Friday, May 29, 2009

CIRCLE OF LOVE ... meet Laurie Ann

I have been so excited about this week's CIRCLE OF LOVE feature! I get excited each week, as I introduce to you a new blogging friend, but this week is alittle bit different. Not only can I tell you about a sweet sister in the Lord that I have met on the web but this particular friend I just met in real life! Now, not too many of us can say that about our bloggy friends.

MEET MY FRIEND....LAURIE ANN

author of:

Last Friday, my real-life (and blogging friend ) Jennifer and I took a rode trip to Grenada, MS. It was a 2 hour drive from our hometown in Arkansas, but we had a mission and that was to meet our sister in the Lord, Laurie Ann. Laurie Ann also had a 2 hour drive to meet us, so at our half-way stopping point, the 3 of us met for lunch at McAllisters. It was a beautiful day outside, so we sat outside and for the next 3.5 hours we talked, we laughed, we shared, we drank tea and we even prayed. It was like 3 old friends getting together and reminiscing about the "old" days.

Laurie Ann with
Jennifer (Ordinary Christian Woman's Heart) and myself at McAllisters

Laurie Ann sipping tea with Jennifer

I was trying to think of how Laurie Ann and I started to connect with one another thru blogging. I narrowed it down to about a year ago or so, when I started reading some of her writings thru Thankful Thursday and the At The Well sites. I remember it was shortly after I first started blogging and I was very (very!) green around the gills about blogging. I had tried and tried to figure out how to insert my signature like I saw in so many other blogs. But I just could not figure it out! So I commented on Laurie Ann's blog one day about it and she sent me her email address. She walked me thru it step by step and we have been connecting not only thru our daily blog posts but even in personal email ever since!

Meeting Laurie Ann in person was one of the greatest things about my blogging experience. So many times when I sit down at my computer and begin to write, I am reminded of the ministry that God has placed at the tip of my fingers. His leading and guiding speaks thru my heart and ministers at times to many readers that I will never have the chance to come face to face with. But on this particular day, on a sunny Friday, in a little town in Mississippi, sitting at a McAllister's deli...God gave me an opportunity to see face to face the ministry that is present in this thing we call "blogging".

Laurie Ann was as sweet, and tenderhearted and God loving as she portrays in her writings. What a precious and beautiful lady. I was so touched to meet her and now I feel such a bond between the three of us (Laurie Ann, Jennifer and myself).

Laurie Ann is one of those writers that shares the love of Christ in every single post that she writes. She is an amazing teacher. She loves to take a word and tell us what it means. I like that! I like to dissect the meaning of words. She also likes to break down scripture and give us simplified application. I love that also...after all, what good is it if we can't figure out how to apply it to our lives? If you visit Laurie Ann's blog on a regular basis, you will also notice that she likes acrostics. This woman can make an acrostic out of any word!

Not only is Laurie Ann an amazing teacher, but she cares about her readers and her hearts passion (besides her husband, her bonus daughter and her two grandsons) is for ALL to receive Jesus Christ and His love and forgiveness. She genuinely cares about the salvation of those she may have never met face to face.

Laurie Ann is an encourager. I don't know how she does it, but daily I see her posting comments on several blogs and every word is always an encouragement. If you have not met Laurie Ann, I encourage you to visit her and see if you don't see the same godly attributes as I see in her. Recently, Laurie Ann shared about "courage" with us on her blog....

Courage
As men and women of Christ, we are given this command to be of courage. The Greek word for courage is andrizomai.


This verb means:1) to make a man of or make brave 2) to show one's self a man, be brave. Bravery is not for the fainthearted.

We must be of courage to tie all these things together. With the way the world is going, indeed it is a necessity. By our courage, we can show others our faith and perseverance, our standing firm and being on guard. Timidity has no place in the Christian faith. (Reverential awe does, but this is not about that right now.)

How many stories have you read in the Bible about courage and bravery? Countless, no doubt. One of the bravest men I know is Paul. In chains he still preached the Word. I doubt if he turned on the television today that he would shake in his boots over rumors of swine flu (he was bitten by a snake and lived) or be kept up at night because there is talk of going to a one world currency. No! He would remain content, no doubt, and while praying for the moral depravity in the world, keep preaching the Word. We should be as brave.

Just as the Lord promised Joshua, we, too, can be men and women of courage, being on guard and standing firm on faith, because we know God is with us.


"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

~ Y ~

I told you she was an amazing teacher and encourager! Recently, Laurie Ann shared from her heart with me online and this is what she had to say:

1. PLEASE TELL US YOUR NAME AND WHERE WE CAN FIND YOU ON THE WEB?

Laurie Ann Pierce - you can find me blogging at http://www.magnoliaheartbeats.blogspot.com, on facebook, and through email at magnoliaheartbeats@gmail.com. You can find me on Twitter as msbookhound but between facebook, blogging and emailing, I forget to Twitter. I'm also in a yahoo group called Wow-Gals and Daughters of Sarah.

2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING AND TELL US YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BLOGGING?


I actually created my blog in 2004. Back then it was Magnolia Musings. I blogged about family and problems I was having. It was more of a diary then. I stopped blogging for a while and picked it back up seriously in 2008. My favorite thing about blogging is reaching women for Christ with topics that are relevant for spiritual growth.

3. WHAT ARE THE MAIN THINGS THAT YOU BLOG ABOUT?

I love to expand on Bible verses or a topic. I love stretching and growing in God and hope to pass that on to others.

4. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF...if you work ~where? ...have a family ~ tell us about them?

I work outside the home. I will begin my 20th year of work in October. I work for a state agency and manage travel policies, procedures, and contracts for the State, as well as approve requests for international travel and requests for waivers when employees deviate from normal policies. I enjoy my work.

