Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do One Thing

Do one thing every day that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt

Remember this post? I talked about giving voice to your dreams and taking risks. Then on Sunday I talked about how I had to stop hiding behind someday and take a risk in writing my first novel. I thought that after all that risk-taking, that would be the end of it. I would waltz off into the sunset with my publishing contract in hand, a beatific smile on my face.

But I am learning that this life of taking risks is just beginning. That to pursue one's dream, one must keep pursuing it every day. There is not one final act in a pursuit. It's a chase that begins when you say yes and lasts as long as you keep running. I saw that in the faces of the writers I met at ACFW. They are all running the same race, still chasing the same dream. Whether they have written one novel or ten, the chase is still on.

I realized this a couple of weeks ago when I was in the car one morning, returning home from my daily carpool run to my sons' school. I flipped on the radio just in time to catch an interview with Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook, Message In A Bottle, Walk To Remember, Nights In Rodanthe and the new title, The Last Song. (I read it and highly recommend it. Go ahead and read it because it's going to be a movie with Miley Cyrus, releasing in January. That way you can be "in the know" when your kids want to see it.) Anyway, in the interview they announced that he would be at our local Barnes and Noble that night signing books.

I can't explain why but I knew in that instant what I needed to do. Everyone who has read my novel-- from agents, to a hired reader for an agent, to different people within the staff of the publisher, etc. has compared my novel to his work. Ironically, I haven't read a lot of his books and by no means set out to write a novel that compared to his work. But needless to say, when you hear that a certain amount of times from a lot of people who aren't connected to each other, you start believing it. So I knew that I needed to go and meet him that night. I called my husband and told him what I was thinking of doing.

"Is that crazy?" I asked. What I meant was, "Tell me not to do it."

"Probably. But you know you need to do it," he replied.

I called one of my best friends. "Tell me not to do it," I said.

"You have to do this!" she said.

So resolutely I printed out a nice copy of the synopsis and sample chapters of my book and, later that afternoon with butterflies swarming in my stomach, I went to the Barnes and Noble with my papers clutched in my sweaty palm.

There were hundreds of people there. As was expected, I bought my copy of the book and took my place in line. Two hours later I got close enough to see him sitting at the table. Other shoppers around me were giddy at the prospect of meeting him. I wanted to throw up. They were there to get their book signed and a photo made with him... fun! I was there to do something that felt stupid and scary. The closer I got to him, the more I wanted to flee. But my resolve kept me rooted in place. If you leave, I told myself, you will always wonder.

One of my biggest fears as I stood there was that he would very loudly say, "I am sorry but I do not do endorsements!" while the hundreds of people watched and pointed at me as I slunk off in shame. I also had another scenario where his handlers who stood by him at the table reached out and took my papers from me, stating loudly, "We're sorry ma'am, but Mr. Sparks can't take things from the public." As I stood there worried, I felt God whisper to me, "You will not suffer shame." And so as I stood there, I just repeated that promise to myself over and over and over. It reassured me and kept me inching towards him.

When I bought the book, I saw a magnet that said the quote at the top of this post. On impulse I bought it too. It summarized what I was feeling and doing. Though I thought I had bought the magnet for myself, as the time ticked away I realized that I needed to give it to him.

When I got up to the table where he held court, I seriously thought I might pass out. Somehow I took the seat next to him when it was my time, though I barely remember my feet carrying me there. "Did you want a photo?" he asked as he busied himself with signing my book. Warily I removed the pages from the bag.

I shook my head no. "What I'd really like is to give you something."

He looked worried. "Oh... okay," he said.

I slid the pages across the table to him and he looked down, puzzled. His face clouded over as what it was registered with him. "It's already under contract," I offered quickly. His face visibly relaxed as he realized I wasn't asking him to help me get published.

"I just want you to read it and, um, consider endorsing it if you, um, do that sort of thing." Real smooth. I slid the magnet across to him. "I also want to give you this." I waited for a moment while he read what it said. He looked up at me. "Just for the record," I said. "This is my something scary for today."

He smiled at me. "Now why would this be scary?" He smiled.

"Because I had no idea how you would respond."

"It's fine," he said. He held up the pages I had given him. "I will read it."

"So, you will think about it endorsing it?" I asked, a smile spreading across my face.

"Yes," he said. "I will."

I thanked him and made room for the next person in line. The whole exchange had taken mere minutes. I walked off thinking of all the things I should have said-- how I should have explained why I was asking him specifically-- but my time was up. As I walked away, I got stopped in a traffic jam of people milling around, watching him. I looked up and caught his eye. He winked and I smiled back, my heart filling with hope. At the very least, I thought, he didn't think of me as some sort of whack job. And I had not suffered shame.

