Thursday, December 3, 2009


Have you seen anything cuter than this!?

Look at my new, super chic Blog design!!! This is of course courtesy of the Penny Lane Designs queen! This is a wonderful birthday present she created for me and I'm so happy about it. All I had to tell her was that I loved "damask" design and this is what she came up with. It is SO me and I LOVE the chandelier ~ great little touch!!!

If you need a Blog makeover (or other design work), visit Penny Lane Designs' website!!

Thanks, M!!! I love you. This is amazing!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Journey of Faith

I know it's been forever!!! I have actually had so much to write about, but have just not had the time or energy to do it.

I'm still on a journey. My journey of faith. trusting. not knowing. faith. trusting. not knowing. That's really been the story of my life lately. I guess it's a good story to have - According to Hebrews 11, it put's me right up there with Abraham, so I will take that comparison.

I think in life we start to get unsettled when we can't see our next steps. When we don't know what to do, we tend to do nothing. We continue on the path we have been crawling on for so long because we can't see what's ahead. For a long time, God had me at a place of waiting. I did. I waited and waited. And I think I was waiting for Him to tell me what to do, however, when I look back, I realize that His plan was not that at all. In reality, His plan was to change my heart, fix unacceptable priorities in my life, and bring me to my knees where I would finally recognize that there's nowhere else to go besides to Him.

*Hebrews 11:1 - "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see..."

And this is the one that really stuck out to me this morning:

(vs. 8) "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land... He went without knowing where he was going."

Wow! I love that. I don't need to know "where I'm going". I just need to know that God does know, and that when I'm OBEDIENT and I step out in FAITH, He will direct my path.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yay for the New Shanen! :)

So, I imagine, for those of you who don't know me (who only read about me via my blog), you think of me as an extremely emotional, serious, logical person. I am that ~ sorta. But, there's also a really fun side to me that unfortunately does not come out often enough. (except for random decisions like skydiving, which was a sport I thought only idiots would do!) But I'm working on that... and this weekend I took one step closer to coming out of my carefree, "I don't care what the world thinks of me" shell!

I did something that I have actually been planning for quite awhile. I finally went for it. And I am so glad I did... I didn't tell my family until it was OVER so that they couldn't try to talk me out of it. Then my parents asked me if I was drunk when I did it! haha. (ok, is the suspense killing you?!) I got a tattoo!!!

The thought of it started before my recent Africa trip. A couple friends and I had decided we would get tattoos when we returned from the trip, and I decided back in February that I was going to get an African Symbol, but I didn't know which one. There are so many African symbols, so I wanted to wait until after my trip to see what word stood out to me and summed up my experience the most.

I thought the word would be something like "HOPE", after all, I was going with The Village of HOPE! But, I waited to see. (And I'm glad I waited because the symbol for hope was a little too X-Rated - not sure I would be seen with that tattoo!)

Here his is part of an email I wrote to a friend that explains the words I chose for my tattoo:

"The whole time I was in Gulu, God had me reading II Sam. 22, and He assured me that He is the ultimate protector and defense and fortress for these kids. But there was such a sense of the need for safety and security in Uganda! The kids at Village of Hope have a large wall around the orphanage with glass shards at the top of the wall to keep the rebels out, should they return. The windows have bars on them, and then every night the kids lock every door in the house and let out a guard dog to roam the perimeter."

So - during and after my trip, I knew exactly what word stuck out to me the most. It was Safety, or Security. In Gulu especially, there is an eery feeling of "what if the rebels come back" and just a sense of wanting to move the kids to a safer place. I wanted to pack up the entire town of Gulu and move them somewhere safer!! (Thank God for Village of Hope, who is building new homes in a SAFER place for hundreds of children!)

So, I found an African symbol that means "Safety and Security" for a "House/Compound". Wow! Pretty much perfect, considering we call the Village of Hope a "safe house"!! So, I decided that's what I would get. I went back and forth on where I would get it and finally decided shoulder blade. My feet are ugly, so I didn't want it there. I hate shaving my legs, so I bypassed the ankle idea. I didn't want it anywhere where it would be noticeably visible at work. So, shoulder blade (hidden in a sleeveless shirt, but partially showing in a tank-top), was the perfect solution. Instead of the typical black/green tattoo, I knew I wanted one with color, but didn't know what. I thought maybe teal or a fun, cute color like that, but I wasn't sure. Plus, this tattoo wasn't necessarily for "fun" or "cuteness". I really wanted it to symbolize something dear to my heart that changed my life and so I just kept thinking about what color it would be. The night before I was going, I emailed my friend Trish (who is a fellow-tattooee) and told her what I was doing. After she screamed with excitement, she randomly threw out the color RED and said that she pictured it being red, and this is before I even told her that I was debating color choices! Well, I thought about it for a whole 2 seconds!!!... then decided that was perfect. To me, Red symbolizes the blood shed in Africa due to the 20 year war, and reminds me even more how much I need to pray for safety and protection over those people!

So, here's a couple blurry pics from my Blackberry. When Angel gets her pics sent to me, I'll post better ones. This is half-way through and then a close-up of the completed design!

...Yes, I LOVE AFRICA!!!

Click here to read 2 Samuel 22. I wanted to post it on here but it's really long, and I didn't want to chop it up. The entire chapter was really the inspiration behind the tattoo. While in Uganda, anytime I would start to fear for the children and people I grew to love, God would send me back to 2 Samuel 22. It's like he kept reminding me that He is God (not me!)! Nothing I can do will save them. And more importantly, He loves them more than I do. And He is their protector!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Not much new to blog about... except to say, I am in the middle of a PEACE storm! I'm so used to all other storms (stress storms, grumpy storms, angry-at-life-and-circumstances storms, etc.), that this seems so strange to me!

I haven't even blogged about my feelings (which is unusual for me), because I don't know how to put it all in to words. All I can say, is that I feel peace and I feel content - even though I have no idea what the future holds.

I went to the Women of Faith conference this weekend and it was great! The nugget I left with was this verse:

PSalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

A speaker at the conference pointed out that "Be still" in Hebrew means "Let Go". So, that verse can also be written like this:

"LET GO and know that I am God!"

