Restore. Rescue. Deliver. Redeem.

I keep a thesaurus tab bookmarked on my computer. When I am struggling to find the right word or want to use a word I have not used twenty times already, I type in the word I do not want to use and search for a suitable synonym.

Restore is one of those words I find to be Spirit-breathed. In my heart, anyway. But when I was reading Psalms 69, 70 and 71 the other morning, I was drawn to certain words. Over and over, David used the words, “answer me,” “rescue me,” “deliver me,” “redeem me,” and “restore my life.”

Answer. Rescue. Deliver. Redeem. Restore.

Read More

Happy Birthday to My Sister-Friend!

Today is my sister-friend, Lindsey’s birthday. If ever a person deserved to have their birthday declared a national holiday, I would lobby it was Lindsey. She deserves to have this day celebrated on every calendar. But people don’t come to me for things like this. They don’t ask my opinion about national holidays, for some reason. So I write about it and offer, anyway.

Lindsey, as I have shared many times, is the epitome of love and grace. I’ll never forget the snowy day in December, 2008, when I drove over to Lindsey’s house and we talked, cried and just sat in silence. I dumped my heart onto Lindsey’s lap, and she told me, “This is going to get better. We are going to pray you through this.”

Those words still ring in my ears from time to time. I could not have walked through the heartache, the turmoil, the agony and the pain I endured for so long, without her.

Read More

But Even When It Hurts Like Hell?

Do you ever notice how often we all say, “Praise God,” or, “Hallelujah!” when something great happens? I love that. I love how we will immediately give God the glory and praise Him with wonderful news.

But what are we doing when life is hard? When we are hurting or under spiritual attack? Are we stomping our feet and complaining while shaking our fists in anger, or are we praising Him?

There is a beautiful, beautiful worship song called, “Even When It Hurts (Praise Song)” by Hillsong United. I love the part in parenthesis. “Praise Song.” In other words, even when it hurts, we will sing songs of praise.

I do not always do this very well. The lyrics to the song, “Even When It Hurts,” made me weep the first time I heard it. Look at this: “Even when the fight seems lost/I'll praise you/Even when it hurts like hell/I'll praise you/Even when it makes no sense to sing/Louder then I'll sing your praise…”

Oh my goodness, I was almost crippled with shame when I heard those words, because I fail more times than not, to praise God. When it hurts like hell, I’m usually the first one to cry and beg God to remove the burden from our plates. To make the people who have lied/stolen/cheated us, stop in their tracks

Read More

Dessert and the Word

My sweet Terry cracks me up. Sometimes I find him to be exceptionally hilarious. Other times, even his dry wit will have me doubled over in laughter and pondering his sarcasm and humor. One morning while we were having our Bible study, he told me when talking to Travis (my oldest bonus son), Terry told him how he has been reading Isaiah. We both find Isaiah to be absolutely fascinating. But sometimes, it can be like a college literature course where you are forced to find the “parallel meanings” or the analogy for this must mean that. Terry told Travis, “So after reading Isaiah during Bible study, I flip over to read some of Paul’s letters, for dessert.”

Isn’t that so true of what we read in God’s word, anyway? I really do not know how I would get through my quiet times without having a study Bible. The study notes at the bottom tie it all together for me, or will reference another scripture that makes me understand what the author was saying.

I shared how Pastor Steve taught us about illuminated reading. He told us every morning we should pray, “Holy Spirit, will you please show me what you want me to read today?”

Read More

Our Great Defender

My girlfriends are fierce. They fight with me and I could not wage war against the enemy without them. I sure hope you have some precious friends because they are our fellow fighters on the spiritual battlefield against the enemy. You see, our friends (not just my girlfriends; our male friends, too) have been incredible prayer warriors for and with us during this spiritual battle we have had to fight.

One of my girlfriends, Betsy, sent a song to me one day and told me, “You need to listen to this.”

The song is, “Defender,” and it was written by John Paul Gentile, Rita Springer and Steffany Gretzinger.

A lot of times when someone sends a song for me to listen to or a verse for me to look up or a video to watch, I’ll make a, “mental note” and check it out later. That day, though, for some reason, I clicked on it and listened right away. I believe the reason was because Papa knew how desperately I needed the reminder. I was “sold” on the song with this opening verse, “You go before I know/That You’ve even gone to win my war/You come back with the head of my enemy/ You come back and You call it my victory…”

Read More

Our Magic Eraser

The other day Terry asked me to hand him one of the new Magic Erasers we bought at the hardware store. These things are amazing. Small, white erasers. I asked Terry, “What exactly do these do?” Terry grinned at me and said, “Well, they basically clean up all my messes. They erase any mistakes or messes, magically.”