That was nearly three weeks ago. I haven't heard a word since. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will... If he even made it home with what I gave him... If the magnet is affixed to his refrigerator... If he sees it and remembers me or if I am just yet another fan who wanted something in return.

It is at those moments that I refocus my attention on God-- on His plan for this book and the fact that nothing can thwart that. And so, instead of being anxious about it, I pray about it. And I move on with my day, knowing that no amount of worrying about what happens will change the outcome. The point was to do something that scared me, to take one more step towards my publishing dreams in a way that put me out of my comfort zone and more in touch with the risky life God is calling me to.

Do one thing every day that scares you... what will be your thing today?
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Thanks to all of you who stop by after reading today's P31 devotion. I am so glad you visited!

Be sure and scroll down to read my most recent posts. Just below this post is a review of a great new book. And further down there's an interview I did with myself about the new division of P31 I am heading up called She Reads. I also shared an exciting announcement on Sunday about what God recently did in my life-- and some lessons I learned along the way. If you still want to read some more after all that, check out the post a bit further down on praying for your children when they are in school. That one's a good one!

My prayer for all of us today is that God shows us any idols we have inadvertently erected in our lives... and that we put Him back in His proper place before another day passes!
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A Million Miles In A Thousand Years Review

As soon as I saw Donald Miller's new book, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, I knew I had to have it. Ever since I first read Blue Like Jazz, I have been a raving fan-- devouring anything with his name on the cover. Some of you may remember me sharing the story of how I made a fool of myself gushing to him at a book signing over how much I loved the book. I still turn red when I think about it.

So needless to say I was more than willing to review the book for Thomas Nelson as a part of their Book Review Blogger program. I could hardly wait for it to arrive and felt so blessed to be among the first to read it. They even sent two copies so there was one for my impatient husband who didn't want to wait around for me to finish mine.

The book did not disappoint. I loved the theme of the book-- editing your life to make a better story. It challenged me both as a writer and as a person. There's one chapter that, to me, if you are a parent, is worth buying the whole book for. That chapter is called "How Jason Saved His Family." But there is even more great stuff in there than that-- there is so much about attaching meaning to the mundane, making the ordinary extraordinary, etc. It's an inspiring book, one that I will hang onto and read again and again. The first time I read it really fast but the next time I plan to go through with a highlighter and my journal and savor it.

Here's a blurb about the book:

Full of beautiful, heart-wrenching, and hilarious stories, A Million Miles
in a Thousand Years
details one man's opportunity to edit his life as if he were
a character in a movie.
Years after writing a best-selling memoir, Donald Miller went into a funk and spent months sleeping in and avoiding his publisher. One story had ended, and Don was unsure how to start another. But he gets rescued by two movie producers who want to make a movie based on his memoir.
When they start fictionalizing Don's life for film--changing a meandering memoir
into a structured narrative--the real-life Don starts a journey to edit his
actual life into a better story. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years details
that journey and challenges readers to reconsider what they strive for in life.
It shows how to get a second chance at life the first time around.

Plan to pick up a copy and don't delay. After reading it you too will want to edit your life and make it a better story!
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Monday, September 28, 2009

She Reads

I have been remiss in announcing She Reads here on the blog so I wanted to do so. Forgive me but I have been working so hard on launching this new division of P31 Ministries that I didn't take the time to announce it here. So I decided to interview myself about it. I hope you enjoy!

What is She Reads?

She Reads is the result of two friends who read Christian fiction voraciously deciding to share their discoveries with others on a larger scale, and partnering with an international women's ministry to do so. Many people think that Christian fiction is lame-- bad writing, trite plots, etc. For a long time it has held that stigma.

But Christian fiction is changing.

It is our goal to help spread the word about the great writers and stories that are being told. Stories about real people facing real challenges. Stories that don't end with the main characters getting saved and a rousing chorus of Kumbaya. Stories that push the envelope at times and make you wonder, "Is this a Christian book? Because this isn't like any Christian book I've ever read." Stories that, above all, show human beings who are struggling to live a Christian life or to make peace with God. Stories that are well told by skilled writers. We want to connect you, the reader, with stories that will stir your heart, lead you to make changes-- either in the way you live or the way you see things-- and point you to Christ.

Jesus knew that stories were wonderful ways to communicate Truth. The writers of these books know this as well and do it with excellence.

So how does She Reads work?

