Surrender? How Do I Do That?

Aug 31, 2011

 We need to be totally honest with each other.  Are any of us really good at surrender?  I mean, take a look at this definition:

1) to give into the hands of another
2) to give over into (one's) power or use
     a) to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage

Truth be told, few of us could surrender our cell phones, let alone our lives to Christ.  But yet to be an obedient Christ follower, that is what we are asked to do - open our hands and give our lives to Jesus.  That doesn't just mean saying yes to accept Him, but allowing Him to be in the driver's seat.

God has an intricate plan for our lives and He holds the road map to our destination, HIS destination for us.  My problem is that I want to see the road map!  I want to see where I am going at every turn, every rest stop, every detour.  But surrender costs us deep, abiding faith in God's plan for us.

If you're like me, you've had several detours in your life already.  It's those "how did this happen", "where did this come from", "how could I have missed this" moments that stop you in your tracks.  Life takes an abrupt turn and you end up at an unknown and unfamiliar destination.  For me that was the death of my Dad when I was 20 years old.  That detour sent me to a dead end--a divorce nine years later.

Would I have chosen these destinations on my life's map?  Nope.  But somehow, in God's grace, He has used these twists and turns to bring me back to Him every time.  If I surrender, staying close to my Shepherd, His voice will lead me.  If I don't, sin and disobedience will chase me.

Surrender is blind faith.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

But God sees all, and knows all, and holds me in the palm of His hand.  Truthfully, there is no place else I'd rather be!



31 Days of Prayer for our Daughters

Aug 30, 2011


I was very excited when I learned that my friends over at the ModSquadMoms Blog are presenting 31 Days of Prayer for our daughters in the month of October.

If you are not familiar with the Mod Squad, you definitely need to head over to their blog and catch up.  They do an absolutely fantastic job encouraging mothers of daughters in their journey of motherhood through every phase. You won't find a more sincere group of women than the authors of this blog.

I can't wait to jump in with them praying for our daughters.  It is sure to be an exciting and faith building month of prayer.  Won't you join us?


Repurposed Tank Top to Total Cuteness

Aug 28, 2011

I was recently reading a friend's blog and happened across a tutorial for the cutest dress made out of a tank top!  Well it just so happened that my girls had received a bag full of clothes from a friend, and guess what we found?  Several tank tops!  Well....we just had to try this tutorial!

It was super easy, and I won't even go over the steps here, since Jenny over at Southern Institute did it so well on her blog. They only thing I did differently was add an additional layer so it is two tiered.   The girls requested they be made shorter for cute tops, so that is what we did here.  But we have more tank tops that we'll make longer into dresses.  For now, I'll just send you over to Jenny's blog to read her steps.

I was feeling so crafty, I even made a headband to match!  I'm linking up with Jenny...go check out all her craftiness!


Digital Scrapbooking

Aug 26, 2011

I have scrapbooked with paper and embellishments for more years than I can count, and I have loved every minute of it.  However, if you are a scrapbooker, I am sure you can relate, I CAN'T KEEP UP!  I am so far behind AND I have numerous albums that are only half started.

I decided on vacation this year I was going to try my hand at digital scrapbooking.  Mind you, I know myself well enough to know that this will not replace paper and photos for me.  I love scrapbook paper WAY too much to give that up, but it might be a way to get some catching up done.  It is an added bonus that I can scrapbook in the car on long trips.  Canada is over 13 hours for us, so I had plenty of opportunity to play.

I thought I would show you a couple layouts I have completed.  The top layout I just did in Photoshop.  The rest were created in a program called My Memories Suite, which I love because you can just drag and drop and it is very fast!

Thanks for stopping in.  Have a GREAT weekend!!


Do It Yourself Bulletin Board

Aug 25, 2011

I'm REALLY making an effort to get more organized now that the kids are back to school.  Not being able to put my hands on things is nearly driving me crazy!

I love old window frames, and it just so happens that I had another one that we replaced last year that has the old knobs on it, which I love.  So decided to make that the frame of my bulletin board.

I scored an old bulletin board to cut it to size and it worked really well.  First I thought I would spray paint the cork board, but the paint just kept soaking in.  Then I remembered I still had some left over fabric from making the window treatments in the kitchen!  SCORE!

So I simply covered the board, used pins to hold it in place on the back and pushed it into place inside the window frame. The only thing I did to the window frame to prepare it was sanding off the loose paint.  I like the vintage, grunge look!  easy peasy!


Do You Ever Feel "Out of Order"?

Aug 24, 2011

Do you ever feel like hanging this sign around your neck and calling it a day?

I mean, I've gotten used to those days that I just don't feel like doing much, and I do have more of those than I would care to admit!  But recently it was something different....something deeper.

Being constantly aware with my ongoing fight against depression, I tend to have a more critical eye when it comes to analyzing what I am feeling.  I've experienced it enough times to be hyper-critical as to not miss the signs of an onset.  That wasn't it.

As I worked through my thoughts and feelings, I discovered I had a tape playing in my head, and it was on constant repeat:  "You're not good enough."  "You're doing it all wrong." "You're not doing enough."  I was under a constant barrage all day long.  No matter what task I was working on, the voice kept badgering me.

