The Peace in Icky and Ouch


I love music. Love.

I could listen to music from the time I get up until I go to bed. Crooners, R&B, Gospel, Hip hop, Rock, Alternative…I love it. I gotta tell you-a does of Hip hop works better to wake me up than a cup of coffee does. Seriously. It just gets my blood flowing.

The problem with some of the music I like? The lyrics. They can be trashy. REALLY trashy.I have been willing to ignore that fact because of my love for the beat. The. Beat. The pounding. The grooving. It makes me feel alive. (just being honest here).

But, as I’ve grown closer to the Lord, He has been talking to me about the lyrics. In all honesty, I haven’t wanted to hear what He’s had to say.

I told him, “This is the only “bad” thing I do and it isn’t that bad. I really love the music.”

Pause. “More than Me?”

OUCH. “No. Of course not.” 

“But you aren’t willing to give it up for Me.”

How many of you know that God is always right? There is no arguing with God.

 “You are not to serve any other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 (VOICE)

Wait. I’m not putting any other gods before God. Right? I believe that Jesus is the true living God. I don’t believe in other gods. Or, does Exodus 20:3 mean anything that I place in a more important spot in my heart than God? I mean. I haven’t been willing to give it up. Hmmmm.

Is it possible that music has become a “god” to me? What else could become “gods” in our lives? Food? The news? The internet? Television? Video games? Sports? …

I’ve decided to give up some of the music I listen to. (I’m not saying ALL secular music is bad, so you don’t need to write me. ;) ) It is something I have personally allowed into my  life that has become a problem for me. You know what? It’s painful. I don’t like it. I miss it. I’m not happy about it. But, I have peace.

Living for Christ is not always easy. Sometimes it’s HARD WORK. (those two words are icky, right?) But, the pay off is huge. Think of an athlete. Is training always easy or fun? No! But, only through dedication and perseverance does an athlete become a winner. It’s the same for you and me in our walk with Jesus.

Is there something in your life that God has been talking to you about? Don’t push Him away. He always speaks to us out of love for our own benefit. Trust Him to know the best path and plan for your life.

Well, I’m off to discover some good Christian artists. Any suggestions?

Love you guys. <3



Categories: Encouragement, Obedience | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

He Really Sees Us

A few weeks ago I took my first ever Big Girl Trip. I flew by myself (major accomplishment for me) to meet my friends in Ohio. In order to get there, Delta gave me a “free” four hour stay in Atlanta, GA! Can you believe they do that? I only needed to go to Ohio, but they gifted me a trip to Georgia as well. (insert sarcasm) I didn’t get to see much of the state, but I did visit this city called, Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The city is totally indoors and has all kinds of shops and restaurants…and it even has a TRAIN!

While I was there, I spent a lot of time people watching. Have you ever done that? It is one of my favorite things to do. I love to study people. When a group walks by, I try to see if they resemble each other…are they family? Do they share the same eyes? Do they walk alike, talk alike, and have the same mannerisms?

Style (or lack thereof) watching is also a good time. I had some pretty interesting conversations in my head. “Wow. That is a beautiful older woman. She looks so classy.” “No. Just no. Those jeans were made for ladies not the boys.” (shakes head) “Leopard print and zebra stripes?” “How does she walk in those shoes? Not very well. Nope.”

Sometimes I focused on individuals more closely—really look at their faces.

There is the young mom rocking her crying baby. Her hair is falling out of her ponytail and her eyes are tired.

Over there is a man jogging down the hall with this bag rolling behind him. His eyes look anxious, or perhaps panicked, as he obviously tries to catch his next flight before it leaves him behind.

Standing at the counter of the coffee shop is a girl who is trying to keep her composure as a customer yells at her over coffee that, “tastes too weak”.

I was in a sea of people from all around the world. At first it looked a bit chaotic. People everywhere, going every direction. But, as I focused on groups of people and then individual people, it all became more personal.

I could see them, one by one, each person had a story.

In Mark chapter 10, we are told the story of a rich young man that came to Jesus. Jesus had been spending much of his time teaching masses of people. He and His disciples were setting out on a journey and this young man came to Him and knelt before Him. The young man wanted to know how to inherit eternal life. He told Jesus that he had kept all the commandments since his youth.

In other words, he was a good person.

