Monday, December 29, 2008

Time Without Purpose

I am off work all week. In the world of advertising most agencies shut down during the week between Christmas and New Year's and the agency I work for is no exception. What a perk, an extra week of paid vacation! I always say time is just as precious as money!

But, every year Hannah spends this entire week out of town with her dad. A week all to myself. Sounds like heaven to some I'm sure. But to me, I have to really work at staying busy. Without a job to go to or a child to take care of, I struggle to find purpose and then laziness ensues. I don't know about you, but I somehow inherited the laziness gene. I wake up and think to myself, "what should I do today?" Usually the answer is that I should clean the house or do some laundry, so I lay back down and sleep some more. I sleep too much and with the after-Christmas-blues upon me I find myself a bit depressed. Being depressed makes me want to sleep some more, sleeping makes me lazy, which breeds the blues and so we have a lovely little cycle going on. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the week off from work, but I know I need a little push in the behind to get me going!

I used to rationalize that being lazy during this week was perfectly fine. After all, this is my week to do as I wish. And if I want to spend it being lazy then so be it. But at the end of a lazy week I don't feel fine, I feel. . .well actually I feel like sleeping, which makes me lazy, which breeds the blues and the cycle is in full swing! Did you know that laziness is actually a sin? It is! The Proverbs are filled with both wisdom and warning on the subject of laziness. This revelation was not good news for me.

To avoid a week sinning the laziness sin, I decided to make a list. I made a list of things that need to be done as well as things I want to do. If we are working with just the things that need to be done, I will most certainly sleep too much, sleeping makes me lazy, which breeds.....well I'm sure you get the point!. So, this year I plan to chronicle my progress using this blog to keep me accountable. So far I have rented and watched 5 movies. I went shopping with a friend and washed my car. I sent some thank you cards out and starting writing in my blog again! And, I still have four days left. Stay tuned to find out all the gotta-keep-me-from-being-lazy things I plan to do this week!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Protective Love

Protector is one of the many words I would use to describe a mother. A mother is supposed to protect her children; to keep them safe from harm. I remember when I was facing divorce I felt like a lioness protecting her cub. The marriage was failing beyond my control and I was hurting more than I had ever hurt, but through the tears and pain, the lioness appeared and boy did she roar! I was going to do everything I could do to ensure my daughter suffered as little as possible while the whole mess of divorce unraveled. A few years later, I remember dropping Hannah off at daycare one morning and I overheard another little girl tell Hannah she didn't want to play with her. My heart melted. I wanted to run to Hannah and hold her and love her and protect her from this big mean monster disguised as a pretty little girl. Instead, I watched as Hannah went right on playing and soon the two girls were playing like best friends. I want to hold Hannah in my arms and protect her from all the hurts of the world whether big or small. I want to keep her safe and loved always. This week Hannah and I met a woman who's mom didn't protect her. This woman's mom didn't keep her safe and her story broke my heart.

Earlier this week, Hannah and I delivered gifts to a family we had adopted for Christmas. We were connected with a single mom and her two kids through a local Christian-based mission. My original intent was to help a family in need but also to teach my daughter a valuable lesson about giving and receiving as well as to give her a glimpse of life outside her own little world. We were so blessed by people helping us provide gifts for this family. We had 6 huge trash bags filled with wrapped presents to deliver to our family at the mission. The life lessons were already in full swing long before we delivered the gifts. Hannah had sacrificed our annual trip to the Nutcracker Ballet to help provide gifts for this family. She enjoyed carefully picking out items that she thought the family would really like. She hand-picked several clothing items for the 15-year old daughter and beamed with excitement as I approved her selections. Yes, even before the delivery of the gifts, the lessons learned were many.

Just arriving at the mission for the gift delivery was a new experience for Hannah. We were in a part of town that looked very different than our quiet, relatively safe suburban neighborhood. The mom and her 7-year old son met us in the parking lot. They helped us unload all the bags of gifts and the mom gave us a tour of the mission and their room. Their room reminded me of a college dorm room and in the corner was a little Christmas tree decorated with homemade decorations and family photos. The mom confessed that she is struggling to get her GED because she is only at a 2nd grade level. She can barely read or write. She told me that she was working through the pain of things that had happened to her as a young girl; things her mom's boyfriend had done. She had lived in a lot of places but now found herself with her two kids at this mission. And for the first time, she was excited about the future. She now knows there is in fact a God and He loves her. She has placed her faith in Jesus and everyday is brand new.

The woman thanked us for all the gifts and admitted that this would be the best Christmas her kids have ever had. As Hannah and I were driving home, I thought about this woman and all that she had said. I looked at Hannah and I was saddened that this woman didn't have a mom who protected her. For whatever reason her mom didn't keep her safe and didn't even make sure she could read and write. I can't imagine not protecting my child. I grabbed Hannah's hand and with tears in my eyes, I told her that when she is a teenager she will probably think I am too strict. She will think I just don't understand. She will probably be mad that I won't let her do certain things, or go certain places or hang around certain people. She may even think I am old fashioned. But as her mom, my job is to protect her. I explained that the woman we had just met didn't have a mom who protected her. I'm not sure what Hannah understood or exactly how she felt about all she experienced that day. But, I'm sure our short time at the mission with a family we didn't really know made an impression on her heart. It certainly did mine!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Although I'm sure you have figured it out by now, I officially declare my hiatus status. Work and life are extremely busy right now and writing has had to take a back seat. I'll be back eventually. Until then, I hope you each enjoy your journey and continue to find the joy in the little everyday things of life!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

She Said What?

Just talk to a child for a few minutes and chances are they will say something that makes you chuckle. My daughter has coined a new phrase, and every time she says it, I find myself giggling! Her new phrase is "sweet mother molasses". This phrase comes in handy many times throughout the day.

"Hannah, did you remember to bring home your Science book?"
"Sweet mother molasses, I forgot!"

"Hannah, you still haven't picked up that pile of stuff and put it away!"
"Well, sweet mother molasses, mom! I'll do it in a minute!

I have no idea how she came up with this saying. I guess it just came out of her mouth one day and she liked it! Well, however it came into existence, it sure brings a smile to my face every time I hear it! Sweet Mother Molasses!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where in the World is Krista?

Dear blog friends,

I am sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I don't really have a reason except for the way life sometimes interrupts the best laid plans. My mind has been focused on work and the start of another school year, allergy testing for my daughter, having my carpets cleaned, out of town business trips, keeping our house somewhat clean, cooking a meal from time to time (okay, driving us to Applebees), and of course, blogging falls to the bottom of the list. I want to blog. I have every intention of blogging. I write blogs in my head all the time, but lately they just haven't made it from head to actual blog. So tonight I sit at my computer bound and determined to type out a blog. . .not just for my blog friends but for me. I have all these words in my head that just need desperately to get out! What to blog about?

How about allergy testing? Now there is a subject worthy of the blog! Hannah has now been tested for allergies twice. The first time she was just three years old and I told myself I would never put her through that again. Well, now she is ten and she had to endure it once again. It is really a horrible ordeal. They prick her back with rows of allergens and then wait to see if her body has an allergic reaction. I stood over her, fanning her back with a flimsy brochure from the doctor's office as I watched her back explode with allergic reaction. Tears streamed down her face as she told me how much it burned and itched. When the doctor finally came in to talk with us, Hannah in her great wisdom looked up at the doctor and said "I would just rather have allergies, this just isn't worth it". The doctor smiled and let out a little laugh. But, given the severity of her allergies we must now go through a weekly shot regimen. Great! I'm sure this is going to be lots of fun for both of us!

The next day after the allergy testing, Hannah came into my room and again in all her wisdom said "mom, I figured out that they are injecting my body with the very stuff I am allergic to. What goober came up with that idea"! Well, I have to admit, it does sound like a silly idea!! Oh how I wish I could take her allergies away! Shots begin on Wednesday. . .wish us luck. . .or better yet pray for her!