I love that so much! God is truly teaching me to let go! I have let go of so much already and am full of anticipation to see what God will have for my future!

Monday, August 17, 2009

No words to describe it...

I’m having trouble finding the appropriate words to describe where I am in life right now. I’d throw out the words “bizarre, strange, or crazy”, but your first thought might be something negative. So, I will try these, “calm, joyous, relaxed.” These might not sound like anything exciting to you, but if you know me, or have read more than a few posts on my blog, then you understand that these particular words and I, have not had a meeting of the minds in quite awhile! If anything, I have been “fazzled, stressed and overwhelmed!” So, this is why I find it hard to explain the place I’m in – because I haven’t been here in quite awhile – and I haven’t felt this peaceful in many, many years.

All I know, is that everything I thought I had planned for myself – is no longer my plan. Sounds crazy.... but, all the thoughts I had about my life right now, what I’d be doing, when I’d have a baby, etc. have all changed. Don’t get me wrong, the dreams, desires and hopes around those particular things are still there, but the idea that it’s all about ME and MY timing has been crumbled. I’ve given EVERYTHING over to God and it has been so freeing!!!! I am so OKAY with whatever God has. Seriously. I had all these plans for myself and now, I have no idea what’s going to happen, or where I’m going to go, or when I might have a baby, and I have no problems with that.

I wish I could share more, but I am not at liberty to right now. (But, trust me – I can’t wait to blog about it when the timing is right). But – I know that the peace I have, and the things that God is starting to do, are amazing and can only be His doing. I’m so excited! I see God doing a work, and even though I don’t know much right now, I do know that that’s where I want to be. Right in the middle of His work!

"...clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ..." Rom. 13:14

Friday, August 7, 2009

Still Standing Here...

So, I know it's been a week since I've written anything. I wish I had more time to write, but I just haven't, so sorry! But, the good news is, alot and yet, not much, has happened in the last week. I don't have anything to report on what direction I've taken or that God has given me some great sign, but I can gladly say, that for a full week, God has been revealing to me (in so many ways), that He has me where He wants me.

Pertaining to my last blog, I mentioned that God has me in a place of waiting. Not knowing what's ahead, but teaching me to be ok with that for once. For so long, I have grasped and grasped and hoped and hoped and I was so sure that I knew what I wanted (and what I assumed God was going to bless). And while that may still be the right direction, God has called a time-out. He has asked me to put all these things in His hands. So often, I see something I want, or that I want to do, and unless I feel God stopping me, I step out and do it. However, this has been a much different journey.

I see now, that all along, my focus on these things has been wrong. The journey was all about me. Even as my Blog heading explains, we were created for a purpose and we bring ultimate glory to God when we are walking in our gifts. However, in searching my heart, I realized that I wanted to pursue those gifts and talents for my own benefit. (Yes, there was a desire to want to bless others too, but I just kept looking to those things for my own happiness.)

My heart is changing. Slowly, but surely. For the last week or so, God has continued to confirm that this is where I need to be; my pastor spoke about how we feel God telling us something, and instead of obeying, we decide to do more righteous things to make up for our disobedience. For instance, I didn't want to lay everything down for an unknown amount of time, so I thought that if I read my Bible more, or prayed more, that God would overlook my disobedience to laying it all down! In a paraphrase, our pastor spoke about this: "God cares more about our hearts and our obedience, than He does our righteous acts." He also said something else I love: that we have this distorted view of God and we want to believe that His whole existence is to make us happy and for us to live out our wonderful lives in Joy. He so "gently" reminded us that in fact, that is not God's desire. His desire is for our hearts to be in the right place with Him. And ultimately, if our hearts are right, then the happiness will follow, regardless of the other circumstances. (For instance, Paul! He was imprisoned and tortured, yet he was happy, because his heart was in the right place with God.) I think most of all, God is bringing me to a place where NOTHING shakes me. Nothing wavers my faith. Nothing breaks me. I feel so far from this place, but I know God's grace will continue to lead me there.

While I'm not going to go into alot of details, I can say this - that I have put everything down! Everything I wanted, everything I am pursuing, is down. And I'm not holding back or picking it up until He tells me to. All the dreams, all the desires, all the things I wanted - I've given to Him. Because even though these are things that I want to use for God's glory, I am understanding that I am so far from God in my heart. So, even if God did redeem it all, and allow me to minister to others through disobedience in my life, He still wants my heart to be right too.

So, I totally feel like none of that made since. It's kind of a compilation of several, random thoughts in my head, so I hope you managed to follow-along.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Standing at the Fork

So, if you recall, I have had trouble knowing “where to go from here” in life. I’ve been asking God to show me a clear-cut answer... To give me a definitive Yes or No. I know there are times in your life when you come to a fork in the road and God will bless either direction you take. But, in this case, I’ve been asking God to make the decision for me. Maybe it’s because I don’t trust my own judgment at this point (I tend to let my emotions get in the way), or maybe it’s because every time I take a step of faith in the direction I THINK I’m supposed to take – I hit a wall! Well, I don’t have any new news besides this – that I am still standing at the fork, with no definite decision on which path to take – BUT, I now know God’s plan for me while I’m standing here deciding.