I have heard this story told over and over since I was a little girl. But this week, as I read it again, verse 21 struck me. Mark 10:21 ESV “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” Look how the Word takes the time to say that Jesus looked at him. He saw him and He loved him. And, then with compassion, Jesus told him what he needed to do to inherit eternity…he had to give up the one thing he held dearest, wealth.

Planet earth is filled with millions of people. If we were in Heaven looking down, we would probably just see something that resembled ants on an ant hill, busily going back and forth. But, our Lord sees us, each one, individually. He really sees us, knows us–loves us.

How absolutely amazing is that?

Do you ever feel lost and alone? Do you feel that no one knows you, no one understands you? Jesus SEES you. He knows your good, your bad and your ugly. And, He still loves you. Will He ever correct you? Yes, but with love and compassion. You can trust Him.

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him. (Mark 10:21)

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Illuminating Light

Illuminating Light

We walked into the restaurant for breakfast. The room was lined with people. Our “greeting” from the host was, “There is a wait.” (I know…the friendliness was amazing **insert sarcasm**). After being told it was a five minute wait, we decided our day wouldn’t be ruined (sarcasm again) and waited. Once we were seated our waitress walked toward us rolling her eyes, shaking her head, and letting out a huge sigh. But, as any good waitress does, the second she got to our table, she smiled and welcomed us. My husband and I both giggled as she walked off because we had both witnessed her approach. I watched her do this over and over at each table. She obviously was having a horrible morning.
John and I were careful to thank her for every cup of coffee that was poured and every time she checked on us. We watched as the table across from us was particularly nice to her as well. We listened as the man behind us asked for her name and greeted her sweetly.
I looked at my husband and said, “Isn’t God good? He knew exactly which people to put in her area right when she needed it.”
It reminded me of my hostess at Panera. My dad and I go to there every Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. for coffee. Every Wednesday we are greeted by Jen. The second time we went, she noticed my name on my debit card and asked how I was related to four of my family members. You see, she remembered them from waiting on them at another restaurant that she had worked at for years. And THEN she said, who is the gentleman that is with you? I told her he was my dad. She said, “He used to come in there also. He is a pastor, right?”
In a world full of hostility, abuse, neglect, self-centeredness, hate—kindness makes a deep impression on people. I’m thankful for missionaries who God calls to go to the ends of the earth to reach the lost. I’m thankful for “world-changers” and “world-shakers”. BUT—each one of us can share the love of Jesus. We can share it in a kind word—a smile—a touch—a helping hand—many times the little things make a huge impact.
I have to ask myself if I am always letting His Light shine in my life. Am I leaving a ray of light after I walk away from my waitress, grocery store clerk, bank teller, child’s teacher, neighbor…?
Life is about relationships. Jesus came and made relationships. It’s about touching one another with hope, with love, with Joy.
Matthew 5:16 (VOICE)
You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

***** Originally Published on

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Not So Merry-go-Round

I headed toward the main entrance of the hospital thankful they had the twirly-merry-go-round doors because my hands were full of food. (Hospital food can get old fast (like immediately…don’t eat it) so I was making a food run for my friend whose son was ill.) Back to the doors…you know the doors I’m talking about, right?

They don’t actually open to the outdoors. They just go around in a circle—you kind of just step in and it rotates you in or out depending on where you start.

This particular merry-go-round door is very large. I suppose it’s made that way so that wheelchairs will fit. If no one is inside, it sits idle. But, when people step in, in starts to move you around to the other side of the glass.

Are you getting this mental picture?

So—I walked up to the merry-go-round door and stepped inside. There was another couple going in, but they chose to go through the “doors”. I remember thinking how they chose the less energy efficient route and mentally patted myself on the back for being a better steward of nature than they were. There was a teenaged boy sitting on the other side of glass. He looked up at me, and then back down at his phone. Inside with me was a plant. I thought it was strange to put a plant in there only to have it turn circles all day long…

Wait. I’m not moving. I’m just standing here on the wrong side of the glass. Maybe I’m supposed to move to trigger this thing.

I stepped forward. Nothing.

Two steps forward. Nothing.

Two steps backward. Nothing.

I stood still and stared at the glass. (Apparently I thought telepathy might work.)

The boy looked up at me again. I smiled. He looked back down at the phone completely unamused. (Whew. I was worried he might think I was stupid, but he obviously didn’t care that I was alive.) I looked around.

