Cafe Chat

What a great question to ponder at the Cafe today! I believe we are living in a generation where women, even Christian women fall victim to the lies of the enemy and the secular world. Unfortunately, the "lines" are being blurred and Christian women aren't "set apart" from the "world." Kim had a great example of submission. I blogged a bit in this area last week.

When I read the question, a different example immediately came to my mind......

What are some lies out in the world (secular views) today about
women that contradict what God says in His word about how women should be/act?
Diving a little deeper…What are some lies that are still out there in our
Christian circles about women? (Feel free to talk from a single woman’s point of
view or a married woman’s point of view)

I was having a conversation with my friend recently. We were at a school function and I told her how beautiful she is. And, she is gorgeous. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but is lovely on the inside. She is a caring, loving person and an amazing mother to four adopted children. She gives of herself and has a deep care and concern for all children.

Her reaction to mu compliment was a horrified expression and a long list of arguments- her complexion, her wrinkles, her hair... What she said next, though, stunned me. She said that she didn't want to go out in public because she felt so ugly. This woman, as I said, is beautiful. It broke mu heart that she had set such an unrealistic standard of beauty for herself- one she probably could never attain: perfection.

And, isn't that the lie we have bought into as women? We have to be perfect~ skinny, but with large breasts. Perfect skin. Perfect hair. Perfect clothes. We have to look like we are 16, but with no acne! Botox. Diet pills. Surgery.

But, what does the Word tell us? "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Is that what the world teaches us? Honor. Purity. Beauty.

God loves beauty. Look at His world. Sunsets, oceans, flowers, birds. But, what we fail to understand and teach to Christian women is that God looks at beauty differently than the world does! He doesn't see beauty as the world does. "Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart." And, we forget that He is the potter, the Creator.....We are His creation. We look the way He "designed" us! He knit us together in our mother's womb. God's beauty is so diverse. And, God's beauty is NOT "skin deep."

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as
braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it
should be that of your INNER self, the unfading beauty of a GENTLE and QUIET
spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." -1Peter:3-3-4

Sisters, we have got to stop believing the world's lies about beauty! God has created each one of us uniquely beautiful in His own way. "The King is enthralled with your beauty." Believe the Truth of who you are in Christ and approach the throne as a confident woman!

Please visit the Cafe for more ideas and chat!

My Cup Overflows.....

Oh, Lord, fill my cup! I am feeling depleated....

I need You, Jesus.

I have been feeling "yucky" today. Lord, I need You. Thank You that I don't need to go by my "feelings," but that I can claim Your Word.

"I am more than a conqueror in Christ."-Romans 8:37

"I look to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth."-Psalm 121:1

"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall NOT be in want...

He restores my soul....

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You annoint my head with oil;


surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."- Psalm 23

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for God's amazing Creation! I replanted my rose bushes this year and am sooooo excited to see them begin to bloom. To read more about that, click here. The fragrance is beautiful! Thank you, Lord! I love, love, love, love flowers. Thank you, Lord for creating flowers!
For more Thankful Thursday, please visit Iris at Sting My Heart! Happy Thankful Thursday!

Wordless Wednesday

For more WW, visit

More Wordless Wednesday

Mama, can we pray?

"Mama, can we pray?"

My heart was racing, my fingers shaking as I held my still sleeping five year old Aaron. I had been praying constantly in my mind since my husband awoke me in the middle of the night, hurrying me to get the kids down into the basement. He had stayed up and was watching the weather and the threat of tornadoes nearby. When the news station said a tornado was about 35 miles west of us, Brian had gotten me up out of my restless, half-dozing, half-listening state of sleep. I ran and got Abigail out of her crib and starting running towards the basement. On my way, the tornado sirens began screaming. I ran down to the basement with Abigail. I was so grateful when I saw her infant car carrier sitting on the floor.

I quickly strapped in Abigail and ran upstairs to help Brian wake up the other four kids. He was holding a sleeping Aaron and yelling at the older kids. As the wind kicked up, we lost our sense of calm and the only objective was to get to the basement as quickly as possible.

Andrew, eyes half-closed, ran past me straight to the basement. I took Aaron from Brian and ran downstairs as he shook the girls awake. When the girls heard the sirens, they too, sleepily but quickly ran down to the basement.