Our goal for She Reads is for it to function in two ways: 1) as a place an individual can go get recommendations for great books to read and to connect with the authors who wrote them and other readers who enjoyed them and 2) as a place where book clubs that are already out there can get connected with an umbrella organization that provides suggestions for books, activities they can do, discussion questions, and a point of contact with the author. We are working towards accomplishing these goals and are learning and tweaking as we go.

That sounds great, so how can I get connected?

Right now, the best way to get connected is to sign up for our seasonal newsletter and to subscribe to our blog, which is updated several times a week. You can also become a fan on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter. That way, as we make changes and create new facets to She Reads, you will know about it. To visit our site and learn more, go to There is a navigation bar at the top which will take you to different parts of the site.

What books have you selected so far?

We select 3 books a season. Our fall selections are Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth, Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner, and eye of the god by Ariel Allison. These three different books all meet the criteria we created at the outset. Because this club is not set up by any one publisher we have the freedom to go to any Christian publisher to find our selections... and we do. We are reading, reading, reading right now to find our spring and summer selections. We have already chosen our winter ones but I can't tell you what those are yet! We will be making our announcement towards the beginning of December but I can promise you you are in for a treat with these books!

I hope that you will all get involved with She Reads. Even if you have never been a fiction reader, this is a great way to start. We so appreciate all of you who have shown your support of this brand new venture by becoming a fan on Facebook, subscribing to our blog, subscribing to our newsletter, and following us on Twitter. We are so excited to grow this thing and create a place where you can trust the books we recommend and meet other women who love to read and love to share the power of a great story.
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Exciting News!

Remember how I wrote on Friday about learning to give voice to your dreams? Well for most of my life, I dreamed of writing a novel. Of being a published novelist. It seemed too humongous for words. Too unreachable. First of all, writing a whole novel-- start to finish? Big! Impossible! And then to top it off, getting someone to publish it? Huge! Insurmountable!

Remember how I talked about how it was hard for me to say out loud the things I carried in my heart and how God has been working on me to start saying it and stop hiding it? You guys might remember how I would casually mention from time to time here on the blog that I was writing a novel. What you didn't realize was how monumental a step it was for me to throw that out there. I. Was. Writing. A. Novel. I was pursuing a dream. I wasn't hiding behind that word "someday" anymore. I was stepping out from behind it and into my future. There was nothing casual about it to me.

And yet, I felt a strange peace about what I was doing. It wasn't that I thought I would finish or that I would get a contract or anything like that. But I also had a sense that, no matter what, good was going to come from me being honest about my dreams with other people for the first time. God was showing me yet again that nothing good comes out of hiding. That we have to bring things out into the light for them to be everything He intends.

And so, I started telling people. My husband. My kids. My mom. You guys who read this blog. My fellow P31 team members. My dear friend Ariel who coached me every step of the way. Pretty soon I was telling everyone I met... whether they wanted to hear it or not! :) It got easier. I grew in confidence. I found I wasn't as focused on achieving my dream as I was on what it felt like to live free in pursuing it. God was getting me to a new place of vulnerability, of honesty, and it felt strangely good.

I went to a writer's conference and showed my work for the first time to other people. One of those people was one of my writing heroes, Susan Meissner. I opened myself up to her critique and the critique of others. I thought I would throw up from nerves but I did it. I left the conference last May feeling one step closer to my dream and connected with a community of other people who weren't afraid to move towards their own dreams.

In the last several weeks, I have learned that the effort I made is paying off beyond what I dared to even dream. That little novel I started banging out, word by word, last August is going to be published by David C Cook-- the people that have done one of my favorite novels Talking To The Dead and the critically acclaimed Scared. They also have the number one bestseller on the ECPA list right now, Crazy Love. I get to work with the same editor who edited Talking-- a dream come true for this newbie who knew she needed a great editor. Not only that, when I was in CO last week I found out that they are going to release it this June!! I spent a great day in their offices last Thursday talking about marketing plans, cover design and editorial calendars.

It still doesn't feel real. I can't believe that it has happened. But I am so glad I pursued my dream and didn't hide behind it anymore. What dream are you carrying around that God might want you to bring to light? I invite you to live the risk you are afraid to take. Even if I had never gotten the payoff I wouldn't have traded the changes that the last few months have brought about in me. It's been an amazing, wonderful ride thus far. I hope you all will stick around for the rest of it!
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Crispy Potato Casserole Recipe

Just got this recipe in an email and thought some of you might want to make it. This is from Julie Druck's monthly email, A Heart For Home, which I have referenced before. This would make a nice Sunday brunch or a good "breakfast for dinner" casserole!