Since my trip to Africa, part of me has felt lost. At times I have felt like my heart was being tugged in 500 different directions. I was feeling even more confused than before I left!!! But, last week I attended a Bible study luncheon that a friend of mine has started. And, during this lunch, God begin to reveal to me what His plan is for me in all this. The topic at lunch always encompasses being a Christian in the workplace and how we can apply it to our lives. During the discussion, Kat spoke about Happiness, and the source of it. I felt so convicted as I sat there and realized that all this time, I have looked to other things to give me happiness. While I was still praying and believing God, I realized that I was also putting an expectation on my job or my boss or everything else, to provide me with satisfaction and joy. Yesterday on my Facebook, I wrote something that God was speaking to me:

“God is the source of TRUE joy. When we look to anything else- our job, our family and friends, the material things around us - we will only be disappointed. And until we recognize God's desire to fill us with true joy, we will only exasperate ourselves looking for it in other things.” (S.W. Dreamer)

And I was just that – exasperated! In all honesty, I have neglected my first Love. The One who has brought me more happiness than anything else in this life! Last night I stayed up late looking at old journals from when I was in Bible college. I almost felt like I wasn’t even reading my own journal. The faith portrayed and the love for God that was exuberating from the pages, almost seemed foreign to me. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love God and I love following Him – but I had neglected our relationship. I spent a couple hours pouring over these notebooks. Reading verses, quotes, and sermons that were life-changing. I realized that while my intentions all along have been good, God could still not bless my steps or ministry, unless my heart was right with Him first. I want to touch people’s lives and make a difference in this world, and all along I’ve thought, “If I only made more money, I could help the kids in Africa” and “If I could only do this and this, then I could bless these people over here”. I guess in reality, my motives were right, but my heart was not. Your ministry flows from what’s inside of you. If I haven’t been spending time in prayer and in the Word of God, then I’ve got nothing left to pour out of me. Regardless of what I’m doing in life, what amount of money I’m making, who I surround myself with... if I’ve got nothing on the inside (where it matters most), then I’ve really got nothing (of importance) to offer on the outside.

So, here I sit at the intersection of life. The “fork” of decision. But, I’m no longer looking for God to tell me where to go. I now know that His desire all along has been to bring me back to the basics. Back to a place of such rest and peace and trust in Him, that I’m not concerned about the future and what it holds, what I should do, and where I should go. He would rather that I find rest at His feet for awhile and soak Him in before I go any further. I am actually ok with this, because I know that only good things can come out of it. I miss Him. I miss time with Him. I miss the love and passion I had when I wrote those journals 10 years ago!

Sometimes, when we feel lost or removed from God, we want to ask Him “where have you gone?”, when in reality, WE are the ones that left.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Village of Hope Kids!

There are so many things to write about in regards to my Africa trip! If I wrote it all at once, it would fill a book, and you would be overwhelmed and stop reading half way through. So I figured I would blog in bite-sized portions (which still might be a lot, but hang with me, people).

I thought it appropriate to start by talking about Village of Hope (VOH), since that is the organization I went with. The VOH safe house was started by Cindy Cunningham, who lives in Dallas, along with Rose (the house mom at the orphanage) who lives in Gulu. I won’t go in to Cindy’s story of how God called her to Gulu, but you can read it here on her Blog. (start at the bottom of the page and read up!) Cindy started VOH for orphans who were once abducted by the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), which you can read more about the LRA here if you aren’t familiar. All the children at the VOH safe house were once former child soldiers, sex slaves, and made to commit horrible acts which we could never fathom. Rose has taken in what most would call the “worst of the worst”. Children who are most at-risk because of what they have been through, or what they will go through if they are not rescued. Children with no parents, who have been forced to take care of themselves and their siblings by any means necessary. There are 19 children in the safe house now and they are building on 100 acres to make room for hundreds more children - but that’s for another post.

Cindy with the kids

This is my compilation of multiple things that happened with the children at VOH within a 2 week period, but I’m trying to make it into one short story to keep it simple (and obviously, shorter).

So, I have to admit, that when I first pulled up to the safe house, I didn’t know what to expect. You find this cute, little house with bars on the windows, and high walls with glass pieces stuck to the top of the walls to “keep out intruders.” It’s nestled in the middle of a refugee camp, surrounded by mud huts, chickens running amuck, and half-dressed little children everywhere. Our van pulls up to the large metal doors, which also acts as a gate for cars that pull in. Suddenly, a sea of smiling faces bounce out of the gate and greet us as we exit the vehicle. Before I can say hello or ask their name, I am wrapped in their hugs and warm welcome – being swept through the gates of Village of Hope by 19 kids who are about to steal my heart. Our day with them consists of playing futbol (soccer) with the boys along the side of the house on a small stretch of cement (but they don’t notice or care); the girls help cook, read books or color, and play a jump-rope game with some string they tied together. Over the course of the day, they dance and sing, but there is none like the singing that happens at night. At first the songs are playful, with a few hand motions here and there... “a big, big table , with lots and lots of food” is a popular line! Some of the songs are in Acholi (their native language), but several of them are in English as well and we all sing along. After about 20 minutes of singing and dancing, their voices turn to worship. This is what gets you the most. The sound and feeling in the air as their sweet voices rise to heaven. Then, one by one, they slowly drop to their knees and the feeling of God’s presence overtakes the room. I sit on the couch and watch, almost ashamed that I too am not joining them in worship. I don’t know the words to the song, and I don’t speak Acholi, but I know through their actions that they are deeply in touch with God, their Redeemer, Protector and Provider. Tears stream down my face as I watch this beautiful sight. One child, Norman, is on his knees, pounding his chest in prayer to God as tears are running down his cheeks. Most of the kids are wiping tears from their eyes as they sing and you can’t help but wonder “what are they saying?!” Norman is asked to say a prayer and while I can barely hear the translation from Rose, I do catch a few things that make me realize that this 12 year old boy is spiritually more mature than many men I know! His heart-felt prayer lasts about 2 minutes and consists of him asking God to protect us and to send His Holy Spirit to guide us... the prayer continues as the mzungus (“white people” in Acholi) wipe our own tears at the beautiful scene in front of us.
(Left pic: The kids singing) (Righ pic: Norman Worshipping )

Later on in the day, the children all gather around to play Bingo. They love this game, especially because we play with M&Ms, and those are their favorite! After several games of Bingo, and more soccer, it is time for the children to go to bed. There’s no official bed-time routine of “change into your pajamas and brush your teeth.” They just simply go to their rooms and hop in their bunk bed. Of course, that isn’t before they lock all the doors in the house – including all the inside doors – living room to kitchen, hall to living room, and then each respective bedroom door. The guard dog is also let out, to roam the perimeter of the house during the late hours. This is how they live - every night. This is the system they have implemented to “protect” themselves. So, I tuck myself into a top bunk (a 3 level bunk bed), and fall asleep. Half way through the night I wake up and hear the sound of 9 precious girls sleeping –I hear deep breaths, some tossing and turning, and a couple of girls are snoring. What a beautiful melody – I wish I had had a tape recorder!

