Monday, December 12, 2011

Wisemen STILL Seek Him!!

     Do you consider yourself to be wise?  How would we know?  Long ago, wise men were identified by their elaborate clothing/tunics, their abundant provisions, and their purposeful decisions.  What, then, sets us apart today as Wise?  
     2 years ago, I posted some thoughts on "where your treasure is, there your heart will also be" and challenged us to be found as the Wise Men of old - Seeking, Worshipping, and Giving!  As I now, revisit this idea that Wise Men Still Seek Him, I wonder - Do they?
     When you consider the word "wise", who do you envision?  I think of my Grandfather, and Pastors - men, who walk with Godly Character.  I also connect wisdom to my husband, who faithfully seeks to lead our family according to the Word/Will of God!  I think of Donald Trump and Bill Gates - men who have achieved great financial abundance; and I also consider women like Joyce Meyers and Marilyn Hickey whose passion for a God-Honoring life has positioned them among those of influence.  A common characteristic among these and the countless other "Wise" people, is Purpose!!  As an adjective, "Wise" is defined as follows: having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgement.  Wisdom, then is the quality or state of Being wise!
     Likewise, let's also consider again what it means to "seek".  The Greek define "seek" as pursuing a continued direction with determination.  "Seek", then, is a verb - it requires action!  Based on this information, it stands to reason that we would then desire to Be Wise in our Seeking!!  Let's get real now, and identify who or what are we seeking?  Are we seeking validation from our peers?  Are we seeking financial riches regardless of the costs?  Are we seeking love?  Are we seeking peace?  Perhaps, more importantly, are we wisely seeking?  
     The more I come to know and understand the nature of God (his DNA), the easier I can identify His Divine ability and desire to meet ALL of my needs according to His riches in Glory!  Therefore, it is Wise to "Seek First the Kingdom of God and HIS righteousness" knowing that "ALL these things shall be added to us!" - Matthew 6:33 NKJV  This is Amazing news!!  I love the simplicity and power of this promise!!!  
     What then sets us apart today as Wise?  Based on this information, Wise Men and Women Still Seek Him - thee One who Loves first!!  I invite you to join us this year as we PURPOSE to BE Wise in SEEKING Him First!!  
Merry CHRISTmas!
 Love, The Baker Bunch

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The D.N.A. Domino Effect...

"By this ALL will know that You are My Disciples, 
if you have Love for One Another!"
     This is a new season, and we are being called to Rise Up as Disciples N' Action (D.N.A.)!!  As we consider the enormity of this invitation, we are reminded that being a Disciple begins by being One Another minded!  I challenge you to join me in considering the domino effect your choices have.  What impact are you making in your world?  How are your relationships a reflection of your heart, your attitude and time?  Do you like what you see?  The D.N.A. Domino Effect is very much like The Law of the will reap what you sow.  If you want more joy in your life, BE joyful!  If you want more love, BE Loving!  If you want more grace, BE Graceful and Forgiving!  If you want more Peace, BE a Peacemaker!!  I know that when I actually consider the Domino Effect of my words, attitude and actions, I am Much more Purposeful!!  We serve a loving God who's very DNA enables new beginnings, second chances, restoration and healing!!  Let us purpose today to enter this Christmas Season with a heart of thanksgiving and praise as we Purposefully choose Plan BE!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Normal is NOT Enough...