I finally identified the feeling that was different.  It was failure.

The voice was right.  I'm lousy at housekeeping, my husband is doing all the laundry, I couldn't put two thoughts together to write an interesting blog post, my kids need more spiritual guidance, I am not praying enough, God wants more from me, my kids need more discipline and structure, our finances are a mess and I'm never going to be able to change, my husband wants more intimacy, I need to volunteer more at church, the dog needs more attention repeat...........................


Have you been there?  Has there been a voice inside your head grow louder and louder until you can no longer hear the true voice of God?  Because God doesn't cast shame or guilt upon us.  Do you need to read that last sentence again?  God's voice whispers words of love, acceptance and encouragement.  Perhaps today we need to sit still in the quiet for just a few moments and ask God to push STOP on that tape of lies that is running through our heads.

All of those character flaws written above that I struggle with may still be there, and through God's strength I will continue to work to conquer them, but they DO NOT define me as a failure.  As the tape continued to play through my mind, the lies got bolder and louder.  But as I take time to analyze the recording, I see that through the grace of God, each and every day, the blessings around me abound.  My husband loves serving me, my girls are beautiful and healthy, we all love the Lord, and the dog is fine.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. I Peter 5:10



Where Has the Time Gone? Growing Up Too Fast

Aug 23, 2011

You hear every mother say it...."enjoy them while they are young, time goes by so fast".........


K started 6th grade, A started 4th grade. Unbelievable.

Does your momma heart want to stop time too?


Taking Time to be Refreshed

Aug 22, 2011

This weekend was my first experience at a Women of Faith conference.  I was so fortunate to be chosen by BookSneeze to attend.  They graciously provided me with two tickets(--in the 3rd row on the floor--) and I got to share my experiences throughout the weekend over Twitter and today here with you.

If you've ever attended any kind of conference, you know that the first several days after arriving home is usually spent decompressing!  You hear and see and experience so much that it takes that long to process it all and really appreciate everything that happened around you!

This weekend couldn't have come at a better time for me, and I am so appreciative of God's timing!  I had been feeling flustered, flat, irritated and impatient. (just the kind of friend you want to spend the weekend with, right?)  I was so hungry for the refreshment of this conference.

Of course, I was not disappointed.

I invited my friend Kelly, who I hadn't been able to spend any quality time with in a long time.  We talked non-stop the entire three hour drive over to Indianapolis.  We got caught up on each others lives.  I love Kelly because she always makes me laugh.  She is a great story teller, even about her every day adventures!

The conference started at 10 am Friday morning, but this was my girl's first day of school, so I knew I couldn't miss that!  Kelly and I left after I got my kids to school, so we knew we would miss the first session, but would be there before the session started after lunch.  We get to our hotel to check in--no they do not have a reservation for me.  huh?  Thankfully, they still had a room available, but that threw me off.  We didn't have time to unload the car because we were in a hurry to get to the stadium so we wouldn't miss that next session after lunch.  We walk the 6 blocks to the stadium, rush in, start to our seats and hear the announcer say, "We'll see you after the break."  huh? Y'all, we crossed time zones coming into Indiana!  It was now 1:30 instead of 12:30!  Can you feel my frustration from where you're sitting?

Anyway.............we went to find our seats and couldn't believe where BookSneeze had placed us!  I could make eye contact with every speaker!  Amazing. (and can you believe I forgot my camera? yeah, me?)

My soul was not to be disappointed.  I was refreshed, energized, and restored.  The worship was amazing, Natalie Grant knocked my socks off with her beautiful voice, the worship team rocked the house, the speakers spoke words of God's love and care deep into my heart.  Sheila Walsh was hysterical and heartfelt.  Angie Smith again made me cry and laugh at the same time.  Nicole Johnson was witty, engaging and transparent.

As I continue to unpack the weekend mentally and spiritually I am sure I will be sharing more with you in the coming weeks.  But can I just encourage you today?  If you have an opportunity to attend a Women of Faith event, DO IT!  You won't leave without your heart being touched and your soul being revived.

I'll leave you today with this great quote from Luci Swindoll:

"'s all in Christ...enjoy it!"


Hand Feeding Bears - Our Summer Adventure

Aug 18, 2011

As my regular readers know, my family has owned a cabin in Canada for over 40 years.  For my entire life of growing up, this was the only vacation we ever had.  Mom would pack for weeks getting ready for this annual two week trip.  My dad would be giddy with excitement.  It was his favorite place on earth.

So our family continues the tradition, and this year we headed north with excitement, as we hadn't gone for two years.  Mom had told of us of a new wildlife refuge for bears that we needed to go visit that is just 15 minutes away from the cabin.

So one evening we decided to head toward town to get water (we get it from a spring well) and go see the bears.  You can't imagine the feeling of walking around the corner of a man's house and seeing this in his back yard:

Michael has been feeding nearly 60 bears a day for a number of years.  He now also takes in other injured creatures to feed and nurse back to health.  He personally owns much of the acreage of forest that the bears call home, and his land is adjacent to Crown (Canadian owned) land and an Indian reservation.  This means the bears have plenty of protected land to call home.