Well, I hope to keeping blogging more often. I can't promise I'll be here daily, but I'll do my best to crank out a few posts each week. For Memorizing Monday I will be posting the week's memory verse on my side bar. Keep memorizing those verses!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Memorizing Monday

For Memorizing Monday, I am thinking we need a review week! I don't have the first four verses quite down, so before we go further, let's take a week for review.

Psalm 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Deuteronomy 6:7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Don't Call Me Charlie

As an impressionable young girl I remember watching a television commercial for the perfume Charlie by Revlon. The "Charlie Woman" was empowered! She could "bring home the bacon, fry it in a pan and never never let him forget he was the man". My advertising brain loves that commercial. Revlon was revolutionary in their marketing to women by giving them power. But as a woman, I LOATHE that commercial!

This weekend I have spent almost every moment in my house...scrubbing, sweeping, sweating. Lots of sweating! Although I've known this for quite some time, this weekend just solidified the fact that a "Charlie" woman I am not! I don't do it all very well!

But oh how I want to do it all, as that silly commercial from the 70's plays in my head. I can't remember the last time I fried bacon, but this weekend I threw away some nasty gone bad asparagus! The whole refrigerator stunk! Who knew asparagus could smell like that! I cleaned my daughter's bed room and threw away 5 filled-to-the brim trash bags. I have been traveling for the past three trash days...the trash people are gonna love me this week!

If I could create the "Charlie Woman" she would still bring home the bacon, but there would be enough bacon to hire a cook, cleaner, lawn service, handyman, homework tutor...

I should stop praying for a husband, I think what I need is a wife!

Thanks to my dad for the cartoon below depicting my single mom life. Charlie I ain't!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Memorizing Monday

This Week's Memory Verse:
Philippians 4:11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Over the weekend I found myself having a little pity party of sorts. My daughter is gone for three weeks and loneliness has set in a little. Why hasn't God brought a man, a partner, a help mate into my life? I have questioned this all weekend. I picked up a magazine late one night and read the statement "God won't bring singles someone to marry until they learn to be content in their circumstances."Wow! Was God talking directly to me or what! Paul didn't say God gave him contentment. He said he "learned" to be content.

I think about the word learn and it brings several images to my mind. I think of a child learning to walk and how they stumble and fall numerous times before they finally have the whole walking thing down pat. I think about learning a hard subject like math or science and how without a calculator I would be lost! Learning is not always easy and although I pray for contentment God is telling me through Paul's letter that I am to "learn" to be content. Well, wonderful! In fact, Paul felt so strongly about using the word "learn" that he turned around and used it again in the next verse "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12) Wait! Did Paul say there was a secret? Ah ha! Paul knows the secret! How do we learn to be content? He tells us in verse 13 "I can do everything through him who gives me strength".

Now I'm feeling better! God wants me to learn to be content in all circumstances, but He doesn't expect me to do it in my own strength! Hallelujah! So this week let's memorize and begin learning to be content in all circumstances, but not through our strength.....through "Him who gives me strength"!

I promise more posts will be coming soon! Life has been crazy busy and writing has had to take a back seat! Thanks for understanding. Have a blog filled day!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Memorizing Monday

This weeks memory verse:
Deuteronomy 6:7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

For parents, this verse should be our daily mantra. We should be looking for teachable moments to talk to our children about God's truth. These moments don't have to be planned out devotions, but yet just simple everyday moments where God's truth can be made real in our lives.

If you are feeling extra confident abut your memorizing ability, try memorizing versus 5-9:

Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Chronciles of the Whiny Voiced Creature

Two things that really shouldn't go together: single parents and strong willed children! I have often questioned why God would give a strong willed child to a single parent. If God knew I would end up single why oh why did He give me a child with that kind of strong-willed, I'm-gonna-do-it-my-way, till-it-causes-you-to-lose-your-mind personality!

I suppose maybe God is preparing me to write on the very subject of single parents parenting their strong willed children. But, of course before I could write on such a subject I will have to live through it first! And, some days living through it seems highly unlikely! Take this morning for example:

We had a lovely morning. We were both in a happy mood. Life seemed good. Until we got to grandma's house and it all went down hill from there. Grandma so kindly suggests to Hannah that maybe they could go to the batting cages today. Hannah has her last softball game tonight and because we are going to concentrate more on dance next year, this may truly be her LAST softball game. Hannah has turned out to be one of the best hitters on the team. But at grandma's kind suggestion came that high, whiny voice that said "I don't wanna go to the batting cages". "Oh but Hannah, you could practice and maybe hit a home run tonight" continued grandma. Again, in the high whiny pitched voice that only my child seems to have, Hannah answered "I SAID, I don't WANNA go to the batting cages".

Okay that's where I jumped in. "Hannah you just crossed the line into the land of disrespect and now you have lost computer privileges". "Oh, please give me one more chance mama, please, please!" came the begging plea of my oh-so-talented-at-the-manipulation-game child. And, what do I do. I agree! One more chance. "Go sit back in that chair and let's start all over" I so kindly say. "I WASN'T sitting in the chair" Hannah says. HELLO....I just gave this child one more chance and she starts by pointing out a technicality of how she was or was not sitting in the chair. "CHANCE LOST" I say!

More begging and pleading came until my head was spinning. I just don't understand the whole strong-willed personality. It seems to me that life would just be so much easier for both of us if she would just listen and obey! So, I ended this morning's tirade with wise and sound words as I left for my work day...."grandma will decide if you can have computer time back"!

And so goes another episode of the single parent and her strong-willed daughter! You might think to pray for my mom. I think it could be a long day!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Memorizing Monday

This week's memory verse:
Matthew 5:16 "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Our memory verse for this week is from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is instructing his disciples how to live a life sold out to Him! In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus tells the disciples that they are salt and light to the world.

Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

When I was a little girl I loved singing the song "This little light of mine". I loved singing this song because it had motions attached to it. It was so much fun to pretend to hide the light under the bush and then shout "OH NO I'm gonna let it shine". And the second verse was even more fun as I would pretend to keep Satan from blowing out my light! But now I'm all grown up and I have to admit there are times that I'm tempted to "hide my light under a bush." Do your co-workers and non-Christian family and friends know of your faith in Jesus? Does the life you live reflect His love through you? Are your works a testament to your faith?

I am reminded of the illustration of the road raged driver:
The driver of the van was clearly in a hurry, weaving in and out of traffic. The driver honked the horn at the other drivers while yelling and gesturing in anger. A police offer pulled the van over and quickly checked the driver's license and registration. He then came up to the driver and told her, "ma'am I'm sorry I pulled you over, but I saw the Christian fish attached to the back of your van along with the follow me to Sunday School bumper sticker and assumed the van had been stolen!"

Father God I pray today that your light will shine through me in everything I say, think and do. I pray that others will see You in my life; that my actions will be in line with my words and that all I do will bring glory and honor to You. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen

Monday, July 7, 2008

Memorizing Monday

I wish I could just rattle off scripture any ole' time I need it! I can usually fudge my way through quoting scripture, not word for word of course, and rarely with the reference attached. It usually goes something like this "Paul said, in one of his letters. I'm not sure which one, but it was definitely a letter Paul a church I think, anyway he said something about not being anxious, but we should pray with thanksgiving and give God our requests and His peace will fill us." Okay, that is not a good example because I actually do have that set of verses memorized word for word and even know the reference (Philippians 4:6-7). But I'm sure you get my point.

Parenting with scripture is an awesome thought! Your child comes to you with a problem and immediately you know what God's word says about said problem! That would be my desire. For example, let's say your lovely teenage daughter came to you and said some of her friends were making bad choices and were pressuring her to do the same. I'm sure there are many verses we could point her to, and if I had more memorized I would have more than one example. But, we could gently tell her that in 1Corinthians (a letter Paul wrote to a church!), Paul warns "Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character." But unless you had memorized 1Corinthians 15:33 you would not be able to point her to this particular truth; a truth that relates to her very relevant situation.

