NAPS taken by a tired husband.

#266... pretty and fun NAIL POLISH!

Enjoy your weekend and keep counting and giving thanks!

Day 2 - Joy Dare


Today I set out to find and be thankful for three gifts worn. While it was easy for me to come up with some very obvious things that are worn that I'm grateful for, I wanted to be thoughtful and really have a heart of thanks for perhaps things I overlook, take for granted or perhaps I may not even recognize it initially as a gift.

So my list continues...

Can I count the wrinkles that have slowly made their appearance around my eyes? I've heard other women say they accept them as years well lived. The evidence of all the laughter that has taken place over a period of time. To be honest, I was not happy or accepting of the changes I saw in the mirror. There was a change in my heart today because I saw those marks of age differently. The 42 years I've lived have been covered with God's protection, provision, love and grace. Each and every day I take a breath I can only hope that it's a day well lived; a day in which I make the moments count. So, I accept the wrinkles that I now have and the ones that will come as time goes on.

The next gift worn is my riding clothes. I have been given the most incredible opportunity to ride and care for a couple of horses. As a little girl I had the dream of owning my very own horse. Every birthday that came, I was convinced that my Nana and Pa were going to surprise me with making this dream come true. As a teenager I took riding lessons for a short time, but it was not a sport or hobby that I was able to pursue. Then, a couple years ago, a friend of mine who owned a horse, took me on as her student. Because of busy schedules, cold and snowy winters, and then our move to Alabama, my riding came to a stop. Never in my wildest dreams would I have known that I would be around horses the way I am now. Because of friends that have known my love and passion for horses and riding, they have allowed me to ride and be with their horses. It's a gift that in which I have found myself in tears walking to or from the pasture with horse in hand knowing that He knows the desires of our hearts. The things that bring us joy and fuel our passions.

And for the third gift worn. I am a woman who is clothed in strength and dignity. For a little more about this, go here.  I want to be a woman who wears these garments effectively and beautifully - the way God intended for me to wear them. God knew what my journey of womanhood would be like. Because of His great love for me, He clothes me with qualities I need as a woman. For that, I am thankful and count them as gifts.

Follow along with me and many others that are taking The Joy Dare and counting gifts one by one.

The Joy Dare


Many months have passed since my last post. The days that have flown by so quickly have been filled with good and needed changes, laughter, perseverance, trusting, tears, making memories, fun, and most of all, knowing God's faithfulness.

My heart has been stirring within to return to some of the things I have been neglecting and giving attention to- one being writing here on my blog.

Because I know that there are things that occupy much of my time, I thought I would start back again with something doable, attainable and fun.

So, I begin this month in which thankfulness is celebrated with taking the Joy Dare. For the next 30 days, I will be on the lookout, receive, and journal God's gifts to me.

Day 1 began with 3 gifts eaten. For dinner I went old school, comfort food... Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Peas and Carrots. While the gift of nourishment and enjoyment of good food is something to take to heart, the gift I soaked in deepest was
knowing I was sitting around the table with the ones I love most.



Happy 21st Birthday, Jessica. 

And for something a little fun, here are 21 reasons why I love you so...

1. Your beautiful smile.
2. You are one of the bravest women I know.
3. Your sense of adventure.
4. The lop-sided ponytail you have when you wake up in the morning.
5. That you are developing a love for cooking and baking.
6. Your sense of style.
7. That you love Jesus.
8. The gift of discernment you have.
9. You value deep, honest and long-time friendships.
10. You are a wonderful big sister to your younger brothers. 
11. How you promise me that you will never, ever take another glass, bowl or plate into the bedroom, but you always do.
12. Your compassion.
13. Honesty is what you want and give.
14. That you hold onto traditions.
15. The way you can keep a secret and surprise me.
16. You are quick to want make things right.
17. That you don't settle for anything less than what God wants for you.
18. You are determined and passionate. 
19. That you make yourself laugh.
20. That you love others with everything you've got.
21. That you are my miracle.

I love you, sweet girl.

