Thursday, December 31, 2009

THANKFUL THURSDAY ... all in a years time

I cannot believe that as I write this post, it is the beginning of the last day of the year 2009. I always find it interesting to look back thru my calendar and see all of the happenings for the past year. It never ceases to amaze me how many things have happened in my life.

Babies were born.
Weddings were performed.
Precious loved ones passed to their glory.
Prices increased.
Children moved away.
New furniture was purchased.
Old friendships were rekindled.

What do you see when you look back over this past year?
Do you see heartache? pain? loss?
Do you see blessings? joy? wonderment?

I have always thought that no matter what our circumstances, the outcome depends alot on our perspective. Have you ever considered it a blessing to endure pain? Have you experienced joy while your heart ached? Have you stood in wonder at how God has stood with you during your loss?


This is how I would like to remember 2009 ... that with every tear I have cried, every smile I have smiled, every pain I have endured and every blessing I have counted ~ that each moment has had a purpose to bring me into the full understanding of what my salvation means. (Grace, love, forgiveness, redemption, undeserved merit)

2 TIMOTHY 2:10 "For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory."

What is your perspective of what 2009 brought to you and yours? Rejoice in everything and as we say good bye to an old year and ring in a new one ... may your perspective remain on the joy of the Lord, even in your suffering.

Please join us this week for THANKFUL THURSDAY by linking your TT post below in Mr. Linky. I have enjoyed being your host this month, and hope that you will come back and visit my blog as often as you can. Next month Lynn will be hosting, so be sure to check out her blog as well. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The "sick" bug

I am taking a day or two off from blogging...

due to a "sick" bug that has officially attacked my body!
 But I will be back soon....

Friday, December 25, 2009

MARY ... did you know?

Today, I have shared the following devotion over at the LACED WITH GRACE site. ( I would like to share it with my readers here as well. I pray each of you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to come!! Thank you for being a faithful reader of WOMEN TAKING A STAND!

One of my all time favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, did you know?” Every time I hear that song, it just tugs at this mothers heart. Have you ever considered what that question is asking?

I don’t know about you, but each and every time I gave birth (4x) – my heart was filled with so much love, excitement and anticipation of what the next 18+ years would hold for me and for the child that was just entrusted to me. What an awesome responsibility motherhood brings.

Many times I have wondered what joys, disappointments and challenges would come to my children as they grew up. I always prayed and envisioned my kids to become strong, dependent and successful. But nothing was more important to me than to know that my children were walking in Gods will and making an impact in their world for the cause of Christ.

Considering how my mothers heart has leaped for my children’s triumphs in life, I have often wondered what it must have been like for Mary. Knowing ahead of time that she would be the mother of not just an ordinary baby, but a savior.

Did Mary know the suffering that lay ahead for her baby?

LUKE 2:11 ” For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.”

  •  Did Mary know that her baby would be King of Kings?
  • Did Mary know that her baby was sent to save the world?
  • Did Mary know that her baby would suffer and die?
  • Did Mary know that her baby would impact her world and the world of many for years to come?
 I wonder … just how much DID Mary know?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

THANKFUL THURSDAY ... giving the gift of "Worship"

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a list for Christmas. Whether it was my "wish list" as a young child or the list that I comprised of what my own children were hoping for. Many of us have our own list in our heads of what we are hoping to receive for Christmas this year.

I find it very interesting that only at Christmas time, we receive gifts on someone else's birthday. When it is my birthday ... nobody else receives presents except for me. So why do we not consider what the birthday boy, Jesus, may want for His birthday on Christmas Day?

When I read about the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus, I see that their giving was expressed in worship...

MATTHEW 2:10 "when they saw the star, they rejoiced, exceedingly with great joy."

When the wise men saw baby Jesus, they bowed down and worshipped Him ... AND THEN ...  they gave Him gifts. Giving is part of worship. This Christmas, I want to be sure to express my worship in my gift-giving, and this may mean that I need to present my heart to Jesus as His birthday present.

I am so thankful today that I live in a country where I am free to give the gift of "Worship" to my Savior! What are you thankful for - why not share your grateful heart with us today here on THANKFUL THURSDAY!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD ... love with "skin on"

Not long ago, I read a story about a little girl who was frightened during a storm. The little girl's mother came in to her room to comfort her but when the mother tried to leave, the little girl objected. The mother said to her, "It's alright honey. God is here with you". But her daughter said,  "I know Mommy...but I want someone with skin on."

I am sure that all of you have heard that story as well, but I was thinking that this picture is one of what it is like when we forgive a brother or sister. Forgiving them helps them to see God "with skin on".

