The Place of Security {and Radical Departures}

 "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
Jim Elliot

Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.
 When he had finished speaking, 
Jesus left and hid himself from them.
John 12:36

Why is yes like light, and no like dark?
Yes, light and good go together; dark, bad and no are all intertwined.

Don't tell me there is no difference between light and darkness, good and bad. That evil doesn't exist.
That everything is true.That just because you decide that truth is not convenient, it is a lie, or that it is to be discarded, tossed out as garbage. 

I despise arguing with illogical people but worse still is the one who borders genius at 12 and can logically argue with me beyond years...
Yet is not yielded to light, but walking toward darkness.

I have always felt uncomfortable when people have applauded my mothering or parenting.
Or when they criticize and boo it. Even more so when others look at my child and commend me or chide me depending on the circumstance and behavior. It felt wrong. I have observed much in my life. I consider myself a professional observer. 

I have observed children rebelling against godly parents. And I have observed children of the ungodly exceed morally upright expectations and example. I have seen offspring of God-fearing, Believing Christians, embrace darkness and I have seen children with the worst possible beginnings end up walking in light and truth victoriously.

Who escapes darkness?

Who gets the credit? 

It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall.
Psalm 75:7

Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
John 7:24

I have been on an unexpected journey this week.
A radical departure from the "plan".

In life there are a few things I did not plan.
Oh, heck there are a slew of things I have experienced that were not in my plan. 

I do know this today:
If I belong to Jesus, and I do,
He will not let me depart from the path He has for me.
If I make a mistake, He will surely guide me back to the path of safety.
If I run far from fear and fail to trust,
He will lead me back to the Everlasting Arms and give me rest again,
cradle me close to His bosom.

The place of security is not always the place you think, but sometimes the place you fear to travel, though long to go. 

“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates”
Amy Carmicheal

Is there something the Lord is calling you to do, believe or trust that feels a little scary? Why?
Or is God calling you to depart from the road your on for the road less traveled, and you doubt? Why?

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5a

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

I promise to tell you more about this unexpected journey on Monday.
No, it does not include Hobbits. 
But something precious...yes, that it does. 


Reign of the Black Wolf


Dark, growling, growing stronger
every day

He consumes her waking hours
devouring the scraps of goodness that still remain

tears into purity and hope
ripping flesh from bone
hungry for every morsel...

This dog will settle for nothing less than soul meat

Glaring from the corner 
he rests
never will he be satisfied

On guard every minute
in case a turn toward 

He waits
to pounce upon 
his opponent

teeth clench down
hard on truth-
drawing blood

life seeps out 

red moon,
victory howl

but his reign
is temporary

Though he mutilates her beauty
she will not remain his prize

for though deceived by his cunning, fierce appeal

she belongs to another

He will not share, 
nor slumber forever

He will return to rescue 
His precious child.

Gone will be the dark days then...
he will be no more.

Joining in sleepy eyed but happy at the pub!


What's A Few More Mistakes To Add To My List on Monday?


Heloooooooooooo friends, So right from the starting gate, the year is certainly not turning out as I expected. Although I am not completely comfortable at this time to reveal too much. Let's just say it involves, a certain strong -willed girl, school, choices, decisions, fears, doubts, options, insecurities and lots of opinions of others from many walks of life. One thing remains true...although I may not have all the answers (and I do get slightly annoyed by those who think they have them all), I am confident the one who holds me in His palm HAS them, thank you very much. I do not know what tomorrow will bring and I will say this family has been on a roller coaster ride emotionally since September (with a jump-start that happened in @ May of last year). I remember hearing a Pastor teach that there is always (at least) one thing you may not know about a person or situation which would be THE key puzzle piece you need to complete the puzzle...or judge accurately that which you perceive. But you DO NOT have that piece- only God sees ALL the pieces. Let's be careful with our words, conclusions and quick fix advice. There may be more to the picture than meets the eye and we may not be able as we think to accurately judge a situation. But there is grace...and love that never fails. There are baskets of fruit we can offer those going through difficult times. Instead of those boxes of criticisms, judgments and inaccurate conclusions packaged prettily with pride and prejudice, then handed over with a smug smile. Ouch!

I promise to share more as appropriate and once there is clarity in the situation. OK?
If you want to pray that for us, I would be grateful.

In the meantime lets have some fun, it is MONDAY after all!

My Girl and I had a little Art Project going on this weekend.
We decorated clipboards using collage with random favorite clippings. 

In progress...almost done here.
It felt good to create something! Hooray for us!