As January Comes To An End


I welcomed the new year in with the anticipation and excitement that I always do with the start of a new year. Everything in our life these past seven months have somehow had the word "new" attached to them. A new home, new friends,  a new community in which we live, a new church, new schools for the boys, and a new, holy adventure for our daughter attending Hillsong in Australia.I've never been one for change, but as I look back on these past months, I continue to see over and over again how God prepared me for everything that was to come. The days of January have been sweet and so very memorable. Jessica has been in Australia for the last six months, so having her surprise us at Christmas and then being able to stay through the beginning of January truly was the best present I could have been given. It was proven once again that my heart is happiest when all five of us are together, and when I can watch our children laughing, playing, and enjoying one another. This month has also been full of unexpected blessings that with human eyes would be marked by their size or value. I am realizing that blessings can't be labeled by those things because what they all are is a true gift from God. Their purpose is to bring overflowing joy to my soul. And while I may be the one receiving the gift, God often calls and uses others to take part and the blessing they receive on the other end is just as great and significant. They are the kind of blessings that completely overwhelm and take your breath away. The blessings that remind me once again that nothing is too difficult for God to handle or beyond His mighty and powerful hand. And so as I go through this year, I pray that He continues to fill and satisfy me with only Him and that my heart and eyes stay wide open to receive ALL that He has for me. Romans 12:2... My verse for 2012.[...]

Merry Christmas


May today be filled with special memories, lots of love and laughter, and knowing that we are celebrating the babe in the manger who was born our KING!

So This Is Christmas


The day after Thanksgiving means a couple things in our family. The first being, the best turkey sandwiches made with Pepperidge Farm bread, lots of Hellman's mayonnaise, and cranberry sauce. Yum! The second thing is that it is the day in which we head out and find our Christmas tree. We found a great tree farm called Fish River Tree Farm in Summerdale, Alabama. Like every other year, we walked the entirety of the farm to find just the perfect tree. It was the most beautiful day with the temperatures in the 70's. The only thing missing was our daughter, Jessica who will be flying in from Australia tomorrow!With so many Southern Longleaf Pines around here, pine cones are in abundance. I must say, they are my new favorite thing and I have them scattered throughout the house.My latest and easiest project has been the chalkboard that sits upon the buffet in our dining room. When I saw Lemonade Makin' Mama's, I knew I had to make one just the same.The ornaments have been hung on the tree, each one representing something significant of that year.The stockings are hanging from the mantle and come Christmas morning, will be filled with little gifts and special treats.So, this is Christmas in our new home and I can't wait for the memories that will be made here this year. [...]



Oh, how I have missed writing here. My days have been busy and full of things that are bringing me so much joy. For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can just be. Even in the busyness, I have time. I don't feel as if I'm being pulled in different directions or that our schedule is completely controlling us. My perspective and knowledge of time has changed and that in itself, has been a gift. 

So much of these last few months have been everything about "next steps".  Settling into our new home, new church, and new community has been nothing short of an exciting adventure. From day one, we all felt we were home. The transition was easy and we clearly and powerfully saw God's hand of provision upon every single detail. 

As I am resting in and enjoying all the next steps in my life right now, I feel as if I am literally going at full-speed, yet it is peace that is pushing and guiding me. 

I am embracing this place where God has brought us because how I needed it so.

A Week Of Blessings


I can't believe the month of September has come to an end. I am so used to having the cool, crisp days of Fall having lived in Ohio and now that we are much further south in Alabama, Fall is feeling and looking very different. The temperatures are still hovering in the mid-80's with plenty of sunshine.

The counting of my gifts continues and this was a week full of blessings.

261.) Riding horses.
262.) Sam competing in his first high school swim meet and doing so well.
263.) seeing the Lord work in the lives of friends who are also partners in ministry.
264.) sitting in a kitchen laughing and telling stories with a group of women.
265.) Ben making the basketball team at school.
266.) Planning for an upcoming women's ministry event.
267.) God's protection.
268.) Still wearing flip-flops.
269.) Morning runs in the park.
270.) Packages mailed to Jessica in Australia.
271.) Fridays spent with Steve.
272.) afternoon naps.
273.) Growing friendships.
274.) Baptism services and celebrating steps of obedience and professions of faith.
274.) still seeing everyday that this is exactly where God wanted us to be.