"go and make disciples..."
- Matthew 28:19 NKJV

     "Are you ready?  Ready for total surrender and complete availability to God?  Standing up against the devil has to start with laying down our will to God's."  (excerpt from the ATF Leader's Pre-Event Curriculum)
     This weekend, Jeff and I get to take 25 youth to Acquire the Fire, to consider these very things!!  I am SO excited!!  Not only do we get to spend time with Amazing Youth and Leaders, we also get to be filled with Powerful, Challenging Teaching Word, and Uplifting, Loud Music (fav)!!  As we prepare for this action-packed 30 hours; we have been praying for wisdom and understanding; revelation and knowledge; and an Encounter with God that would be FULL of Unforgettable Power!
     We are passionate about raising up youth that are filled with abundant life and an ability to lead others in love.  I am confident that one of the first steps in the process requires total surrender to God.  Does this mean that we give up our ability to reason or choose?  NO!  The act of surrender is merely an act of faith, honor, humility, and love.  It means we obey even when we don't understand.  It looks like considering the promptings of the Holy Spirit before our own thoughts or feelings.  Surrender requires us to line up our choices to the Word of God.  This can sometimes be a one time decision - remaining sober or celibate (before marriage), etc. OR it can be a moment by moment choice - responding in love and forgiveness rather than reacting in anger...either way will require a great amount of commitment and awareness!  Surrender is a verb, and invites us to actively align our will to that of Father God.  This seems to be a lifelong that bears good fruit along the way!!  Once you understand and commit to total surrender, you must consider your availability to God.  Do you "seek first His kingdom and righteousness"?  These choices are NOT for the weak!
     Have you ever noticed how taking a Stand for Something can be followed by great opposition?  The Adversary is not interested in the Norm, the lazy, the lukewarm Christians who are more interested in how they look than how they relate.  These many are easy for "him"...they are no threat!  BUT, the few who choose to follow hard after God put the Adversary on alert!!  If "he" can distract, confuse or manipulate us; "he" can kill, steal, and destroy us.  When, however, we choose to Stand Up and be counted; we invite ALL of heaven to move with us, and We are no match for the devil..."he" is a defeated foe!!!
     The Bible is FULL of stories where One took a stand, and His-Story was forever changed!!  David, Joseph, Esther, Mary (the mother of Jesus) - just to name a few.  Notice that in many cases, God choose the Youth to Be the Change in the World...not just their bedroom, school, team or community; but the World!!!  YOU are just as they!!  Chosen for "such a time as this", armed for battle, equipped for greatness, and certainly NOT the Norm!!!
     It is time, our moment is Now!!  This is a New Season and therefore, a New Opportunity to Rise Up and Be Counted!!  I Challenge you to join us as we dig deeper into God's plans for our lives, knowing they are good - that we Will prosper and succeed!!  Rise Up and Be Counted as a Disciple N' Action - God's very D.N.A.!!      

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Plentiful Harvest...