No one seems to be watching. I’ll just nonchalantly step out of here and use the regular non-efficient door.

I stepped out of the merry-go-round door and swung around to the regular door and there stood a man holding the door for me.

Great. He saw me. I’m sure I looked foolish…but it wasn’t MY fault the door wasn’t rotating. Was it? Maybe I didn’t know what I was doing. Was I supposed to do something? He probably thinks I’m a dumb blonde. Best to just laugh…

“The door wasn’t working.” I said with a shrug and let out a nervous goofy sounding giggle.

He looked at me with the same look as the teenaged boy (what is the deal with that look??!!!) and walked on.

Several years ago, that situation would have been extremely traumatic for me. I would have been terribly embarrassed and dwelled on the situation for hours afterward. I would have beat myself up for being dumb—and worried about what other people thought of me.

Now? Now I assume they thought I was silly—or they simply didn’t care at all. And, I look at it for it is—a funny situation. It was funny. I was funny. I looked silly! Hopefully the security guards that watch the cameras got a good laugh. Because, let’s face it, there isn’t much to laugh about at the hospital.

And, you know what else? It reminded me that the way that looks easy—it’s not always the easy way.

Sometimes I think, “Oh yah. This is what I’m supposed to do. I’m just going to walk through this door and life is going to be a breeze. I’ll just step in and God will just swing me to the other side.” And then—Nothing.

Nothing happens. Life just stands still. I try doing this. I try doing that. Nothing.

In those times I have to step out. Reevaluate. Ask God if that was really the door He wanted me to go through. And, sometimes, He has an entirely different direction for me. It may be a little more difficult or it may be humbling. But, it still gets me to the other side.

Be willing to go with the flow a little bit more. Be able to laugh at yourself. Be open to stepping back and asking God if He has a different plan. And, when He shows you that plan, walk forward and don’t look back.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

Trust in and rely confidently on the LORD with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Originally published 10-18-15 on

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So Cluttered and Messy


Blog idea. Blog. Blog, blog, blog.
Maybe if I get more coffee an idea will come…and let the dog out…oh, and check Facebook again.
(stares at keyboard) (sips coffee) (checks hair in monitor reflection)
Blog. Okay.
(looks at ceiling waiting for an idea to fall from it)
Man. My kitchen is a mess. Not a little mess. It’s like—wow—it’s really really bad. Alright. I can blog about my messy kitchen.

Ever wonder how people come up with blog ideas? Well. Now you know my inspiration. You’re impressed, right?
Truth is, sometimes I really am inspired. Sometimes God gives me an idea and I hold it in my head for days developing what I’m going to write. But, there are days, like today, that there is zilch. Nada. Nothing there. So. Let’s see where God takes this—with me?

Looking around my kitchen, I’m amazed and ashamed at what I see. Let me describe the scene for you.
I’m at my table along with two Bibles, two journals, Crayola markers, a calculator, bills, business cards, and a hoodie. Nothing is neatly placed. It pretty much looks like I picked a pile of stuff up, held it over the table, and then let go.
I hesitantly allow my eyes to move a little farther out and see the trash can—full—overflowing. The dog’s bowls have been pushed out of place and his toys have joined them. Our barstools have become storage units.
The island. Let’s see…four sets of keys have found their way to the island, even though they have an antique key holder in the utility room. The business clipboard is napping there along with my husband’s wallet. Umm…a phone charger, two pair three pair of glasses and more bills—AND leftover cornbread, a bowl of apples and a phone are also taking up residence there.
Yesterday’s clean dishes did not get put away, so yesterday’s dirty dishes are in the sink. Two empty glasses are on the counter along with an empty cup AND a half empty cup that no one (me) bothered pouring out yesterday (morning).
I can see into the utility room, but I will spare you the gory details there.
Looking at it is overwhelming. I’m disappointed in myself for allowing it to get so cluttered and messy. What if someone stopped by? I wouldn’t even be able to hide it from them. But, you know what? I bet if I divide the room up and work on one spot at a time it can be cleaned up, picked up and look amazing. (My husband remodeled this kitchen a few years ago and I truly do love it).
Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “How in the world did I let my life get so messed up?” Sometimes it can seem that life is such a mess it will never get better. It’s overwhelming. It’s depressing. It’s hard to see past the current clutter and imagine things can be different.
But, the God who created you knows your original blue print. He knows what you looked like before all the “stuff” took place. And, all you have to do is say, “Jesus help me. I need you.” He will step in and start picking up the broken pieces. He’ll take out the trash and sweep up the hurt and pain. It may take a change here and change there. But, if you will allow Him to, He will make something amazing out of your life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Isaiah 43:19 (ESV) Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

(If you don’t know Jesus, and you would like to, please contact us! We would love to introduce you.)