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the question, "When you are feeling guilty about something you have done to someone, what do you do?" The top 3 responses were:

1. 88% of those voting in the poll said that they just talk to the person.
2. 5% voted and said that they would "kiss up" to that person by saying nice things.
3. Another 5% polled said that they make amends in some other way.

No doubt, we have all done or said something that we later might feel guilty about. Sometimes this guilt keeps us from maintaining relationships with the ones that we love, and unfortunetly our guilt can even keep us from a fresh, daily walk with our Lord. Really what we are all looking for is "love" with "skin on it".

John said it best: "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us." (1 John 4:12)

I think what John is saying is that we, as God's children, have the ability to show one another what love is with "skin on". How much skin have you shared today?

This week for WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD, I have shared some thoughts on a study that I was doing on Jacob. When I came to the passage about Jacob wrestling with the angel, I wondered to myself just how many times I, as Gods daughter, wrestle with things such as guilt. Is it the guilt or the love of God that others see in me? I had to stop and ask God to help me show others what all His love covers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A PIECE OF MY HEART...I'll leave the light on for ya!

One of my favorite memories of my children when they were young happened on saturday mornings. The one day that we (my hubby and me) had to sleep in, the kids would rise early and clad in their pj's would come to our room and climb up in our bed with us. We would cuddle, talk and watch tv while we all laid out in our bed.

That memory often times comes alive again now that my kids are grown up. It never fails ... just when we are settled in our pj's and about to turn the light out, our grown sons while home visiting, will come into our room and crawl into the bed with us and talk. It's pretty amazing how we all lay across our bed and talk about really important issues in their lives and at other times, we just laugh about something funny that we have recalled.

It doesn't take long either ... if one is in our room visiting with us, the rest will soon follow. What a sight to see ~ all of us sprawled out on our bed. What a wonderful feeling!

This weekend, when our son and daughter were sprawled out in our bedroom with us talking, I was reminded that it is in the dark of the night, when we need our Heavenly Father that we can call out His name and He is right there in our bedroom with us. We don't have to get up and find Him in another room, He is with us right where we are.

MATTHEW 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

One thing that I have learned with our kids is that they may need to come in and get sprawled out on our bed at all hours of the night to talk. Even if we have drifted off to sleep, we want them to know that our light is always on for them. Isn't that a neat way to remember how God is always here for us ... He always has a light on for us. It never burns out, blows up, or blows a fuse. His light is eternal and everlasting.

Do you need to crawl up and have alittle talk with Jesus?

Monday, December 21, 2009


Is there peace in your house? If you are like me, you might be feeling the "crunch" or the "countdown" to Christmas. Only five more days to get the shopping done, the gifts wrapped and the baking done. As I look around and see all of the hustle and bustle, it reminds me more of chaos than it does of peace.

The shepherds received word of the birth of Jesus with these words: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13-14 NIV).

It was God's desire that when His son came to be "with us" that peace would reign on earth and in our hearts. This was not wishful thinking, by no means. It was a proclamation of what can happen when we receive the Messiah. Peace on earth!

Having this peace does not mean that there will still not be chaos in your world...but the peace of God will allow you to look at your circumstances differently. As we approach this marvelous celebration of the birth of Christ ~ I wonder if you have found the peace that the angels proclaimed?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Laughing like a kid again!

I have found myself laughing alot lately. I think its the place that I find myself at in this thing I call life. I know I am over 40 years old but sometimes I just like to laugh like I am a kid again.

It seems like whenever I spend time with my two youngest children, they just bring out this happy, laughing side of me. I can't explain it, but I just have a blast spending time with them! Tonight as a Christmas present to myself, I took them to a broadway show of "The Wizard of Oz", and I smiled and laughed and laughed some more. They laughed too ... but I think it was either a courtesy laugh or they were just laughing at me when I was singing along to all of the songs of "The Wizard of Oz!"

Either way ... I had so much fun. Fun with them and fun just laughing. The Bible says, "Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice." (Philippians 4:4) Joy and laughter are God-given gifts that help us live less stressful and more productive lives. Sometimes when there is nothing to laugh at, we should laugh anyway! It won't take long  before you will feel the healing power of joy and laughter bring new life and new energy to our weary and frustrating day.

"Joy is the serious business of heaven." - CS LEWIS

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So many times this time of year, people put the emphasis on the gift ~ not just the actual gift but the presentation of the gift. You know ... the wrapping paper, the gift bag, the tissue, the ribbon and the bow. We forget that it is not about the outer shell of the gift but it is what is inside that is important.

We are much like this when we try to be something that we are not - often times we forget that God has placed gifts in each of us that we can use for His glory. But we get so wrapped up in the "packaging", we think we can't sing well enough, or play an instrument well enough or we stumble and stammer when we speak. God is not looking for the "perfect" package, only a willing and an obedient vessel.