Crispy Potato Casserole
24 oz. frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1/4 C. butter, melted
1 c. chopped ham
1 3/4 C. Mexican cheese
1/2 C. half-and-half (probably could substitute milk)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

Dry hash browns between paper towels. Place the hash browns in a greased, square baking dish and dab them with butter. Bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle ham and cheese over hash browns. Mix half-and-half, eggs and salt. Pour over top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until set. Let set up for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

To subscribe to A Heart For Home, send a blank e-mail to:
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Friday, September 25, 2009

You Just Never Know

To check out our blog, Learning To Live Financially Free, go to

On Wednesday night, Curt and I got to tape a segment on The Satisfied Life radio show. This show is number one in the Sunday morning market and I can't believe what they are able to say about God on this general station. I have caught the show several times and enjoyed it. When we were asked to be on it, I was excited about the chance to tell our story this way, to this audience. We would love your prayers that the interview is encouraging to others when it airs this Sunday.
One of my favorite parts of doing the interview was chatting with Sharon Decker (one of the co-hosts) before we started. I asked her how she got started doing this. Sharon came out of the corporate world and always shared her faith there openly, with great results. She became passionate about teaching women to walk with God and to share their faith. Eventually she left the corporate world to begin her own ministry, The Tapestry Group. God had given her a vision to start a talk show, like a Christian "The View" but she had no idea how she would go about it. One day she was serving breakfast in the B&B she and her husband owned when Ramona Holloway, a popular radio personality in our city, struck up a conversation with her. They chatted about her idea and Ramona liked it. But Sharon never expected anything to come of it.

Two weeks later, she got a call from Ramona proposing what became The Satisfied Life. Two years later, Sharon shook her head as we talked, reflecting where that one conversation led her. "You just never know," she said, "What God has planned." In Sharon's case, a random meeting became a divine appointment. A little dream she had barely even spoken aloud became a reality.

As I thought about this I realized that Sharon was brave enough to utter what she wanted. She didn't think that anything would come of it, but she also wasn't afraid to put it out there and see what happened. I am learning that God wants that from us. That it's part of having faith. I always lived my life like I needed to cover for God-- not giving voice to my dreams in case God decided not to show up and breathe life into them. I didn't want Him to look foolish, you see. I needed to protect His reputation for being the answererer of prayers. What if people got the wrong idea about Him by watching my failures?

I loved Sharon's story because it backed up my own discovery that part of having faith is uttering things before you ever see them come to pass-- being bold enough to say, "Here's what I believe God is calling me to." I am not talking about a "name it and claim it" faith. But I am talking about "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." I have learned this a lot from the church I go to. The pastors there are bold in their proclamations and, I have to admit that when I first heard them do it, I would cringe because I worried-- again-- that God might not make what they were proclaiming possible and then what would they do? What would people think of this God they serve? But instead I watched as God did show up. He did make it possible. They did not suffer shame. (Isaiah 54:4, I Peter 2:6) Watching them inspired me. Perhaps my life could look that way if I would start speaking up and start moving forward instead of being paralyzed by fear.

You just never know, Sharon said. But if you don't try you will never know. I lived life in fear for far too long. I am learning to give voice to what I hope for, to let go of this need I had to cover for God. Will my dreams always come to pass? No. But I finally decided that a risky faith is worth it. It pays off in unexpected ways. Just tune into The Satisfied Life if you don't believe me and listen to the voice of a woman who never expected to be where she is and smiles as she remembers how she got here.
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Monday, September 21, 2009

ACFW Recap

Well, ACFW didn't turn out the way I thought. I didn't tweet nearly as much as I planned to. I didn't attend all the workshops I planned to. And I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I planned to so I could share them here. In fact, the one you see of my friend Mary DeMuth and I above is the only one I took!
One thing I didn't count on was feeling sick at ACFW. I got a bad cold several days before it started so I wasn't contagious any more-- but I couldn't shake the cough and hoarse voice. I don't think the altitude helped. I know people thought I had the plague-- I sure did sound like it. Needless to say I struggled to be able to talk loud enough to be heard. And I didn't have the energy I would have liked to have. But I was there, and that's what mattered. (At least, that's what I told myself!)
My sweet husband did give me the green light to get my own hotel room instead of rooming with my friend Leanna Ellis. Though I missed having the time I would have had with Le, I have to admit the whole room to myself thing was good. Really good. So good I told Curt he might have created a monster.
All in all, ACFW was a good time. I took a screenwriting class as my continuing class, which was two classes that lasted almost 3 hours each. I learned a lot and loved the teacher, Rene Gutteridge. Most of all I learned that screenwriting is challenging and not something you can just up and decide to do. So don't be looking for me to write any scripts any time soon! I also attended a class taught by Camy Tang that was excellent. I took home some great writing resources. And I made some great new friends. I came home last night and have spent all day playing catch-up... and am still not caught up.
Am thinking that being caught up is overrated... not to mention unreachable for me these days. But the best part is being home, and with that I am going to spend some time with these people I have missed for the last few days!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Leaving For ACFW

This morning I leave for Colorado to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference. I have to publicly thank my husband for making it possible for me to go financially and logistically. It is no small thing for me to leave this family for a few days and he has been so gracious to let me go off and pursue my dreams while he holds down the fort at home.

