Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Season...

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

I just LOVE this time of year...Summer turns into Autumn, the weather begins to cool, and cherished time outside becomes our daily goal!!  I am equally grateful for the reminder that Everything has a season and purpose!!  

Recently, our family began a new season as well!!  It is a time of reflecting and acknowledging the great things God has done in us and is doing through us!  As I study the Law of the Harvest, I am beginning to understand the connection between reaping and expectation.  A wise farmer knows that just planting a seed alone is not enough.  He must nurture the seed and then patiently expect it to grow after it's own kind - wheat seeds produce wheat, corn seeds produce corn; wheat seeds will never produce corn!  So it is with us, we plant seeds of love, forgiveness, favor, etc. and then we get to patiently expect them to grow and produce a bountiful harvest!!  Likewise, if we are sowing seeds of worry, discouragement, and fear we will only produce a bountiful harvest of yuck!  

There are many lessons we can apply from this reminder, however, the two major thoughts I'm pondering is:
  1. What kind of seeds am I sowing?
  2. Do I really expect a harvest?  
Once we get our hearts around the truth of the Law of the Harvest - that we Do reap what we sow; we can begin to be aware of what we're sowing, nurturing, and expecting to produce?  We can also become aware of our ability to walk in faithful expectation.  Part of the process is a season of waiting, knowing it takes time for something to grow and produce.  I wonder if in our "Fast Food Mentality" we've forgotten how to patiently wait for something?  Have we missed out on a harvest because we walked away discouraged that our expected result was not happening fast enough?

I know the pain of reaping a harvest of judgement, lack, and selfishness.  I also know the joy of reaping a harvest of love, forgiveness, and joy!!  I am grateful for the master gardener who lovingly nurtures me, faithfully expecting a bountiful harvest!!  Likewise I am grateful for a new perspective and opportunity to see our children through His eyes and trust that the seeds of Love, Trust, Encouragement, and Joy I sow today will not return void!  

I invite you to join me in considering how the Law of the Harvest is showing up in your life.  Are you reaping what you desire?  If not, begin sowing new seeds today!!  I testify to you that God willingly extends mercy, grace, forgiveness and great love!  I firmly believe that it is Never too late to change our crop!!   Likewise, be encouraged you as you faithfully expect a harvest knowing that God is faithful!  May we be a people on Purpose, sowing seeds with Intention, and always walking in great expectation for the good things of God!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


"Let my light so shine before men, that they will see my good works, and glorify my Father in Heaven!"
- Matt 5:16 Confession

As I began to consider a theme for this season of "Sunshine Singers", God almost immediately laid on my heart "ILLUMINATE".  How awesome to spend time really considering the Legacy I'm Leaving, the Path I'm Paving, and the Choices I'm Making!  I invite you to join us as we embrace this new season, and consider what are you doing to ILUMN8?

Abundant Blessings,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Honor is defined as a mark, token, or gesture of respect or distinction. 

Today, I am honored to have been set apart by one of my dear friends.  Ramblings of a TJEd Mother has listed me as one of her favorite blogs to read!!  To God be the glory!!  I blog as a way to reflect, and illuminate.  It is my desire to share how God is moving through me, and to express my joy of the journey!  What I've noticed is the abundance of encouragement we share with each other!!  I am blessed by Ranee's example of being Other's Minded, truly a woman of honor!