Announcing the "My Husband is Awesome" Link up- PLEASE Join me to link up all of the reasons our Hubby's are awesome February 3rd-13th! Write up a post and come link up to celebrate our men! Honestly  I do this because I know I am guilty of not appreciating my hubby as much as he deserves, so let's join together in an exercise of honoring our hubs and God by focusing on the many wonderful attributes we take for granted daily and sing out the praises of our great guys and faithful God for providing them! I will put the link up at 12 AM on Sunday, February 3rd. I will choose one of the linked Husband posts to be shared on my blog in full as a special Valentine feature. Does that sound fabulous to you? It can be short and sweet, lengthy, in letter form to him, or a few points or bullets, sappy, silly, dry or poignant! I promise this exercise will be a wonderful gift to your hub, yourself and God!
See my first "My Husband Is Awesome" post  HERE. The Remix HERE

*Oh and can you pass this Link Up info along to others so many might join us in our celebration? Share it anyway you see fit! Facebook, Twitter etc. 
Thanks in advance for your support!

You still have time to make your HUBBY a cute Valentine's Day Gift like this Love Album I made a few years back. It really is easy and fast. You can make a simple version- really you can do it! 

Catching up on Book Reviews! 

Reviewed this excellent book by Ruth Myers and I have to say with conviction: Please do yourself a favor, Grow with God and read it. You will not regret it. This is one of those books you will re-read and recommend to all of your friends, and they'll tell two friend, and they'll tell two friends, and so on and so on. Oh sorry, commercial FLASHBACK!

Finished (FINALLY) Lifted By Angels. Read the Review. I will say this, it packs an awful lot of history into seven chapters. Seriously has me looking over my shoulder. (smile)

Counting Gifts To 1000...

371. Peace in the morning
372. Peace to my core
373. Peace even while approaching the rockiest shore
374. Knowing that though the ship may rock, be battered, tossed and smashed, sunk to the bottom of the sea...He IS there. Always faithful.
375. The words that he brought to my mind...even when others (Christians) fail, I (God) will prevail. 
376. That mistakes, if bringing us CLOSER to the truth of His good and perfect will, though painful to endure, ultimately serve His purposes. 

This will be my Mantra forever:
Even when Christians fail, God still prevails.
He is Faithful.
His will will be done.
Nothing and No One. Can Stop. Our. Great. God.

My eyes, remain fixed on Heaven, my feet still walk these dusty roads and in the end I will see Him face to face, for His mercy endures forever. Great is His faithfulness. 
Keep your eyes skyward friends, He is coming soon...
but until then keep on serving, loving and living, His sees you. He sees me. His eyes are on us, His little flock. 


Lifted By Angels by Joel J. Miller {Book Review}

When was the last time you felt awe with regard to the spiritual reality of and in your daily life?

I trudged slowly through Lifted By Angels- The Presence and Power of our Heavenly Guides and Guardians for a number of reasons. This book, although only 7 Chapters and 152 pages is quite an interesting read, packed with meat to chew on and ponder long after the reading is done. Consider 30 pages of referenced notes! I was awed by some of the details I came across while reading Lifted By Angels. I woke up to the reminder of the angels among us like I never have before as I journeyed through time and history with some of the most respected leaders, thinkers, theologians, philosophers, pastors, artists and teachers

Seeking to clarify the presence, position and potential of angels and angelic activity from the beginning of time to our current period, Mr. Miller pulls back the veil of the unseen spiritual realm and draws our eyes to see what Christian history confirms and recognized readily.

Reading this book was eye opening, and a little bit sobering. Siting, reminding and recalling the numerous angelic interactions with humans throughout the Bible and beyond reminded me of the realm we so often forget in the daily bustle of life. That our great cloud of witnesses includes an angelic, always present, host. That these beings are designed and designated specifically by God, as guides, guardians, protectors, meddlers of the divine conspiracy in the best of ways! 

I am excited to consider all the more the reality of our invisible to the naked eye cheerleaders and co laborers in Christ. Be prepared to be awed. Awaken within your soul a new sense of wonder. 
In this way you too, might just be lifted by angels!

Published by: Thomas Nelson
Book Description:Explores the relationship between people and angels, through the eyes of the early church. Heaven is closer than we realize. Its boundaries overlap our own, and angels move in and out of our porous present, this moment that seems to us so solid and concrete. If that reality seems dim to us now, it beamed for the early Christians. Through their writings, sermons, songs, and art, the ancient faithful confessed a powerful and vivid belief that angels help carry us on our journey to God.