(Left pic: Playing futbol/soccer) (Right pic: Me leaving Norbert on our last day (and a note he wrote for me))

I wake up to the sound of children cleaning the floors, washing dishes, and playing soccer outside the window. The children here aren’t told what to do. They just see a need and meet it. If they are told what to do, I never see them complain. Walking out into the hall, I bump into Irene who diligently wipes down the hall floors. Clinton is smiling and swaying to a song in his head as he washes the dishes. Stella is outside helping prepare breakfast for 23 people, and as I turn the corner, I see Peter washing clothes in a bucket of water and soap. Gloria is throwing the clothes over the line to dry and Norbert is pushing a wheel barrel of water out of the gate to dump into a cornfield across the road. All this occurs with smiles on their faces and not a single moan. I even offered to help Moses with the dishes one day, and I think I got in the way more than I helped. So, this all made me realize something – that I’m taking my children to Africa if they ever complain about house chores!

(Left pic: Peter washing clothes) (Right pic: Clinton washing dishes )

This was definitely a shortened version of all that happened with the kids at Village of Hope, and there will be more stories in more posts... this is just the first, so please be patient as I try to sort through my thoughts and get it all into a post.

Me with most of the kids!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Like I said in my previous blog, I’m not sure where to go from here, but I do know that I like this timely quote on my calendar...

“Dreams take time, patience, sustained effort, a willingness to fail, if they
are ever to be anything more than dreams.” Bryan Linkoski

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Actions and Truth

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue,
but in actions and truth.” ~ 1 John 3:18

I know I have a lot to write about and catch up on... and I can’t wait to blog about my amazing trip to Africa where God is doing incredible things. However, I do not have time to write all of that now. Instead, I wanted to start off with the Scripture above, which is what is heavy on my heart right now.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been dealing with the “post-ministry letdown” syndrome that Cindy warned us about. The feeling of, “Ok, what’s next”, “How can I help?” I am burdened, happy, sad, rejoiceful... all at the same time. I keep staring at the faces in my pictures and remembering their smiles and laughs. I keep watching the videos of the kids dancing and singing. I’m haunted by the feeling that there are children in refugee camps scared everyday for their safety. It’s hard to explain all that I’m feeling. But all I know, is that I MUST do something. I’m not sure what the “something” is, or even the possible “somethings”, but I’m praying for direction and wisdom. I have a few ideas, but there is still this overwhelming feeling of “will it ever be enough?!” But, God is reminding me (AGAIN), that HE alone is God. I am not God, and it is not my job to BE God. It is only my duty to do what He leads me to do.

With that... let me introduce you to one of my favorite pictures from the trip. This little boy lives in a refugee camp in Gulu, Uganda. He was falling asleep in the middle of the crowd, and I motioned for him to come sit in my lap. He was so precious.

Pleas pray for me. That I will find my part in all this and that I will prove my love for these kids, my love for Village of Hope, and most of all, my love for the Lord, through “actions and truth.”

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Headed to Uganda!

Ok, well, tomorrow is the big day! I'm headed off to Africa to hug and kiss some amazing kids!

~I'll keep y'all posted when I return. You'll see lots of pics of my 2 and a half week journey!

I'll miss the blogging world. (sorta)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lately, I have felt so overwhelmed. Not necessarily, physically or emotionally, but mentally. Mentally I am overwhelmed. I feel like I have a 100-thing to-do list in my head at all times... and the list keeps growing. I have notepads, receipts, pieces of paper, things everywhere, with little reminders and notes of things to do. There are times in my life when I’ve felt, “Man, I just have so much to do,” but, this seems different. It’s like there’s so many little things and big things to do, that I just want to run away and not do any of them. On my drive to work each day, I’m constantly thinking, “OH, and I have to do that, and that, and that, and that.” I feel like it will never stop. My brain is on overload... with things to do, and deep thoughts.

I don’t even think that it has anything to do with my up-coming Africa trip (I feel like that to-do list is pretty short in comparison!). And, it’s not even like my life is SO extremely busy either. It’s just that my mind won’t quit working, and I’m exhausted. My drive to work in the morning is about 50 minutes in stop-and-go traffic. And I almost fall asleep in the car, every day! Is it because I’m tired? Sometimes. Is it because I’m not looking forward to the work-day ahead? Probably. But, I really just feel like it’s because I’m mentally exhausted! My brain is always asking me to quit thinking!!!!

This is very frustrating for me, because there are so many things that I want to do with my life, and I want to do each of them well. I don’t want to be mediocre at my job. I don’t want to be a half-a** wife (pardon my French – but that’s exactly how I feel.) I want to be an amazing mother some day. Next week – I want to be an encouragement and blessing to hundreds of children in Africa who need my love and attention!!!!!! But, I suddenly feel inadequate in this area. These days, when I arrive home at night, I crash. I mean, of course, on my way home, my mind is racing with alllll the things I need to do once I get home, but then once I get there – it’s a different story. It’s like I’ve talked myself out of doing everything I know I need to do, and I just crash. I might pick one project (dinner) to do that night so that I don’t feel like a total waste. It’s so frustrating. I definitely don’t think of myself as a lazy person. I’ve always had a good work ethic. But things have changed it seems. I suddenly seem lazier than I used to be. I feel like a bad worker. I worry about how I am as a wife to my husband. And I worry about what kind of mother I will be one day! My husband seems to get my mental-leftovers. I’m not usually in the best mood when I get home. My husband is the hardest worker I know. Not only does he work his butt of for me and our future family, but he works hard for other people too. Last night he was at work until 1am helping one of the other guys finish a project. He doesn’t always work that late (most of the time he brings his work home and stays on his laptop until late), but he always does what’s necessary to get the job done. I wish I had this work ethic like I used to. I’m not the kind of gal that thinks women should do all the house-work and chores, but I know that my husband pulls his weight around the house and works his butt off at the office too. So, yes! I think that I should be able to come home at 6pm and put away clothes, unload and load the dishwasher, vacuum, or whatever else needs to be done. But, I don’t. I want to be a blessing to my husband, and instead, I feel like he gets the grumpy-pants version of what’s left of me mentally. Gr.