Or as you and your adolescent daughter are arguing about appropriate clothing, you could remind her that according to 1Timothy 2:9 a godly woman should "dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes". But again, if you did not have it memorized, the teachable moment would be lost.

WARNING: These are just for example, I do not begin to know how to actually parent teenagers yet!

So I thought I would memorize scripture via my blog. First it will keep me accountable and second, if any of you would like to join in please feel free to memorize my Monday scripture on your own! The plan is that every Monday I will post my weekly memory verse. I hope that by the end of the week it is committed to memory. There are lots of memory programs out there, but the one I like is to make a memory key ring. You put each scripture on a small card or piece of paper and hang them on a key ring. Carry the key ring with you and as you sit in traffic or at the doctor's office practice your verses from your memory ring!

The first official Memorizing Monday scripture is:

Psalm 119:11
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

I thought this would be a great verse to begin since we are actually told to "hide His word in our hearts"! Happy Memorizing Monday!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

5 Sure Signs It Was The 4th of July

Our tradition on the 4th of July is to hang out with family and friends. Every year we go to my sister-in-law's parent's house. They have a huge 4th of July party complete with bbq ribs, brisket, chicken, and more food than should be legal at one party, a beautiful swimming pool and lots of land to set off our share of fiery fun. We get our own personal fireworks show that rivals even the best of firework displays.

Sign #1: Sparklers

Sign #2: Family Togetherness

Sign #3: Red, White and Blue clothing!

Sign #4: Swimming and Swimming and Swimming!

Sign #5: My world famous Petite Cherry and Blueberry Cheesecakes. Okay, they're not really world famous, but they are good!

Hope Everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teachable Moments

This morning before Hannah and I left the house, I read Lisa T's blog. She wrote about how she challenged her kids to come up with 7 life lessons from the movie Kung Fu Panda. I wish I had thought of that idea! What a great way to tie even a secular movie back to our daily walk with God. Well, I'm certainly not above borrowing a great idea! Hannah saw Kung Fu Panda earlier this week with her grandma and cousins. Life lessons here we come!

As Hannah and I drove off this morning I asked her to think of some life lessons from the movie. I haven't actually seen this movie so I was completely in the dark, but I thought it would be a good challenge none the less. Hannah quickly came up with several life lessons. One of her lessons was "don't think you are a wimp, think you are a warrior". This statement made me think of David. I talked with Hannah about how God used an ordinary shepherd boy to bring down a giant. Apparently this is much like how Po the Panda was used in the movie. Po saved the townspeople from the evil leopard! Hannah knows the story of David and Goliath well so she was finishing my sentences for me! I explained that David knew he was one of God's warriors and with God's strength he could defeat Goliath. I asked her if she thought God could use an ordinary girl like Hannah to do great things for His kingdom. She, of course, said yes! This conversation was short and sweet, but an ordinary moment was transformed into a teachable moment to bring God's word to her life in a meaningful way. This was an awesome way to start the day!

Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June in Pictures

The busy month of June will soon be over. We still have a few days of the month left, but I now know what that silly energizer bunny must feel like. We kept going and going and going!
We had dancing

And more dancing

A mini vacation

And lots of softball

And more!

June has been a whirlwind of a month, but we have enjoyed every minute of it! Look out July, we're headed your way!

Monday, June 23, 2008

She Spoke

I am on a plane headed home after the She Speaks Conference. Technology is amazing! I can't believe I am flying across the country typing out my blog post. Talk about a way to make time fly! Don't be alarmed by the date of the post because most likely I won't be able to actually post this until tomorrow (Monday).

The weekend had highs and lows as well as both laughter and tears. I'm not sure what my expectations were except that I wanted to learn, absorb everything from these amazing women, meet new people and most importantly I wanted to hear from God. I had heard this was a life changing event and I was ready to experience something life changing.

The first night was discouraging. My last session of the night was taught by a literary agent who vividly described the harsh realities of the publishing world. Although he sprinkled in some hope here and there, his message was bleak. I appreciate his honesty, but it was discouraging. After the discouraging words of the literary agent, I turned my hope to meeting and connecting with my roommate. I had imagined us connecting through the gazillion things we had in common and of course becoming forever friends. When I went to my room that first night I had not yet met my roommate. I had scanned the conference looking for name tags carrying her name but had not found her. When I reached my room she was ready for bed. We said our introductory hellos and both turned in for the night. I was discouraged to say the least. There would be no all night bonding session talking through all the things we had in common. I knelt beside the bed as tears streamed down my face and silently cried out to the Lord. Why am I here? I had felt so led to attend this conference, had I misinterpreted? I wondered if I had made a huge mistake.

Saturday morning was brighter. My roommate and I chatted as we readied ourselves for the day. Although we didn't have a lot in common, we shared good conversation. We had a wonderful breakfast together and I felt the heaviness of discouragement melt away. Encouragement shined on the day. I learned more than I ever imagined possible. The writing sessions were all rich with information, advice and most of all, hope.

Unfortunately I struggled with a headache both Friday and Saturday. The employees in the gift shop had to wonder why I kept purchasing more medicine! I tried Sudafed, DayQuill and finally Excedrin Sinus Headache took the pain away! On Saturday night, the amazing day of absorbing everything I could, was capped off by one of the most powerful messages I think I have ever heard. Renee Swope gave the message entitled "Beyond the Shadow of Doubt". Her words spoke straight to my heart. I struggle with doubt and that is exactly what Friday had been about....doubt! God did lead me here, God does have a plan and I am humbled to be a part of it. God can do the impossible if I'll just surrender to His will! The evening concluded with an invitation to come bear our struggles at the cross. As I stood there during the invitation time, my eyes wandered across the room. I saw women hugging and loving on each other; crying together and praying together. I longed to reach out to someone, but that is just not my personality. I stood there wondering why I can't connect. It seems that some women are so comfortable with strangers. They can instantly bond and share an intimate connection so quickly. I can not. God didn't make me that way. I stood there hoping someone would come up to me, but they didn't. I had met a lot of special women including many of the great bloggers I read on a daily basis, but this evening concluded with just me and my Lord...connecting with Him. The weekend was a roller coaster of emotion.

Sunday morning was awesome. The message again spoke directly to my heart, and the service ended with us sharing communion together. God's presence was undeniable and my heart was once again flooded with emotion. One of my favorite things was the promises we each picked up at the cross. The Proverbs 31 team had put specific scriptural promises on cards and laid them at the foot of wooden crosses. I picked mine up on Sunday morning and believe that this specific verse was given to me by God. I left the conference encouraged, strengthened and excited about the future.

Thank you to all the wonderful women at Proverbs 31 Ministries. She Speaks is an amazing thing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Embarking on An Adventure...She Speaks

I can hardly believe that the She Speaks conference is in just a few days. Over the past few months since I registered for the conference I have been filled with such excitement. I have read many blogs from past attendees and the sentiment seems the same...."this is a life changing event". I am ready for something life changing!

Before this past February I had never heard of the She Speaks conference or Proverbs 31 Ministries. One of my resolutions for the new year was to start writing. Friends encouraged me to start writing a blog to strengthen my writing skills. In addition to starting a blog, I believed God had given me an idea for a book. Of course, I didn't know the first thing about writing a book, so I picked up some of the books from my shelves and studied how they were put together.

I picked up one of my many "single" books. I own almost every book written on the subject of singleness..books with titles like Single and Sassy, Single and Satisfied, If Singleness is a gift, what is the return policy and my favorite, titled I've kissed a lot of frogs but my Prince still hasn't come. I looked at how the writer arranged the table of contents, the number of chapters and the total number of pages in the book. On the back cover of one of the books was an endorsement by an author named Lysa Terkeurst. I wondered about this person name Lysa. Who was she? What had she written? So I did what I do....I googled her! The google search introduced me to Lysa, the Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa's blog. I started reading Lysa's blog every day. Through her blog Lysa mentioned the upcoming registration for the She Speaks conference, but I didn't think much of it at the time. But, then it seemed She Speaks kept popping up everywhere! I began praying about attending and here I am just a few days before I pack my writing dreams and fly to North Carolina.