I received this book from Booksneeze in return for review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

I review for BookSneeze®


31 Days of Praise- Enjoying God Anew {Book Review}

31 Days of Praise- Enjoying God Anew by Ruth Myers is a must read book for every Christian. The book is broken mainly into three specific parts. Part One is designated as the "How To" chapter as well as an invitation into entering into praise with scriptural support and definition of praise and how it is instrumental to worship.

" Praise can be quiet and meditative. But it can also include celebrating and exulting in the Lord's majesty and splendor, His sovereignty, His limitless power, and His bountiful love-which we do not in the least deserve. In praise we exalt and magnify Him. Praise includes speaking highly of God to other people, as well as directly to Him."

It is mentioned that one of Satan's strategies is diverting Christians from praise, and I wholeheartedly agree. How often do we find ourselves grumbling, complaining, cursing in response to the small details of the day.

Part Two is the actual 31 Day plan of practicing praising God. These day by day scripture referenced pages of prayers will do the same thing for your prayer life that physical exercise does for your body. Initially the benefits seem unseen, but they allow for a wonderful paradigm shift that we all need and desire at the core of our being. Confidence in the presence of God and stronger faith in all circumstances is the goal of every Christian for in these we glorify God.

Part Three seals the deal on the importance of choosing praise in light of our unique purpose, despite circumstances, secular values, and for victory in our daily walk on this earth.

"Through praise you  give God something no one else in Heaven or Earth can give: the love and adoration of your heart."

"Did you know that praise can help you fulfill your destiny, your chief purpose in this life and the next? The Westminster Catechism condenses volumes of scriptural truth when it says: The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

This book is both rich and concise with truth. Not a word is wasted. Heavily hi-lighted and highly recommended I offer this excellent book, Christian resource and review with hopes that you will be empowered and blessed at the outcome of reading it for yourself.

 *I bought this book myself and am reviewing it because I believe it is worthy of sharing my thoughts and opinions. I do a blogging program with Blogging For Books through Waterbrook/Multinomah but this particular book was not one received as part of that program. I chose to add the link for convenience and further information as a courtesy to my readers.

Sharing with Barbie's weekend Brew!


What If? {5 Minute Friday: Again}


Here I go again- 5 minutes@ 10:00  on my mark, set, go...

Again and again I ask myself...what if? Those two words that bring forth possibility or possibly condemnation. What if, I say yes and it's the wrong thing? What if I can't? What if I do and fail?
What if it's not His will and I make a mess of everything?

What if? 

What if I say no and it's the wrong thing? What if I can? What if I don't and regret it? What if it is His will and He has been trying to get through to me but I am afraid to trust Him? What if I try and it all turns out OK? What if I trust Him and He shows himself faithful? As He always does? What if I make a mess of everything? Will He not pick up after me, patiently again, align all things together for good, because He loves me. What if I never get anything right ever, and all is nothing but grace anyway? Will he still not be faithful? 

And that's all she wrote @ 10:05...

Thank you Lord, that you are faithful...

Join us at Lisa-Jo's? 
Five Minute Friday


When Your Heart (and Desk) Is Overwhelmed

Notice the upside down calendar-
There's your sign!

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
 from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I
Psalm 62 1-2

I want it to be easier. This parenting thing. I'll just say it...I want it all to be easier. Not just the parenting. The wife thing. The finance thing. Life. The friend thing, the keeping up with housework thing. Why can't it be easier? I look around at my mess. Clutter piled high in my favorite space. My creative space is under a pile of papers and I can't fathom when I will have the time, at the same time I will have energy, to find anything, let alone create something beautiful. So I take to the keyboard and let loose my heart, mind and soul seeking redemption through the release of a few typewritten words. 

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;

I wonder the days when I roamed free, like a wild pony. 

A different life. 

Not uncluttered, mind you. 

Just different clutter.

I look around me and long to be free from the messiness of life, accepting the reality that the laundry washed, dried and folded today emerges tomorrow, stained, soiled and needy for soap. Again.

Like my soul.

 from the end of the earth I call to you

Life. It happens fast, it demands all of you, and at times it leaves you feeling like you have been
sideswiped by a Mack truck. It leaves you depleted, drained, and tired.  

    when my heart is faint.

When you wait for answers, clarity, focus and instead are handed more questions, opacity and double-vision. 