I am looking forward to my time at ACFW. I hope to learn a lot and meet new friends in the fiction world. For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you may remember that this past year I took the leap of pursuing my dream to be a fiction writer. While I like writing nonfiction like the book Curt and I did together and the devotions I write for Proverbs, I am most passionate about telling a good story, creating characters and weaving together a plot while immersing the reader into a rich setting. At least, that's the goal. I still have lots to learn about just how to do that... which is why I am making the investment of going to ACFW. I hear the training you receive there is great and have had the conference recommended to me more than once by people I admire. And so, off I go!

I will update you early next week about my time there. Be sure to check my tweets in the sidebar as I plan to be updating twitter while I am gone. In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend! See you back here next week!
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

From My Quiet Time This Morning

"From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind, from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth-- he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do."
Psalm 33:13-15

This verse was a comfort to me this morning... the reminder that God is watching over us all, considering our actions, knowing our hearts more intricately than we do. Because I think you can take that in a negative way-- He is sitting up there watching us mess up and waiting to zap us for it-- or you can take it in an encouraging way: He formed our hearts. He knows our weaknesses, our struggles, our shame, our insecurities. He sees the battles we quietly face each day and He, who knows us so intimately, takes it all into consideration as He watches us go about our daily lives. Not that He overlooks sin but He sees us through His amazing love, grace and mercy. I hope that visual of Him watching over you, knowing you intimately, and considering everything you do is a comforting reminder to you today. It was to me!
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ok So It's Cheesy But Then Again, It's My Blog

I am so saddened to hear that Patrick Swayze died. I didn't hear til this morning because last night we were out dealing with a family emergency-- my mom had surgery for a hernia that had gone awry. Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, suffice it to say they had to fix it and fast! The worst part is, they sent her home last night at 10 pm!! So Curt and I had to go home with her and my stepdad to get them settled, fill her pain meds, get some food she could eat, etc. We didn't get home til midnight and crashed when we did.

So this morning I was driving my boys to school and heard them talking on the radio about what Swayze movie was their favorite... and I just knew. Then another station played "I Had The Time Of My Life," and I knew even more, even though I hadn't heard an official announcement. I came home and looked it up online and found out.

I visited my friend Amy's blog and she wrote a beautiful tribute to him and has the music from Dirty Dancing up on her blog. So go read and remember when you first watched Dirty Dancing... and, if you are like me, leave the music up so you can soak up the memories. I dare you not to get tears in your eyes when you hear him sing "She's Like The Wind." So. Sad.

Here's the link:
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Praying For Our Children At School

I met Christy Baca on a retreat I led in TX. Christy ended up coming to She Speaks and was in my critique group. I asked Christy to contribute a guest post today that I think will speak to those of you who have kids in school. She has sent out several emails to her friends with specific scriptures she was praying for her children that week, encouraging us to pray scripture over our children as well. I recently asked her to write about her adventure in praying for her children as they are in school because her emails have helped me as we have transitioned to school with ours... and I thought that it might help some of you as well!

Psalm 5:1-3
Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Praying for our children. It is essential in raising them to have a faith that is unwavering, and to have a foundation in that faith to stand the test of life. If you have kids in school then school becomes their life. School is their world.

I remember taking my oldest to Kindergarten 7 years ago. I walked her in, sat down at her colored table and got her settled into her new Kindergarten world. I left her there in the hands of her teacher and the administration of that building. Trusting that she was in good hands and that she would make good choices. As my younger daughter and I drove out of the parking lot that morning she said to me, "Well it looks like it's just you and me now huh mom?" With a HUGE smile on her face (quality time is one of her LOVE languages)

"Yes I guess it is Morgan," I replied...I had to hide the tears. Even writing this I cry as I recall that memory. Although it was just me and Morgan, physically, the Lord was with us and the Lord was with McKenzie. He was the only one I could call out to protect her and watch her when I couldn't.