But as the time nears for this life changing event, my excitement has been tempered with fear. My mind has been filled with whispers of doubt. Who am I to attend a writers conference? Do I really think God can use my writing? And then just as my fears started to settle in and stay for a while God sent a new friend and an email.

The email was from someone on the Proverbs 31 team about her first She Speaks conference and how her excitement had turned to fear. This email was written for me! This woman doesn't know me, yet she felt God leading her to share her experience. The email was truly a God send! In addition to the email, God sent a friend. I have met a wonderful woman named Kelley from my home town who is also attending the conference. We met for lunch yesterday and now I can no longer say I don't know anyone! Be sure to visit her blog!

Me and my new friend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Somebody's Jerry

This past weekend I watched the movie "P.S. I Love You". For those of you that haven't seen this movie, it is one of those must have a box of kleenex sitting next to you movies. I cried and laughed, sometimes within the same breath, which by the way makes a very interesting sound come out of your nose. I digress.

At one point in the movie Daniel, played by Harry Connick Jr, is revealing his true feelings to Holly, played by Hillary Swank. Holly is really not interested in Daniel because she is still grieving the death of her husband Jerry. Holly is still held by the grips of grief and is truly in the midst of the healing process. She is clinging to and idolizing the love she shared with Jerry. Sitting in a busy restaurant together, Daniel is faced with the fact that Holly doesn't share his feelings. He asked her if she thought she would ever find love again and she really couldn't answer him. The next line Daniel delivered to Holly pierced my heart and released a river of tears that probably had little to do with the movie. He told Holly that he wanted to be "somebody's jerry". Oh dear friends, I know exactly what he meant!

I have said that very line to myself! Immediately following my divorce I remember wishing somebody loved me the way it seemed my ex-husband loved his new girlfriend. He obviously loved her so intensely that he was willing to sacrifice his family. Of course, with hindsight what it is, his girlfriend probably had the same feelings about me. After all, I was the one that carried his name and shared his daughter. But in the throws of emotion I wished I could be "somebody's (insert name)". I cried out to God asking why can't I be loved?

Several years later I was dating someone who was newly divorced. I truly believed God had brought us together, but he, like Holly in the movie, was clinging to and idolizing the love he shared with his ex-wife. But unlike the movie, death had not separated this union and he held to the hope of reconciliation. Oh, how I wished I could be "somebody's (insert name)". I once again cried out to God asking why can't I be loved?

I would love to end this post by telling you that God has brought that special love into my life and I am now "somebody's krista". Or, I wish I could tell you that because of His love, I am content and no longer pine for such a love. After all, I am loved so much by my Savior that he gave His life for that is what I call love....agape style! But even knowing that I am loved by the God of the universe, the creator of all things, my hope for an earthly love hasn't been erased or removed. Oh, please don't misunderstand; I am in awe of God's love, grace and mercy. And, let me tell you He has poured out more grace and mercy to me than I can even fathom. Being single isn't a curse, and it isn't a death sentence. And if I am single for the rest of my life, I will thank Him for my singleness. As I cried through the end of the movie, I recalled my life verse Jeremiah 29:11. For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. My God who loves me has a plan for me! But what about the next verses? Verses 12 and 13 tell us "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart".

So, today I rejoice that God has a plan and I'm in it! And I will call upon Him and seek Him with all my heart. Today I know that if I am never "somebody's krista" here on earth, the One that matters knows my name and because of Him I can look forward to an eternity of His love.

Father God,
I praise you and thank you today for exactly where you have me! Help me to be content in my circumstances. Help me to take my eyes off myself and seek you with all my heart. My trust is in you. Thank you for your overflowing grace and mercy. I am so grateful you call me your own.
In your Son's name I pray,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't Blink

June is a busy month. So busy in fact, I can hardly breathe from the stress of it all. Hannah has softball and dance that are now overlapping. By the end of June we will have had dance recital, vacation bible school, church directory pictures, softball pictures, dance tryouts for next year and brunch for Father's Day. Plus, let's not forget the many out of town trips in June. Hannah is going on a trip with her grandparents, I have a business trip scheduled, plus the She Speaks conference and a four day trip for Hannah's final dance competition....all in June. We have 4 dance shows, one dance competition, two days of tryouts, and 7 softball games. To get everything accomplished my very very very generous parents are helping me (yes, they read this blog, so I thought I would add a couple more "verys" as I am so grateful for their help!).

Last night I actually had trouble sleeping just thinking of all the things happening in June and the now overwhelming fear I will forget something. Yes, I have it all down on a calendar, but that doesn't mean I won't just up and forget something. A couple of years ago I forgot to take Hannah to picture day at the dance studio. That year, the day for dance pictures fell on visitation with her dad. I switched weekends just for picture day and in the midst of that Saturday afternoon I realized I had just completely forgotten about pictures. Of course shortly after picture day the dance studio chose Hannah's class picture to hang in the lobby. Every time I entered the dance studio for the next year I saw that picture...the one that was so blatantly missing my daughter.

I was so anxious this morning that I started telling myself June will be over before you know it. I just need to get through June and the schedule will ease up a bit. I realized I was hoping for time to pass quickly. Oh no, no no no. I do not want time to move quickly. I want to savor every moment because time moves too quickly on its own. I want to enjoy watching her play softball. When she gets up to bat, my heart starts beating fast and then she whacks that ball and my heart soars with her as she runs toward first base. I want to freeze time when I watch her dance. When the music starts and she hip hops to the beat my heart melts. It seems like just yesterday she was starting kindergarten and now she is entering the fifth grade. Times moves so fast with no help from us.

June is a busy month. A month to stop and enjoy each unique moment that we will never again own. Like the Kenny Chesney songs says....don't blink!

I turned on the evening news
Saw a old man being interviewed
Turning a hundred and two today
Asked him what's the secret to life
He looked up from his old pipe
Laughed and said All I can say is.

Don't blink
Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads, next thing you know your "better half"
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

I was glued to my tv when it looked like he looked at me and said
Best start putting first things first.
Cause when your hourglass runs out of sand
You can't flip it over and start again
Take every breathe God gives you for what it's worth
Don't blink

Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads, next thing you know your "better half"
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink

So I've been tryin' ta slow it down
I've been tryin' to take it in
In this here today, gone tomorrow world we're livin' in
Don't blink

So Don't blink
Naw, don't blink, don't blink
Life Goes Faster Than You Think
Don't Blink...

Friday, May 23, 2008


This past Christmas season as I was watching the television special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" I realized I feel a strange kinship with the misfit characters. Do you ever feel out of place, like you just don't fit? As a single mom in my forties I have often struggled with finding a place to fit. I am no longer a part of a couple, yet with all my mom duties I don't really feel all that single. Finding a Sunday School class has been a challenge. I don't fit in with the couples, although my lifestyle is similar. I don't fit in with the singles, although I am in fact single. My "single again" status often has me feeling like a misfit, just like Rudolph and his misfit friends. The truth is that being single again is mis-fitted, after all God's plan for marriage doesn't include divorce.

Well, here I am living on Misfit Island. Am I destined to live like this forever? Can God possibly use a divorced woman? Am I just completely useless to God now? God's word tells me that I am not useless. I can be used! The story of the Samaritan woman who meets Jesus at the well is a beautiful illustration of how God can use even a divorced woman in a mighty way.

We aren't told of her name, just that she is a Samaritan woman who has come to draw water from the well. Her nationality is significant because Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Jesus was tired and had taken rest next to Jacob's well. When the Samaritan woman came near, Jesus immediately struck up a conversation with her asking her for a drink of water. She answered him by pointing out that she was a Samaritan and he was a Jew. How could he ask her for water? Jesus responded by telling her that if she only knew who she was talking with she would have asked for the "living water" that only He could give.