It was so strange to feel the air as we ran from the upstairs to the main level to the basement. The air was so hot and thick, you felt like you could cut it with a knife. The difference in air temperature from the basement and main level had to be at least 20 degrees.

With sleeping bags spread out, everyone safely snuggled in, Ashley's frightened voice whispered, "Mama, can we pray?"

Thank You, Lord, that my sweet children look to You as their Rock, their Shelter when the storms come, their Refuge. Thank You for Your hand of protection. Thank You for Your hedge of protection around us last night.

Iowa was hit by 27 tornadoes last night (watching the news, Minnesota, Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma were also hit severely). There are towns that have lost lives and homes. Two counties have been declared disaster areas with the tornadoes leveling the whole town. Please pray for these communities as they begin the clean-up today.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most
High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and
my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

.....You will fear not the terror of night,
nor the arrows that fly by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the

If you make the Most High your dwelling-even
the LORD, who is my refuge-

then no harm will befall you, no disaster
will come near your tent.

For He will command His angels concerning
you to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands, so
that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

...."Because he loves me," says the

"I will rescue him; I will protect him, for
he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show
him My salvation."

Today, on Memorial Day, please pray for the families of the men and women so bravely serving their countries all over the world. Pray for the families who have lost loved ones protecting freedom and honor.

Girl's Night Out!!!!!!!!!!

We had a FUN girl's night out!
....In life BC (before children and before Christ), GNO meant putting on make-up, spraying perfume, alcohol and getting wild with girlfriends...
NOW, GNO still included makeup (Ashley had the most fun putting it on!), perfume (mostly to hide the fact that we needed showers :) ), NO ALCOHOL, but still getting WILD!
Thank You, Jesus that You have forever changed my life! Thank You that You saved me from myself.....
Thank You for special time with my precious girls and a Daddy that encourages it....

A Woman of Noble Character

Over at the Cafe today, we are chatting about our heritage as Christians- a Godly character trait we have "inherited" from family and that we would like to pass down to our children. I immediately thought of my sweet mother-in-law, Barb.

"Wives, in the same way (as Jesus) be submissive to your
husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over
without the words by the BEHAVIOR of their wives, when they see the purity and
reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment,
such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead,
it should be that of your inner self, the unfading, quiet beauty of a GENTLE AND
QUIET spirit, which is of GREAT WORTH IN GOD'S SIGHT."

I met Barb when I began dating Brian at the tender age of 15. By then, I would have considered myself an independent young woman ready to set the world on fire. After all, I read Cosmo. I knew what "kind of woman I needed to be." I needed to "conquer" men, be better than them... at least that is what it said in all of the magazines. I watched Charlie's Angels.

So, when I was over at Brian's house I was APPALLED! I could not believe this woman! Sure, I liked her. She was sweet and wonderful. But, IN NO WAY WOULD I EVER BE LIKE HER!!!!!!!!!!!! She waited on her husband and 5 sons like a waitress! It was "Mama, get me a this, get me a that..." (and that was her HUSBAND!) Her boys just grunted! (kidding)

Anyway, I couldn't believe it. She served them. Dinner time was a perfect example. When she made dinner, she had all of the family seated, food, steaming HOT, drinks on the table, before she ever sat down. It always seemed like someone needed something before she sat down and the meal would be half over before she sat down! I would think, "why don't you get up and get yourself?????"

She was always last. She put others before herself. She served graciously. If there wasn't enough, she went without. She cooked, she cleaned, she took care of her family. She even washed the car! She was quiet. She was humble. She was gentle.She didn't "make her voice heard", at least in "public"- in front of me. She was definitely NOT a "Cosmo" woman!

I thought she was crazy. I thought she was weak. And, I often thought, "I will NEVER be like Barb! NEVER!"

I don't remember my mom being like that. I honestly don't remember one way or the other. I spent most of my time at Brian's house those years, so maybe she was and I didn't see it. I see those servant behaviors NOW in my mom. Maybe she has changed or maybe it is now that I see it. But,with Barb, I SAW it! There was another girlfriend that would also be at the house and she and I would often roll our eyes in agreement that this was RIDICULOUS!