By request, I am happy to share 7 things about me...
  1. I LOVE music!!  I Love to sing and play piano!!  I Love to train up others in the art of music!!  I would love to write music!
  2. I have been married for more than half of my life to an AMAZING man of valor and my very best friend!
  3. After years of practice, I make a mean Baked Ziti pasta dish (including sauce from scratch, of course!)
  4. Tamara Alexander and Janette Oke are two of my favorite authors.
  5. I Love French Fries!!
  6. I am passionate about Leadership Education, and enjoy a life based on the principles of "A Thomas Jefferson Education"!
  7. I LOVE Living Word Bible Church!!  I am SO blessed by the outpouring of wisdom and understanding, along with the shared desire to glorify God in all things!!  
Now then, I'd like to honor a few of the blogs I follow that uplift, inspire, and encourage me!!  I know you'll be blessed by them also!!
Authors, I'd love for you to respond to honor by passing it along!  Step 1: Gratitude, thank the person who honored you.  Step 2: Share, write 7 things about you.  Step 3: Honor, pass this along to some of the blogs you follow.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey!!  I am blessed by your stories, examples, and wisdom from it all!!  May we continue to walk in Honor as we Rise Up For Such a Time as This!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Is The Day!!

"THIS is the Day, the Lord Has Made.  
I WILL Rejoice and Be Glad in it!!!
I hope you are filled with Joy as you "Choose this day whom you will serve"!!  "As for me and my house, we Will serve the Lord"!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010


"Count it ALL Joy!!!"
James 1:2-3
Today, I am SO grateful for the lessons I've learned - especially those I've learned the hard way!!  I choose to believe that God works ALL things together for good for those who love Him, and I continue to experience His grace and mercy in ALL I do!!  I KNOW that God forgives and restores!!  I have learned to trust Him as I continue to step forward with courage!!  To God be the Glory for ALL that He does and May Our Light So Shine!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Son!!!

I am SO grateful to Celebrate my Son today!!  8 years ago, the testosterone level Finally increased in our home!!  Tony came equipped with so MANY gifts and talents!!  He is FULL of Joy, incredibly Strong, very Athletic, amazingly Musical, and abundantly Loving just to name a few!  I am blessed to be the Mother of such a powerful young leader, and delight in him daily!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!

Happy Father's Day, Men of Valor!!!

I am SO blessed to have a Godly Father!!  I am grateful for a Dad that sees me through Godly eyes, and loves me with a Godly heart!!

I am equally grateful to love a man that chooses to be a Godly Father to our children!!

I am also grateful for numerous Godly men that have spoken and continue to speak powerfully into my life!!

May you continue to be blessed as you lead our families as God has equipped you!
All My Love and Gratitude!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Take Off Your Shoes and Show Me Your Soul...

"Do not draw near this place.  Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground."
- Exodus 3:5

Recently, I decided to pause and consider the life and legacy of Moses; and to my delight, I am learning MUCH about my life and the legacy I choose to leave.  

One moment that has had a profound effect on me is Moses' encounter with God in a burning bush.  First of all, I can totally imagine Moses' surprise and wonder as he happens upon a burning bush while going about his business.  I can recall several times in my life when I too, have been so focused on "MY" business that God has had to intervene in a magnificent way in order to get my attention (how loving and willing He is to do just that if need be!!!).  Secondly, I consider God's intent to share His vision for Moses, yet before He outlines His plan, He instructs Moses to remove his sandals.  Now, one could easily argue the significance of removing his sandals as a sign of respect for God.  One could even suggest that the necessity for Moses to remove his sandals was to maximize his ability to connect with and draw on the power of God's presence.  I would agree with both of these thoughts, however, let's consider another.  

Why do we where shoes?  To protect our feet as we walk through life.  Is it safe to suggest then, that our shoes could represent our past, and all that we've journeyed through?  Likewise, why does God refer to the spot where Moses stood as Holy Ground?  Webster defines Holy as "exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness".  Not only was Moses standing before the most Holy God, he was about to receive a word of knowledge that would be worthy of complete devotion.  Therefore, let us also consider that God requested Moses remove his sandals as a means of letting go of his past so he could most effectively move into his future.  