Prayer is the source of comfort I find when I send my girls to school each year. I truly believe that out of the prayers that were prayed over McKenzie that year she came to know her Saviour; she was baptized the following spring on Easter Sunday. What a blessing and what a joy to see that kind of growth come in such a short time. Since her walk with Christ began she has been through some tests, but the Lord continues to be her turning place.

Morgan, our youngest, began Kindergarten three years after her sister. When I left her I drove away alone. It was me and my Lord. He was all I had. That was a defining moment for me as a mom and as a daughter of our Father. Prayer is all I had to be connected with my girls during the day. As the days went by and struggles became apparent I found myself looking to the Word for strength to give to them.

Each of our girls have experienced their own struggles as they are at school. Our oldest has struggled w/missing school due to health issues and still keep her head above water to maintain good grades; then in middle school she went through the typical mean girl stuff you hear and read about and has learned about grace and mercy and forgiveness. Our youngest has learned that the Lord is faithful even in changes that life brings us that we can't control. She was moved from her school last year to a new school. The first three weeks were extremely difficult for both of us. However, the Lord was faithful to show Himself to her. She was voted as Student Council representative of her class and immediately that became a place for her to find belonging. In the hard time of that transition I reminded her daily that even though I am not there and even though her best friends from her old school aren't there Jesus is there and He wants her to tell Him when she is sad or scared or lonely. This year she began her last year at her school with confidence.

The following are prayers that I pray for our girls as they are in school and then some that I pray when things come up:

The first 12 are taken from a bible study written by Denise Glenn - Freedom for Mothers
When I pray these I put their names in places that personalize the scripture:

That they will know Christ as Saviour early in life. (Psalm 63:2; 2 Timothy 3:15)

That they will have a hatred for sin. (Psalm 97:10)

That they will be caught when guilty (Psalm 119:71)

That they will be protected from the evil one in each area of their lives: spiritual, emotional, and physical (John 17:15)

That they will have a responsible attitude in all their interpersonal relationships (Daniel 6:3)

That they will respect authority over them. (Romans 13:1)

That they will desire the right kind of friends and be protected from the wrong friends. (Proverbs 1:10-11)

That they will be protected from the wrong mate and saved for the right one. (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)

That they as well as their future mate will be kept pure until marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

That they will learn to totally submit to God and actively resist satan in all circumstances. (James 4:7)

That they will be single-hearted, willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ. (Romans 12:1-2)

That they will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or places and that wrong people cannot find their way to them. (Hosea 2:6)

I have also ALWAYS prayed Psalm 91 over our girls. It is a Psalm of protection.

Psalm 61:1-5 is one I prayed when I was in Romania in 2007 and is excellent for praying for our children when they are away from us.

Psalm 59:1-2 is one I prayed for McKenzie often last year as she went through MEAN GIRL junk. Psalm 56 goes in the MEAN GIRLS category as well.

I Peter 5:7 For anxious children or moms

Deutoronomy 33:29 when either of them are fearful of something

I have learned that it is effective to pray for them while they are away to give me comfort, but in order for them to hear and believe the words the Lord has given us as parents it is more effective to pray over them out loud. I have become more intentional to pray specific prayers for them and with them out loud.

The Lord has been faithful to us in so many ways and a lot of them are linked to our children and their struggles. Our job as parents is to be faithful to pray for and with them. The Lord wants to show us His power and what better way to show us than through His faithfulness in our prayers.

Thanks Christy for writing this great post! Was it helpful to you? I have been very convicted to pray for my kids throughout the day and these scriptures are a great guide for how I can do that!
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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Something To Say

I need to write a new post but I have nothing to say... it seems that just yesterday I was thinking up several great posting ideas but as I go to put fingers to keyboard, not a one comes to mind.

In the meantime, my friend Lysa wrote a great post that will surely inspire you-- and she used our unfortunate incident from this past weekend as one of her examples. So hop on over there and read a post written by someone who has something to say.

I shall return tomorrow. I will. And I will have something to say by then. I just know it.
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Monday, September 07, 2009

Daybook: Labor Day Edition

So I am getting this up a bit later than I would like. The holiday weekend has slowed us all down-- a pace I have welcomed before we dive into a busy week ahead. This morning Curt felt good enough to make us all pancakes and in a bit we will head to our town's annual fair, complete with crafts and rides and food. We figured out that for just three of our kids to ride on the merry go round one time (for approximately 3 minutes), it will cost us $7 in tickets. Sigh. All in the name of tradition! I grew up going to this same fair and now my kids look forward to it every year just like I did. The circle of life. Usually I take pictures at the fair but in the chaos of Curt's unfortunate accident, I left my camera at my friend's lake house! Hopefully I will get it back soon but I sure do hate to miss this photo op!