I thought, "Barb, get a backbone! Barb, stand up for yourself! Is his leg broken???? Tell him to get up off of the couch and get an apple himself!!!"

This was all before I had a relationship with the Lord. And, before I had ever read 1Peter:3:1-3. My opinion has changed so much as God gives me wisdom and I see that this is exactly the woman I want to BE! I long to put my own selfishness aside and serve with such a gentle, sweet heart. What I thought was weakness is really strength! It is the strength to be a living sacrifice, a gentle and humble servant (like Jesus was and tells us to be!). It is the strength to kill the flesh and put others above yourself.

Now, I want MY family to see Barb in me. I long to be that quiet and gentle spirit. I want to be the 1Peter woman whose beauty comes from such a spirit.

Now, I see Barb as the Proverbs 31 woman. She exemplifies this woman. "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life......She is clothed with strength and dignity....She speaks with wisdom....Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her....Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

Now when I look at Barb, I see her with mature eyes of a wife and mother. I see that her 5 boys rise up and call her blessed. They respect their mother and love her. Every Mother's Day and birthday and Christmas they lavish her with expensive gifts. We all make sure to visit her and call her. All of her grandchildren (12 of them!) love her and respect her. Not one of her children or grandchildren would ever dare use swear words or bad language in front of her because of respect. Her husband loves her (they have been married 48 years) and cherishes her. They still go to coffee in the morning, out to dinner every Saturday night, church on Sunday, and they spend the winters in Florida. He takes care of her and still calls her "Mama" even though there aren't any children around anymore.

Yes, I want to my girls to be like Grandma Berta (and hopefully I am, too!)- a quiet and gentle spirit, humble and meek with a servant heart, putting others before herself. That would be a Godly character trait that worth "passing down."

Please visit the Cafe today for more of Internet chat!

Looking for some great blogs??????

Aaahhhh, blogging! Two years ago I would have had NO idea what you were talking about if you said the word. Now, I find much encouragement in writing and reading blogs. I have been introduced to a network of amazing women who love the Lord and who desire to go deeper in Christ.

Periodically, I like to share my "finds" with you and ecourage you to visit these awesome blogs. My favorite day to do this is Sunday. I can rest and read and be encouraged. My prayer that you, too, will be encouraged, often challenged and inspired to press in and press on.

Many blessings, my friends! Have an AWESOME weekend~ rest your body and spirit, relflect on His love, and RETURN here soon! As always, I love to hear from you all! Blessings!!!!

I have recently met an awesome Sister- Leah Adams. She and I are on the same speaking team with SpeakingThruMe ministries. Watch for a post about that very soon! I can't wait to give you all of the details!!!!! Anyway, Leah has an amazing heart and you will be touched as she openly shares about her walk with Christ!

The next friend I would like to share with you is Karen Hossink. She also is a Speaking Thru Me team member and mighty woman of God! She has an awesome blog, Surviving Motherhood. She is SOOOO encouraging.

I love Lori!!!!!!!! She and I our "soul mates"!!!!! I have found someone who loves and appreciates the use of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!, dots..................................., and High School Musical! Like me, she turned 40 this year (yay!). She and Amy Bayliss are encouraging so many at the Internet Cafe. She taught me how to use PhotoPlus- the awesome FREE program to put words over your pics. Check out her blog!

I recently got an email from this fellow Princess- Carol Van Atta! She has an amazing blog for you to check out- Carol is also a speaker/writer.

Today I also found this amazing ministry- Michelle is a mighty woman of God. God gave her a word that He has given to me, also: URGENCY. Check her out!

And, finally, I want to encourage you to visit my dear friend, Jill at . She is "new" to blogging and I have invited you to visit her place when she first started. I am amazed how she has just "jumped" right in to it- her blog is fun to read and I love her visuals. She has been doing a series on balanced living. Jill is a pheonaminal speaker! You would be blessed to have her speak at your next woman's event.

Zephaniah 3:17

"For the Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great
delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with

This is one of my favorite verses. I first became familiar with it from a bible study by Kathy Troccoli and Dee Brestin called Falling In Love With Jesus. Oh, how I loved that study and how my heart's cry was (is) to fall in love with this precious Jesus. I wanted (WANT) to be head over heals in love with Him; to have a living, breathing, on-fire relationship with Him. I want to love Him more and more and see Him more and more. Like the song, "I Want to Know You," I want to hear Your voice, I want to touch You, I want to see Your face, I want to know You more..."