As for my family, I have the best! I have been married to my husband Steve for 18 years. Although I do not have any living biological children (we lost Sydney Michel to miscarriage 7/20/98), I am a bonus Mom to Kristyn, who was 6 years old when we married. Steve already had custody of her before we even met, so when we married, I had an instant family. I have considered it a privilege to raise her alongside Steve and Tabitha, her Mother.


5. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SERVING THE LORD?

I never remember a time of not knowing Jesus. I was an older teen before I totally committed my life to Him and an even older adult before I realized what true Christianity was all about. You can read my testimony later here: http://magnoliaheartbeats.blogspot.com/2009/03/my-story.html

6. CAN YOU GIVE US A TESTIMONY OF HOW GOD HAS PROVEN HIMSELF FAITHFUL TO YOU?

I went through eight long years of infertility and miscarriage. A little over after our loss, I had a hysterectomy at age 29, ending my chance at becoming a biological parent. The faithfulness of the Lord shined through. He had called me to pray for those eight years and the reward was a rich heritage of children. I have not only my bonus daughter Kristyn, but my son-in-love Corey and 2 precious grandsons, Nolan and Liam, ages 19 months and 7 months. I am an aunt many times over and a cousin to many young children. God has rewarded my time of prayer in moving me closer to Him and opening my eyes to being content with what He has given me.

7. COULD YOU SHARE WITH YOUR CIRCLE OF BLOGGING FRIENDS YOUR FAVORITE SCRIPTURE?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
~ Luke 12:34 (NIV) - this is my life verse. My heart beats to serve my Treasure.

8. HOW HAS THAT SCRIPTURE MINISTERED TO YOU RECENTLY?

It has really tied together many things in my life. It kept me grounded when my Dad was going through a crisis recently and helped me unpack alot of baggage from the past and leave it in Room 12 of the ER. I realized that my treasure was actually an alabtross of emotional and verbal abuse I had carried around from years of growing up with an alcoholic father. I didn't realize I was so unforgiving until I thought about how easily the health crisis Daddy was going through could have turned out for the worse. And it was a minor injury compared to some of the things he has been through before. I think it was all about God's timing. He allowed me to slow down that day and ask myself where my treasure really was.

9. WHAT ADVICE ABOUT BLOGGING WOULD YOU OFFER TO YOUR CIRCLE OF BLOGGING FRIENDS?

Pray about every post. If it lines up with what He wants you to write, by all means, write about it. Follow your heart and have fun with your blog. If you're a Mom and have great tips, blog about that. If you are a photobug, post those pictures. If you want to write to encourage others, by all means, do so. If your blog is geared more toward humor, keep us laughing! Follow God's plan for your blog.

If it becomes work, step back and ask yourself if it's what God intends. Take breaks when you feel you should and blog like there's no tomorrow when you are called to do that.


"Thank you Laurie Ann for always giving us your best as you blog! I look forward to many more lunches in the future! You are a an awesome encouragement to me and to WOMEN TAKING A STAND!" -LAURIE

Please visit LAURIE ANN over at MAGNOLIAHEARTBEATS today. You will be blessed! Find her page by clicking HERE!

WOULD YOU LIKE your blog featured here on a future CIRCLE OF LOVE segment? CLICK HERE to find out how you and your blog can be highlighted!

10 comments:

bp said...

Laurie Ann is such an encouragement. It always touches my heart to read about her family and I love her term bonus daughter.

Thanks for answering the questions, I especially liked the one about blogging advice.

Denise said...

Laurie Ann is definitely a heart blessing, I love her.

God Chaser said...

I have been follow Laurie Ann for a while- you are right about her teaching ministry. Thans for sharing more of her -I encourage those who have not visited her ministry blog to do so. blessings

Pia said...

i love laurie ann. she's a blessing.

Laurie Ann said...

Well now I'm just crying like a baby at all the sweet things you said, Laurie. You are so precious to me, and I truly appreciate you featuring God through me on your blog today.

Stop by my blog when you get a chance, I have a little something for you.

Angela said...

. She loves to take a word and tell us what it means. I like that! I like to dissect the meaning of words. She also likes to break down scripture and give us simplified application. I love that also...after all, what good is it if we can't figure out how to apply it to our lives?

amen amen amen sis..I SO connected with these statements. Laurie Ann has ministered, encouraged and refreshed my spirit many times over.

One of the parts I LOVE about her devotionals is how she gives us the meanings of greek and hebrew words..oh my,,that really gets me going also..

How absolutely exciting to meet face to face,,and you KNOW Jennifer..oh she is precious too....

Beautiful post..

Beth in NC said...

I think you, Laurie Ann, and Jenn are precious! I would have loved to be there with you. ;o)

Jennifer said...

I absolutely love Laurie Ann! She is an amazing blogger but even, more amazing and lovely in person. She is like a breath of fresh air that I could sit and breathe in for hours and hours.

I can't begin to express what a joy it was for me, you and Laurie Ann to meet face to face. I certainly can't wait to do it again.

Laurie Ann, thank you for being such an encouragement, pray warrior and godly example of what I long to be.

I love you, Laurie and you, Laurie Ann...I am truly blessed to know you both personally!

Have a great weekend!

((HUGS))

Melanie said...

Great, great interview! I'm so thrilled for you all that you were able to meet... what a blessing! L

Debbie said...

I have to say that Laurie Ann has blessed me so much too. How awesome that you got to meet in person! She is such an encourager and kind person. I like that she prays about each of her posts. She is so smart and thorough; love the acrostics too. I identify with her and the infertility issue. I too had a hysterectomy and went through the loss of being unable to have children. But I too have many children that the Lord brought into my life. And I get to spoil them. :)

I love this circle of love concept. What a great idea! Laurie Ann deserves all the kind things you've written about her.