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water." He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back." "I have no husband," she replied. Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." (John 4:13-18)

The woman at the well knew she was talking with the Messiah. She was so excited to share the "living water" she had just received that she left her water jar and ran back to town to tell everyone about Jesus.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." (John 4:39-42)

Wow! Almost the whole town believed because of someone's testimony. Not the testimony of one of the religious leaders or educated scholars, but the testimony of a divorced woman who had been divorced five times and was now living with another man! Talk about a misfit! If God can use the Samaritan woman, I know He can use me! But how can I be used?

For years I have had the desire to write, but in the last few months that desire has grown and I have felt God leading me to write more. I believe God can and has used my writing, but the enemy has come on full force! I hear whispers of "do you know how many writers can write better than you", "that book idea you have has already been written, why even try" or "there are so many writers trying to make it, why would anyone want to read anything from you". These whispers can be loud at times but through prayer I will overcome and I will write. I don't know how God will use my writing, but today I know He has given me a desire. I can't wait to see what He has in store for me!

Next month I am attending the She Speaks Conference through Proverbs 31 Ministries. This is a conference specifically designed to help new writers and speakers. I am really excited about meeting new people and learning more about the world of publishing. I pray that God will use this conference in my life and that He will be glorified through even a misfit like me!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

More Morning Conversation

Thursday night we had horrible storms. These were scary storms with all the bells and whistles; thunder, lightning, hail, strong winds and even tornadoes. Sirens sounded and Hannah and I headed to the basement. I wish I had a finished basement with a TV! Hannah and I sat on the steps of the basement so we could still hear the TV, and, because there are bugs down there! As we sat there listening to the sirens and the ominous sound of hail hitting our house, we prayed. We asked God to be with us and keep us safe. The storms came and went and came again several times through the night. Around 2:00 in the morning, Hannah was sound asleep, but I was awake listening to the sound of powerful winds pound against my house. I was scared.

When we woke on Friday morning around 6:00 a.m. the storms had all passed. I surveyed the house, the yard, the neighborhood and saw no signs of any damage. Watching the morning news it became clear that not all areas of the city had been so fortunate. Homes and businesses were completely destroyed. Power was out in whole sections of the city. The storm had left its mark. And we were untouched.

As we began getting ready for the day, Hannah commented about how scary the storms had been. I reminded her that we had prayed and God had kept us safe. She, in her 10 years of wisdom, calmly asked "why did He keep us safe, but not others?" Wow, that is a good question. My mind raced and I thought to myself, "why in the world does she pick the mornings to have these types of conversations." I can not express enough, I am NOT a morning person! "Well, Hannah," I said "I don't know the answer to that, but what I do know is that we live in a sinful world where bad things happen. We won't know all the whys until we get to heaven and ask, but I imagine we will be in such awe of God's mighty power and glory we may not care to ask all the whys." I went on, because again, that is what I tend to do, and explained that when we pray God has promised that He will hear us and He will answer us. But His answer might not always be what we want. God answers with yes, no, or not now. She took this in, pondered it a bit and said "when I get to heaven I'm going to ask Him lots of things".

And so we finished getting ready and off to work and school we went with the birds singing a lovely tune as we started our day....yeah, right! Deep waters kept a comin'. She continued the deep conversation by declaring that there must be a lot of people in heaven because someone dies every two minutes and someone is born every two minutes. I have no idea where she got this statistic or if it is accurate. I reminded her that not everyone goes to heaven when they die, but only those with a personal relationship with Jesus will go to heaven. I told her that Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me". And that Jesus said "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." I went on explaining that the world wants to believe there are lots of ways to heaven. But the truth is that there is only one way to heaven and that is through God's son. We ended our conversation with a prayer, thanking God for keeping us safe through the storms and for His son Jesus who paid our price on the cross.

I think I handled this one fairly well. I may have had a couple of words incorrect when I was quoting scripture and I didn't know the references, but the points were made. And then as the day went on and I thought about all we had discussed my mind was filled with doubt. Proverbs 22:6 tells us to "train up a child in the way he should go". How, I ask? I do not feel qualified for this job. I didn't go to seminary. I don't have enough scripture memorized. I haven't even taught a Sunday School class. Who am I to teach her about God? As the doubt flooded in, God reminded me of all the unlikely people he has used. David was nothing more than a shepherd boy. Moses even argued with God and said He should use someone else, but God used Moses in mighty ways. The apostle Paul had persecuted God's people, but God used him in ways that Paul could have never imagined. And then there are the many stories of mothers that God used. Mary was the most unlikely candidate. She was young and unmarried. Yet, God chose her to carry His son, the one that would come to save the world. I don't need to go to seminary to teach my child about God, I just need to be the vessel and let God work through me.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Next 5 of 10 for 25

As I plan for the future, here are the next five things I hope to see when I look back on my life:
A Missions Trip
Acts 1:8b And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Several times each year mission trip opportunities are listed in my church bulletin. And every time I see one of these opportunities listed I think I want to do that someday. I can always give a list of reasons why I can't go on a missions trip now. Not enough vacation time. No money. What would I do with Hannah. Over spring break this year the church sent parents and their children on a missions trip to Mexico. A missions trip with there's an idea! The group that went this year helped a specific church in Mexico set up ministries such as Vacation Bible School. If they do a trip like this next year....I'm in!!

Build and Strengthen Relationships
Luke 10:27 He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, Love your neighbor as yourself.
I want to love and be loved! I could have used the scripture in Genesis where we are told "man should not be alone." God created us to want and need relationships. I once heard the saying "make your circles broad". I like that thought, big circles of friends, family and acquaintances. I want to make new friends, and strengthen the relationships I have now. The first part of this verse commands us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul strength and mind. I want to fall in love with Jesus each and every day. When I am gone, I hope people will say "she loved". I want those around me to know I love and cherish them. And who knows, maybe somewhere along this journey God will place an extra special relationship in my life!

Live Healthy
I Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own
I am not good at the whole healthy living thing. I am clearly allergic to exercise, and well, the vending machine is too close to my office to pass up! Fruits, vegetables and water...not my favorites! Now that I'm in my forties, I'm noticing changes in my body. It doesn't move quite as easily. I feel a little like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz! Knee bends are out of the question because I wouldn't be able to get up. The eye doctor told me I should start to think about bi-focals since I'm over 40 and even my hearing seems to be going a bit. I sound like I'm 80! I need to start living in a more healthful way so I can enjoy living!

Numbers 14:8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us
In the next twenty five years I want to travel. I had hoped to go to Israel with my church this past winter, but money, or actually lack of it, kept me home. I have never been out of the country and haven't been too far in the country! I want to see a Broadway show (actually on Broadway), tour the White House, swim with dolphins, go horseback riding along the beach, use a passport, stand on the bank of the Jordan River, meet a surfer dude in Hawaii and take my daughter to Sea World. I won't be able to travel the world over, but I want to make an effort to see new places and experience new things!

And last, but not least, in the words of Tim McGraw I hope we all. . .

live like we were dying
In twenty five years when I am looking back, I want to see someone who embraced life, spent time laughing, took pleasures in the small things....and always saw the joy in the journey!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

5 of 10 for 25

Houses need blue prints. Road trips need maps. Companies need business plans. What about life? Shouldn't we have a plan for life? Months of thought, energy and preparation are spent planning the typical wedding, but how much effort is spent on planning for the actual marriage?

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, 2008 marks 25 years since I graduated from high school. I would love to tell you that in the past 25 years I have lived my life exactly the way I planned. I would love to say that I followed the life after high school blue print to a tee. Truth is I didn't really have a plan. Nope, no real plan. My plan after high school was to become a famous singer and marry the drummer of my band. After that didn't work out, I planned to get a college degree. But even that plan wasn't very well executed. I quit time after time and finally about 5 years after high school decided I needed to buckle down and get a college degree. With all the false starts, it took me about 10 years to finish college!