It has been really neat because I have seen so many bloggers use this same verse in the past couple of weeks. In fact, it was the winner for last week's Word-Filled Wednesday....

Imagine my reaction when I recently opened a journal from 2005 and discovered that I had written about Zephaniah 3:17! OK, God, are you trying to get my attention here? So, I decided that I needed to study this verse a little more in depth. This is one thing I need to be careful of.....I sometimes meditate on favorite verses and don't always take the time to study the context and allow God to teach me more and get in "deeper." So, this is what I found in Zephaniah.....

If you would like to read a little more about the history of Judah and dig a little deeper, or if you feel like you need some background, scroll down to the bottom of the post after the prayer for some bible study.

What I wrote in my journal:

The people of Judah chose NOT to obey God and to worship idols. My summary says, "they were materially prosperous and saw no need to repent of their sins in order to please God."

(It made me think of us today......materially prosperous with no need of repentance or the desire to obey God.......)

My bible says the purpose of the book of Zephaniah was "to shake the people of Judah out of complacency and urge them to return to God." Hmmmm.......I believe we need a good shaking, too! Oh, Lord, how we need to return to You in repentance!

Zeph. 1:6, "They no longer ask for the Lord's guidance or seek His blessing (inquire of Him)."

How many times, Lord, have I been guilty in just "barrelling ahead" in my own ways, doing my own "thing," not seeking You first- Your guidance or getting Your "blessing"~ just stopping to ask You if it's OK!

The Lords says in verse 12, "I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem's darkest corners to find and punish those who sit contented in their sins, indifferent to the Lord, thinking He will do nothing to them." How often have I sat in the dark, content in my selfish sin indifferent to God and taking obedience "lightly"? Have we done this as a Church?

"(Jerusalem) proudly refuses to listen to even the voice of the Lord. No one can tell it anything; it refuses all correction. It does not trust in the Lord or draw near to its God."

Lord, I confess I have been stubborn at times, refusing Your correction. I have trusted in the worldly things of life when I should have trusted You and I know there have been times when You have called to me to draw near to You, but I have sought out other things instead- food, TV, friendship, activities.......

God then calls Judah (and US) to repentance!

"Gather together and PRAY, you shameless nation. Gather while there is still time, before judgement begins and your opportunity is blown away like chaff. Act now before the fierce fury of the Lord falls and the terrible day of the Lord's anger begins. Beg the Lord to save you- all you who are humble, all you who uphold justice. Walk humbly and do right. Perhaps even yet the LORD will protect you from His anger on that day of destruction." (verses 2:1-3)

My reference says, "Wrath and mercy, severity and kindness, cannot be separated in the character of God.....Judah is polluted with idolatrous priests who promote the worship of Baal and nature, and her officials and her princes are completely corrupt. Therefore the Day of the Lord is imminent; and it will be characterized by terror, desolation, and distress. HOWEVER, by His grace, God appeals to His people to repent and humble themselves to avert the coming disaster before it is too late."

It made me think of the today and how similar we are to Judah. And, how God's heart appeals to us to turn to HIM! He doesn't want us to be confused with all of the other religions mixing with Christianity. He doesn't want us to worship idols~ money, food, body image, activities, work, praise of man...... He simply asks us to turn to Him. To seek Him. To humble ourselves and pray.

Lord, I pray that You "purify my lips so that I will be able to worship the Lord." 3:9

Lord, help me to be "lowly and humble"- never proud! "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the LORD's anger." (2:3)

But, look how precious God's heart is toward us! As we continue to read in Zephaniah, the tone changes.