Then He said to His Disciples, 
"The Harvest truly is Plentiful, but the laborers are few.
Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest  to send out laborers into His harvest."
- Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV
     Wikipedia describes Harvest as follows:  "the process of gathering mature crops from the fields.  The harvest marks the end of the growing season, or growing cycle for a particular crop.  On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season."
     Although I have yet to know the privilege of Agriculture Life, based on the last sentence of Wikipedia's definition, my imagination visualizes something similar to the photo above (courtesy of Google Images).  I read a lot of Historical Fiction which generally is based in an Agriculture Era; where the lifestyle was centered around seasons, and families intimately knew the process of labor-intensive sowing and reaping.  
Sowing - Courtesy of Google Images
     How does this process relate to our Information Age Lifestyle?  What does it mean to sow?  Let's be clear it has nothing to do with fabric and thread.  "Sowing is the process of planting seeds."  Does this only apply to corn, grain, herbs, etc.?  The bible is full of reverences to the process of sowing; and in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, we are reminded that "he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."  I wonder then, what am I sowing?  Last year, I wrote a blog titled, A New Season which left me with a renewed sense of purpose and accountability about this important season.  I was also reminded of the vital next step which is to wait.  It takes time for seeds to grow, amen?  This is where we learn to practice patience...yeah!  Have you ever picked a piece of fruit too soon?  In my experience, unripened fruit is usually inedible, sour, and upsetting to my stomach.  So it is with us, if we are sowing seeds of love, expecting to harvest love, and we grow impatient; not only will we destroy that which we've planted, but the harvest will be minimal and less than expected.  If, however, you practice patience, then it is right to expect a plentiful harvest!!
Reaping - Courtesy of Google Images
     I have been able to apply this principle of sowing and reaping to many areas of my life.  For example, we choose to tithe 10%, knowing that in Malachi 3:10 we are promised that as we do, "the Lord of hosts will open the windows of heaven and pour out such a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it."  Likewise, in my relationship with my Sweetheart, when I am feeling unnoticed, unappreciated, unloved, unworthy (etc.); if I focus on sowing seeds of love, appreciation, attention, and value into Him, I can expect a bountiful harvest.  This is one application I wish I had learned earlier in our 22 years of marriage.  I spent too much time sowing seeds of bitterness, judgement, and disrespect all the while complaining about the above listed feelings.  I am also very aware of this principal as it applies to my body.  If I choose to consume sugar-filled foods, french fries, and soda (just to name a few); I can expect to harvest weight, diabetes, and fatigue.  If, however, I choose to consume clean sources of protein, veggies, and water; I will harvest health and vitality.      
A Plentiful Harvest - Courtesy of Google Images
     So, now that we better understand the process of sowing and reaping, I am redirected to Matt: 9:37-38.  We have spent many years in ministry, both as volunteers and paid staff, however, it wasn't until Very recently that I began to meditate on this particular verse more fervently.  Likewise, we have spent many years growing in our walk with God, and gaining wisdom and understanding about His nature and His word. A few years ago, we applied for a full-time position as the directors of children's ministry at a newly opened satellite campus of our church.  During the application process, we were able to see how the Law of the Harvest applies to our talents and spiritual gifts as well.  Our Pastor, in his wisdom, noticed that although we were filled with passion and some experience, we still had more growing to do in order to really be used to our full potential.  He also reminded us that if we tried to harvest too soon, our fruit would be weak and probably end in overwhelm.  At the time, we felt ready to serve in this full-time capacity, and SO desired to meet the call for laborers...we believed that we were ready.  Thankfully, our Pastor's wise counsel gave us a moment to pause and continue growing.  There is a known saying, "You can't give what you don't have", which we can apply to this principal.  As the Lord raises us up for Harvest, we get to trust Him as the Master Gardener and wait for our due season.  So, although we were a bit disappointed, we moved forward in faith that God would accomplish in us that which He began; and we continued to feel called to full-time Pastoral Ministry.  As we proceeded in faith, we continued to seek knowledge, truth, wisdom, and understanding; and simultaneously, we gained valuable experience in many areas of ministry.  So it is then, when a position for Full-time Youth Pastors presented itself recently, we were able to prayerfully ask if we were ready to harvest.  With great favor, and anticipation, we are excited to enter into this new season!!  Our heart's desire is to not only hear the call to labor, but to respond with preparation and passion!  We know that building a Strong and Successful Youth Ministry requires continued sowing, and we also look forward with great anticipation to the joy of reaping!!  
     This year, we have MUCH to be Thankful for!!  I continue to be in gratitude for a loving and grace-filled Father in Heaven!  I am equally grateful for the loving sacrifice of a Savior that I might be in relationship with them!  I am grateful for the spiritual gifts and talents that have been instilled in me and the opportunities I have to continue to grow and develop them!  I am grateful for a loving husband that honors me in His relationship with our Father God!  I am grateful to be a Mother, and to be blessed with four Amazing, Gifted, and Healthy children!  I am grateful to be called and equipped to serve alongside my Sweetheart in this season of my life!  May we each be filled with renewed peace as we relish in whatever season we find ourselves in, and may we enjoy the journey as we faithfully expect the promise of A Plentiful Harvest!!
Happy Thanksgiving from my heart to yours!!

Friday, October 28, 2011


"For we are God's Masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, 
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
- Ephesians 2:10 NLT

As we enter this Season of Harvest and Thanksgiving, I invite you to pause with me and consider Yourself as God's Masterpiece. 