I wouldn't encourage anyone to follow the Krista Lee plan for life, at least not for the first half. But the second half, well now that is going to be different. I want to have a plan, a blue print, a map! Yes sirree, I'm making me a map! Well, maybe not a real map, but at least a list. A list of things I would like to look back and see when I'm reflecting over life 25 years from now.

So here, in no particular order, is 5 of my top 10 for the next 25:

Become Debt Free
Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law
I have spent the last 25 years amassing debt, and it will most likely take the next 25 to get rid of it! My first step in becoming debt free is to add no new debt! Yes, that's right, I can't just have that beautiful piece of furniture that is calling my name. I really want to finish my basement, but new debt! I must save and wait and save and wait. I'm really looking forward to this one!

Train Up My Daughter
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it
I recently heard on a "Focus on the Family" program that family is the most important influence for kids until age 10. After age 10, friends become the most important influence. WHAT? My daughter is 10. I just don't want to believe that a day will come when she will want to spend time with her friends instead of me. What am I talking about...that day is here! It is unbelievable that my job of training her is almost over. We only have two more presidential elections until she can vote! I want to teach her and guide her and help her to be all that she can be!

Write a Book
Exodus 25:25 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers - all of them master craftsman and designers
I believe God has given me the desire to write and I want to see where it might lead. This blog is the first step. I have an idea for a book and I want to write it! God equips us to do that which He plans for us to do. If He wants me to write, He will give me the ability and the words. All I need to do is say yes Lord, I will write!

Have Fun
Proverbs 15:13 A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit
In 25 years I want to look back and see fun! I want to enjoy life with my daughter, my family and my friends. I want to try new things, maybe a cooking class or ballroom dancing. Learning to cook can only be a good thing! I'd like to take an acting class. I sincerely think I could have been a soap opera star! I want to make time for fun.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands
We shall remember the days of old. All the fun I plan to have (as mentioned above) will be carefully and artfully preserved. In 25 years I want to finally be caught up on my scrapbooks! I want to preserve all of our precious memories through the art of scrapbooking. For those of you that know me, you are probably now rolling with laughter because you know how long it takes me to complete one page!

The next five on the list to come soon. . .

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic

Last weekend I met up with some friends from high school. I haven't seen most of these people for 25 years! I can't believe it has been 25 years since I graduated from high school. It seems like just yesterday I was walking the halls of Piper High as a nervous freshman. I brought all four of my high school year books to our pseudo reunion and we all had a blast revisiting the past.

I have some wonderful memories of high school. I remember being a Pirateer and a Pied Piper! What in the world is a pirateer and a pied piper you ask? Our school dance team was called The Pirateers and the Pied Pipers were a small ensemble vocal group. I have great memories of dancing and singing my way through high school! Two of my favorite classes were Spanish and guitar class, but yet I can't speak any Spanish or play the guitar! I remember driving to school my senior year in my cool metallic gray Trans Am! I remember proms, plays and hanging out at the "plaza". (You have to be from my home town to fully understand the meaning of the "plaza".)

Senior Picture

Drill Team Spring Show

Trans Am!


As I look back over the past 25 years my mind is flooded with great memories. There have been good decisions made and not so good decisions made. Reflecting back makes me think more about the future than the past. Will I like what I see looking back on the next 25 years? The old saying rings so true, "if I knew then what I know now...."

I want to take that thought, and take all that I have learned and live the next 25 years with both purpose and passion! I think my next blog will be the top ten things I want to accomplish in the next 25 years. What was your favorite high school memory?

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Don't Want To Be That Mom, BUT.....

I never wanted to be the that parent. You know, the parent that yells from the sidelines and seems to complain constantly. I am pretty easy going and usually just go with the flow. BUT Hannah has her first dance competition this weekend and I am sorry, but I absolutely, positively unwaveringly, without hesitation HATE the costumes.

It goes beyond the amount of money spent....but let me tell you....the money isn't insignificant. But it is more than the money. The dance routine is so good. The choreography is incredible. The costumes are NOT.

I did not like these costumes when they first arrived at the dance studio a month or so ago and neither did the hip hop instructor. In an effort to make them look a little more "hip hoppish" they cut off one of the sleeves and added some rhinestones. OH NO....very bad idea. Now they look worse and they are not completely sewn together correctly where the sleeve was cut off. It is held together with a safety pin. Another mother said she was going to sew it herself to try to make the missing sleeve area a bit better. This is bad for me. In high school I took every music class offered, but I didn't take home economics. Oh how I wish I had taken a home economics class! I don't sew, I can't really cook, and well my cleaning skills aren't all that great either. A great home maker I am not (although don't get me wrong I do have some good home making moments as mentioned in this post).

Although I don't want to be that parent....I can't just stand by on this one. I sent an email to the owner of the dance studio and asked if we have any options. We probably don't have options, but I guess it doesn't hurt to ask.

Hannah asked me this morning if I ever had dance costumes. Well, yes I did! I was on my high school dance team and every spring we put on, what was so creatively called, the "Spring Show". We used routines that we had done throughout the year at football and basketball games as well as new routines. Every routine had it's own costume. I have wonderful memories about my four "Spring Shows". I don't remember ever hating a costume. In fact I loved most all of them. I remember baby doll dresses, cowgirl shirts with fringe, kung fu outfits, flapper dresses and even a chicken costume. My mom spent weeks gluing tissue papered chicken feathers onto our costumes! What wonderful memories!

I suppose if we have no options, Hannah will forever have the memory of that costume which turned her mom into that parent. And 20 some years from now even the ugly costume will be a great memory!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Family Created

A couple in my neighborhood have been trying to adopt a child for quite sometime. I don't know this couple very well, in fact I don't even know their last name. But during the past summers, when families are outside soaking up the nice weather, we have struck up a conversation or two. In one of those conversations they told me of their desire to adopt and I shared with them our adoption story of Hannah. They were extremely discouraged at the time as their efforts toward adoption seemed hopeless.

My heart broke for them because I know exactly how they were feeling. I know how it feels to have an overwhelming desire for something that you have utterly no control over. I know of the sleepless nights where you wonder if you will ever hear someone call you mommy. I know of the jealous feelings you must swallow as you watch others around you relish in new parenthood. I know the feeling of disappointment, failure and hopelessness.

After we found out we had been chosen by a birth mother and that she was expecting a girl we began the joyous task of picking a name. We eventually landed on the name Hannah. I knew Hannah was a biblical name and that she was Samuel's mother, but that was all I remembered. One night, I opened my Bible to 1 Samuel and started reading about this woman named Hannah. I cried all the way through Hannah's story. I am amazed at how God speaks to me through His word! As I read Hannah's story, I was reading my own. She was a lot like me. She yearned for a baby, but yet as hard as she tried she could not get pregnant. She was taunted by her husband's other wife Peninnah (another reason it is not a good idea to have multiple wives...we don't share well!). Peninnah would taunt Hannah about not having children until she was weeping and unable to eat. This went on for years. I imagine Hannah had the same feelings I had, wondering if she would ever be called mommy, or would get to kiss boo-boos all better. I know of her desperation, and her anguish. Hannah cried out to the Lord for help. 1 Samuel 1:10-11 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. And she made a vow, saying, "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." In versus 19 and 20 we are told God remembered her and gave her a son. Hannah went on to have six more children.