"Cheer up, Zion! Don't be afraid. For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. (Can't you see JESUS?????) He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With love, He will calm your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy will be disgraced no more....I will save the weak and helpless ones; I will bring together those who were chased away. I will give glory and renown to my former exiles, who have been mocked and shamed. On that day I will bring you home again. I will give you a good name, a name of distinction among all the nations on earth....." (3:16-20)

Our God is so tenderhearted towards us. He loves us so much. It is His desire that we return to Him! He lives to take away our shame. He longs to bring honor to our name. He is so good. So loving, so forgiving..... He just asks that we love HIM completely....that we don't turn to the world for our help. He wants to be our Help. He wants us to be enthralled with HIM, as He is enthralled by us. He desires us to seek Him with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, all of our strength. He wants to be the center of our lives. He loves us more than we will ever know or imagine. He rejoices over us with singing.

Father God, You are glorious. You are so good. Holy. Perfect. You are so tenderhearted and merciful. Lord, as I see myself, my Church, my generation in the people of Judah, I fall down on my knees in repentance, begging for Your forgiveness and mercy. I do come humbly before Your throne, worshiping You, placing You BACK on the throne to my heart. I am sorry I have turned to the "world", to other things in idolatry. I am sorry that when I felt overwhelmed about the party last week, I DID turn to food to comfort me. Lord, haven't I learned by now that FOOD will never satisfy me....never comfort me....never help me? Only You, precious Savior can do that. Lord, I thank You that only YOU are mighty to save. I thank You that You quiet my restless spirit with Your love. I thank You that rejoice over me with singing. I love You Lord. I love You, precious Jesus. In the name above all names, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Zephaniah was a prophet during the "dark period" of Judah's history. 2 Kings 21 tells of the history. Israel (northern kingdom) had already been led into captivity due to idolatry and the people of Judah (southern kingdom) were following down the same path. Judah had been ruled by the wicked king, Manasseh. This king had "done evil in the Lord's sight." I mean EVIL! He worshipped many other gods, including Molech, who demanded human sacrifice of children. He rebuilt the high places (alters on the mountain to worship foreign gods) that his father, Hezekiah had destroyed. He built alters to Baal and built an Asherah pole to worship. Asherah was a fertility goddess and the pole was believed to have her deity within it. The Lord said of him, "Manasseh king of Judah has committed these detestable sins" and God tells of the destruction Judah will reap because of them. His son, Amon, succeeded him and also did evil in the eyes of the Lord. The Bible says, "He walked in the ways of his father; he worshiped the idols his father had worshiped, and bowed down to them. He forsook the LORD, the God of is fathers, and did not walk in the way of the LORD." These were God's people~ people who had such promise, who belonged to the Living God, who were the apple of God's eye, precious to Him. I can understand why it was referred to as "the dark days" of Judah. How God's heart must have broken as these people turned to the ways of the world- worshiping nature- the trees, the moon and the sun, stars and constellations and the gods and goddesses of the world around them. How sickened He must have been as they worshiped with shrine prostitutes and sacrificed their own children to heathen gods. King Josiah, a godly king, reigns next and tries to reform Judah.

So, enter, Zephaniah.... Early in Josiah's reign, Zephaniah brings the people a message of judgement on Judah and the world. He prophesies about a coming devastating day of the Lord. But he promises a wonderful future to those who humble themselves, seek the Lord, and live righteously.

Thankful Thursday

Welcome to Thankful Thursday! I love this day for several reasons~ I think it does our hearts good to think about all of our blessings, it is one day away from FRIDAY- which means Family Fun Night, and Thursday is garbage day at our house. There is nothing like a home free of garbage.....hmmmm.......THAT would be an interesting post!

Please make sure you visit Iris at Sting My Heart to read more thankful hearts! I just love an attitude full of gratitude!

Oh, Lord, today I was thinking about a Joyce Meyer show I saw the other day about missionaries in China. It made me think about how blessed I am that I can worship You openly anywhere, anytime. I can carry my Bible anywhere and read it openly. I can attend worship services without fear of being caught, imprisoned, beaten, or killed. I have religious freedom! That makes me realize that I need to be aware and active in keeping these freedoms!

And, as I was thinking about all of these things, I was walking through my home. We are so blessed to have a beautiful two story home in wonderful neighborhood. We love where we live in Iowa. It is a great place to raise families. I thought about how I can easily fall into the comparison game of wishing my house were better decorated or furnished or that the basement was finished.......Oh, how this can take my heart out of contentment right into DISCONTENT! I want to rest in contentment in You, Lord!