Have a wonderful and delightful weekend!

This Week...


I am grateful for...

knowing that God can comfort a hurting heart.
the power of prayer.
the truth setting you free.
cuddly kittens.
Sam's continued determination in school.

texts with friends that live far away.
spending the day making Monkey Cake Pops with a dear friend to celebrate a birthday.
Ben seeing that God has a purpose and plan just for him.
the opportunity Steve and I have to get away this weekend.
friends that are going to take care of our boys this weekend.
understanding and extending grace.
a sweet conversation with my 90-year old grandmother, Mimi.
living in a place filled with beauty, adventure, fun, and a whole lot of love. 

Do I Fear?


Yesterday I began Angie Smith's book "What Women Fear".  When I read the introduction, I was really struck by something.

"For the remainder of this book, I want you to encourage you to change your thinking about fear. Instead of it being a black and white, you do or you don't, you succeed or you fail kind of issue, I want to propose that it is more of a balancing act than anything else." ~ Angie Smith

Honestly, my personality is one that always lends itself to all or nothing. Black or white. Succeed or fail. I know that this is an area that God has given me situations, trials, and opportunities to grow and be changed in. I've learned a whole lot about GRACE and how much bigger He is and His grace than my extremes.

When I hear the word FEAR, I automatically go to the extreme of what fear is. Remember what I said I do with extremes?

I wouldn't consider myself a woman who is gripped or controlled by fear. Have there been times when I have been fearful/worried? Absolutely! What I'm considering though is the fact that fear may be showing up in my life more than I've realized. Do I react or say something because really I am afraid? Are there things I am not doing because I am afraid? Are there situations that cause me to tip and get either a little or way off balance because of my pattern of thinking?

I love that Jesus never wants us to stay where we are. There are things that He has so powerfully, lovingly, and radically changed in me because His heart's desire is for me to be transformed into His likeness.

So, I'm choosing to change my thinking on what fear is and the role it plays in my life. I'm asking God to open my eyes to the areas of my life that I haven't put under the header of fear. If there are areas that are now dark and I've kept off limits, I'm asking Him to shine His holy light on them.

It's a life of balance. Knowing how to walk a step at a time, based on who He is and holding tightly to Him.

Counting Them One By One


This will be a weekend that I long remember. It was filled with more rain and wind than I have ever seen thanks to Tropical Storm Lee, an evening spent with the elders and wives of our new church as the rain poured and poured, knowing that all I can do is TRUST God with the care and protection of my children, and so many moments of enjoying where God has brought us.

And so, my list continues of ALL the gifts He has given me.

240.) Morning rain showers.
241.) Catching up with Steve at the end of the day.
242.) Hebrews 4:12
243.) Early mornings filled with praying and being in His Word.
244.) Lunches prepared by a sweet teenage girl.
245.) Studying that pays off.
246.) Sam's determination.
247.) Believing Jesus is my everything.
248.) The time I have with Ben in the morning taking him to school.
249.) Dinner with the elders of our church and their wives.
250.) Our new kitten, Eliza.

251.) Anna Claire calling me on the phone.
252). Boys that play in the mud.
253.) Walking on the beach and seeing God's power in the crashing of the waves and feeling the strength of the wind.

254.) God's protection over Jessica.
255.) Prayer
256.) Friends surrounding Jessica with love and care.
257.) my iphone camera and instagram.

258.) Open windows that allow the breeze to come in.

259.) Seeing everyday that God has taken care of every single detail in our recent move. 
260.) Remembering and honoring the lives of our sweet nieces,  Allison and Emily.

Counting Them One By One


Grace has made it's way into every aspect of my life these last couple of months, and I know I will never be the same.

I lay my head upon my pillow at the end of the day and find myself saying the same thing each night,

"Lord, you have blessed us in ways again today that I never would have imagined. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you."

And so, the counting of the gifts, the graces He has lavished upon me, has continued.