If you see us there, be sure and ask Curt to see his staples. I have new nicknames for him: "Staplehead" and "Frankenstein" are the most common. Yesterday my 9yo said, "Mom those staples in dad's head look just like real staples. He reminds me of a book report." Ok, so that was funny to me! I told her I might have to borrow that line for one of my novels someday...

And now, on to my daybook entry!

FOR TODAY, September 7, 2009

Outside My Window... blue skies and wispy clouds, a nice breeze. I saw some trees starting to change from green to red yesterday and felt a mixture of sadness and anticipation of a new season. My daughter, who loves summer as much as me, remarked that she is glad summer doesn't last forever or we would get bored of it. I suppose she's right.

I am thinking... about writing, or wanting to write. My Writer's Digest came the other day and that always inspires me. If you are a writer-- or dream of being one-- I recommend subscribing.

I am thankful for... a husband who makes pancakes for the family even with 6 staples in his head!

From the learning rooms... the Whalen school is closed until further notice. As of Friday (remember the big decision I alluded to?) all of my children are in school. (The preschooler is going three mornings a week.) I had one child at home and she was miserable without her siblings. She wanted to have a school experience like they are having. Even though she did not get into the school of our choice, we decided to enroll her in our local public school and see how it goes. We will keep praying that she gets into the school her siblings are going to while also praying that this choice proves to be an acceptable option in the interim. We spent most of yesterday shopping for new clothes and new supplies, which only added to her excitement. Mom got some new clothes too!

From the kitchen... grilled hot dogs and Baked Lays for dinner tonight with sliced strawberries topped with whipped cream for dessert. A simple, "farewell to summer" meal.

I am wearing... workout clothes. I plan to do my time on the treadmill after I finish this blog post.

I am creating...a recipe binder to finally organize the many, many clippings I have collected through the years. I bought a pretty lavender binder and a set of dividers yesterday while we were school supply shopping. This project has been on my "to do" list for about a year, probably. It's a daunting task that will prove to be, I hope, not as hard or time-consuming as I expected. Here is a good post about creating a recipe binder:
And another from real-life friend Jo-Lynne:
And here's a basic how to article:
Here's another idea, which is different but might be just the ticket for someone out there so I had to include it:
If anyone has the link to the original post I wrote about this, I would love for you to leave it in the comments! I found a lot of great links on this subject in my googling, but not my own!!

I am going... to spend time with my family today and run a few errands.

I am reading...Writer's Digest, Donald Miller's new book (review forthcoming)

I am hoping...for a smooth transition this week as another one starts school. Curt pointed out that this will be the first time in 17 years that I will be child-free a few mornings a week. He is hoping we can meet for breakfast semi-regularly! I am too!

I am hearing...children alternating between laughing and fighting, roughhousing.

Around the house...a slow morning gearing up to a busy day. Teenagers still sleeping, little ones playing, parents on their respective laptops.

One of my favorite things... fall decorations. Got sucked in by them as we were shopping yesterday but determined I did not really need them until I looked at what we already have. There's something about the rich reds and oranges and warm golds and browns that just make me sigh with contentedness. As sorry as I am to see summer end, I do love me some pumpkins and leaves!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Putting out fall decorations slowly (this is something I mess with from September til November); taping a radio interview about our book; taking some friends out to dinner Friday night; carpooling, carpooling, and more carpooling; making the recipe she includes in this entry, but I think I will serve it over fettucine noodles with German Chocolate Cake for dessert:
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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Life Comes At You Fast

Yesterday we headed to the lake with some friends for a fun day of boating, swimming and enjoying the last few moments of summer. It was something I was looking forward to partly because of the chance to enjoy time with my family and partly because of the company. My friend Kim and I have been friends since high school and we both have fond memories of trips to the same lake as teens. Now we are bringing our teens with us! How did that happen?

The day went swimmingly (excuse the pun). We laid by their pool for a bit, which offered a spectacular view of the lake. Then we decided to take a boat ride so the kids could tube. They loved it and were all smiles as they took their turns. Then some of my friend's family arrived by boat, so we went back to the marina to hang out with them for awhile. It was so hot that we all jumped into the water off the dock to cool off. We spent the last hours of the day floating in the water and chatting. It was so relaxing and we were just starting the dialogue of "what shall we do for dinner?" when Curt climbed out of the water with blood running down his face, looking confused.

