Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays AND Merry Christmas ;)

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! And a happy holiday season. I'll be back after the holidays with more posts, videos, encouraging messages and Get Real author interviews.

AND - to start the New Year off right - a fresh giveaway :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Getting Real with author Stephanie Morrill

Thanks for coming by, Stephanie, to get real with us!

Here's what Stephanie had to say:

What does it say about me that my first thought when I hear the phrase “Get real” is that it’s being said sarcastically? Like if you say to your best friend, “Someday I want to be a novelist,” and she rolls her eyes and says, “Get real.”

But I think Get Real is the battle cry of this generation. We’re suspicious of anyone who seems to have it all together, and we question and wrestle with our information sources—from the nightly news to the Holy Bible—as we search for truth. In a world where much of what we see is fake, thanks to cosmetic surgery and Photoshop, we’ve become a people who are drawn to authenticity.

Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers and does so on her blog To connect with Stephanie and read samples of her books, check out

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another good word from Ransomed Heart Ministries

Toward the end of his days on earth, as the darkness of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday raced toward him, Jesus gave us this remarkable promise:

In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. (Matthew 19:28–29 The Message)
Did you catch that? The re-creation of the world! The religious fog would have us believe that when we die we go to church forever, there to sing hymns for millennia. A horrible distortion, and not the future as Jesus understood it. He called the next chapter “the re-creation of the world,” sometimes translated as “the renewal of all things” (NIV, NRSV). A renewed heavens, a renewed earth. My friends, I hope you understand that we get the entire glorious kingdom back. Sunlight on water; songbirds in a forest; desert sands under moonlight; vineyards just before harvest—Jesus fully intends to restore the glorious world he gave us. Paradise lost; paradise regained. A hundred times over.
This was what was in his own thoughts when he said, as he passed the cup to his brothers in the upper room just hours before Gethsemane and the Gestapo, “I’ll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I’ll drink with you in the kingdom of my Father” (Matt. 26:29 The Message). Jesus knew as sure as he knew anything that a new day was coming and with it a glorious kingdom. And there he knew we would feast again—not merely sing—and raise our glasses, and he would break his fast. Food, drink, laughter, life. The joy set before him. Cana was just a foretaste.

(Beautiful Outlaw, 246-247)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Noah built the ark for 100 years without rain...

Here's an encouraging video on the topic of Faith today from author/speaker Julie Gorman. Powerful and encouraging reminder of what this word means to us as believers. Made me cry! (happy tears, by the way)

Click here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lessons from Buddy the Elf

Buddy's reaction to the news that Santa is coming is priceless. Hilarious, as only Will F. can be. But there's a lesson here, and one we should really soak in this Christmas season.

Can we say that about Jesus?

"OH MY GOSH! Jesus is coming!! JESUS IS COMING!"

Have you ever felt that excited about the second coming? Guilty here. I haven't been until lately.

Or..."I know him!! I KNOW him!!!!"

Do you?

Honestly, for the first time in my entire Christian life, I feel a bit of that excitement toward Jesus. I was saved as a 7 year old child and rededicated as a teenager to "nail down my salvation" because of uncertainty. I'm 28 now, so that's a considerable number of years.

Yet, because of the storm I've been in and the trial I'm wearily and warily facing these days, I can fully say from the depths of my heart... "I KNOW Him."

Do you?

Friday, December 14, 2012

But I don't WANT to....

I had a recent conversation with a girl friend about forgiveness. Someone had offended her greatly, then she "ironically" (though this was clearly a God-thing) ended up drawing their name in a prayer card drawing at her church to have to pray for them for the week. She confessed that she couldn't. That she closed her eyes and tried and...nothing.

She said "now what?"

I thought about that for awhile. Forgiveness is hard, and messy. Not nearly as clear cut and simple as some like to think it is. We feel like forgiveness means letting the other person get away with their sin or offense. We feel like it means we surrender and give up and get "gipped".

Those are lies from hell, friend. Forgiveness sets US free. Keeps our communication open with the Holy Spirit. Forgiveness isn't "what you did was okay". It's "I'm turning you over to God to deal with".

And isn't that better anyway?

It is. But flesh and feelings get in the way and its impossible to do sometimes.

Good thing God specializes in the impossible ;)

So  my answer to her was simply "start small". God blesses obedience, that's truth. And He understands our hearts. That's also truth. So I told her to tell God her grievances against this person and why she felt so bitter toward them, and then to pray "God bless X" (person's name) Just that. Start from there.

That sounds like such a pitiful prayer. Like surely it couldn't even count. But sometimes the smallest gestures mean the most. If she could break through her wall and utter those three small words, big things could happen in her heart and even in the heart of the other person.