As I was pondering all of this, I thought of the song by Chris Rice, "The Face of Christ."

If you get a chance, click here to watch an awesome video to illustrate this song.

The song talks about how we can't choose where we were born, the color of our skin, if "daddy would be rich or if mama would stick around at all". It really reminded me of how blessed I am to live in America, to have had the opportunities I've had...that my husband is successful in his work....that I am healthy in body and mind....

I am so blessed! I have a Savior who loves me.....a God who cares for me.

If that weren't enough, I have a wonderful husband who loves me.

If that weren't enough, I have 5 amazing children who adore me (most days).

If that weren't enough, I have a church family that would do anything for me if I needed.

If that weren't enough, I have wonderful friends who love me and help me and "fill in" for a family who lives so far away.

If that weren't enough, I have a beautiful extended family, which can be quirky at times, that fills me with such joy.

If that weren't enough, God has graced me with opportunities to help others, to use the creative talents He has given me, to fulfill me in these "productive" areas.

If that weren't enough, I was warmed with sunshine on my face, a cool breeze blowing my hair, and the fragrant smell of lilacs in the air.........just today. Oh, my God is good.

Love Letters

Have you ever read a really beautiful love letter?

Did you know that God has written a beautiful love letter to you?

Please visit me at

to read a devotion about this.....

Wordless Wedneday

We had a wonderful weekend! We had a huge birthday bash for Andrew, Aaron, and Abigail!

Andrew got Indiana Jones legos.....

Sweet cousins....

Ashley and Grandpa

Abigail loves Uncle Paul!

Girlie girls!

Wordless Wednesday

This bird's nest is in our kids' play fort! I can't believe the birds build a nest there, but it has been cool to watch it!

Happy WW! For more great pictures, go to Wordless

Lord, bring me back!


I was reading an old journal this morning during my very SHORT prayer time (got up late!) and Lord, as I read it, my heart cried out for You! Where is this girl who poured out her heart to You, who dove into the Word, hungry for more and more and more? Reading my commentary of several Old Testament passages, I was a little surprised by my wisdom and understanding of the scriptures which ONLY comes from the Holy Spirit. None of me- all of You, Lord. I do not want this to sound prideful at all because it is not TRACY, but You, God!

You had given me such depth of knowledge of what I was studying that it surprised me this morning. But, hasn't that been my prayer from the start? That You Lord would "give me a spirit of wisdom and understanding so that I may know You better?" And, when "you draw near to God, He will draw near to you." And, "Seek the Lord with all your heart and He will be found by you." Those have always been my prayers.....what I have been crying out for from the beginning. You answer prayer! I had forgotten the things I had written. That makes me sad.

I want to continue to grow in You, Lord. I want to continue to go deeper. I want to experience You more and more. I want Your Word to continue to open up to me and "blow me away."

Last week I was listening to Revelation (Audio Bible) and again, Revelation 2:2-5 hit me.

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance....Yet
I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the
height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at

Oh, Lord, I repent! I do not want to forsake You! I want to draw nearer to You, not become distant! O, Lord, forgive me!

What is going on?

One thing that comes to mind is busyness. Oh, how the enemy loves to use this against me! And, it is not a new trick, but one that is "tried and true" that he brings back again and again to trip me.

We were especially busy this past weekend because we had a family party here at our home. We celebrated Abigail's 1st birthday (March 19), Andrew's 12 (April 23), and Aaron's 5th (April 2nd) with our extended family. They all came from Illinois. Brian's parents spend the winters in Fort Myers, FL, so we waited for them to return. So.........we were busy getting our home ready, gardens planted, grass mowed, closets cleaned (come on, Tracy! Like anyone is going to see the closet!).....and on and on.... So, Sunday, when everyone had left, I spent time refreshing myself reading blogs, soaking in encouragement from other Christian bloggers. One common theme I found was that many of us are in the same "boat!" We are weary and needing to be refreshed in the Lord.

One blogger (I'm sorry- I can't remember now which blog it was- I visited several!) said that she needed to rest in the Lord....that when life is getting so busy, He is there telling her to come sit with Him awhile. That was such encouragement to my soul! Lord, I know I need to come and rest in come and sit with You awhile. I love You so much, Lord. I want to grow in my relationship with You! I don't want to backslide! I don't want to forget my first love! I love You so much, Jesus!

