When Hard Times Come…

The Lord can use so many different things to speak to you when you are facing tough times. I have always been a ‘clear my email inbox every single day’ type of person. When I glance at someone’s phone and see an icon showing that they have a million emails…. 😳😩😩. I have been working on unsubscribing to emails that I tend to just automatically delete as well. Some of my emails are disguised as daily devotions, but are really just ads for books or apps. I do however get a few devotional emails several times a week. One that showed up in my inbox this past week proved that God’s timing is perfect in all things.

Today is day twenty-five in the hospital for us. We brought our son, Gary, here after a week of sickness and numerous pediatrician visits. We had no idea what the next few hours would entail. Within an hour and a half of arriving, he was rushed back into emergency surgery due to a tear in his colon. He has had a second surgery since then, along with numerous procedures, scans, X-rays, and wound cleanings. He spent five days on a ventilator and fourteen days in the picu. He is recovering well now in a regular room and is continuing to impress the staff here with his stamina, manners, and pain tolerance. If you look at us now, we have a fully stocked snack area in our room from loving family and friends. Gary has plenty of toys to play with, from people sending him care packages and gifts. (He spent his twelfth birthday in the hospital). He is alert, and moving more every day. He is still very weak, but for the most part he acts like himself.

This wasn’t at all the case on the first day we arrived. We were a mess- emotionally, mentally, even physically. We didn’t post anything social media. We reached out to our inner circle to pray- family, friends, and pastors. We decided to post something the next day and the outpouring of support has been humbling. This has truly been one of the most difficult seasons of our lives and we haven’t had to walk through it alone.

One of the most difficult times that Jesus faced in His life on earth was right before His crucifixion. Earlier this week, I received an email that broke down how Jesus reacted to the stress and difficulty of that time. This story is found in Matthew chapter twenty six. Jesus is so overwhelmed with despair that He goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He spent time with God. Twenty five days in the hospital will give you plenty of time to talk to God, especially about your child’s health! The biggest take away from this passage of scripture was what Jesus did next.

In verse 38, Jesus asked his disciples to pray with Him. When He was facing one of the hardest moments of His earthly life, He asked His friends to stand with Him in prayer. That’s exactly where I feel like we have been. We have posted updates and even specific prayer requests as they have come up on this journey.

We have been so blessed by the outcome. People aren’t tired of reading the paragraph long update that we post almost daily. In fact if we miss a day, we are getting messages or texts asking us for an update. People are praying. We have heard from churches all across our city that have been praying for him. People have been sending care packages or just showing up with coffee or a meal. We have been rallied around like I have never experienced before. Otis and I are so humbled. I don’t think we would’ve been able to stand all of this on our own. We wouldn’t have made it this far without all of you holding us up!

When you find yourself facing a difficult season or situation, follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Spend some time alone with God and then don’t be afraid to ask for prayer! There is such power in community.

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear…”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭58:8‬ ‭

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

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Books read in 2020

My goal every year is to read twelve books.

I love it when people post books that they are currently reading or have read, because a lot of times that is where I get my inspiration. I hear about a book or see it posted on social media and if it interests me, it goes into my Amazon saved list.

At the end of each year, I post the books that I have read just in case they might inspire someone else that is looking for their next choice!