I just stared at him and said, “Wow. Wish we could have one of those to magically erase life mistakes!”

Both of us have made some really big messes from mistakes we made and they are costing us, to this day. We trusted the wrong people. We believed those people would come around and do the right thing. We believed they would tell the truth. When these people showed up in life to be villains rather t

Read More

Me? Offensive?

I was cleared of any “wrongdoing” as nothing offensive was found.

I’m not sure if it was my love for Jesus, my love for Terry, or my love food/wine that deemed me, “offensive,” but nevertheless, I had been flagged. Overnight, I lost over 100 followers to my page and every single FB message I had ever received, vanished. Completely erased and gone. One lady wrote to me she had an “alert” that asked if she wanted to mark my devotion as offensive. Her email was how we started putting two and two together.

I had no intention of sharing this publicly, because I think the person who reported me as offensive is a coward who desperately needs Jesus, and I truly pity them.

Read More

I Am Not A Ninja

I am going to have a new scar right under my jawline. But like most scars do, this one is going to have an awesome story to accompany it. I’m going to call it my Ninja scar.

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with horrific ear pain. It was so bad, I was fighting back tears. Not wanting to wake Terry, I decided to sneak quietly out of bed and slip down the hall to Michala’s room. My goal was to be stealth-like; to move quickly and without noise, like a ninja, out of our room.

As soon as my feet hit the floor, I knew things were about to go terribly, terribly wrong. The ringing in my ears became so loud; the few times in my life I have fainted, my ears rang before I hit the floor. I felt like I was on a ship that had capsized and I could not get my bearings. The last thing I wanted to do was make any noise getting out of bed and wake up Terry.

The crash of my fall in the pitch black darkness made plenty of noise, so that took care of that.

Read More

Kintsukuroi And My Broken Strength

Years ago, one of my directors walked into the studio where I was getting set up for my shoot and told me, “Hey, I read something yesterday that made me think of you.” He went on to tell me about the word, “Kintsukuroi.” Kintsukuroi translated means, “golden repair.” I wrote down the word and decided to do my own research on it.

Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. You can see the repairs, yet the Japanese still find the pieces to be beautiful. Their belief is the Kintsukuroi repair is part of the history of the object, rather than something to hide/cover/disguise.

I don’t know about you, but I, myself, am a Kintsukuroi piece. You cannot necessarily see the gold, silver or platinum, but if you look closely at my heart, you can certainly see where the brokenness was and the new repairs. The broken pieces are part of my history, and

Read More

Evil Is Nothing New

It’s 9:48, Wednesday night. January 23, 2019. And I didn’t want to write this. In fact, I wanted to go to bed early tonight. But it has been a terrible day.

Earlier today, I had a breaking news alert on my phone. Another shooting. But this one took place in Sebring, Florida. Sebring is a sleepy, quiet community. I know this because one of my daughter’s sweetest and closest friends from college is from Sebring.

As I read the breaking news, I felt sick. I immediately thought of her sweet friends’ parents. We met them and had dinner with them over parent weekend back in the fall. I texted Michala and asked her to ask her friend if her parents were okay. I told Michala what happened but didn’t want her to

Read More

Spaghetti Thoughts

My pastor in Franklin, Tennessee; Jamie George, during a message years ago explained how men and women think differently. He told us, “Men’s thoughts are like compartments. It’s one thought at a time. We go to a shelf, pull a box off the shelf, open it, and think about that. When we need to think about something else, we put the lid back on the box, put it back on the shelf and open another box.”

I remember being truly mesmerized by this image. I would absolutely *love* to think about only one thing at a time. Instead, I usually have 10 to 15 thoughts running through my mind, simultaneously. I think about what I need to thaw out for dinner; I think about the last thing I wrote and the four things I still need to write, and did I mail the check for the man who cuts the grass, and where did I leave the checkbook if I did write it, and what date is the credit card statement paid online, and I need to sit down and look at the statement again; (ever since someone stole our credit card information and we had so many fraudulent charges, we check our accounts daily) and how did Jesus forgive Peter when Peter promised he would never deny knowing Him, and I need to find a box for all the stuff we

Read More

My Brother's Birthday

Today is my brother’s birthday. Ken is one of those guys who could have nearly every adjective used to describe him, yet you really wouldn’t have a full understanding of who and what he is. Have you ever had someone give you an Indian Burn? My brother used to be the best giver of those. Growing up with a big brother taught me to be tougher in many situations. I’m pretty sensitive, by nature, but Ken taught me how to be stronger … an interesting characteristic that would serve me quite well, later in life.