God only requires a mustard seed from us.

She's going to try. I can't wait to hear how it goes. I told her she didn't even have to mean it yet. Just pray it and do her part to be obedient. God tell us clearly in His word to love those who persecute us, to forgive so we can be forgiven. And that starts with prayer.

If you're struggling to forgive today, start small. Think mustard seed. Mutter those three words between clenched teeth  and with clenched fists, if you have to.

And watch how God can use it.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Spiritual stretch marks...

Mommies of the world know about stretch marks.

Whether you gained 5 lbs in your pregnancy or 65, odds are, you have a few. Me - I slathered up in cocoa butter daily during my pregnancy, and still escaped with a few battle scars, as we like to call them. (sounds more noble, doesn't it?) It's part of it. And more than worth the reward of mommyhood.

The other day, a dear friend told me she could see how much I'd grown lately spiritually and how it had encouraged her in her own walk. What a blessing! She said she was amazed at how far and fast I'd come. I blurted out "Girl, no kidding. I have spiritual stretch marks!"

It's true. Have you ever been there? In the position of learning a spiritual truth so quickly, so thoroughly, that you felt it was almost TOO fast? That you're hanging on to Jesus's hand and dragging your feet and yelling "WAAAIIIITTTTT!"

But His timing is perfect, so you might as well just "pick up your shoes", as I tell Little Miss when she's scuffing her feet on the floor, and keep up the pace. He's always on time, never late. I read in a devotional book recently "God's timing is perfect. Your timing is wrong."

Just as stretch marks from pregnancy leave behind a permanent reminder of that unique experience and time in our life, spiritual stretch marks serve to document the journey Jesus leads us on. The trial. The pain. The tears. The prayers. The hope. The darkness.

The victory.

Wear your battle scars proudly, friend.

And remember - Jesus has scars too. And by His stripes we are healed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

This is war...

This Scene We're Living in Is No Sitcom
We are now in the late stages of the long and vicious war against the human heart. I know-it sounds overly dramatic. I almost didn't use the term "war" at all, for fear of being dismissed at this point as one more in the group of "Chicken Littles," Christians who run around trying to get everybody worked up over some imaginary fear in order to advance their political or economic or theological cause. But I am not hawking fear at all; I am speaking honestly about the nature of what is unfolding around us . . . against us. And until we call the situation what it is, we will not know what to do about it. In fact, this is where many people feel abandoned or betrayed by God. They thought that becoming a Christian would somehow end their troubles, or at least reduce them considerably. No one ever told them they were being moved to the front lines, and they seem genuinely shocked at the fact that they've been shot at.

Hello? That's what happens in war-you get shot at. Have you forgotten? We were born into a world at war. This scene we're living in is no sitcom; it's bloody battle. Haven't you noticed with what deadly accuracy the wound was given? Those blows you've taken- they were not random accidents at all. They hit dead center.

On and on it goes. The wound is too well aimed and far too consistent to be accidental. It was an attempt to take you out; to cripple or destroy your strength and get you out of the action. Do you know why there's been such an assault? The Enemy fears you. You are dangerous big-time. If you ever really got your heart back, lived from it with courage, you would be a huge problem to him. You would do a lot of damage . . . on the side of good. Remember how valiant and effective God has been in the history of the world? You are a stem of that victorious stalk.
(Wild at Heart , 85-87)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas magic...

Last Thursday night, I got to do something I've never done before.

My four year old Little Miss, a handful of other kids, and about ten middle-aged adults (mostly women, and two men) donned coats, real candles, and a basket of peppermint goody giveaways and began ringing doorbells in one of the women's neighborhoods. The kids stood up front and belted out Jingle Bells, while ringing their own miniature bells they'd been given and waving their battery-operated fake candles, and brought Christmas joy like that area had never seen ;)

At first, it was awkward, but fun. We weren't a professional choir, but some of us (not me) sang better than others, and overall, it was really nice. The moms, dads, and children that answered the doors always grinned and clapped for us. The babies stared in wide-eyed wonder. And the dogs barreled out to sniff us before giving reluctant approval. But then something shifted.

Somewhere around the time the final strains of Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas floated away into the night, and the first notes of Silent Night were breathed into the air, magic took over.

Holy magic.

Christmas magic.

As the song drifted around us, it enveloped us all. Men, women, children. Parents holding their pajama-clad children leaned against the door frame of their home and closed their eyes, or silently mouthed the words along. Peace took over. Joy. Hope.

We weren't performing anymore, we were worshipping a tiny baby in a manger.

Have you experienced the wonder of Christmas yet this season? You don't have to look far to find it. The magic is in the air. All around you. Just stop, listen and breathe it in.