Fee free to comment what you are reading or a book that you would recommend!! 😁

Books read in 2020-

1) Good Faith by: David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons
2) Standing Together by: Carlos and Rosemarie Evans
3) Rhythms of Renewal by: Rebekah Lyons
4) Not Normal by: Sue Miller & Adam Duckworth
5) Every Day I Fight by: Stuart Scott
6) City Serve : Your Guide to Church- Based Compassion by: Dave Donaldson & Wendell Vinson
7) Unplanned by: Abby Johnson
8 ) Unstoppable by: Christine Caine
9) He Chose The Nails by: Max Lucado
10) Fervent by: Priscilla Shirer
11) Leaders Eat Last by: Simon Sinek
12) Prayers on Fire by: Brian Simmons & Gretchen Rodriguez
13) Always Enough/Never too much by: Jess Connolly & Hayley Morgan
14) The Me I want to Be by: John Ortberg
15) The Road Back To You- An Enneagram Journey to self discovery by: Ian Cron & Suzanne Stabile
16) You are the girl for the job by: Jess Connolly
17) Twelve Extraordinary Women by: John MacArthur
18) Multiply by: Francis Chan
19) Dandelion Souls by: Martha Garvin
20) Fear Gone Wild by:Kayla Stoecklein
21) The Shack by: WM. Paul Young
22) Wild Goose Chase by: Mark Batterson
23) Radical Together by: David Platt
24) A woman is no man by: Etaf Rum

Happy Reading!

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A Thrill of Hope

This title has been all over my feed the past few weeks. After all that has happened in 2020, “a thrill of hope” seems to be the go-to title for Christmas services at every church. It does have a certain ring to it! Since that phrase had been on my mind, every time I hear it on the Christmas radio station that I have listed to almost exclusively (breaking only for the Hamilton soundtrack🤣🤣) since November 1st- I thought to myself that it might make a good topic for a blog post.


I wanted to take the time to dive in a little deeper.

The actual definition of the word thrill is to affect with a sudden wave of keen emotion or excitement, as to produce a tremor or tingling sensation through the body.

The definition of hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Isn’t a thrill of hope what we are all craving?

A wave of excitement at the thought of life returning to normal….

A tingling sensation as we consider that things are going to turn out for the best…

The desire that what is wanted can be had- family get togethers, graduations, weddings, even birthdays….

The thrill of hope that 2021 will not be like 2020.

The next line of the song says ‘….a weary world rejoices…’

Isn’t that the truth!?!? We are all weary! We might not all agree on vaccines or masks or politics or anything really, but I think we would all agree that we are simply tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally weary.

We could all use a thrill of hope.


“A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Sure the New Year symbolizes a fresh start, but you don’t have to wait until then. One of my favorite Bible verses is “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”(‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬)
Every morning or any morning can be your fresh start. A deep breath of fresh air for your weary soul. My prayer is that this Christmas season we will remember the good and the bad of this past year. I pray that we will choose to look forward with great anticipation to this next year and rest in the fact that God has us. We might be weary, but we are not forgotten.
Merry Christmas! ❤️

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Friendships are worth the work.

A couple of years ago, I was a part of a Bible Study called Building Friendships that Fit with Elevation church. One thing that I still constantly quote from that study is the concept of having different zones of friends. I believe this is so true! How absolutely exhausting would it be if you tried to be “best friends” with all of your friends!!! Not all friends are created equal, nor should they be! When you try to make it that way, you are ruining a beautiful balance in your life and potentially sabotaging friendships by putting unnecessary pressure on them.

I don’t have a ton of friends. I have lots of acquaintances. There is a difference and that is also important to recognize. I am happy with my circle of friends. I don’t need 100 women thinking they are my best friend- that’s impossible! I have some of the best friends ever that all have different strengths, gifts, and weaknesses. It’s unfair for me and our relationships for me to project my strengths onto them. Ultimately, doing so is only going to make me feel miserable and unloved. Even though that is not true.

For example, I enjoy snail mail. Sending cards… whether a thank you card or birthday card or just because card… that’s totally my zone. If I sit at home and wait to receive a card in the mail from my friends and try to measure them against my area of gifting, then I’m going to be sitting at home thinking that no one cares about me. And where does that lead me? To be absolutely MISERABLE!

This type of thinking can lead you to feeling lonely and sorry for yourself. When there are truly a million other ways that your circle expresses their love for you. You can be so focused on what you are not getting that you completely miss the blessings all around you that you are taking for granted.
Friendships and relationships are so important. We all need that community and this year has certainly taught us not to take that community for granted, because everything can change and you can all of a sudden be longing for hugs and random lunches! For so many people, the circle or tribe of friends is such a tight knit group that literally walk through the ups and downs of life together. To quote the wise Vin Diesel, “ I don’t have friends, I got family.”