Several years ago, I encountered a "burning bush" moment in my life.  An opportunity to let go of my past and move forward into ALL that God had for me.  Perhaps had I considered this lesson sooner, the process of letting go might have been as easy as removing a pair of sandals.  I, however, chose the longer more painful journey - more like the people of Egypt.  In all of this internal battle to let go, I have noticed that as I surrender my will to God's, I find my heart and soul.  This exposure enables an open and teachable heart - isn't that all God asks and desires of us?  How faithful God is to fill us with His love, peace and joy as we choose to be vulnerable.  Not once does God say this process would be easy, however, He does promise it will be worth it!!  I am beginning to notice just how true this promise is.  I am also clear that in many ways, this process is a journey, not a destination.  I am also beginning to notice that the longer I choose to walk by faith, the more comfortable I am on Holy Ground.  

I am confident that God's plan and vision for our life is worthy of complete devotion!  I am grateful for God's invitation to Take Off Our Shoes and Show Him Our Souls!! I encourage you to join me in this walk with bare feet and open hearts.  May we be like Moses as we let go of the past (including all fear and doubt) and enter into a life of walking by faith, I pray in Jesus' Name, Amen!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

And Her Children Shall Rise Up and Call Her Blessed...


I am SO blessed to be a mother!!  I cherish this season of growing and learning together with my amazing children!!  It is my deep desire to leave a legacy of love that will bring honor to God and my mother!  So, remember to tell that one, You Are Loved!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

For Such A Time As This...

"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"
- Esther 4:14 (paraphrase)

Have you ever wondered how and even when your "mission" would be made clear?  Have you found yourself at war with reality, running here and there feeling like a chicken with her head cut off?  I'm open to the possibility that these questions only apply to me, however, it is my experience that I am not alone in my search for purpose and a mission driven life.  

Jeff, my darling husband and I have been seeking God on this very subject - desiring to be about His business.  We had begun to understand the necessity of "surrendering ALL" of our thoughts and plans in order to truly see God's direction and purpose for our lives.  This process of surrender has not been easy, nor is it over; I have, however, begun to identify areas of letting go that I can choose in addition to the areas chosen for me.  This matter of laying down my will and allowing God's will for me I imagine is similar to that which Jesus underwent in the Garden of Gethsemane when he plead, "Not my will, but thine be done".  I am confident that ultimate peace and life more abundant is found when we can consistently align our will to our Heavenly Father.  

So, here I am seeking God, believing for opportunities to be a blessing; all the while limiting the big picture to only what I could imagine.  It was in this place, that Jeff reminded me of the possibility of expanding my vision to encompass more.  What a concept!  In "The Prayer of Jabez" he asks God to "enlarge his territory".  I began pondering what it means to enlarge my territory.  After surrendering my initial thoughts and beliefs, what I've learned is that God's desire is to increase us, bless us!  Enlarging our territory is NOT a process of taking on more things to do, becoming unbalanced.  It is, however, an opportunity to allow God and the Holy Spirit to move through us more freely and thereby giving us a greater capacity and opportunity to serve.

As I become aware of this opportunity, and choose to lay down my agendas, I notice numerous opportunities to encourage and uplift others.  I also find joy in my journey - my children and husband become more of a delight to me.  I've also been blessed with a place to mentor in Performing Arts - talents I am passionate about, however, wondered if this was a selfish desire.

This is where I see Heavenly Father's tender heart and great love!!!  I have been training for nearly 30 years in the areas of piano and voice.  I have had numerous opportunities to perform in various venues.  This is a talent and skill that has so richly blessed my life, however, as a wife and mother, where do these skills apply.  Well, I could justify sharing them with my children, and in various church assignments, but felt that much more would move me from sharing to selfish.  As I've taken on the intention to surrender my will, Heavenly Father has shown me how talents are given for a reason.  The things we are passionate about, He can use and wants to access for His glory.  I finally began to receive permission to BE and express my gifts in a new way.  The moment I considered God had a bigger vision for me, an opportunity opened immediately for me to play keyboard with a Contemporary Christian Worship Band, The Bridge Effect.  Now this seemed WAY too cool for me, however, God said you can do it!!  Shortly after I took on this assignment, I began feeling more confident in God's ability to maximize my passions, desires, and skills in fulfilling my mission.  I've also learned that in the place of surrender, God's Favor begins flowing more freely, and Mission Moments (as I'm calling them) find us!!!