To be honest, at first I thought he was playing a joke. But as the blood covered his face at an alarming rate I realized that he was in trouble. Turns out he was swimming towards the dock with his eyes closed, overshot and came up under the dock into a piece of metal, splitting his head open. It didn't take long for us to determine that our day of fun had taken a turn for the worse and, instead of dinner, we were headed to the hospital. We quickly packed up kids and belongings and I drove the 45 minutes back to our neck of the woods to take him to the ER with him holding ice and paper towels on his bleeding head the whole way.

Six staples later, he is home and doing fine. Moving a bit slower than normal, but fine. We have changed our weekend plans from going and doing to resting and reflecting. At first I struggled with feeling angry-- not at him, just in general-- about our plans being so dramatically altered and our "fun" being called on account of injury. But as the night progressed, I realized how much worse it could have been and changed my attitude from one of feeling sorry for myself to one of praising God that we were all home and safe. A bit battered, but safe. Last night Curt said that he was very grateful that the impact with the metal hadn't knocked him out. He would have been under the dock and slipped quietly underwater. I shuddered at the thought.

I thank God for having His hand on Curt yesterday and for His patience with me to catch up with His grace and His goodness to us. My faith statement for today? I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus' name. (Psalm 91:14-16)
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Friday, September 04, 2009

My Faith Statement For Today

The other day I wrote the post about the faith statements that we received at church. This morning as I went to write in my journal about a struggle I was having, one of the statements jumped out at me: "I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make."

Interestingly enough, I was about to journal about how confused I was over some decisions we are having to make in our family. I won't go into what these decisions are because they are personal, but suffice it to say that they are causing us to have a lot of conversations with God and with each other about what direction we should take.

Reading this faith statement caused me to pause. If that's true, I wondered, then why don't I know what to do? My journal entry changed from one of trying to write my way to clarity to one of begging God for the wisdom He promises me. As I rose from my time of prayer, reading the Bible, and journaling, I felt Him remind me that sometimes just making a decision and acting on it is the biggest obstacle. He reminded me of other times I have struggled with a decision but in the end felt better about it just because I decided something and went forward-- not because I knew that it was the absolute best decision to make. The solution, I found, came in the actions I took after I made the decision, not in the process of deciding.

And so this morning I have been making some decisions. And I have been praying as I do, asking Him to fill in my inevitable gaps and make my rough places smooth as I walk down these unfamiliar paths. (Isaiah 42:16)

Take a look at the faith statements I blogged about on Tuesday. Which one jumps out at you as applicable to your life? Leave a comment and let me know!
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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Faith Statements

On Sunday our pastor taught on faith that is first heard (which initiates faith), then spoken (which activates faith), then acted on (which demonstrates faith). He used the example of Peter stepping out of the boat to meet Jesus. First Peter heard Jesus speak to Him, then he spoke back to Jesus, then he stepped into the water. His faith was initiated, activated, then demonstrated in that scene.

He talked about how we need to be speaking God's word to ourselves, meditating on it constantly and letting it work within our lives. I had an encounter this week with someone who needed to do just that. This person was struggling with some pretty serious doubts and believing some crippling lies. Truth would have helped to drastically change this person's perspective. It's up to us to choose to speak that Truth when we are feeling down... it's just harder than it sounds.

To give us a tool to use, they handed out these nifty cards with "Our Faith Confessions" printed on them. He suggested putting them on the fridge but I have tucked mine into my journal to pray over each day. I thought that I would share them here and I have included a verse to go with each one in case you would like to print something up to use in your quiet time as well. I pray that speaking the Truth will activate your faith and equip you to then demonstrate it in your interactions with those God puts in your life!

1. I am fully forgiven and free from all shame and condemnation. (Romans 8:1)

2. I act in audacious faith to change the world in my generation. (II Thessalonians 1:11)

3. I have no fear or anxiety, I trust in the Lord with all my heart. (Psalm 112:7)

4. I am able to fulfill the calling God has placed on my life. (II Peter 1:10)

5. I am fully funded to do everything God has called me to do. (Jeremiah 32:27)

6. I have no insecurity because I see myself the way God sees me. (I John 3:1-3)

7. I am a faithful spouse and a godly parent, our family is blessed. (Hebrews 2:13)

8. I am completely whole physically, mentally, and emotionally. (I Thessalonians 5:23-24)

9. I am increasing in influence and favor for the kingdom of God. (Psalm 90:17)

10. I am enabled to walk in the sacrificial love of Christ. (II John 1:6)

11. I have the wisdom of the Lord concerning every decision I make. (Proverbs 2:6)

12. I am protected from all harm and evil in Jesus' name. (Psalm 91:14-16)
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