178. A new place to call home.
181. Letting the tears come and fall upon a best friend's shoulder.
183. Artwork from our 2-year old niece, Anna Claire.
184. Jessica's happiness and excitement for everything new in her life.
186. BBQ's and Rodeos
187. Car rides with a new friend so that I can learn my way around.
190. Redeemed lives.
199. Dolphins
200. Biscuits and Blackberry Jam
207. The body of Christ.
211. That my story is HIStory.
212. Settling in.
215. New friendships for Sam and Ben.
219. Feeling peace instead of stress.
221. 16 years of marriage and learning what love really is.
228. Pedicures and lunch with a girlfriend.
229. The beauty of transformation.
231. Unexpected times of skyping with Jessica and seeing her sweet face.
232. Believing God.
233. The joy found in obedience.
235. Celebrating with a dear friend the news of her pregnancy.
236. Living in the country.
237. Passing the book "One Thousand Gifts" onto a friend so that she too, may begin to see the gifts that all around her.
238. New bibles.
239. Sunsets that paint the sky of His glory.


I am linking up to A Holy Experience counting my gifts with many others...

There's No Place Like Home


It's been a little over a week now that we moved and settled in our new home. I quickly began getting boxes unpacked, things put away, and making it feel like our home with personal things. There hasn't been a time of feeling like this was a new place to get used to. It's felt right from the beginning. It's felt like home.

We love it here. We've found a place of peace, excitement, and anticipation for what the Lord has in store. It's a place where there has been so much love and encouragement poured upon us. It's a place in which we carry the responsibility to serve, love and minister to a church family and surrounding region very humbly. It's a place where we know His faithfulness and provision.

We know the place to be the center of His will.

A NEW Beginning...


These last 6 weeks have been a very exciting time in our family. It has also been a time of change and transition and as I sit here this morning, I am in complete awe of how God's hand has covered, guided, supported, and moved us to where we are.

A dear friend of mine recently sent me a text saying, " Your journey has been long. You fought, prayed, trusted much, and you are now on the shores of your Promised Land."

Tomorrow a moving truck will be sitting in our driveway where we will load all of our belongings to fill a new home.

A new home in the south... Alabama.

My husband will be serving as lead pastor at a church in the area and as we have gone through this process, we have been completely overwhelmed with His timing and provision. We have taken what at times seemed like such small and insignificant steps, but as we have walked and trusted, they have been taken with so much faith and trust. In the end, aren't they often the ones that count the most?

My husband has reminded me and our children that the very best place to be is in the center of His will. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that this journey hasn't been hard and tiring. Even in the midst of the doubt or fear that sometimes crept in, I have known His peace in a way I never knew before. In many ways, I clearly see how He has prepared my heart for the new and exciting changes.

While we were in the middle of preparing for a new job and a move, our daughter, Jessica moved to her new home in Australia where she is attending Hillsong. She has made quite a journey these last couple of years as well. It's been a journey of waiting, trusting, pursuing and seeking hard after God. This is her time to grow and experience some amazing things and I couldn't be more proud or excited for her.

Last year, I claimed and held onto the verse Isaiah 43:18-19...

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

Promised Land... here we come!