Courtesy of Bethany House Publisher, I received a copy of my Favorite Author's latest novel, the first in her new series set at The Belmont Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tamera Alexander continues to challenge and inspire me through her historically rich, romantic fiction novels, and A Lasting Impression is no exception!  In this post Civil War era, we are introduced to "a nation mending, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves-and each other-for who they truly are."

This eloquently written story reminds me of God's Grace, His ability to Forgive and Restore, and His desire to lead us into Second Chances - FULL of Abundant Blessings!  I wonder, how many times do we resist this progression in order to question our worthiness?  How often do we get stuck in our "doing for others" that we forget  whom we owe ALL of our ability and opportunity too?

I LOVE to meditate on what it means to "be God's Masterpiece...created to do good things He has planned for us long ago".  I am not an artist, but as I connect with Claire Laurent's passion to create, I become aware of the emotion and delicacy involved in the process.  I can imagine each brush stroke taken to design and blend the variety of colors into one beautiful masterpiece, and feel humbled considering God's love for me!!  I begin to see the Joy of the Lord as He painfully placed His signature on our hearts, and treasure the thought of being considered priceless!!

"A Lasting Impression" is Rich with sweet lessons of faith, forgiveness, courage, honor, restoration, trust, and love!!  I am blessed by the opportunity Tamera Alexander's writing gives me to not only enjoy a good story, gain some historical insights, but also to reflect and respond to my own heart condition!  In this moment, I am left with the challenge of considering the "Why" behind my actions, and equally important, the Lasting Impression I am creating.  May we be filled with Wisdom and Understanding as we continue to press forward in faith, and may you be blessed as God's Masterpiece!!! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Ultimate Blog Bash 2011

Today I am Joyfully Linking Up with other Bloggers at Women Living Well to introduce myself and get to know others better.  My name is Nanette,  and I am SO grateful to be a Daughter of God, a Wife in Love, and a Mother on Purpose!  I Love to sing and truly believe that life is one long musical.  I enjoy sharing my heart and home as I daily learn what is means to "Dance in the Rain".

I began blogging as a way to record my thoughts and experiences, and quickly realized the power of connecting with other like-minded women as we Inspire and Encourage one another.  I write with a heart to be transparent while glorifying God in all that He does in me and through me!!  I am passionate about growing my relationship with Him, and delight in the process of Pursuing Peace on Purpose...HA!  Likewise, my blog is full of examples of God's Grace!  I continue to marvel in the opportunity to regularly pause and consider my "Heart Condition" - to align (more accurately re-align) with Wisdom and Understanding, and reflect on valuable life lessons I learn as I strive to be a Woman of Godly Character, a Helpmate to my Beloved, and a Grace-filled Mother!  Please join me in this journey...I pray you find peace in knowing you are Not alone!  Likewise, I look forward in faith with great expectation to ALL that God has for us we strive to BE Relevant!!    

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Live With A Thankful Heart

"And let the Peace of God rule in your hearts, and Be Thankful."
- Colossians 3:15 (Paraphrased by Nanette)

I LOVE this time of year!!  It is a season of harvest, celebration, and generally filled with joy.  As I enter a new season, I cherish the time to reflect and consider my "Heart Condition".  Recently, I have felt the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit challenging me to consider what it means to have a Thankful Heart, and how this leads to joy.  I have spent a large portion of my life relating to "Being Content" as a passive decision I had to make.  What I have noticed is that, as a result of this limited perspective, I have spent most of my life Enduring rather than Enjoying.  

This week, a fellow blogger, and new friend, Grace Full Mama wrote a post on Battling Discontent with Thankfulness.  This So touched my heart as a key to breaking through the cycle of Enduring!!  Joy (Grace Full Mama) records,  "The one thing I have learned is that it is extremely difficult to be discontent when I am actively thankful."  As I continue to ponder the nature of my Heavenly Father; believing that God is Good - ALL the time, and wants nothing less for us than to walk in Joy, Peace, Grace, and Love; I am left with only one emotion...Thankfulness!!  It is in this place of thankfulness that I find Peace, Joy, Grace, and Love!!