Anyway, I don’t know why I’m blogging about this. Maybe it’s because I have an old friend that I’ve been back in touch with, who is so good at sharing her thoughts and feelings, and it has spurred me to do the same? Although, those of you who read my blog, know that I have no problem saying what I feel, I just usually try to look at the bright side and be encouraging. I’m not sure if this is one of those blogs. I’m just sharing my true feelings for today. Like I told Trish, the “everything is fine and I’m happy”-mask is a little tiring sometimes.

So – there you have it, blogger world. Please pray that this trip to Africa will (please forgive me if this sounds selfish), also be a time of mental refreshing and relaxation. My Blackberry will stay in Texas - and halfway across the world from me for 14 days and 18 hours (yes, I am excited about this!) No emails from work. No phone calls from – well – work people. Just me, my 2 amazing girlfriends, the beautiful, African children, and most importantly, God!!!! Ah.Yes.God.

“Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us
in the race when all seems lost.” ~ Roger Dawson true for me! No matter what, I will not give up or give in!

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Thursday, June 18, 2009


I know I already posted one blog today, but wanted to post another quick one.

Happy 56th Birthday, Toni Lee Davis, as you celebrate with Jesus, your Creator!

Your children LOVE you and MISS you, but God is good, He is faithful, He is loving... Just as you always said.

June 18, 1953 - June 16, 1995

Love, your daughter...

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Village of Hope

As I previously mentioned, I am going to Africa in less than 2 weeks!!!! [internal squeal!] Two girlfriends and I are going with an organization called Village of Hope. We will be doing many things; helping build houses, teaching and playing with the kids, feeding at the refugee camps, loving on people... wherever they need us!

So, I wanted to share with you the website for the Village of Hope (many of you have received information about VOH already, so this is for you followers who haven't!). I hope that if you are not aware of the attack that parts of Uganda have been under (for many many years), that you would read here to learn more.

The stories of these children are so amazing, and I KNOW that when I get back, their stories will be even more real to me. For now, I'll let you read up on it, and once I return, I'll be full of words to share!

I also wanted to share Cindy Cunningham's blog with you. Cindy is the director of Village of Hope, but she's so much more than that. Her heart and her passion for the children are truly amazing. You can read the story here of how she came up with the vision of VOH. I love to hear her talk about the kids, because it's as if they are her own children. She's a protective mother bear for sure. Please read her blog and pray blessings and protection over this amazing woman as she is truly in tune with the heart of God.

Here is her first blog post after coming back from her trip to Africa. This gives you a taste of what she first experienced:

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Invisible Children of War in Uganda
Arriving in the town of Gulu (5 hour drive North of Kampala, the capital) we drove to a city of huts. They refer to them as "camps". Displaced families from north Uganda fled here. WHY?The rebels, who live in the bush, go from village to village, burning down huts, killing adults and abducting children. They take young girls and use them as prostitutes in the rebel camps. The boys are taken to be work slaves and taught to be rebels.So families run to Gulu for "safety". But there is no safety. The rebels still come to Gulu. In the night the raid the "camps" killing, stealing, burning, raping. So each night the moms say goodbye to their children and send them off to shelters (large one room tents) where the children spend the they can be safe from the rebels.We walked the dark streets of Gulu to a shelter where we interviewed children who had been abducted by the rebels, but managed to escape. One 11 year old girl explained how the rebels came and killed her parents in front of her, and then abducted her...raped her... and then after 1 month let her go with these instructions: "Go back and tell everyone what we did to you and tell them, we will do the same to them."A 15 year old boy told about his 4 years of living in a rebel camp. He was abducted when he was 11. They kill you if you can't work or get sick. They put a machete in your hand and tell you to kill the weak child, and if you don't they have another child holding a machete, who will kill you. You don't have a choice. The rebels do this to desensitize the children.As we walked back to our lodging, the streets were dark, just 2 days before the rebels had come to this very place and abducted 48 children. It was hard not to look over my shoulder, fear was thick, my heart raced. How can people live in this type of fear day in and day out?A young boy came up to us as we ate breakfast and said, "I just escaped from a rebel camp, can I eat your leftovers?" We bought him breakfast. I took my bread from breakfast with me, wrapped in a napkin. As we drove to the next camp, I saw a boy along the road and handed him the bread. He wouldn't take it. So I asked them why? I was told that he can't take the bread because UN gives them food once a week (which will feed their family for 1 week) and they are not allowed to take food from anyone else.We walked through a maze of huts, hundreds and hundreds of them. This was one of the 18 camps in this city alone. Children sat on the ground, with flies all over them. They didn't swat them away; I guess they are used to them. A 12 year old boy came up to us crying. He stood in line to get water all morning. Once he did get his water, someone accidentally knocked it over and now he had no water to give his 3 orphan siblings. He is 12 years old, for goodness sake. He should be playing soccer, or watching TV, not looking for food for his family, not being the head of his household.UN doesn't give families run by orphans ANY FOOD. You have to be an adult to get a card which allows you to get food once a month. So the orphan run families have NOTHING!!!!!!!! The girls don't go to school, because they have to find food, and if they can't they will sell themselves into prostitution.The situation in Gulu is not getting better. This has been going on for 23 years. They are born in war and live each day of their lives in war.So who funds the rebels? It may not be P.C. to say, but it is the Arabs, the Muslims. They want to take over Southern Sudan and Northern Uganda. So they send in the L.R.A. (Lord's Resistant Army) or the rebels (same thing just different names) to destroy a people, to bring despair, destruction, to kill, rape and steal what little the people have. Who suffers? The innocent! The young! The helpless!I wish I were making all of this up, but I am not! I wish this was just a nightmare that I had and I could just wake up, but this is as real as it gets. Not a reality that most of us in America will EVER see, not a reality that makes us feel comfortable or good. But it is reality!Since I left Uganda, I have had nightmares each night. But thankfully I can wake up from my nightmares...these children will never wake up from their living nightmare."