When we were growing up, Ken could beat the tar out of me, like big brothers do, but you better pity anyone else who ever laid a hand on me, or threatened me. Back in the day when you could do things like this; it is one of my favorite stories to tell about my brother. When I was in the first grade, I would ride the bus home in the afternoons. My big brother is six years older than I am, so he was in middle school (7th grade) when I was in first. Anyway, there was this boy who was bullying my friend and me, both. He was a much bigger kid than I was, and he would plop down on the seat next to me, not letting my friend sit next to me, and would shove me back down if I tried to get up.

One day when I got home and was telling my mom about this boy, my brother’s ears perked up.

Read More

Focus on the Action Not Distraction

One of the wonderful things about our marriage is the depth of conversations we have. One Saturday morning, Terry got up before me and had already had his quiet time when I came to the kitchen for coffee.

When I sat down on the couch he told me, “While I was praying this morning, God revealed something to me about magicians, and how much like the world they are.”

Believe me. If you have ever seen the t-shirts and mugs that say, “No coffee, no talkie,” that pretty much sums me up in the mornings. I need a few sips of caffeine to recharge my brain, so I had no idea what in the world (pun intended) Terry meant by magicians were like the world.

He went further and asked me, “Have you ever watched a magician?”

I said no, but of course I have seen magicians. I love watching them; especially when I’m watching shows like, “America’s Got Talent,” where the best of the best are entertaining us. But I knew what Terry meant …

Read More

Full of Wonder

I not only like the word, “wonderful,” I enjoy it. You know why? Because it makes me think of the way I should live. “Full of wonder.”

Pastor Steve has taught us about, “illuminated reading.” He says we need to pray each day, “Holy Spirit, will you please show me what you want me to read today?” In other words, we are to pray for the Spirit to highlight the message for us.

I don’t know about you, but I can read a scripture 50 or 60 times, but until my heart is open to God’s Holy Spirit guiding me, it is like words falling on deaf ears. Suddenly when I have submitted myself wholeheartedly to Papa, the message makes sense. It is more, “illuminated” for me, if you will.

Anyway, several months ago when Terry and I were struggling with a legal decision we needed to make,

Read More

Would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Call Me An Ambassador?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a visionary. The older I get, the more I appreciate not only his wisdom, but his love for God.

You see, the greatest commandment Jesus gave us was to love His Father, and love others. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)

We are supposed to love God and love others, period.

I wonder what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would think of the way we, as a society,

Read More

Hourly Prayer Alarms

Terry and I recently made a decision about a major ordeal we endured, and I have to tell you … I wasn’t consumed with a peace over our decision. In fact, I kind of questioned it. I don’t want to go so far to say I doubted Terry’s role as leader, but I somewhat doubted this decision. I felt like it was a mistake to make the decision he wanted to make.

Once we agreed to move forward with the decision, Terry said he had a tremendous peace. He wanted to be done with the ordeal. Me? I wanted justice. I wanted revenge. I wanted bolts of lightning to strike down the people who were so wrong and caused so much trouble for us. So I asked a couple of my prayer warriors to pray alongside me and ask God to help me with my attitude.

Never doubt the mighty power of prayer.

A couple of days, and I mean that

Read More

Tightly Sealed Jar

Some things have really been bothering us. For the past year or so, we have really struggled with some shocking events to fall in our laps and Terry and I look at each other without words over most of it.

How some people can be so evil and manipulative saddens and angers me, quite frankly.

I have been praying and asking Papa to change my heart. To soften my heart so I am not so angry and bitter about these events/people.

My prayer has been, “Sweet Papa. Please work on me. Change my heart. Remove the bitterness and anger

Read More

What Other People Think of You Is None of Your Business

“What other people think of you is none of your business.” - Paolo Coelho

Terry and I have learned some people we know were fed a story about us. Mind you, there is no truth to the story they were told, but they believed the story. When we learned about this, we were both really angry, not to mention hurt and shocked.

Part of me wanted to put on my Sassy Southern Girl Socks and go straight over

Read More

Learning and Retaining

Michala finished her first semester in college with a 4.0 and learned she is actually a sophomore. We are amazed by this sweet, intelligent girl of ours. Michala and Terry together are so funny. He tells her we have a, “Rusty plan.” You see, we tell Michala not to put so much pressure on herself; we only care she does her best. She does not have to maintain a 4.0. But what her sweet Dad tells her is, “I want you to get great grades and a great education so you will get a great job with a great income so you can buy a house with a yard and take Rusty for us.”

That’s the, “Rusty plan.” Every note or card he sends

Read More