**Originally published on

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My Not-So-Ordinary Street

Walking Bare Souled in the SONshine:

Thought I would share a blog I wrote for this week. <3 Enjoy!

Originally posted on JoyGurls:

My Street

The phone on the wall rings (go back in time to the place of telephones on the wall in the kitchen), “Hello?”

“Hey. Hi. Um. Do you have a can of tomato sauce I can borrow? I’m going to the store tomorrow and can pay you back.”

“Hmmm. Let me check,” I step into the pantry pulling the cord tight, “I do! You’re in luck.”

“I’ll send one of the boys right over! Thanks!”

Tomato sauce, sugar, cream of chicken soup, bread, onion–you name it–the calls have been made, items traded and borrowed. Some neighbors have come and gone, but as new ones arrive, it doesn’t take them long to realize, this is not your ordinary street.

When we we first moved here, 13 years ago, we were introduced to our next door neighbor, Ms. Earlene. Our boys were little and soon they adopted her as their neighborhood grandma. She…

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Just Show Up–A Book Review

Just Show Up

“Most often it’s those who come without answers or agendas who are the most helpful.”

Just. Show. Up.

Sometimes we just need someone to “be”. We don’t need them to solve our problems. We don’t need them to out “do” someone else. We just need THEM.

I started reading Just Show Up with a lump in my throat. I knew it was about cancer and friendship–and I wasn’t sure I could handle the emotion of it. But, I had promised Jill I would read her special gift–the book she wrote with her now Heavenly sister-friend. So, I dove in, ready for whatever she had in store for me.

I wrote down some quotes as I read:

“Showing up in suffering benefits both sides, and it has to be entered in from both sides.”

“Fear is a lonely companion.”

“Grace is the glue that holds relationships together as we walk through suffering with one another.”

I had a friend suffer through an agonizing battle with cancer. She finally won the battle when she went home with her Savior. Guilt took root inside my heart during her fight as I felt like I wasn’t “showing up” the way I thought I was supposed to. I didn’t feel I gave her what she needed from me. I wasn’t “that” person. But, after allowing the words in Just Show Up to sink in–really SINK IN–I realized I did show up. I showed up in the way I was gifted. I showed up in the way I knew how. I did what I do well. And, looking back, I realize that she had a community of women surrounding her. Each of those women had a special gift, a way they showed up. Together, we walked the journey with her.

Just Show Up speaks from the heart of Kara Tippetts as she goes through her hard journey and from the hearts of the women who came around her to support her and each other as they worked toward one purpose–Showing Up. Jill gives practical advice on what to say and what not to say when people are hurting as well as how to do what you do well and allow others to do their “thing”.

Just when I thought my heart couldn’t take anymore, Jill would throw in little bits of humor. (I loved that by the way.) I totally could relate when she said, “I’m an introvert (text, don’t call) and I prefer to enjoy my misery alone.” GUILTY!  Seriously though, it reminded me that we all deal with hurt and pain in different ways and we need to be open to it. God made us all unique for a reason!

I began the journey with Jill and Kara with a lump in my throat, cautious of where they were going to take me. I laughed here and there and (I have to admit) I cried in the end. This book was healing to my heart.

Just Show Up. It’s about Community. It’s about Friendship. It’s about women loving women. It’s about BEING.


About the Authors

The late Kara Tippetts was the author of The Hardest Peace and blogged faithfully at Cancer was only a part of Kara’s story. Her real fight was to truly live while facing a crushing reality. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Jill Lynn Buteyn is the author of Falling for Texas, an inspirational novel, and a recipient of the ACFW Genesis Award for her fiction work. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children. Connect with her on social media and at

Instagram: @JillLynnAuthor
Pinterest: @JillLynnAuthor
Twitter: @JillLynnAuthor
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Wrinkles. Eye Bags. Fat.

JG 922

I caught myself staring into nowhere as I sat outside. The breeze lifted my hair and then laid it back down. It had a slight coolness to it reminding me that another summer was coming to an end. Another. Summer. How many summers had I seen come and go? Where does time go?