I know there's alot of links on this page, but please take the time to read them so that you will understand more. I appreciate it so much!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What are we in it for?

Ok, so it's been awhile. Sorry.

But, this is what's been on my mind lately, and after talking to another friend who is feeling the same, I decided I should blog about it.

Many of you know, I am going to Africa soon. In 11 day to be exact!!!!!!!!! Everyone keeps saying it will be life-changing, and that it will really put life in perspective, and that it will change the way I view the world, etc. etc. Well, I totally agree. But the thing is, God is already working on me in that area of my life. (Maybe it has to do with the upcoming trip, maybe it doesn't.)

But, I guess I look at my life and realize I am so Shanen-focused. My prayers sound like this:

"God, thank you I have life today." "Thank you that I have a wonderful husband and family." "Give me peace and mercy and joy today." While these aren't necessarily bad things to be thankful for and pray for, the consistent theme here is "I" and "me."

How often do I pray for those who are losing their lives? Do I passionately pray for the lost? Do I pray for widows and orphans and those who don't have wonderful husbands or any family? And what about that peace, mercy and joy? Am I using that to glorify God and bring others to Him? Or do I simply ask for those because they sure would make my day and life easier!?

Yes, my life is way too much about me, and not enough about my God. I long to be more kingdom-focused. I know this is only the beginning of God working in this area.

I know Africa will be a big part of the mind-change too. I can't wait!!! It's way overdue!

Matthew 21:43 (Amplified Bible)
"I tell you, for this reason the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce the fruits of it."

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Monday, June 8, 2009


Nothing life-changing to share today. But, I did find a fun widget I wanted to share.

I saw this on my friend Trischa's Blog and thought it looked fun. You can see where your Blog visitors are coming from (state, and what website.) Pretty cool!

FEEDJIT. There are a few free options you can enjoy, or you can pay $5.95 for advanced options... not quite sure what you get with that though. If you want to know what it looks like in action, check out the right hand side of my Blog to see the Live Feed!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prove 'em Wrong

"A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." ~ Walter Bagehot

I like this quote (surprise, surprise). I like it mostly because I don’t understand why it is that people try to deflate our dreams? Is it because they think we're crazy for attempting them? Maybe it's because they want to protect us from getting hurt if our dreams don't come true? Maybe it's jealousy because they really don’t want us to achieve that really great thing... good or bad intentions, who really knows.

I heard someone on the radio the other day say that someone told this guy to “not get his hopes up.” He made a good point afterwards – what good is hope if you aren’t hoping for something good? Better to not hope at all, then to not get your hopes up.

So, this post is two part;

1. Don’t let others determine your destiny. Whether or not their intentions are good, they are not your Master. There is only One. One who desires that you live your best life, blessing others, and being all you were created to be. There will always be naysayers, or what I like to call “Sparkle Snuffers”, but I know that at the end of my life, I want to look back and know that I lived my life to its fullest and that I changed the world! (even if it’s a small portion of the world, my world!)

2. DREAM BIG!! (I feel like a broken record on this.) Life is too short and God is too good for us to not be doing something we are passionate about. Live in your Sweet Spot, Peeps. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my Blog header.) God has created and designed us with special gifts, and He desires us to live our life to the fullest – in complete passion. Don’t lose hope!!! Dream big and expect!

Much love today to the blogger world today.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ah, the life...

I’m not sure that this is how I would describe success, but I do like the idea!!

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” (Bob Dylan)

How many of you are living your dream – and doing what you want to do with your life, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed?!


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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quick one....

"The Grand Essential of Happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." ~ Allan Chalmers

To sum it up in the words of Shanen: "Hope for something you love to do." or "Do something you love to hope for." or "Love what you hope to do." .... anyway, you get the point. :)


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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Amen and Amen!

"Our comfort zones are for ourselves, but the dream, the calling God has on our lives ~ is for others. That is why we have to walk it out, go for it, because we never know whose life we are going to change with the dreams God has put in us. "

~ I would normally give credit where credit is due, but I do not know the author of this quote.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, the goodness!

I want you to read this. Please. Just as you start to skim the words and skip over its meaning, stop and actually read it. It gives me goose bumps!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
(The above speech by Nelson Mandela, but was originally written by Marianne Williamson)

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Goodbye Mountains!

I receive a lot of my inspiration from my amazing sister-in-law (Jenni) who sends me terrific emails that encourage me to grow in the Lord.

Case in point: this email that she sent back in February, and I had it marked to read again, but I forgot to, until now. I’m not sure who wrote this, but I love it. (I feel like I always say that!)

So here it is... I hope it encourages your spirit. Happy Friday.

"And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying
trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig
tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea,
it will be done" (Matthew 21:21, AMP).

Today's Word from Joel
We've all had seasons when the challenges of life feel overwhelming. During those
times, it's easy to be tempted to talk about how bad things are. Maybe you
received a bad medical report, or maybe you're facing a financial obstacle. But
the more you talk about something, the bigger it becomes in your mind. Instead,
you've got to dig your heels in and say, "No, I am not going to give life to
that defeat. I am not going to speak sickness over myself. I'm not going to
speak lack. I'm not going to speak fear. I'm choosing a different report. I
believe the report of the Lord which says I am blessed. I am favored. I am
prosperous. I am healthy. I am whole. I'm a victor, not a victim."Remember, even
if you don't see how things could ever work out, God does. You've got to speak
to those mountains in your life and declare favor over those situations. Instead
of talking to God about how big your problems are, talk to your problems about
how big your God is! As you speak to your mountains, they will be moved, and you
will move forward into the victory God has prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which is life to my
spirit. I receive Your strength today and choose to speak to the mountains, so I
can move forward in the victory You have in store for me. In Jesus' Name.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Read it a couple times

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen." ~ Frank Loyd Wright

I had to read this a couple times to finall get it. But once I did, it was an "aha" moment. :)

What are you really believing in?!!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Work-Life Balance

I wanted to share an exceprt from a book I have. I’ve not actually read the book yet, but I am on the author’s email blast, and he emailed a part of it today.