So it is with renewed Intention and Purpose that I boldly step in this new Season with a Thankful Heart!!  I invite you to join me in one of favorite traditions - GRATITUESDAY!!  Each Tuesday, I take time to post things I am grateful for on Facebook.  This is a fun way for me to pause and consider the little things that make big differences.  It is also a quick opportunity to align my Thankful Heart and recognize ALL that I have to be in gratitude of.  Many times I list things like Toilet Paper and Double Stuffed Vanilla Oreos, which then leads me to consider things like Healthy Kids with Happy Hearts and Quiet Moments with My Sweetheart.

It is my prayer and challenge that throughout this Season, we will choose to Live With A Thankful Heart!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One Call Away - A Memoir by Brenda Warner

"Answering Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith"

Do you sometimes find yourself feeling alone and discouraged with your current circumstances?  Are you stuck in a rut full of distractions?  Do you hesitate to answer the phone, for fear of who might be on the other end with bad news?  Brenda Warner shares her life and her heart in "One Call Away" as she considered similar questions.  In this intimate glimpse, Brenda allows us to connect with her and her journey...a path that led her through Life's Challenges with Unshakable Faith!!    

Book Description
Brenda’s life has taken twists and turns that are stranger than fiction. It always seemed as if she was just one phone call away from the next explosive change. Each time her plans fell apart, she had a choice: would she give up, or would she press forward and learn from the unexpected? One Call Away is the inspiring story of a woman who has prevailed through many of the circumstances that discourage women: tragedy, poverty, betrayal, and humiliation. But unlike most women, her life has been on display in the media.
Brenda’s faith and God’s strength enable her to face challenge after challenge: an accident that leaves her son blind and brain damaged, a crumbling marriage, a tornado that kills her parents, a new relationship with promising football player Kurt Warner, and the pressures his sudden success brings to their growing family.
Through food stamps and funerals, Super Bowls and serving others, Brenda’s strength is unwavering. Her determination to dream new dreams, willingness to learn from her mistakes, and commitment to giving back to her community make her a role model for women of all backgrounds.
Her dreams haven’t materialized as she had imagined, but Brenda has found that God has a much bigger plan for her. Conversational and candid, One Call Away invites readers facing their own difficulties to trust God and discover hope in the future.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time reading about this Amazing, Inspiring woman!!  I could SO relate to many of her experiences, responses, and choices to move forward on purpose!  I appreciate her willingness and ability to be vulnerable as she brings Glory to God in All that He has done in her and through her!!  This is a woman of action, and her memoir inspires me to do the same.  Her and her family continue to do powerful, abundant work through "First Things First Foundation" as they put action to their testimony!  I love her heart for children, and honor her for her sensitivity to celebrating the joy that they are!!  I am encouraged by her faith as she pressed forward regardless of her circumstances!  As I review my complementary ebook from Booksneeze,  I am in gratitude for this woman who chooses to honor God in such an outloud and profound way!    I highly recommend this book for anyone asking the above questions, as well as those looking for inspiration and motivation to carry on!!  Like Brenda, it has been my experience that no matter where we are in our journey, God is only One Call Away.  Knowing that gives me hope for tomorrow, faith for the future, and an ability to find joy in the journey!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

His Steadfast Love by Gloden Keys Parsons


Thank You, Booksneeze for the opportunity to preview this complementary ebook - it has truly been my pleasure!  I Highly recommend this incredible story for those desiring an adventure into the Civil War era...

This well-written, heartfelt story captivated my heart and my time!  I was moved by the vastness of God's grace as reflected through such vivid characters and settings!  I was awakened to a time where courage and freedom became powerful motivations; a time where reality seemed unreal, and faith, hope, and forgiveness became lifelines to a better tomorrow.  I was grateful for the power of  Love and Godly Character to heal deep wounds and restore families!  I am encouraged by the Happily Ever After of such Steadfast Love!!