Same.

And that family is so valuable to me. I want to make sure that I take the time to appreciate them all and all of their different personalities. I want to invest the time into nurturing those friendships and not sabotaging them.

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Praying Specifics

Hey everyone! Hope y’all are having a great week! We are almost done with school for the week and next week is our thanksgiving break… so there is absolutely some excitement in the air over here! The weather has finally cooled off and we put our Christmas trees up uncharacteristically early this year…. so my evenings have been spent curled up on the couch watching This is Us with the glow of Christmas lights. Its been heavenly! ❤️

I’m working through a new devotional and Bible plan each morning. It’s one of the top things on my to do list everyday. Even though it has been a blessing to me and has been revealing some things, God has been speaking to me about how I’m approaching my devotion and prayer time. This is nothing new here. We’ve all probably heard it many times before, but I thought I would share it just in case you needed a reminder.

The Lord was really stirring my heart about time with Him not being something that I just do to check it off. Maybe I’m the only one, but sometimes my prayers can sound a little repetitive. I’m praying for all the general things- friends,family, protection, school, health, and that we all have a great day. Nothing wrong with that. I think that’s probably how it goes for a lot of us. The problem comes in when prayer becomes something that you simply recite instead of an active conversation.

I have really been reminded that I need to pray way more specifically than I do. I tend to get very specific when I need something or when something is going wrong. But why can’t I be that specific about the good things, too?

I don’t just need to pray protection over my kids and for God’s favor in their life. That’s great, but it’s also kinda generic.

I need to pray specifically for struggles they are facing, character issues, habits, friends in their lives, future spouses, protection, doors to open in their lives, Gods guidance in their future…. see the difference. If I’m not going to take the time to pray this way over them, then who is? I know this isn’t always ideal and sometimes it may feel like we just don’t have the time to pray like this. I get it. Maybe it works better for you to write it out in a prayer journal.

My point in this post is not to shame anyone on their prayer lives, but to challenge you to think about how you pray and consider taking it to the next level. I feel like it is easy to grow stale when generalized prayer rolls off your tongue.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Stay alert….

Be persistent….

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Muzzle my Mouth


This verse came up in my morning devotion last week….


“I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.””‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬


It caught me so off guard with the phrase “muzzle on my mouth” that I took a screenshot and went back to that photo in my phone several times over the course of the week.


Muzzle on my mouth.


Sometimes that is exactly what I need to hear and put into practice! 🤣🤣


Just like the verse says, we can absolutely keep ourselves from sin if we muzzled our mouth a little more. Think about how many arguments could be avoided if we would spend a little more time “watching our ways” and “muzzling our mouth”. So many people love to argue for the sake of arguing. Everyone has opinions and everyone has a right to their own opinion…. but most of the time it’s not worth arguing, creating unnecessary drama, or ruining relationships over.


Help me Lord to recognize the times that I should put this verse into practice and zip it! I want to spend more time this week simply listening to others.

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Times of Transition

We are entering my absolute favorite time of the year. I am SO READY- I even made soup for dinner one night this week. Haha! I love fall! I love the cooler weather and the transition to all of my favorite holidays!!! Seeing all of the stores putting out their gingham pumpkins and orange leaves makes me giddy. I am so ready for a transition.

Normally this time of year I am craving routine. Our summers are typically crazy busy with missions trips, camps, ministry, vacation and all of that. 2020 has been so different. I’ve had a very slow paced six months. I’ve read books and painted rooms in our house and done all the things. I’ve created new routines and habits, because even in the midst of a wide open calendar- I need to feel Like I am getting things accomplished. I need that to do list everyday that I can mark off. I don’t function very well in any capacity when I feel like I’m wasting time. Don’t get me wrong… I can absolutely lounge and binge shows…. as long as I’ve gotten my other stuff done first! 😂😂

Has this backwards weird year brought any new traditions for you? Gary and I started playing Uno together every day over the summer. I told him that when we started school that the Uno would most likely stop. We are several weeks into our school year and have still played Uno most days. Uno might not be a huge deal to you, but it is to me.