The times and traditions are different today, but we have an unchanging God, who is still on the throne. The same God that heard and answered Hannah's prayer so long ago, heard and answered mine. A few days ago, my daughter was outside playing. She came running into the house breathlessly saying "come look mom, the neighbors have a baby". Sure enough, our neighbors just adopted a beautiful baby girl. They picked her up from the hospital the day she was born. I love to hear of adoption stories, because it is just another way God creates families. God is so good!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Not Your Typical Morning Conversation

Hannah and I are not morning people! We could both sleep all morning if possible. On weekdays we wake up at about 6:15 am and walk around in a sleepy stupor until we head out the door. Our conversations usually center around things like "where is the other shoe", "eat your poptart", or "what do you mean, you have homework". But not today, no sirree, not today!

Today Hannah took morning conversation to an unexpected level. As I stumbled around trying to get us both ready, Hannah asked "mom, how do you know God is real?" Thoughts raced through my sleepy head "uh oh, this is an important one, don't blow it". I answered slowly, "um, well, the bible is my number one source. Based on God 's word, I have faith that He is real". I must think that if I say many words it will come across as if I know what I am talking about so I continued with something about the world wanting to prove there isn't a God, but by just looking around at God's creation His handiwork is evident.

Hannah interrupted my lengthy answer with "how can you have faith if you don't know God is real". Wow, it isn't even 6:30 yet, and I've barely had my first can of Pepsi. "Well sweetie", I respond, "faith is believing in that which is unseen." The scripture reference was totally no where to be found in my less than alert brain, but I got the idea across. Of course I continued with trying to recite the premise of Lee Strobel's book "The Case for Christ" stating something about historical and archaeological evidence. She seemed to be content and I didn't feel like I had done too bad of a job.

We seemed to have a reprieve. For a few minutes we were able to go about the readying of ourselves for the day. The reprieve ended as she confidently said "I think God is going to come back very soon". And so our theological journey continued this morning. I answered with the profound "oh yeah." "Yeah", she said, "the weather is really weird and a man is having a baby" (a reference to the pregnant man that has been plastered across every media channel from television to internet to magazines). Hannah continued "the world is crazy and God isn't going to put up with it too much longer." I think my mouth dropped open and I stood there speechless. I am completely and utterly amazed at the faith and knowledge that a child can possess. Rather than try to teach her with more of my eloquent speech, I just agreed and said "you just might be right."

On my drive to the office I pondered all that had been said. There are days I wonder if I am teaching her anything of value, but this morning I discovered the answer to that question is yes, I am teaching her something of value....eternal value.

Thank you Lord for my daughter. I pray that she will know you more each and every day. I pray that her faith will continue to grow and that she will be a witness for you. I pray that you will place a hedge of protection around her as she goes out into the world. Thank you for bringing her into my life. Guide and direct us both. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Beauty of a Princess

Recently a little boy in Hannah's class told her she was ugly. I think he probably likes her, but his "ugly" comment has made her begin to doubt her appearance. This is the same little girl that when people told her she was pretty she would reply with a confident "I know". What bordered toward arrogance has now shifted to complete self doubt. Can we not find a place in the middle people?!

As a society we tend to judge people, especially women, based on their outward appearance and we equate beauty with self worth. I work in advertising and I am the first to admit that everywhere we turn we are bombarded with messages about how to be prettier, thinner, younger, wrinkle free and on and on. Don't get me wrong, if an inexpensive cream in a jar that truly erases wrinkles is discovered, I'm in! But I have learned over the years (and am still learning) that my self worth has little to do with my outward appearance.

One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 139:13-14 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." I love the thought of almighty God, the creator of all things, carefully knitting me together. Every part of me from the color of my eyes to the exact placement of every freckle was designed specifically by Him because it pleased Him. Although I haven't always looked at my freckles as a gift, that is exactly what they are.

Not only did He create me but He loved me so much He sent His son to die in my place. Through my relationship with Jesus Christ He calls me His child. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1. I am His child and that makes me the daughter of a King. Not just any king, but the KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS! I am a princess! Wow, my self worth just went through the roof!

Looking to the world for approval and acceptance will always be hollow, as the world will let us down again and again. But knowing who I am in Christ when I look in the mirror will always bring the reflection of the God of the universe who loves me exactly the way I am.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Special Gift

My mom and I share many things. We share a love for decorating, furniture shopping and entertaining. We both love country music, salads with blue cheese dressing and Pepsi products. We both have fair skin and freckles. We often share the JC Penney's catalog and coupons to Bed Bath and Beyond. But the best thing we share is our birthday.

I think it is amazing that I was born on my mom's birthday; not the day before and not the day after, but on her actual birthday. And since the day I was born, it has been and will forever be "our" birthday.

I suppose some might say that she was given a gift on her birthday so many years ago, but I would say, that it was me who was given the gift. It is so much more than a birthday. It is a day that connects us in a way that is indescribable. I thank God for my mom and for the gift of this special day we share! Happy Birthday mom!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Goodbye to a Dream

The time has come to say good bye to one of my dreams. Tomorrow I will turn 43 and with that it is time to say good bye to the hope of more kids. I really thought that I would fall in love again, get re-married and the "unexplained infertility" I had experienced before would be gone. Hannah would love to be a big sister at our house (she already is a big sister at dad's house). Over the past several years I have extended the age deadline for my dream to come true. First it was 38, then 40, then 43. I have a friend that just had her third child at 43. And the actress Marcia Cross recently had twins at 44. I would extend the deadline to 44, but the chances of falling in love, getting re-married and having a child between tomorrow and next March 23rd seem a bit impossible!

I loved being a new mom. Hannah was so small, so beautiful and so dependent on mom and dad. Everything about her was such a miracle from God. Her little fingers and toes amazed me. I used to hold her feet in my hands and kiss them all over and say "momma gonna kiss your feet." The baby stage was one of my favorite times with Hannah. I remember holding her and singing old southern gospel songs to her. I remember rocking her in my arms as I watched country music videos on CMT. She loved country music as a baby! I loved watching her grow and seeing her personality emerge. The baby stage is just for a moment and before you know it you have a curious toddler on your hands. Each stage passes so quickly. I recently heard the quote "the days are long but the years are quick", and it is so true. Today I have a beautiful 10 year old and it seems like just yesterday I was putting frilly headbands and bows in her hair. Being mom to Hannah is truly the most precious thing in my life. Oh how I have yearned for more!

Isaiah 55: 8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts."

I have to admit, that as the old song and the Burger King slogan say, I want it my way! But His ways and His thoughts are higher than mine. God knows the whole picture, the whole story. And tomorrow with the turning of another year, I place my beautiful dream of a bigger family into His hands. I don't know what the future holds, but I know the one who does and as sad as it is to say goodbye to this dream....I know in Him I can trust!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Making Memories

I like to scrapbook. There was a time when I would have said I love to scrapbook, but the pursuit of the perfect scrapbook page has turned this once enjoyable hobby into work! I do, however, love Friday night crops at my local scrapbook store. If it weren't for these page making, pizza eating, product buying fests, I would never get a page done! This past Friday, I took one of my favorite scrapbooking buddies with me to the Friday night daughter. Not only were we recording memories, but we were making memories. I think Hannah finished eight pages. And me, well I finished one page. Actually, the page I finished was started at the last Friday night crop, so truth be told I got about 1/2 page done! Someday I'll be caught up. I thought I would share a couple of Hannah's pages. I think she had three pages dedicated to Webkinz! The second picture is a page of our cat Lucy. Someday Hannah won't want to spend a Friday night with her mom....but we'll always have the memories!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grace That Is Greater Than All My Sin

Recently during a Sunday church service we sang the familiar chorus:
"Grace, Grace, God's Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, Grace, God's Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."

As we sang the words I have sung a million times, suddenly the last line had new meaning. "Grace that is greater than all my sin". Have you ever struggled with letting go of your own sin? Have you ever thought that your sin was too great for God's forgiveness? How could the perfect, holy, almighty God forgive you? I have thought these very thoughts, but just like the song says, His grace is greater than all MY sin!

The enemy often whispers in my ear, "you are nothing but a sinner", "God doesn't want you", "you are such a disappointment", "there isn't enough grace for the things you have done". The whispers seem to be even louder when I am thinking about ministry and service. How could God possibly use me?