Thank You for reminding me about these journals. Thank You for reminding me that "You pour out Your wisdom GENEROUSLY to anyone who asks." Thank You for slowing me down to rest in You. I know You are the most important thing in life. I know You are my first love. I rededicate myself to You. I ask You, Lord, to fill my cup to overflowing again. My heart and flesh cry out, for You the living God. You are life. You are life. I love You.

Who am I?

God, who am I? Am I Tracy? Wife? Mother? Daughter? Friend? Who am I?

I am an eagle, flying free above the pull of the world.....
above SIN....
above temptation.....
above all the things I "should" be.....
above the guilt of things I am not....

"Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They
will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk
and not be faint." -Isaiah 40:31

I am a hope is in God, the Maker of Heaven and earth. I trust You, Lord. I wait on You. I am nothing without You. At least, I don't like who I was WITHOUT You, and I never want to be that person again. You are my Savior. My Redeemer. I love You.

Who Am I
by Casting Crowns
album: Casting Crowns (2003)
Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours
Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are
I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours
I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

Thankful Thursday

Wow! It has been a crazy couple of weeks....

I have been struggling to answer my comments on my blog(please forgive me for not answering your kind comments if you have taken the time to write!). It has been a tough time with lots going problems....busy time at school......trying to do all the things I need to do with keeping my sweet Jesus first place in my life. I have put the computer aside many mornings, writing instead in my journal. But, there have been many precious bloggers taking the time to write encouraging comments on my blog and devotions. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Even though I haven't always been able to visit or return comments, I have been blessed beyond measure by your encouragement.

I am so THANKFUL for all of the encouragement I receive from Christian bloggers.

Father God, I thank You for the blessing of blogging
encouragement. Thank You for the beautiful women who honestly share their walk, who encourage others in their faith, who sweetly take the time to build up
others. Father, You are so gracious to provide such wonderful Sisters in Christ.
Lord, I thank You for a hedge of protection around our computers and websites.
Thank You that what the enemy means for evil with the Internet, You Lord can
turn into good. Father, I love You. Lord, may my blog always encourage others in
their faith. May it always point them to You, precious Lord. I love You, Jesus.
In Your Name we pray. Amen.

For more Thankful Thursday, please visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

I am over at Laced with Grace today......

I love roses! They are so beautiful.....

I am over at Laced with Grace today sharing a story about roses and my precious Andrew..... please stop by.

My prayer is that you will be blessed greatly!

Fill me again, Lord!

Lord, I love You. I seek You. I surrender to You. Again, Lord, I have struggled with staying near to You. It is not You, but ME!!!! I recently read my friend's post from "A Planting of the Lord" where she described her devotion time as "Drive Thru Devotions." Oh, how that has described me the past several weeks.....trying to do to much, not waking up early enough to have that quality block of time, but instead snacking on You, trying to fill up on You in a hurry.....Oh, Lord, it doesn't work that way, does it?

Father, forgive me. I was reading in Chronicles this morning. Solomon's son, King Rehoboam becomes strong in his own eyes, forgetting that his strength comes from You.

"He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord."

Oh, boy. That one hit me. I want to continue to seek You, Lord with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. I do NOT want to depend on my own strength or live like I am strong in Tracy. Lord, I need You. I love You. I have missed You. I miss our time together. I miss the lessons You teach me when I give You the time to work....when I give the Holy Spirit time to work in my spirit. Oh, how foolish I have been. Lord, I love You. I seek You. You are life. Jesus, when You say, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," it is so true! My life is empty without Your Presence filling me.......Jesus I love You. I need You. I humble myself and cry out for more of You, Lord. I ask for a fresh filling of You.

Lord, I give You this blog. I ask Lord that You make it Your own. I don't ever want to write to bring myself "glory" or to "impress" others or actually to write FOR anyone but You, Lord. I struggle at times with looking to others to fill me with what I need- Lord, why haven't I learned this lesson by now?????? It is not the praise of man that satisfies me- it is only Your sweet Spirit that satisfies. Lord, may this blog bring YOU glory. May it encourage hearts as it points NOT to the wisdom of Tracy, but to the wisdom of the Almighty God. May I encourage others to NOT seek their own strength, but YOUR strength. Lord, I am nothing without You. May I be so transparent that anyone who reads this blog will see that and seek YOU. Lord, You are Life. You are the only Life worth living! You are glorious. You are awesome. You are amazing. You are precious.