I thought it would be good to post, especially, since I hear so many discussions about “work-life” balance. I like what he has to say about it. Now.... if only our bosses felt this way!

Find the Balance Between Work and Home

There’s no such thing as work-home balance.

That might be a strange way to start an article called “Find the Balance Between Work and Home,” but there really is no such thing.

I meet with corporate leaders every week, and I’m asked many of the same questions again and again. The CEOs want to know how to help their employees have more “work-home balance” because they think it’s a magic formula for increased productivity.

If you’re happy, are you going to be a better employee? Absolutely. Are you going to be better at being a dad or a mom or a friend? Of course. Does it have anything to do with punching a time clock, or the number of hours you work in a week? No way.

There’s no such thing as an artificially created “balance.” There isn’t some formula you can plug in that says you need to be at work for eight hours, then at home for ten before you can work another eight hours. It’d be nice if the real world was orderly that way, but we all know it isn’t.

In real life, you’re always either heading for a crisis or coming out of one. That’s just as true for a Fortune 500 company as it is for a family. My own family had to deal with health crises that included two blown-out knees and a broken back in a thirty-six-month period.

The balance that comes in The Good Life is more like the kind you use to ride a bike. You’re always pedaling, and if you start to tip a little bit to the left, you lean right to restore your equilibrium. If you overcorrect, then you need to lean a little more left to get back in balance.
If you let your work control you […] and if you keep saying to yourself, “I’m going to make just one more call, even though I said I’d be home before seven,” you’re losing sight of what the Good Life Is. If you committed to a big organizational meeting with your team at work, and you decide to play hooky so you can hang out with your son, you’ve also lost sight of what the Good Life is. Your job is not to work more hours nor is it to break your promises to the people in your professional life so that you can spend every moment at home. Your job is to get done what needs to be done—both at work and at home—with the time you have. It’s not a matter of finding more space on the schedule. It’s a matter of picking the right things to be on the schedule and having them on there at the right times.

This month’s article is an excerpt from my newest book, “The Good Life Rules,” which was released in January 2009 by McGraw-Hill. I can’t thank you enough for all the positive feedback that we have received from the book and for all the companies that have bought thousands of copies for their employees. If you haven’t read the book yet, go to
my online store or any local book store. I promise you will not regret it.

The Good Life Rules! BY Bryan J. Dodge

Now, this guy is pretty crazy if you see him in person. The Lavender Lilly and I had the opportunity, er, uh, pleasure to sit in one of his meetings before. He’s a little quirky, but I liked what he said. (Even if it was hard to see past his wild enthusiasm.)

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From the mouths of babes....

This was on Ashton Kutcher's Twitter page today (what a "babe").

I had to share. I like it!!!!!!

“I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can't sit
still.” ~ Ashton Kutcher

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Christ displaces worry - hooray!

I don't have a lot of time to write, but I wanted to share this verse that encouraged me this morning. I was having a pretty bad day, and then a friend of mine posted this verse on his Facebook, and it once again, reminded me of the big picture.

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message Bible)
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. "

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Starbucks Inspiration #26

Today I HAD to have coffee! I'm so tired all the time. Getting up for boot camp at 4:30 am, and keeping myself very busy until 11:00 at night, is really kicking my butt.

Anyway, so I thought I would give myself a boost to this blah day, by rewarding myself with a tall, fat-free caramel macchiatto from Starbucks. This time, however, I actually read, and enjoyed the quote on the back of the cup, and thought I would share:

"The Way I see it #26"
Failure's hard, but success is far more dangerous. If your'e successful at the wrong thing,
the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.

~ Po Bronson (Author of stories, screenplays and nonfiction,
including 'What Should I Do With My Life?')

Ah! What a great reminder to live in your sweet spot. (If you don't know what I mean by Sweet Spot, read the heading to my blog!) I have to remind myself not to look merely at money or praise, but at what brings my heart and soul satisfaction.

What is it that makes you tick and dream??!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Trials that Bring Joy!

On the way to work this morning, I heard an encouraging word from Bruce Wilkinson, author of the Prayer of Jabez.

He was speaking on James 1:2-4; verses I’m sure we’ve heard many times. Typically, when I hear the words of these verses, I think “Yeh. Yeh, God. Easier said than done.” So, here’s the verse I’m talking about and consider your reaction afterwards...

James 1:2-4 (NIV)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I heard these verses in a new light today, and I hope it encourages you. Usually I read it and my heart stops listening at the end of verse 2. I’m thinking to myself, “consider it a joy when trials come my way? Whatever, God!” But, as Bruce pointed out this morning, there is an all-important word that connects verses 2 and 3... “because”. So there is a reason why I’m to consider it pure joy when trials come my way? Yes! “BECAUSE” of verses 3 and 4! First of all, it's because the testing of my faith develops perseverance. Before I go on, let me share the definition of perseverance:

per⋅se⋅ver⋅ance –noun
1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose... in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

Synonyms: doggedness, steadfastness. Perseverance, persistence, tenacity... these imply resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action. Perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application: Endurance and perseverance combined to win in the end. Persistence implies unremitting (and sometimes annoying) perseverance. Tenacity, with the original meaning of adhesiveness, as of glue, is a dogged and determined holding on...

Isn’t that the reason our trials are so hard for us in the first place? Because we’ve lost our “perseverance, persistence, tenacity”? Our endurance is gone? We have no determination to hold on? Well, that is why I love the “because” of verse 3. Each trial we go through, God is building the core of perseverance, persistence, tenacity, and endurance in us. This is joyful news (referring to verse 2)! Why??? Because the next time we go through a fiery trial, we will be stronger than before! God is continually giving us the strength and endurance to make it through any trial, so that we will not find ourselves unprepared when the next battle comes. So, the second reason this is joyful is news is because of verse 4; we will be “lacking nothing.” (Nothing!!!!!) There is absolutely NOTHING we are lacking that won't get us through our current trial. No matter the circumstance!

We are not promised a life without difficulties, hardships, or trials. But, it brings joy to me knowing – that my faithful Father will never leave me unprepared or unequipped when it does come!