Happy Father's Day


Wishing all of you a wonderful and relaxing weekend. Just sharing again part of the post that I wrote last year for Father's Day because it's exactly what I would say all over again. I hope that the fathers in my life know that you are very much loved and I am blessed to have you in my life. I wouldn't be where I am today without your love, support and encouragement. Happy Father's Day to the men in my life ... Happy Father's Day to you, Dad. The first man I loved. My Dad is wise, full of compassion, and has a laugh that makes you laugh until your cheeks hurt. My Dad is a pillar of strength to our family. I saw firsthand that a strong man is one that cries and isn't afraid to share his emotions. When I was little, he would carry me on his shoulders so that I could see the world. As I grew up, he walked beside me and encouraged me to always do my best and remember who I was. He was always the first one to meet me at the finish line.He taught me how to sail a boat and tie knots. He encouraged me to run fast and run hard. Because of him, I learned to appreciate classical music and find the beat in every song. My Dad knew when to let go but still hold on tight. He provided for his family and there was never any doubt of how much he loved us. He gives me security, unconditional love, and unending grace. My Dad loves his daughters so very well and even as adult women, we know that we are the joy of his life. This man has a heart of gold. He knows life without Jesus and with Him. Through my Dad, I know a whole lot of what Jesus is like.Happy Father's Day to my brother-in-law, Mike. Mike is a handyman, a Cubs fan, believes in the simple things, and works hard.He can make the most amazing brisket and tells the funniest stories I've ever heard.Mike came into our family and immediately fit in. It was like he had been there all along.  I appreciate that Mike understands the phone calls to my sister and doesn't mind that we can be on the phone for hours.More than anything, this guy loves Jesus, my sister, and his girls.I am so very blessed to have a father-in-law that has passed on a legacy of faith to our children.  His life is an example of working hard, trusting God, and being a spiritual leader.He loves to fish, University of Kentucky basketball, and Cracker Barrel.My father-in-law has passed down stories and songs that our children love.He is loyal, consistent, generous and will always encourage you to take the high road. He is a man of great integrity and character.My father-in-law reaches out to the lost and hurting and he has witnessed and been the part of many lives being redeemed.He and my mother-in-law have raised a son that I am blessed to be married to.I also want to wish my brother-in-laws, Tom and Charlie a very Happy Father's Day. Distance and schedules often prevent us from being together, but your presence and influence is felt not only with me, but also in the lives of our children. You are both are examples of strong men who are leading and guiding your families with so much love and grace.And finally, Happy Father's Day to my husband, Steve.He is my life companion. Steve challenges me and encourages me to live a life that matters. If there is one thing that I have learned and witnessed more than anything else from Steve, it is grace. He has walked with me through personal trials and never stopped believing in me. We couldn't be more opposite if we tried and I continue to be amazed at how God uses those differences to bring us together and make us one.Steve has made many sacrifices along the way, but family always, always comes first for him. I know that and our children k[...]

Molly Christine


We are celebrating and giving thanks and praise to God for a new bundle of joy in our family.

Welcome, my niece Molly Christine....

 born on Friday, June 3 
7 lbs. 18 inches

Big sister, Anna Claire loved her from the minute she saw her.

I love these girls... Anna Claire, Molly and my daughter, Jessica. 

Catching Up...


It's a quiet Saturday morning so I thought I would take advantage of the time and do a little catching up here.

This past fall, the Lord began directing and orchestrating plans in our family that while we knew one day  were coming, we weren't "planning" on them at that time. He is so good though and as the days have turned into months now, we have seen and felt His hand moving us to where He wills us to be.

For the last four years, my husband has been on staff at the church where we have attended for the last 16 years. Going into ministry was a second career for him, and a calling in which he admits to running from for many years. Over the last four years, God has been building up and impressing on us both that the time would come for my husband to pursue a lead pastor position. As I said before though, in our timing and on our calendars, we still had... time.  If there is one thing that we learned when we made the decision to go into full-time ministry, when God tells and shows you it's time to move, you move!

This process has required something big of us. There is going to be so much that changes for our family, in particular a move from the community in which we have lived in for 16 years. So, this is very much a faith journey for our children as well.

While I know that our spiritual journey and our daily walk with Him is a constant lesson and pursuit- one in which He refines, grows, transforms, and stretches, I have never felt and known it to the depths like I have these last few years.

In whatever way it can, the pieces are coming together and all making sense.

His timing and faithfulness is unquestionable and I am finding and resting in His peace.

There are still times though that it catches me by surprise and I love that. It really and truly is the peace that passes ALL understanding.

I keep finding my self saying, "I don't want to ever lose or forget all these things that the Lord is showing me." It's life changing stuff and I know there is something I will and can be doing with what He has shown me.  It's humbled me, shown me how intensely personal my Savior is, and it has made me love Him even more.