I was singing the song, "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong this morning. I want to make it a prayer today!

"Lord, take me as You find me- all my fears and failures. Fill my life again. I give my life to follow. Everything I believe I surrender."

Lord, I surrender all to You. Fill my life again. Fill me again. "Fill me to the measure of all the fullness of Christ." Lord, may the world NOT see me, but You. May You shine so brightly in me that it is a reflection of Your beauty.....a display of Your splendor. Oh, my precious Lord, how I long to be a display of YOUR splendor. How I need You. How I love You. Praise You, Lord.

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord
has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind
up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from
darkness for the the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the
day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who
grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of
gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of
the Lord for the display of His splendor.

Father God, I love You. I praise You. You are my life. Thank You for loving me so much. Thank You for continuing to whisper to me, to woo me back to You. I desire You. I seek You. I want more of You. Thank You that when "I draw near to You, You will draw near to me." Thank You, Lord. Jesus, Precious Savior, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Mighty One, Beautiful One, I love You. I praise You. I worship You. It is in Your sweet Name that I pray. I pray for all those who are reading this blog. Bless them Lord. Fill them with a desire to know You more, to love You more, to seek You. Holy Lord, I pray that You would sanctify my words, sanctify this blog for You, and sanctify the Internet. Lord, I pray for all of those who are "out there" right now- blogging, "surfing", chatting.....may they find You, Lord. No matter what they are looking for, whatever they are "googling", searching for, may they find You. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.

TAG- I'm "IT"!

Cool, cool, cool, COOL!

I am soooooo excited!!!!!!! This is the first time I have been "tagged!" Yay!! I love games and have seen "tags" all over blogland, but have never been tagged........

until NOW!

So, I was so very excited to see that skoots1mom from "My Hands...His Glory" tagged me!

(from Evan's Garden)

Here are the rules for this one:

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The nearest book I have by my bed is "Raising Kids for True Greatness," by Dr. Tim Kimmel. I haven't started reading it, but is sure looks great!!!! It's one of my books I want to read this summer.

Here are my 3 sentences:

If you voice even a single word of concern, your head could very likely end up in a jar on the king's desk.

Daniel was an orthodox Jew. That meant he was kosher. But the food the king of Babylon had alloted for him did not align with his Hebrew diet.

Thankful Thursday

Father God, I am so thankful for all of the messes in my house. You reminded me yesterday that there won't always be messes in my house.......This is a season of life, and seasons change....enjoy this season now. I don't want to be so concerned about the MESS, but enjoy the "mess maker!" Our little Abigail (1) is in to everything! She escapes from baby gates, pushes toy containers over to the couch to climb on it, pulls out all of my plastic cups from the cupboard, pulls off all of the refrigerator magnets, plays in the toilet, empties the dipe wipe container, gets into the dog's food bowl, pulls all of the items off of the bottom shelf of the pantry (and drops them off throughout the house)......need I go on????????

Oh, Lord, these little fingerprints on the front door window will not always be here. I am so thankful for this season of life. Andrew (12) will be grown and on his own by the time Abigail is his fast the time goes. Yes, Lord, I am thankful for these messes.

Lord, I am thankful for the 12 loads of laundry that I MUST do today! I am thankful for the little bodies that wear them and thankful that we have beautiful clothes to wear.....

Oh, Lord, I am soooooooooooooo thankful for this spring day. Help me God not to get too focused on my chores today to not notice the warm sunshine, the glorious warm breeze, to hear the birds sing, and to enjoy the tulips as they finish out their "season." Lord, I thank You for Your beauty. How creation sings of Your glorious, majestic Presence.

Lord, thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your precious gift of Jesus Christ. Thank You for the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me today.

Bless You, Lord. Thank You.

Please visit Iris at Sting My Heart for more wonderful gratitude to our glorious God!

Have a blessed day.