Breathe Christ in.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Three Men Walk Into a Blog...

I never would have thought that one of my all time favorite go-to blogs for encouragement, spiritual growth and inspiration would be written by 3 middle aged men :)

But it's true.

And if you need a dose of encouragement, spiritual growth or inspiration (or just a really fun place to hang out!) then please check out the below link and visit authors Dan Walsh, Harry Krause and Jim Rubart for a bit. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

So good it hurts...

This song usually made me stab the radio dial in my car so fast, I broke a nail. I wanted to get away from it, to escape it's beautiful, heart-wrenching, achingly honest truth. It made me nervous that the song and its lyrics was right - and I didn't want to think about such things when life was going well.

And now - I reach for the radio dial as fast as I can, once again.

To turn it up.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Spiritual brussell sprouts

Have you ever wondered if anything you do counts?

Church work. Ministry work. Gestures toward friends. Efforts toward family members. Blog posts. Facebook statuses. Tweets.


Does it matter? Count for anything?

Is any of it effective?

I've struggled with that lately as I've waited for answers to my prayers. Prayers for friends going through trials. Listened to them struggle and ask and grasp for an invisible God who they BELIEVE is there..."but"...

Always a but.

It's hard.

I wondered if my prayers (for myself and for others) were effective. How does intercessory prayer work? What's on the line? How much of it "counts" if the other person is a hardened wall? How much of my effort and time and prayer is effective if the other person's will is stuck? Does anything happen? Is Heaven moved?

Is the heart of God moved?

Too many questions,  not enough answers.

But a wise friend pointed out to me one answer that quieted my soul for a little while, and gave me a Restart.

She essentially said: If we stop thinking of prayer as being effective only when we get what we want, and start thinking of prayer as giving glory to God, then it's always effective. Since the Bible tells us to pray, then prayer is obedience--and obedience always gives God glory.

Giving God glory is effective. It matters. It count.

We just have to get past our own flesh and humanity to realize that some days, that's all we have--and that's ENOUGH.

That truth is sort of like spiritual brussell sprouts. Really good for us, but hard to swallow.

Have you had your greens today?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back it up...

Do you remember at the start of this new blog of mine, we had a chance to Get Real with author Katie Ganshert? Well today I'm posting a link to HER blog, because her post is so timely for those of us in a storm.


I think you can already begin to see why this resonated with me. Why it's probably already resonating with you.

Please read her post and be encouraged today. And come back here and let me know that you were. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Writing in faith...

Write it down.

You'd think as an author, that would come naturally to me, but I think it doesn't just because I AM an author. I write so many other things, that at the end of the day, I'm spent and have no more time/energy/creative flow to devote to my own story.

But how backward is that? It should be the most important one of all. Sure, it doesn't have a pressing deadline and a fabulous editor in New York waiting for the finished product or the benefit of an advance check hanging on it...but it's MY story. My life. My heartbeat.

I need to write it down.

And you know what? So do you. Because I've realized it's one of the most important, effective tools (besides prayer, of course) in fighting against the enemy. When you pour your heart onto the page and document your journey, your storm, your trial - you're providing your testimony. Revelation 12:11. "And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony."

That's putting our testimony into the same, though rightfully second place, category as the BLOOD of CHRIST.


Pretty powerful stuff (to be the understatement of the year)

When we provide our testimony, we get truth. We see the journey for what it is, and we get to remember and see PROOF of all the times and all the ways Jesus came through for us. The enemy can't poke us with lies or downplay God's power with thoughts like "well it wasn't that big of deal" or "you just overreacted" or "it would have worked out anyway" when the pages are soaked in tears and we clearly, vividly remember the pain of that entry. The enemy can't fill our heads with lies of "God doesn't care" or "God has forgotten you" when we see His fingerprints all over our stories. God gets the glory from our testimony.

Another benefit - when we record it all, we'll have the whole saga to share with others, to offer hope and encouragment for their own story. We won't forget those crucial key elements, however small, that kept us going each day. The blessings God used to remind us of His love. The power is often in the details and the details are sadly what we forget first.

So go back to the beginning and start documenting your storm. I'm going to do it to, because while I've been writing down pieces here and there, I don't have it all down yet. And I know that's a big part of this journey for me, a big piece in the puzzle of freedom. My prayer thoughout my trial has been that God would get the glory. What better way than this to start that process? Stepping out in faith that the story will end will.

This chapter might downright stink. But God isn't finished yet.

Write it down.

PS - the winners of the two Liz Johnson giveaway books are...eyeballucy and Laura Jackson! Congrats ladies, you're going to love her stories! I'll forward your email addresses to Liz and she'll be in touch. Thanks for entering!