So, I'm out there sewing seeds of time and talent into The Bridge Effect, and very quickly, and opportunity shows up for me to take on mentoring adults and children in Performing Arts through an incredibly, well established local Dance Studio, Wagner Dance Arts!!  This new assignment puts me in position to be Mission driven!!  What an awesome place to be!!  Now, this does not take away my mission as a wife, mother, and daughter of God.  It simply adds to it, which creates a full, deep experience for me!!

Now, I'm not suggesting that in any way I've arrived.  I'm simply recording the process of letting go, so I can receive....choosing to sift through the business to clearly identify my passions and desires, and then being willing to receive a larger context for my life!  My heart is FULL of joy (like giddy delight) and peace in being about my business - God's Mission Moments for me!!!  It is my prayer that like Esther, we too will choose to rise up in courage and wisdom to be about our Father's business; and then enjoy the blessings that comes when we step up For Such A Time As This!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Reason to Start Over New...

I am SO blessed by the grace and mercy of our Savior, Jesus Christ!!!  It is with a quiet heart that I reflect on the life and love of this One who gave his life that I might be free!  How sweet it is!!  It is my heart desire that this Easter Season be filled with the message of hope and joy knowing that He Lives and Loves!  If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I invite you to make this decision TODAY!  Salvation is just one heart beat away, and I am FOREVER grateful for the decision I made many years ago!!  "A Reason to start over new, and the Reason is You!!"

Blessings & Happy Easter,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our First Princess Turns 19!

19 years ago today, my heart's desire was met when I became a mother to a Beautiful Baby Girl!  Theresa immediately blessed our lives with beauty, joy, and hope.  Little did I know just how much she would teach me.  With a tender heart, I reflect on the past 19 years remembering amazing good times, and tragic hard times.  I am SO grateful for the gifts Theresa has blessed me with: creativity, courage, clarity, order, and such a big sister's heart!  I am SO pleased with the woman she has become.  I love this song, Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, and can SO relate today!

Theresa, we love you and cherish you as a part of our family!  Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

When Your Mess Becomes Your Message

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
- Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

Recently, my friends at Proverbs 31 Ministries posted a blog with the title, When Your Mess Becomes Your Message. Micca focused on God's ability to heal us from addictions so that we can stand as a witness. It was moving, inspiring, and extremely touching. I am blessed to have avoided the struggle with drug and/or alcohol addictions; however, this title has stirred me to consider two important things:
  1. What am I addicted to that pulls me away from God?
  2. How awesome it is that my Father God has lovingly worked all things together for His good!
As you know, I strive to be transparent in sharing the lessons I have learned along the way, however, this process requires some trust. It is a vulnerable place to stand accountable before others in an attempt to glorify God, rather than validate behavior and choices. Jeff & I had the sweet opportunity to visit with some dear friends several weeks ago, and recount some of our amazing journey. As we began to share the choices we had made, and honestly the mess we had created, my heart softened again to the Savior, whom I believe made the ultimate sacrifice for me so that I could be redeemed from the very depths of the mess I had created. What an intimate example of love!

I can relate to the addict that has forgotten who they are as a child of the Most High. I can relate to the desperate woman bound by beliefs and behaviors that leave her feeling unworthy and worthless. I can relate to the rage of an unforgiving and burdened heart. I am certainly not proud of many decisions I have made over the past 20 years, however, I am very grateful for the gifts of grace, mercy, and forgiveness! I am even more grateful for the valuable perspective my mess has given me! Like David of old, it was through the very depths of my mess that I cried out and found a loving Heavenly Father that had never left me alone to fend for myself, but had already made provision for restoration. I found my Savior, Jesus Christ that selflessly paved the way for me. I found a depth of understanding that could not have come by any other means, and I found a love and peace that truly surpasses all understanding!