I’m definitely a “look on the positive side of things” type of person. There is so much negative that could be said about this year. The hatred, sickness, heartache, canceled everything, and divisiveness is everywhere you look. However in the midst of all of that, my son and I turn off movies and put aside chores and phones to spend fifteen uninterrupted minutes together playing a card game every single day. That is one of the things that I will always be thankful to 2020 for!

Every time of transition or change is a perfect time to look back over what is ending and look ahead to the new season!! It takes a little effort to celebrate, but it is worth it! Celebrate anything good- big or small!! What can you celebrate in 2020?

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What if….

This question has been on every person’s mind lately for  a million different reasons. Maybe your “What if” has to do with school, work, politics, finances, marriages, friendships, openings and closings, masks or not….we have all struggled with some sort of what if question lately.

This might be a new one for you to think about…

What if….God was using what you viewed as a set back to push you right into His will?

I have seen people struggling the past few months. I have struggled the past few months. Depression and hard times and confusion and mourning over what is lost are all quite common for humanity in general these days.

I am not saying that things are easy, but what I am saying is that God is faithful.

I have spent many times in my life crying and feeling hopeless over situations. I know the feeling of thinking that you messed everything up and that you will not get past it. I can also look back on my life and see where God pulled me out of my despair and used those same circumstances to direct me to new opportunities.

I feel like sometimes we can get so protective of our own control. We want to know the plan and what the next step is. It can  almost be worse when we feel like we know God’s calling on our life. Then we can really start making plans and trying to figure ways to accomplish goals. Maybe…just maybe, that is not that way that God wanted to use you to fit that purpose.

2020 has not surprised God. All of the cancellations, changed plans, even the sickness….He knew it was coming and He knows when it will go away.

Don’t sink into despair. It is a new day filled with new opportunities. I can’t tell you when things will be ‘normal’ again. I can tell you that no matter what happens next, God has absolutely got us. Look for the positive, Look for ways that He is shifting your path or ideas. He is always directing you to His plan and His perfect will.

Proverbs 19:21- You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. (NLT)

Hold tight to that promise!

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Five Places That I Would Love To Visit!!

So at this point in the pandemic scheme of things, we have missed out on a family trip for a homeschool conference, a missions trip to NYC, three weeks of camp, an annual youth conference, a trip to Ohio for Nationals, and our New Years Cruise has already been cancelled. Maybe it’s all of these things that are leading me to daydream about travels.

I love to go anywhere new. There is no such thing as a boring destination. I love the planning and research and can come up with an itinerary for any destination! I’ll be packed and ready to go with my folder of notes and lists!!

I thought that today I would share five places that I would love to visit!!

My first one might be kind of bending the rules, but it’s my post so I can do that! 😂 one of my travel goals is to visit all fifty states! I am at 21 out of 50 right now and look forward to any chance to mark another one off of my list!!

The second place on my list would be Australia. This is a place that Otis and I have always wanted to visit. When we first got married, we said that for our twentieth anniversary we would go on a dream trip to Australia. Of course back then as newly weds, we assumed that by twenty years we would have a ton of savings and just be able to go on such an amazing trip. Here we are at 19 years and well… life, mortgages, kids… I don’t think that trip is happening!! Haha! Maybe for our thirtieth anniversary!!

The third place on my list would be Paris. Is there really any explanation needed?!?? Who wouldn’t want to go here!! And also- Disneyland at Paris with Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! 😍😍😍 This would totally be a dream come true!!

My fourth place that I would love to visit is Greece. There is no special reason or connection other than it is absolutely beautiful.