Lead me to the rock 

I am not my mess.
All that I see is temporary.
I need to step back and stop judging by the mess I see and think I see. In front of me.
And what I think I see in the "mess" of others.

that is higher than I,

I need God focus.
I need to see my Rock.

But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.
Psalm 94:22

If your life feels a little messy or cluttered with stuff your not sure what to do with (literally or figuratively) will you pray along with me? 

Lord, you are my Rock, Strength, and Savior.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near, for there is none to help (Psalm 22:11).
But, You God... are a Mighty God, My Mighty God, My Peace and Strength.
You promised never to leave nor forsake me and my hope remains in You.
Therefore I will praise you in my mess and trust in your faithfulness. 


Missional Women


Look What I'm Reading (What's On My Nightstand :January))

Well it's that time of month again. Not THAT ONE...What's on the nightstand time of month over at 5 Minutes for Books. Seriously, I feel lately that 5 minutes is all the time I have to read on any given day. But aside of being the slowest reader in the world with an ever growing book stack, I will share my giant sized desire to become a more than 5 minutes for books a day reader!

I am reading these now:

Lifted By Angels: The Presence and Power of Our Heavenly Guides and Guardians I am enjoying this book as it takes me on a journey through scriptural support of the role of angels in God's redemptive plans from Genesis through Revelation. I would have finished this already but for Christmas, New Years, and a whole bunch of other crazy life distractions. It is worth a read for those who want to delve more deeply into this trendy topic. Personally it has me considering how much bigger that great cloud of witnesses really is than I had formally imagined. 

Laura Rath is hosting an online study herself at place: Journey In Faith- and I joined her for the journey with @ 27 others from around the world! 
Finally Free: Living Free and Loving Life by Kim Tabor is a perfect start to my new year- not too heavy, not to light: Just Right! Kim shares her transformation as a Believer as she shares her FOCUS (acronym) for Focus, Restoration, Enjoyment, and Empowerment in our own Christian lives!

Lisa Tener's Quick Start to Kick -Start Your Book is full of exercises that are practical for the writing life. Lisa is on a mission:  "My mission is to empower thousands of authors to write their books, transcend this economy and transform lives." and she shares how we as writers can avoid the pitfalls of getting started on our book project and offers practical exercises to get started...and finished. 

31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew by Ruth Myers-This is one of those must read books for all Christians. Learning what it means to praise God has the power to transform every aspect of your life because it helps us know God not just as the giver of all things but as the only one worthy of our praise! A wonderful read as well as supplement to daily Bible reading and/or quiet time. 

What I finished :

I reviewed The Secrets of Intercessory Prayer and found it to be one of the best books I have read to date on the subject. 

As a Lord Of The Rings Fan, I had to read this fabulous read by Jim Ware. Loved it and Reviewed it here: Finding God in the Hobbit.

God Is In The Manger This was a recommended read from my sweet bloggy sister Shanyn  and having just finished 40 Days with Dietrich Bonhoeffer over at Bible Gateway for the 3rd time it seemed like a perfect addition to Christmas reading. Bonhoeffer's reflections are deep, moving and powerful. This Advent devo goes right through January 6th (The 12 Days of Christmas and The Feast of Epiphany). Get it for next Christmas season and be blessed!

The Latest Addition to the Stack :

 The Open Window: 8 Weeks to Creating an Extraordinary Life
This book was sent to me as a gift from Catherine Galasso Vigorito and her publisher and let me tell you I can't wait to read it! I have an advanced readers copy and am truly blessed to have it in my hands. It was released this past December and I am considering this as a possible candidate for an online study later here at Beneath The Surface: Breath of Faith this year. If you are interested in joining me let me know! I am thinking March-ish. 

Don't hate me because I am the slowest reader...
Sing with me:
I'm a ponderer, yeah a ponderer, I read around, around, around....but slow. 
What's on your nightstand? 
(Said with a pirate voice as in "What's in your wallet?")

What's On Your Nightstand


Pausing to Praise on Monday (Crossing The Jordan with Joshua)

O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Isaiah 25:1

Welcome to Monday and my Randoms.
I am feeling quiet before God this week, pondering His ways. In my Sunday School class we are about to enter the Promised Land with the Israelites and not a moment to soon. I think the children and I are tired of wandering in the desert with these complainers! We will be saying goodbye to Moses and following Joshua in the coming weeks. I am going to miss Moses as I appreciated new lessons from this great servant revealed in scripture this round. I have been considering how easy it is  to see sin in others and how difficult it is for us to see clearly our own. I am struggling a bit with a post I am writing on the topic of Pride which in itself is ironic. The struggling that is...since God has dealt often with this sin in me, you'd think writing about it would be easy. But I am not clear completely on the direction He wants me to go with it, and there are many...so I wait to hear clearly and also for the specific words He desires me to write. Today we celebrate another great leader...one who was not a stranger to Grace and Truth. I usually share some of his excellent quotes. So without further adieu.
Here they are:

Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. 