In true Shanen-style, here are a few more translations:

James 1:2-4 (The Message)
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

James 1:2-4 (Amplified Bible)
Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Much Love,

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Believe for big things!

I hope this encourages you today to believe God for BIG things in your life!

Ephesians 3:20
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."

Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message Bible)
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!"

Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified Bible) – I cut out some portions of this version for readability
"Now to Him Who, by the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]"

Could you imagine what our lives would look like if we really believed Him for this!?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How easily we forget...

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." ~ Robert Byrne

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Nixing Anxiety

On the way to work this morning, I heard a great message by Jack Graham on The Word 100.7.

He talked about the source of anxiety in our lives, and even though he made several great statements, this is what stuck out to me the most.

When we are anxious in our hearts, it is because our eyes are on our own desires and not God’s will. When we are only focused on what WE want, then we begin to manipulate circumstances to try to get our way. This is futile. This manipulation will only bring about anxiety because we will spin our wheels and still not get our wish. Instead, when we focus on what God intends for our lives, we are filled with peace, knowing that He is working all things together for good.

Proverbs 12:25“An anxious heart weighs a man down...”

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message Bible)

“Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.“

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Think on this!

"A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement. "
~ Bo Bennett

What dreams do you have? Are you taking action towards achieving them, or simply still dreaming?

DREAM BIG and then do something about it!!

Much love,

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Who do I have to blame?

"Life and successes are not about luck. They are about deliberate choices and
decisions." ~ Cecelia Stoll (ENVP Arbonne International)
I am where I am because of deliberate choices I have made. I have no one to blame but myself.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Come alive!

I love this!!

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Personable God

I love how our Father is such a personable God. I often think of Him as the One who sits “high and mighty” in the heavens. The One whose powerful voice spoke the world in to existence. The One whose strong hands formed the very bodies we inhabit. Yes, He is that. Yes, He is grand. So marvelous, wonderful, amazing, awe-inspiring, spectacular, and on and on I could go about how much of a “god”, God is. Yes, He commands and deserves our reverence. Yes, we should humble ourselves daily to Him. And one day we will even bow in full submission at His feet. However... when I read the verse below, I reminded of a loving, compassionate, caring Father who is close to us. Who loves us just where we are. A patient One, who despite all our flaws, loves us and delicately reveals Himself to us. I love this verse in The Message Bible. It reminds me that God is real. His love is real. His desire to show Himself to His children is real. The Author of this passage is having a very rough day, or maybe even a rough year. The poor guy just can’t catch a break. (Sound familiar?) Things are tough for this guy... He’s tired and he can’t quit see God in it all. And from the depths of his heart he is (humbly) asking God to cut him some slack.

Psalm 90:12-17 (The Message Bible)

Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we'll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we've seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you're best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Ah. What a great God! That He would desire for us to call out to Him from our depths - and ask for mercy. So often, I forget that He cares in that way. We don’t always have to be “spiritual” with God... Just honest. And He will lovingly accept us right where we are.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Bible Study!!

My sweet sis-in-law Brooke, suggested we start a Bible study. I have really missed having one, and am very excited to start up again. However, one thing has come to my attention – I am a Beth Moore snob. (Thanks to my other sis-in-law, Jenni). I’ve done the Beth Moore study “Believing God” and have forever been changed because of it. Now it’s hard for me to want to do any other (non-Beth Moore) study. Brooke recommended this book and I was like, “Oh, it’s not Beth Moore?” I really just said that in my head, but that's what I thought. But, this book looks really good too and God can use anyone to speak to me, not just the wonderful Beth. So – here’s the book we are going to do and I thought I would share it with you to see if anyone else has read this book, or read anything by this author before! I’d love to know what you think.

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Becoming A Woman of Faith and Confidence By Elyse Fitzpatrick

And click here to visit her website.

And just to let you know – I’m over being a snob about the whole thing. I'm really looking forward to it and really think there is a lot in my life that this book could relate to. =)

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Friday, March 27, 2009

A New Look on Life

Ok, I got this email from my sister-in-law and thought it was pretty neat. I hope it encourages all of you like it did me! Have a happy weekend!

You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, 'Purpose Driven Life' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?

And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for..

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease..

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence.. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit... We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.

Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.

Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.

Painful moments, TRUST GOD.

Every moment, THANK GOD.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Changing Direction??

So, lately I've really been struggling. Again... I know, I know. I'm sure you're all wondering when I will finaly get over this never-ending (or so it seems struggle.) I think it's all working out though, and in God's timing. I'm learning patience and I'm trying to bloom where I'm currently planted. Even though I feel like I'm just a little dead weed who can barely hold her stem up.

Here's a great quote that I can't stop thinking about:

"Unless we change the direction we are heading, we might end up where we are
going." ~ Chinese Proverb

I know. Pretty profound. :) But really, things need to change, and I needs God's guidance and wisdom and I need to obey His timing.

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Friday, March 20, 2009


This one is delicious. (Don’t ask why I chose that word to describe it. It just sort of popped out.)

“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than
anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” ~ William James
Have a great weekend!!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Driving, driving, driving...

Ok, I'm still moving in to my new house, so yes, I'm sticking with the "Inspirational quotes" theme for now. (Hey, it's better than nothing!)

"The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed."
~ Richard B. Sheridan

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Climb that Mountain!

“Victories in life come through our ability to work around and over the obstacles that cross our path. We grow stronger as we climb our own mountains.” ~ Marvin Ashton

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Climb that Mountain!

“Victories in life come through our ability to work around and over the obstacles that cross our path. We grow stronger as we climb our own mountains.” ~ Marvin Ashton

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday's Quote

“A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was
not strong enough.” ~ John Christian Bovee

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another Quote!

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” ~ Robert Collier

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Friday, March 13, 2009


So, I'm moving in to my new house tomorrow (yay!), so I will not be able to blog much. Therefore, I thought I would use the handy-dandy "Scheduler" to automatically post some inspirational quotes while I'm off!

Here's your first one and I LOVE it!

“The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man
who will win.” ~ Roger Bannister

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