We were not there for more than 3 minutes when Michael asks my family if they want to come in and feed the bears.  Before I could give it a moments thought, my Husband says "YES!".  He quickly slips inside the fence, kneels down next to Michael with a donut in his hand, and an adorable two year old cub begins to saunter toward him.  Quite frankly, I can't believe what I am seeing!

My husband is thrilled beyond belief that he has now joined the ranks of a tiny number of people in the world who can say they have hand fed a wild bear!  I'm snapping photos as quickly as I can and before I know it, my children are in there too!

Husband never even gave me a chance to argue with him, and honestly I think we are all so caught up in the extraordinary outrageousness of this opportunity, that our brains had taken a vacation as well!  These are wild bears....not nursed from a baby.......not raised by human hands......completely wild!  But yet they come into this sanctuary as seemingly friendly as a pet dog.  They even took the donuts from human hands more gently than my dog takes a treat!

Our visit was amazing and we truly enjoyed all that we got to see and experience.  We most certainly will visit again on our next trip to the cabin.

Michael's story was filmed for a documentary called "The Gentle Bear Man of Emo" and has won several awards.  You can learn more of his story from the film crew here.


Wordless Wednesday

Aug 17, 2011

Stop by tomorrow and I'll tell you the whole story!


Summertime Fresh

Aug 16, 2011

My absolute favorite summertime sandwich--fresh from the garden tomato and bacon sandwiches!!  It just doesn't get any better!

What's your favorite summertime freshness?


Back to School

We're all involved in getting the shopping done for our school lists.  School begins here on Thursday.  It is a fun time shopping with the girls.  Tell me, do you enjoy picking up a few things for yourself when you are school shopping?  Sometimes I can't resist the cute stuff they are putting out these days!


Jesus is in the Boat

Aug 15, 2011


life gets confusing
money runs short
sins are stubborn


prayer gets hard
kids disobey
patience is short


need a job
depression rages
friends are few


Lord Jesus, how often we forget that with one word, you can calm the raging sea around us.  We quickly forget that the Savior of the World is in the boat with us.  You haven't left, and you promise you never will.  Would you remind us to turn our attention toward you instead of the circumstances around us.  I pray we will each surrender our needs to you, our Loving Father, because you desire to shower us with blessings.  May you remind me each day this week to fall on my knees before you and give all I am to you.  Amen.


Growing, Learning, Stretching

Aug 11, 2011

"A wise woman will always be growing, learning, stretching. Now there are seasons when just surviving seems to be the way of life. Yet, I have seen, that I must be responsible for my own life and that means planning and incorporating wisdom as a part of my every day-reading books, articles that stretch me in the direction of excellence. Feeding my soul on scripture, on writers who stimulate me to love God, to serve others, biographies that inspire me is what gives me ideas to discuss, thoughts to lead my heart and wisdom to share. It does not come from a vacuum-we must invest in what we hope to become. What we sow we will reap." -Sally Clarkson

This has been on my heart all summer.  I sense God changing me, calling me, pursuing me.  Where will He lead me?  I'll have to wait to see, but I am certain that changes are coming.

He's already moving and providing.  I was so very excited to have been selected by BookSneeze to attend the Women of Faith Imagine Conference in Indianapolis next weekend.  I have always wanted to attend one of their events.  I have heard such great things about these conferences.  I'm loving that is is right at the beginning of the school year so I can refocus after a busy summer.

I'm really looking forward to what God has in store for me!  BookSneeze was even nice enough to send me a ticket for a friend to come along too!  I can't wait to spend some quality time with my friend, Kelly.  There is no better way to connect with a friend than through the love of Christ!

Want to go too?  I'd love to see you there!!  Check out the website-- tickets are still available!!

My attendance at Women of Faith : Imagine in Indianapolis is being sponsored by BookSneeze. I am receiving only conference registration, all other expenses relating to my attendance will be my own, and while blog posts are a stipulation of my sponsorship, all opinions stated here, as always, are my own.


Home Sweet Home after Vacation

Aug 10, 2011

We have finally arrived home from two weeks of vacation.  We had a great time, great weather and great fellowship with many different family members.  So that pretty much makes a perfect vacation doesn't it!?

Here is a peak into what we encountered throughout our journey:

 A beautiful rose garden in Duluth Minnesota
 A quick, very cold, swim in Lake Superior.
 Feeding the seagulls at the pier in Canal Park, Duluth.
 An evening boat tour of the lake after arriving at the family cabin in Canada.
 Three generations of women. It was cool our first day, so long sleeves were required for me until after lunch.  Makeup isn't allowed on vacation, eh?
 Lake fun.
 Yes, you have to touch the fish you just caught!

Beautiful evening on the lake.

And that was all in the first three days!  Can't wait to share more with you later!


An Unplugged Vacation

Aug 1, 2011

This week I am unplugging while my family is on vacation.  We'll be doing a little of this at the family cabin:

Yep. It's a little bit like paradise for this family.  My dad used to say it was his slice of heaven on earth.  So I feel as thought I visit a little bit of him while I'm there.

See you next week!

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