I know what it is to wake up in the middle of a mess and desperately want something more! I am grateful that my parents had instilled truths in me that quickly arose out of the mess of justification and rationalization to quickly point me to the only way out!! I am happy to share my journey in greater details, however, suffice it to say that I KNOW God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us; I KNOW that forgiveness is a process that brings life, love, and peace from either angle (needing forgiveness or offering it); I KNOW that healing and restoration comes when we are willing to let go!

I have learned many valuable lessons through my journey, and "Count it ALL Joy" to allow My Mess to Be My Message!! There is great power in sharing our journeys together as we uplift, encourage, and inspire one another onto the greatness instilled within us!
Thank you for blessing my life along the way!  May you continue to be blessed as Your Mess Becomes Your Message!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

She Speaks

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
- Proverbs 31:26

Proverbs 31 Ministries is hosting their annual "She Speaks" Conference in Concord, NC on July 30 - August 1, 2010.  This inspiring conference is designed to support women in their passion to share the messages God has placed on our hearts.  Accomplished leaders in the areas of She Speaks, She Writes, and She Leads will be on hand to encourage, inspire, and equip those that choose to make this a priority!  I would LOVE to participate!  It is SO my heart's desire to encourage and inspire women to live Life on Purpose and with Passion, trusting God in ALL things.  I have entered a Scholarship Contest expecting favor as I counsel with those wise in this area of Spiritual gifting!!!  I firmly believe that God desires us to Always Be Ready to share our faith, Speak with Wisdom, and follow the Spirit with Faithful Instruction on our tongue!!!  I am excited to Make my Mess my Message and honor God by acknowledging His desire to bless us with Peace Among the Pieces!!!  

Women of Proverbs 31 Ministries, THANK YOU for standing for excellence!!  Thank you for offering such an amazing time of instruction and connection!  May God continue to richly bless you as you continue to honor His Mighty Name!!  


Friday, March 19, 2010

Pruning Season

"For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches" 
Isaiah 18:5

Spring begins a season of pruning, where the objective is to produce strong, healthy, attractive plants.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture's guide, How to Prune Trees there are several reasons for pruning: safety, health, aesthetics, stimulating fruit production, and increasing value.  I suggest that much like plants and trees, we too need a pruning season.  

Reasons for Pruning

Pruning for Safety involves removing branches that could fall and cause injury or property damage, trimming branches that interfere with lines of sight on streets or driveways, and removing branches that grow into utility lines.  I believe that we too can Prune for Safety by removing distractions from our lives!!  I would define a distraction as anything that changes our Heavenly focus to a Worldly perspective and gets in the way of our desires and dreams.  What activities and relationships do we allow in our lives that create worry vs. peace, frustration vs. joy, discouragement vs. hope, bondage vs. freedom?  Perhaps it is time to consider the cost vs. benefit in these areas.  Let's be bold as we honestly evaluate the reality, and courageously Prune for Safety.

Pruning for Health involves removing diseased or insect-infested wood, thinning the crown to increase airflow and reduce some pest problems, and removing crossing and rubbing branches. Pruning can best be used to encourage trees to develop a strong structure and reduce the likelihood of damage during severe weather. Removing broken or damaged limbs encourages wound closure.  What a great visual to apply in our lives.  As we aspire to create solid foundations in our lives, ones that can weather any storm, we can see the value of Pruning for Health.  I LOVE the value that is created when we remove broken or damaged limbs!  I see wound closure as a Really good thing!  I see this as a vital part of having a solid foundation!  We know that in this life there will be storms, it is wisdom that allows us to pick up the pieces and find peace and healing to move forward!  It is my experience that this is where forgiveness is vital.  Trusting the Atonement of our Savior to cover the offended, the offense, AND the offender - such an act of love!