The final location on my list would be Bora Bora. Isn’t this a “dream destination” for anyone?!?! It seems so relaxing and picturesque!!

What are some places that are on your list?? Share them with me and maybe I’ll expand my list to be a top ten!!

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Three Ways that I want God to transform my life…

I think that if we are honest, there are always things that we want God to transform within us. I also think that there is something special about identifying those things and making them known, whether by putting them into writing or having an accountability partner. It is easy to pray ‘God, make me more like you’ or something like that. It is much more difficult to confront an actual issue in yourself- like God help me to be less of a gossip or help me with this addiction. It has been said that if you don’t admit to having a problem then you can’t take the necessary steps to solve it. This topic honestly came up in a post that listed several writing prompts. I decided to honestly explore it.

The first way that I would want God to transform me is to help me be more confident. If I am being completely honest, I am more often than not very insecure. This is not about body image. It is more about always feeling like you don’t bring enough to the table. I do believe that I am absolutely my own worst enemy, and being aware of that has helped me to overcome this struggle in my life. I used to be very insecure in my friendships- feeling not valued…like people simply tolerated me versus valuing me. Over the past few years though, God has truly blessed me with such an amazing tribe of friends to walk through life with. I have had to overcome feeling threatened over others achievements. I can celebrate with those I love and be completely secure in my giftings and talents.  It is such a joy to be able to recognize those things that I am good at and can serve- allowing others to also walk in their own areas. I need to continue to work in being this confident while walking in who God has made me to be, and not trying to make myself something else.

The second area of my life that I would like to be transformed is just being more in tune with God.  Hopefully this is something that we are all striving for. There are so many days when I feel like I haven’t prayed enough or spent enough time in His word. I am so thankful for HIS grace!! As long as I am working on it!!! I have created the habit of actually putting my Bible reading on my to do list as the first thing. This helps me to get it done first and sets the tone for my day. I usually have my worship music playing while I am reading, so that allows me to flow right into some quiet/worship time before the busyness of my day. I am continually working on helping my kids with this as well. We were all doing this together during the school year, but now that we are half way through summer break- I realized that my son had probably not picked up his devotional since the last day of school. So I have been trying to do better in holding us all accountable in this area. 

The third area of my life that I would like to be transformed in is being a better wife and mom.  I am so proud of the little family that Otis and I have created. I am so proud of our children and the people that they are becoming. We have nurtured these relationships and worked hard to protect and honor them. Just because you are putting the work in and proud, does not mean that there still isn’t room for transformation.  As far as being a mother goes, it is the most important job title that I will ever carry. I make it my top priority. Growing up, I never had career dreams- I just knew that I wanted to have a family and I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be. I had seen first hand what kind of mother I did not want to be, so breaking that cycle and being the opposite was something that was so important to me. Here is my dirty little secret- I am a “yeller”. I am not proud of it. There are even times when I am yelling at my kids and the enemy whispers in my ear… ‘see, you are just like your mom”. I know that is not true, but those attacks come. I am trying to hold myself accountable for yelling and not yelling as much. I am a work in progress. As far as being a wife goes, marriage is a journey for sure. There are seasons of date nights and being so connected and then there are seasons of barely being able see each other because work is pulling you in opposite directions. There are times when you might feel ahead of the game with finances and then there might be times when you are really struggling, which adds more stress in itself. Otis and I have been married almost twenty years. You would think by then, there would be no more need to growth in our relationship. The truth is that you should never stop growing in your relationship. It should always be your priority to talk and grow and love one another better with each passing day. That is my desire- to be the best wife and most amazing mother. To work toward that and walk in grace even in the midst of my shortcomings. 

I could go on and on and probably name several more, but my goal for today was to identify three areas. Even if you only choose to identify one in your own life, think of an area and focus on that. God does and can transform any life, no matter what the circumstances. Lay your failures down and allow Him to meet you where you are!

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