May we also embrace the Grace of forgiveness and choose to walk a life of Peace and Love for others!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Storm Warning by Billy Graham

I received this book free, courtesy of Booksneeze several months ago, and have taken my time reading it!  For those of you interested in the "Signs of the Times", this book sheds some light and wisdom on this ever captivating topic!!

Book Description:
An examination of the imminence of Christ's return in light of today's headlines and the events recorded in Scripture.
The morning newspapers are jammed with alarming headlines and stories asking questions no one can answer. In Storm Warning, Billy Graham examines the problems facing America today compared with what is to come as revealed in the Bible. He answers the tough questions as only he can with astute biblical insight, and points to the hope and renewal found in Christ—for our families, our nation, and our world.
Includes an in-depth analysis of the four horsemen of Revelation chapter six as well as insight on:
Signs of the times The Apocalypse Standing before God
It is my belief that God is Graceful and Loving, and ALWAYS makes a way where there seems to be noway; and to that extent, I am happy to rest in the Calm of the Storm!!

Running the Race...

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
- John 3:16

Are you weary in Running YOUR Race?  Are there days when you feel overwhelmed and unable?  Be encouraged today, knowing that you are Never alone!!  

There have been times in my life when I have forgotten the promise that "I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me Strength"!!  I have tried to DO my life as if I was on my own, and it was in these moments that I have felt overwhelmed and unable.  It is also in these moments that I have made poor decisions - never my finest moments!!  It has only been by the Grace of God that I "Run and Not grow weary, Walk and Not faint"!!  It is also through this Grace that I find strength, wisdom, and ability to BE about my Father's business!!  

So, today as you consider your journey; may you run with the ease of being carried by the One who loves you most, and Rest in His loving, gracious, and very capable arms!! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

On Faith and Forgiveness...

"Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."
- Proverbs 10:12

Have you ever wished you could leave your past behind you?  I have!!  At the same time, have you ever pondered, in gratitude, the lessons learned ONLY having walked your past?  

It has been some time since my last post, as life's journey has seemed to explode!  Miraculous opportunities have opened (and closed) over the months, and I continue to walk in gratitude for God's provision, grace, and love!!  As I again pause to record a moment in time, I am quickly reminded of just how abundant life is!

I have long been a fan of Historical Fiction novels, particularly with a Christian theme; thus I was delighted when Bethany House Publisher gifted me an opportunity to review one of their titles!!  I received a free copy of  "to Win Her HEART" by Karen Witemeyer and eagerly dove in!!  Karen Witemeyer had already been added to my growing list of treasured authors for her ability to create deep emotions in me as I journeyed into her stories, and this novel was no different!!

As I have shared my journey, I have shared my struggle with accepting and offering forgiveness.  I have recorded numerous examples of God's grace and mercy as He gently reminded me of my worth as His daughter.  Needless to say, I felt immediately connected with the story line of "to Win Her HEART" as I reviewed the following synopsis:
A blacksmith with a criminal past. A librarian with pacifist ideals. Do they have a fighting chance at finding love?
Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets. . . .

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi’s renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?
I immediately fell in love with the characters, as they struggled with the challenge of putting their pasts behind them.  I was moved by the evidence of God's grace to restore, as I have come to intimately know His faithfulness .  I delighted in Ms. Witemeyer's ability to include my emotions in that of the character's as she vividly guided me into an era of honor and faith.  I could relate to the discomfort of walking in love over judgement, and celebrated in the victory over the flesh!  

"to Win Her HEART" immediately captured mine, as I found myself taking every opportunity to "curl up" with Eden and Levi's adventures into Love.  Karen Witemeyer has once again created a "Happily Ever After" that left me feeling uplifted, encouraged, and loved!  I HIGHLY recommend you spend quality time walking through the pages of this inspiring novel as you consider your own Faith and Forgiveness!  Perhaps it is time to Rejoice in the Sweetness of Second Chances!!!