Pruning for Aesthetics involves enhancing the natural form and character of trees or stimulating flower production.  How sweet to trust our Heavenly Father as the Master Gardener to enhance our nature as we develop Godly Character!  What can we do to ensure healthy fruit production?  Submit to the Pruning Process!! 

The USDA further suggests, To reduce the need for pruning it is best to consider a tree's natural form. It is very difficult to impose an unnatural form on a tree without a commitment to constant maintenance.  Just as vitally important it is for us then to understand and consider our nature as we prune.  I visualize the process of pruning looking slightly different for everyone.  A man will have different considerations than a woman,  adults different than children.  I think the greatest value of understanding this truth is that we enter a Season of Pruning with realistic expectation.  I tend to be very motivated by my emotions meaning I get excited easily.  This is great for getting me motivated, creating a plan, and following through until I achieve my desired result.  Good news for me, it does not however mean that my plan will work for my husband or children.  Inspiring a Season of Pruning for my family requires the heart of a Master Gardener.  First of all, I'm learning to let my Heavenly Father Prune my husband...what a peaceful and loving concept.  It is rarely my job to correct my sweetheart.  I am learning that it is far more effective for me to encourage and uplift him rather than correct....a lesson learned the hard way over and over again.  As for my children, it is a sweet thing to allow the Master Gardener to mentor me in the art of shaping and developing, and He is faithful to do so!  The moment I remember that the Covenant Relationship with God and my Husband is available to assist me in Pruning and Shaping the lives of those entrusted to us, the moment I can Prune according to my children's specific Godly Character.  This produces healthy fruit of more than one variety, rather than an orchard of exactness.

I am SO grateful for Pruning Season!  I am grateful for the process of letting go, as I continue to Trust God to shape me into the Godly Woman He designed.  I continue to practice the art of submission - laying down my agenda to that which serves the greatest good.  It is my desire and prayer that by understanding how, why, and when to prune I will produce strong, healthy, and attractive fruit,  Being Blessed to Be a Blessing!!

Happy Pruning!!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Peace Among the Pieces

"The Lord will give strength unto his people;
the Lord will bless his people with peace."
- Psalm 29:11

What is this peace? The Hebrew, Shalom translates as safe, that is (figuratively) well, happy, friendly; also (abstractly) welfare, that is health, prosperity, peace: to be well wholly. Love it!

My thoughts today are drawn to the desire for peace. Psalm 34:14 counsels us to "seek peace, and pursue it!" Again, the Hebrew for pursue is Radaph - to run after, chase, or hunt. THIS I can relate to! I totally know what it is to pursue peace with a passion!! I am familiar with difficult situations and circumstances where fear bombards my thoughts and leaves me with the choice to seek hard after peace or to stay stuck in worry and doubt. We've known the pain of financial struggle - no income, bills to pay. Like many of you, we too have felt the sting of broken relationships, gossip, and betrayal. Recently, we have even come to know the heartache of a child being victimized in most unthinkable ways. We know that in this life, there Will Be pain and seasons of trial; so, where do we focus during these times? Where do we look for peace?

I heard a friend recently struggling to find security. She was looking to "man and the world" for a sense of knowing - a stable income, home ownership, roots. As she shared her desire and journey, I became aware of her Real search for peace. I have come to understand that often times when we seek security, we look to man for the solution, and forever seem unsatisfied. Conversely, when we seek peace and look to the One who promises an endless supply, our internal struggle with fear subsides. I am convinced that as long as we choose to dance with fear, doubt, and worry; we miss out on the opportunity to know peace, joy, and love!!

I am grateful for my relationship with a Heavenly Father that is the source of endless peace in ALL circumstances. I have heard the knock of our loving Savior who stands ready. I have considered the depth of the Atonement that covers not only the offense, the pain of being offended, as well as the offender! God knows the intent of the Adversary to "kill, steal, and destroy" and has so paved a way for us to follow!