David was a man after God's own heart. David was the boy whose faith brought down a giant. Yet, even after God had made him King of Israel, David sinned. It wasn't a little sin, it was a big one! Peter denied Christ after he said he would never do such a thing. Peter walked and talked with the savior. He was one of the closest to Jesus and yet he sinned. Again, not just a little sin, a doozie! I love the story of the prodigal son, because it is my story. Throughout the Old Testament the story of the prodigal son is evident in the history of Israel. Israel was quick to turn away from God when things were good. When things got bad, Israel repented and begged God to return to them. This didn't just happen once or twice, but over and over and over again! And over and over and over again, God bestowed his grace to Israel. His grace is greater than all MY sin!

Truth is we all fall short. I have yet to meet anyone, Christians included, who were sin free. Our sin problem is exactly why we need a savior! If we could fix our sin problem ourselves there would be no need for the cross. Even the most righteous don't measure up to God's standard. Without the cross, we are all condemned. But according to Romans 8:1 we have a savior who rescues us from our sin. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". Yet knowing this, we often condemn ourselves. Allowing past sin to infiltrate our lives; believing the lie that we are failures who can't possibly be used by God. 1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Psalm 103:12 tells us "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us". Our sin is forgiven. Our sin isn't a match for His grace! His grace is greater than all MY sin!

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

No Explosives Founds

The police dogs sniffed my broken laptop and didn't smell any explosives! This whole laptop thing has been quite the experience. I arrived at the airport police station today and the doors were locked. There was a sign that said "for entry pick up phone". I picked up the phone and explained I was there to pick up a laptop I had left at baggage claim. After explaining the whole long story I was allowed entry. I took the elevator up to the third floor where I was greeted by two police officers. I again explained the whole story and they questioned me about what type of computer is was, what did the case look like and was there any thing to identify that it was mine. Luckily I had put some of the conference materials inside one of the case pockets. The conference attendees list was among the materials and they were able to find my name. They gave me the broken laptop and I was on my way. Hallelujah, this story is now done!

Friday, March 7, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

Business travel seemed so glamorous when I first started my career. I was excited to see new places and meet new people. It is usually far from glamorous. I have certainly had some fun business trips and have been to some fun places, but there is no place like home!

This week I had a business trip that turned out to be one mishap after another. It all started on Tuesday. I was leaving for Orlando on Tuesday afternoon and discovered on Monday night, while packing for said trip, that I didn't have an adequate pair of shoes for that certain pair of brown pants that I just had to take. Not a problem. I could run out to the shoe store during my lunch hour on Tuesday since my flight wasn't until later in the afternoon. Tuesday morning was filled with meetings and by the time I left for lunch my mind was in about 10 different places. Apparently my mind was so distracted that I didn't notice my speed! Yes, I was pulled over for speeding on the way to the shoe store! The whole speeding ticket thing is a story all of it's own, but for now I'll just say that sometimes a friendly, positive attitude, can make even a bad situation end with a smile. Anyway, I did get a ticket. I still had to get shoes. I hurried (without speeding) to the shoe store and picked out the perfect pair of brown shoes.

Back at the office I packed up my work things including my laptop computer. It was important to take my laptop so I could do some work as well as possibly blog while I was in Orlando. Seven of us were going to a conference and a few of us had to stay at another hotel due to the conference hotel selling out. I have to admit that I am somewhat of a hotel snob. I don't need a really expensive hotel but I am picky. I like clean, comfortable and safe. As soon as I walked in the lobby I was a bit suspicious about this hotel, which actually is a "resort". That sounded nice when I read "resort" on the itinerary. They put me in building 6. The lady at registration showed me a map of the property and explained how to get to building 6. I was a bit worried by the map. I was lugging around a heavy suitcase plus the laptop (which is heavier than it looks). I walked down a paved path lined with palm trees passing by a couple of beautiful swimming pools. The grounds were beautiful. I continued walking and walking and walking some more. Building 6 is at the very end of the property.

When I finally arrived at building six, I discovered my room was on the second level. There were no elevators. Before tackling the stairs I had to take a little rest. After a minute or two I was ready to conquer the stairs. I lugged my heavy suitcase and heavy laptop up the stairs. By the way, I was wearing one of the highest pair of heels I own. By the time I reached the top of the stairs I was exhausted. I looked for my room number but the sign with an arrow pointing straight ahead lead me nowhere. I discovered this only after walking up and down the same hallway several times. I figured out the arrow was pointing in the wrong direction. When I finally reached my room, I grabbed the back of a chair to steady myself as I tried to unload my arms and the chair was sticky. Not a good sign. The room faced the parking lot and it immediately didn't feel safe. I would use the word motel for this building rather than hotel. The room was very old and given the sticky chair it didn't appear very clean. I was tired, my feet hurt and I just wanted a clean, comfortable, safe room.

I called the front desk and they agreed to move me into their "tower" rooms which were more like a hotel. But, the only tower room they had left was a smoking room. I decided the smoking room would be better than the sticky chair room. I lugged my very heavy suitcase and laptop back across the property. My feet were killing me. I opened the door to my new room and was almost knocked out by the smell. It stunk! Not like smoke, but like men's cologne that had been sprayed to mask the smell of smoke. Ick and double ick! Again, I totally admit that I am a bit particular when it comes to hotels, but this was icky!

I was not a happy camper in this hotel, but I figured I just would have to make the best of it. I called my coworkers who were staying in the conference hotel and they said it was wonderful. Instead of sulking, I decided I would pull out the handy laptop I had dragged half way across the country and check my email. The laptop didn't work. I plugged in the power cord and pressed the power button and nothing! I had used this laptop earlier in the day and it was fine, but now it was totally powerless. Ugh!

We all met up for dinner that night at the conference hotel, and I had a bad case of hotel envy! Once back at our lovely hotel, one of my coworkers discovered her toilet had overflowed. Her bathroom was a mess! And when she tried to call the front desk her phone didn't work. She called me on my cell phone to ask me to call the front desk about her toilet. On a positive note, this hotel did have good pillows. We stayed in the icky hotel for two nights, and for the last night we were finally able to get into the conference hotel. As grateful as I was to be in the nice hotel, I had to lug my heavy luggage and the broken laptop to the new hotel (via taxi of course). I'm not sure why, but I seemed to have only packed high heels for this conference. Why oh why didn't I pack a pair of tennis shoes? By the end of the conference my feet were swollen, blistered and throbbing with pain (but I did look good in my shoes, especially the new ones!).

I enjoyed the conference. I enjoyed the group of people that joined me on this trip. I enjoyed the Florida weather (except we got caught in pouring rain one night). But by Friday morning, I was ready to come home. Despite the fact I was leaving 70 something temperatures and going to 20 something temperatures with snow, I was ready to go home. At the airport we went through one of the longest security lines I have ever seen. Again, why didn't I bring tennis shoes? My feet were killing me! Once through security and at the gate we were greeted with the news of a flight delay! Due to weather the flight was delayed. And then delayed again. I just wanted to go back to Kansas. I tried clicking my high heels together three times, but it didn't seem to help. Finally, an hour and a half later we were headed home.

All went well on the flight home and it appeared that the end of the trip was mishap free. That is until I got home, pulled my suitcase from out of my trunk and realized I no longer had the broken laptop! I sat it down at the baggage claim and must have forgotten to pick it up. I called the airport and the airport police now had my laptop. They were calling in police dogs to sniff it! Good grief! So today, I am headed back to the airport to retrieve the broken laptop, assuming the dogs didn't sniff anything!

Next year this same conference will be held in New Orleans. I hope I get to go again, I truly do enjoy this conference. But, I will pack a pair of tennis shoes, make reservations early enough to be in the conference hotel and I think I will just forgo the laptop. No matter where I travel, the words of Dorothy ring true...."there's no place like home"!