My heart almost ached as I thought of the years that had gone by. My youth had slipped away, almost silently.

Click here for the rest of the story…

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Easily Offended?


I have recently become pen pals (like the old-fashioned, handwritten, in cursive letters) with three beautiful ladies. Last night I got a letter from one of them. She is a precious lady who has been in my life all of my life, but has only become a real part of my life recently. (and, I’m loving every minute of it!). In the letter, she included a little half-sheet of paper. The paper may have been small, but the words written on them had big meaning.

After reading over her thoughts several times since last night, I’ve decided to blog them for you. I think it’s something someone(s) out there needs to hear, ponder, and take to heart.

SO, these words are not my words. I would give her credit, but she is extremely humble, and I don’t want to embarrass her.

When thinking about peace, how often do you hear this verse quoted, “Psalm 119:165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.'”?

Do we want peace?? Then which law should we love?? The Ten Commandments??

In Mark 12:28 and 29, Jesus was asked the question, “Which is most important of all the Commandments?” Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.'”

So–first we must love God! That’s easy.

Second, we must love others! That is harder to do.

But, IF we do this, then NOTHING should OFFEND us or make us STUMBLE.

The result?? GREAT PEACE.

Jesus said in John 14:27 AMPPeace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”

Sometimes we wonder why we don’t have peace. Do we love God above everyone and everything else? Do we love others? If not, that could answer why we are so easily offended–why we stumble so quickly. We aren’t following the two greatest commands…to love God and love others. Peace comes through love.

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It’s Not the Title


Coming from a family of ministers, missionaries, and wives of such there was~~um~~”pressure” to be in The Ministry. (Capitals on purpose)

From an early age, my cousin was clearly gifted in music and when we played, we didn’t play “school” we played “church”. He is a pastor today.

His sister always had a heart for others and a passion for Christ. Today she is a pastor’s wife, preacher, teacher, and prayer leader.

When I was a teenager, I just didn’t feel it. The Call. I tried to wish it upon myself. But, I never felt it. I think my parents prayed for it, and others in the family waited for it. However, IT never happened. I didn’t marry a pastor, preacher, missionary, or evangelist.

I felt like a failure–a disappointment–a let down to the family.

I didn’t carry on the family legacy. I broke the chain. I hadn’t followed The Call. I wasn’t in The Ministry.

Eventually, my husband and I had two boys and soon it began—the pressure on us to push our boys toward The Ministry. At first it was questions directed at me or at my husband regarding the boys. But, as they grew, the questions started going to them, “What do you want to do? Have you thought of The Ministry? No? A landscaper? Oh. Well. You might still change your mind.”

SCREEEEEECCCCCHHHH! Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Just. Whoa. Whoa.

Let’s just STOP.

Look. I have nothing against The Ministry! I love and adore my family and the great things God is doing through them! It’s amazing. I am so proud of how they allow God to use them!

But. Hang on.

What about the day my son saw a homeless couple sleeping behind a building and walked up and gave them money? Later another person came by on a bike and explained to my son the dire situation they were in.

What about the day he was on his way to Prom in the pouring rain? As he drove by an elderly lady trying to pull her trash dumpster, he pulled over, in his tux, and moved it for her. She was so moved by it she called my husband to tell him.

The Ministry? Yes, my boys are in the ministry. I am in the ministry. My husband is in the ministry. Every. Day. Every day those who love and follow Christ are to reach out to the people around them. Mark 12:30-31 ESV “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

God doesn’t hold someone in higher regard than another person because they are ordained or because they wear a collar. He looks to the heart. It’s not the occupation. It’s not the title. It’s not the diploma.

It’s the heart. ONLY the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7(ESV) But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

I just want to encourage you. Regardless of your “occupation”, you are in THE MINISTRY if you love and follow Jesus. Your ministry is reaching out to people and showing them the love of Christ. So whether you work in an office, on a subway, in construction, babysit, are a stay-at-home mom (lucky!), a doctor, a lawyer, work at McDonald’s, a pastor, a missionary…we ALL have the same MINISTRY~~

Loving People.

Colossians 3:17 (VOICE) Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing, or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father.

Colossians 3:23 (AMP) Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,

Matthew 6:33 ESV But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you

2 Timothy 2:15 AMP Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

***Blog first published at

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