I know that God moves among the pieces!! God stands ready and able to assist us in putting the pieces of life together peacefully! Choosing to Trust God has been one of the most difficult and rewarding decisions I make on a daily basis!! Looking to God as my source and security is an act of faith that ALWAYS brings peace!! Trusting that I am not alone in my journey to discern the pieces of life brings peace! Enjoying the Divinely appointed friendships in my life, brings peace and encouragement!

I also know that if I can find peace among my pieces, so can you! Trust God, look to him as the author and finisher of your faith! I pray that we will be encouraged in our journey to seek peace, and pursue it with renewed energy!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Season of Reflection and Preparation

Yesterday was "Ash Wednesday", typically a Catholic tradition which begins a season of reflection called Lent; and, although I am not Catholic, I can relate to the value of reflecting on the life I'm leading and how it may or may not reflect the life of the Savior and draw me closer to Him. Traditionally, this time of Lent begins a 40 day journey, ending with the celebration of Easter. For many, this is a time of letting go of habits that distract us. Again, I know and understand the value of letting go of bad habits and distractions!! Often times, this is also a season of fasting, prayer, and study; a time to remember the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. What a great idea!!! I've noticed in my life, the times when I've recognized a bad habit or distraction, the Only way to let go is by invoking the powers of heaven to assist me! I am grateful to know that God IS Faithful! I have also come to know Jesus as my Savior, Intercessor, and Friend. He is my best friend who knows Everything about me, and SO desires for me to succeed in Every area of my life! He is the one I am totally transparent with, who loves me in spite of myself! He is the one whom I can trust to always see me through the loving eyes of our Father. He knows my heart and He knows where my distractions are, He also knows an easier way!

I was thinking of my other Very Best Friend and Sweetheart, Jeff. We have been married now for more than half of my life. He knows me intimately, and often times can recognize things about me that I just don't see. He also loves me enough to be open and honest in his feedback. Now, for many years I resented this fact! I spent a lot of time hearing his loving support as critical judgments, Totally unfounded in truth. I found myself being defensive, defiant, disrespectful, disgusted, and eventually disloyal. What a dangerous road to choose!!! In my self-righteous pride, I had taken the love and support offered me and watered it down to the point of holding No value. On top of that, I found myself complaining that I didn't feel loved. I then decided to wallow in self-pity and even enrolled others to join me. I was quite the hostess at this incredible Pity Party!! I had spared no expense! I found myself feeling alone, empty, and hurting; when in reality, I was being offered abundant love and support. How had I gotten so confused? Why would I resist such an offer? It took me a Long time of reflecting and letting go to see this resistance as a distraction, one of the Adversary's greatest tactics. If Satan can get us distracted and believing the lies He tells, then He wins! The Scriptures are full of wise counsel to stay focused, and on purpose!! I am grateful for Love that corrects and forgives! I am grateful for the power of Grace, Mercy, and Redemption!!! I am grateful for new beginnings!! This time of year also happens during Spring, a time of new beginnings! A time when the earth wakes up, dusts itself off, and starts all over again! Isn't it exciting that we too have this opportunity? I invite you to spend this next 40 days reflecting. I encourage you to be willing to be open and honest about where you might be distracted. Where have you replaced love and support with food, medication, etc.? Where has your self-righteous pride interfered with relationships and blessings? I even dare you to consider your own relationship with Jesus Christ.

I can promise you that this journey, however uncomfortable it may be, will be worth it! I KNOW and have experienced the power of receiving the grace and mercy to let go, and redemption to to begin again! You can start fresh, with new wisdom, new habits, new choices. God wants to bless you with Peace, Joy, Prosperity, Health, Wisdom, Understanding, Forgiveness and Love. Let this be the year when you decide to break free from the distractions of this world and set your sights on the Savior!! Be ferocious in your quest for freedom! Be Unwavering in your faith! Be Bold in moving forward!! Be Open to receive ALL that you desire and deserve!! Be Courageous in seeking Salvation.