Well, I keep telling myself that I am not going to let time go by without blogging. This once was a place where posts were written frequently, but I have to be honest, life is busy these days.All is well and we are even enjoying Spring break this week in spite of the fact it is very cold and we had snow flurries yesterday. I have to admit that being able to sleep in a little later is making me want summer to be here sooner than what the calendar is telling me.I'm still focusing on the word I choose at the beginning of the year - DISCIPLINE and what it really means and looks like in my life. While there are still areas that I struggle with, I do see growth and have completely embraced the difference it makes.I can remember having conversations with friends of mine when my children were just elementary school age and them telling me how busy my life will become once they are teenagers. Well, we have arrived at that time. What a job it is staying on top of schedules, being emotionally prepared and present for their needs, homework, friendships, and with two growing boys, just keeping the pantry stocked.Baseball season is officially here for the boys so that means it's time for me to have an abundant supply of Oxy Clean, Gatorade, and quick and easy meals. Our oldest son, Sam has also joined a cycling club so we are really looking forward to watching him race in time trials, criteriums, and road races. This is a new sport for him at this level, but what has been amazing to watch is how this is a passion and interest all his own.Ben is keeping up with his guitar lessons and playing in the youth worship band. There is music being played just about all the time, and I love it. And then there is our oldest daughter, Jessica who is preparing to leave in July to attend Hillsong in Australia. This past year has been such a tremendous time of growth for her and I see over and over again God's provision for her and that He has so much more in store for her. So, in this season in which we are parenting two teenage boys, letting go of a young woman to live a life all her own, I can honestly say, life is good.[...]

Psalm 50:23


The satin ribbon marks the reading for today in Jesus Calling. I open it, begin reading and like usual, it doesn't take long for the words to speak something personally to my heart.

"When something in your life or thoughts makes you anxious, come to Me and talk about it. Bring Me your prayer and petition with thanksgiving, saying," Thank you, Jesus, for this opportunity to trust you more."

What does this mean for me?

I continue to lay it all before Him. There is nothing that is off limits, nothing that catches Him by surprise, and when it comes down to it, He longs to hear everything I hold inside. 

I am to thank Him even when it's hard. I am learning so much about thanksgiving after reading "One Thousand Gifts". One thing I keep reading, and taking in is that the fullness of my salvation is based on my expression of giving thanks. It's easy and just a given that I can express and offer my thanksgiving when all is good, but can I do it when it's something I haven't planned for, anticipated, or hurts?

"Thanksgiving is the acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our YES! to His grace." - Ann Voskamp 

I've noticed a little shifting in my prayers recently and not just thanking Him after a prayer has been answered, but thanking Him in advance for how He is going to work.

Two words that are so very common, simple, and used all the time, are more significant to me than ever before.

Jesus, thank you.

I also know that He is good and I can completely trust His character. He has proven that to me time and time again. As I continue to walk with Him, I want to have more and more of stories that display His goodness, provision, and power in my life.

So, for this week's Scripture memorization, my verse is Psalm 50:23...

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!"

Counting Them One By One #96-110


My list of gratitude continues to grow and what I evidenced over these last couple of weeks is that even when my days are busy and tiring, His grace never stops and my heart is still open to receive...

96.) meeting with some of my closest friends every other week as we read and discuss "One Thousand Gifts".
97.) open hearts, honest words, and vulnerability.
98.) white tulips.
99.) evidence that God is working.
100.) reaching 100 gifts that I am thankful for and wanting to keep on counting.
101.) the smile on Sam's face when he tried on his new cycling uniform for the first time.
102.) having people pray for our family.
103.) doing Jessica's laundry for her so that she could spend time with her friends.
104.) receiving a long awaited gift.
105.) early morning thunderstorms.
106.) underlined passages of Scripture in my Bible.
107.) second chances.
108.) the words to the song "In Christ Alone".
109.) the kiss my husband gives me every morning as he says "good-bye".
110.) days in which the box on my calendar is empty.