To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. 

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. 

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But... the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" 

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope

(Check out Brainy Quote for more great quotes!)

My Sweet Girl recited this great man's I Have A Dream Speech for 5th grade speech meet. All of it. I brag about that moment every year since. She is pretty amazing, actually. Sometimes I like to remind her that I gave birth to her, especially when she reminds me of my complete and utter lack of "cool". But that's another story.

For some reason Aurora decided she liked this...ahem, slightly too small basket. to chill in. Can you say, ridiculous? 
Is this a "sheepish" look?

You don't see the laundry basket on the table, right?
Or the butter dish in close proximity to feline.

Finally got a chance to READ this great Writing Guide Guide. Hoping to put it into practice and do the exercises. Do you have a book just dying to pop out of you? Something you want to share but can't quite figure how to get it out of you and on paper? Well, this guide by Lisa Tener is a great tool.
Grateful to Lisa and her advice which I am somewhat putting into practice with my Blog Schedule. So fortunate to have such a great Book Coach available in RI!
I also am putting into action some great advice from a conversation with Dan King - if you don't know Dan you need to check him out at Bibledude.net! I really was blessed by a half hour of talking with him which confirmed a writing direction that I was considering. Along the same lines I got to get together with my the Writer's Group called Write Angles which is held at my favorite local library:  Loutitt Library by the wonderful Miss Peggy (that's what I like to call her). I suppose you can just call her Peggy. If you are local and write, join us!

Well, because I know you like to peek in my Morning Quiet Time Bag (OK, maybe I really just like to peek in other people's bags and am projecting that on you...but anyhooo) here is what I have been spending mornings in January enjoying. I love the Bible Reading Plan from Rose Publishing  (You have to sign up for e-mail to get it) and have been enjoying how that really goes well with the book I am reading right now (not pictured) "Lifted By Angels" as well as the Sunday School Curriculum I am teaching. I am loving the online Bible Study I am participating with Laura Rath called Finally Free. Two journals are pictured -one is my 1000 Gifts and counting and the other is the ongoing journal life of Mu-ah. Isn't it pretty? Please note I do not rigidly follow any plan for my quiet time. There are times I write, pray, meditate, just talk, just listen, just read, write my prayers out, cry, sit quietly with bag contents still in bag, or any combination of these, time allowing. I just meet with Him and seek His presence. Don't want you to get the idea I use all of these every morning religiously. I am not religious. Tee- hee...

351. Answered prayers- this gift never gets old...
352. Angels that do His bidding and serve we who walk the earth in many unknown ways
353. Blankets piled high on my bed and me! Cozy. Love.
354. The return of optimism
355. Realization that our journey is our own
356. Faith in quiet places
357. continuous prayer
358. Immediate prayer
359. Silent prayer
360. His love for me
361. His love for you
362. His love for our children
363. His love for my girl
365. His faithfulness
366. No kidding: Flea Medicine that worked and the concoction Diatomaceous Earth
367. writer's group and our time together this weekend
368. possibility in unknown places
369. the element of surprise and anticipating good
370. love, because it is all that matters.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Have a wonderful week!


My Sweet Girl (5 Minute Friday-Cherished)

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways...
Psalm 91:11

I dropped you off today. A new fresh start for you. Mid year and I can't help but wonder how it will all turn out. My sweet girl, I left you alone with a thousand strangers today and I am clinging to the hope that God hears this mother's prayers. That you would find favor with those you don't know yet, and who don't know you. That grace would find you at this new school, in this new place. I told God this morning that I would turn my "concerns" to prayers and not worries. But it's only 9:20 Am and 2:35 PM seems like an eternity. How will I get through wondering how you are getting through? But this I wish you knew right now, wish I could whisper it right into your day...am now whispering. My sweet girl you are cherished, you are loved. You are precious in His sight.  And He is with you...and I have prayed his angels escort you on this day and a million interventions are drifting heavenward. 

 You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Psalm 139:5

This is how we do Fridays- 
5 minutes of writing whatever comes out! 
Join us!
Five Minute Friday
Blog Post Hop
Missional Women