I believe that God has Great things in store for those that love and trust Him!! I know that We choose if will be our Best of Times or Worst of Times! Please don't be like me and waist precious time wallowing! I am passionate about the joy of letting go, and being on purpose!! I know God will do miraculous things with our willing hearts!! This season, I pray that we choose to "Let our Lifesong Sing"!!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Presidents Day

Today, I am honored to remember George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as Men of Valor - Courageous and Faithful!!

How did you "celebrate" this day? Did you take time to reflect? Did you offer a prayer of gratitude for our freedom and rich heritage as Americans? Let us not miss such a moment and may we always be "One Nation Under God"!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Celebrating 20 Years!!!

Love is always bestowed as a gift freely, willingly, and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love.

Leo F. Buscaglia

20 years ago today, Jeff & I said I DO!! What an amazing journey it has been!! I am SO blessed by this covenant relationship!!! I am blessed for my testimony that God values this covenant for us and walks with us as we two become one!! I have experienced the joy of the Atonement in my marriage. I know the power of restoration that exists when we simply ask and willingly receive ALL that God has for us. I am SO blessed to share this amazing journey with my Best Friend, Lover, Protector, and Partner!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

In the TJEd Trenches

Welcome, to my TJEd friends! I hope that you will find encouragement as you visit here often. It is my desire to be a woman that leaves good bread crumbs for anyone following along the trail. We are a family that strives to inspire and lead wherever called. I have come to understand that being an inspiring leader is not an event, an obligation, or a final destination; it is a conscious awareness that I am not alone in my journey, being blessed to be a blessing, a legacy.

I hope that as you get to know me, you will find me to be an honest friend. You can count on me to be open and honest as I share the lessons I learn (many times the hard way). I aspire to be a friend that challenges your greatness, while being open to the same in return. May we find support and love as we move through life together.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The beauty AFTER the storm - Breathtaking!

Isn't it amazing how beautiful the world is after a storm? Here in Arizona, it rained most of yesterday. It was colder than normal, dismal, humid, and generally uncomfortable. Likewise, we were introduced to the reality of inheriting a older condo - leaking roof! So, we spent the day with buckets and towels catching water in about 7 places throughout our kitchen area. Today, however, I awoke to a clear blue sky, warm sunshine, lush green grass, and dry kitchen - Beautiful! How true it seems in life, the storms will come and with them generally there is an element of discomfort! Yet, just as true is it that storms will come, it is equally true that they Do pass; and oh, what beauty they bring! There is something that happens during a storm that purifies. I can recount numerous times throughout history that the storms came and went changing life as it had been known. So it is, then, that I am learning to be grateful for the storm - knowing that with a little patience and stretching, there will be a breathtaking outcome! Praise God for loving us enough to provide natural purifying opportunities! May we continue to learn to dance in the rain rather than just waiting for the storms to pass!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tony's Impromptu Piano Recital

I love the joy music brings to our home!! Tony is getting more and more comfortable with these keys which just makes me smile!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Holidays at Happy House!

"Count it ALL Joy!!"
-James 1:2

We enjoyed such a Merry Christmas!!
It was SO good to celebrate together in the warmth of Arizona!!
It was fun to celebrate our favorite holiday traditions:
Baked Ziti (pasta) Christmas Eve dinner
Opening coordinating pajamas on Christmas Eve
Prime Rib Christmas Day Dinner
It was especially fun to add a new tradition:
Candlelight Service at church
Although this was not our most expensive Christmas, it was certainly one of our most connected!

As we spent time reflecting on 2009, we found MANY things to be grateful for!!
It has been a season of healing and preparation!
We look forward with great expectations for all that God has in store for us in 2010!!

Thank you for being a part of our journey! Blessings, The Baker Family