Counting Them One By One #66-95


66. God's protection.
67. believing that God can fit everything into a pattern for His good.
68. gaining perspective.
69. the wisdom of a 13-year old.
70. worship songs in the morning.
71. coming home to a clean kitchen.
72. a conversation I had with someone who has watched my spiritual journey for the last 20 years.
73. helping a friend.
74. Sam wanting me to take pictures of him riding his bike.
75. surrendering to waiting knowing His timing is perfect.
76. staying in my pj's all day and not even caring.
77. clean laundry.
78. a decreasing number on the scale.
79. knowing that Sam and Ben love being at youth group on Wednesday nights.
80. laughter during hard math problems.
81. having a husband who can help with math homework because I sure can't!
82. 1 hour and 50 minutes on the phone with my sister.
83. little girls turning 2.
84. Jessica being accepted to Hillsong.
85. memories that only a mother can forever hold.
86. date nights.
87. the sound of my Dad's voice.
88. a friend celebrating with me.
89. productive days.
90. the outstretched arms of Jesus on Calvary's cross that embraced me and showed me what real love really is.
91. a love that has remained strong after 15 years of marriage.
92. a Valentine card left on the counter so that I will have it first thing in the morning.
93. heart shaped Valentine cookies.
94. showing His love in tangible ways.
95. that Jesus says, "Be Mine" and all I have to do is respond in a love that His love has kindled.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I am linking to Holy Experience today counting my gifts with many others...

Psalm 84:1-2


It's a question that I have been asking myself pretty frequently since the new year."How am I doing in this area of my life?" "And how about this one?" "Or this one?"I suppose it's the reason I chose DISCIPLINE for my word of the year.It's something that I want very much because I know there are some area in my life in which it is lacking.I've had to be brutally honest and ask myself, "What are the things in my life that I am putting more importance on than God?" I see more and more how God desires relationship with me and that He wants me to experience and know success and victory. Because of the areas that I want to see growth and change in, discipline is going to be required of me.When I looked the meaning of discipline up in the dictionary, one thing I was struck by was that discipline requires training. Several years ago when I was training for a marathon, the word discipline took on a whole new meaning for me.I had to be disciplined in scheduling when I was going to run.Discipline was required in the food I ate and the amount of sleep I got.I had to be disciplined in my running schedule so that when it was time for the race, I would be able to run the distance.The discipline wasn't there instantly, but it came in small steps - running a few minutes, then a mile, then two, and before I knew it, I was up to 20 miles.From the moment I signed up for the race until the day I crossed the finish line, I was in training.Isn't that the same on our spiritual journeys as well?The discipline comes when we just start taking a step at a time, moment by moment of surrendering and holding on tightly to His hand. Oh,  how God shows up and gives us the strength and determination to see it through.The discipline comes when there is a heart that says, "It's only You, Lord that I want!"The discipline comes when the victory is worth so much more than continuing to live in a cycle of defeat or discouragement. We were made to have so much more than that, and I don't want to settle for anything else.The discipline comes from allowing God to flood you with His grace and steadfast love. It's experiencing and knowing Him in every area of your life because there is nothing that is off limits for Him.Often the word discipline would scare me. Probably because it was His holy voice that would whisper and nudge me to do something about the areas in which I lacked it. To be honest, I just was too stubborn and unwilling. I got comfortable and thought I could continue to ignore what the real issue was. I am recognizing more quickly when the enemy is trying to get me off course and distracted by thinking that there are things that can replace my longing and craving for God with other things.While I am just beginning what I know will probably be one of the most significant journeys I take with the Lord, I already am feeling the change. I have  Psalm 84:1-2 sitting on my windowsill to remind me what my heart really should be longing for...How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!My soul longs, yes, faints, for the courts of the LORD;my heart and flesh song for joy to the living God.Really, why would I want anything else? [...]

To My Niece, Anna Claire...


 Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday, dear Anna Claire...

Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

We all love you so very much!!!

Q & A


When it comes to books, one of my favorites is a journal. I seem to be surrounded by a variety of journals recently...A 10-year journal that my parents gave me for my 40th birthday this year. For the next 10 years, I can write within a few lines the happenings of my day, thoughts, prayers, etc.My gratitude journal in which I am recording 1000 gifts.A journal that holds pages of the more personal... the place in which I share it all. And then, there is this one...Q & A a Day is  journal with 365 questions to answer for 5 years. There is a variety of questions from the more serious to light and fun. Plus, it's a really pretty book!I have encouraged our children to write in it as well and it just so happened that today I found this...I think this makes for a very special and unique birthday gift, wedding or anniversary gift, or because like me, you just love journals!You can find Q & A here.And for some more Q & A...come visit me as I answer some questions from Catherine at Constant in Chaos. [...]