PSALM 85:12 "The Lord will indeed give what is good."
What gift have you been given from God? Today on Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for the gifts that God has placed within me to use for His Glory and I pray that I will be found to be a faithful and obedient "package" that He can use!

Why not share your grateful heart with us today...share your THANKFUL THURSDAY post with us by linking up below.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD ... authentic forgiveness

While Christmas shopping tonight I saw a crystal vase that I fell in love with. Attached to the box was a label that said that the vase was authentic crystal. Authentic? I thought to myself ... this was the real deal. No quelms about it, you were getting what you paid for.

Sometimes, in our relationships I wish that would be true. Wouldn't it be great if attached to our relationships were labels that said "authentic", what a difference it would make if we would be the "real deal" to one another.

One reason that people have a hard time being authentic with one another is for the lack of forgiveness. God has taught me ALOT in the past few years about this thing called forgiveness and one of the greatest lessons that I have learned is that forgiving is not always easy.

Most of us have experienced false forgiveness... you know the kind that we say the words "I'm sorry" or "That's alright, it was no big deal", but inside of us anger and bitterness rage. We know deep down that this is not true authentic forgiveness, but what else can we do?

The "what else" that we can do is modeling forgiveness after the authentic display of forgiveness that God has for us! No better way to express this kind of love than we see in the parable of the prodigal son in the Bible.

LUKE 15:20-24 "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (21) The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you . I am no longer worthy to be called your son. (22) but the father said to his servants, Quick bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. (23) Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. (24) For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate!"

So many times when I have read this parable, I have concentrated on the forgiveness of the father and the repentive heart of the lost son, but what about the brother... the other son that had been true and faithful to the father? Was there any kind of guilt that existed between him and the lost brother?

In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the question: "When you were a child, what were you most likely to feel guilty of?" The top 3 answers were...

1. 37% of those polled said that they felt guilty about lying to their parents.
2. Another 37% voted and said that they felt guilty about everything!
3. 12% voted and said that they felt guilty about not getting their chores done.

This poll reflects that as kids, we ALL had guilt and many of us have hung on to that guilt into our adult years. Some of us can relate to the older brother in the "Prodigal" story...he was angry because he had worked so hard to be the "good" son. Even though the prodigal son's sin was against the father, the older brother felt personally offended because his view of justice had not rolled out the way that he had thought it should.

This caused the older brother to sulk and stay outside while the celebration went on inside. He missed out on so much, he missed being "part of the party". When we cannot forgive as God forgives, we too, miss the "party". We often think that sulking and not extending forgiveness will make all of the prodigals in our lives miserable, but in essence the only one miserable will be us! Bitterness and lack of forgiveness is like a venom that will eat away at us...when God calls us to forgive, He not only calls us to have mercy on others but also to have mercy on ourselves.

When you find yourself to have a prodigal in your life, and you ask yourself "what else" can I do? - choose forgiveness. Choose to forgive others, this will give life back not only to your brother or sister but it will give life back to you as well. This is truly an authentic form of forgiveness!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A PIECE OF MY HEART... sitting on the roof


Many times when I am afraid of something, I would rather pull the covers up around me and hope that they will go away. This method of madness usually does not work.

I will never forget how our son Jeremy faced a big fear of his. Ever since I can remember, Jeremy has been afraid of heights. We had many vacations to the mountain, and I can still vision Jeremy staying back as we all got to the edge of the cliff to look down. His fear gripped him so much that he missed out on seeing the beauty of Gods hand.

Jeremy finally had to face this fear he had of heights when he enlisted in the Air Force four years ago. Part of his training that he would have to pass for his job in the Air Force was to climb up a telephone pole. As much as he would liked to have not feared this ... truth is, he did. He knew he had to come up with an action plan to overcome this fear of heights.

One day, my husband and I came home and noticed that our extended ladder was out. Since we knew we didn't get it out, we asked Jeremy if he knew why the ladder was out. Come find out, Jeremy had taken the ladder out and had been "practicing" overcoming his fear of heights by climbing up on the roof of our house and sitting up there.

We laughed about that, but in reality Jeremy was on to something here. Several weeks later, when we attended his bootcamp graduation, Jeremy took us over to the telephone pole that he had to climb and be tested on. (not only did he climb it but he had to get to the top and then lean back and hang there) I will never, ever in my life forget what he said when I asked him how he was able to get the courage to climb that pole. He said, "Mom, I just did it. It is all a mind set."

I could not have been more proud of my son than I was in that moment. This reminds me of what Paul was trying to tell Timothy...God has given us a boldness and there will be times that we will face times of uncertainity and fear. Paul told Timothy to not fear because God lives in us and does not give us a spirit of fear.

LUKE 8:50 says "Do not be afraid; only believe!"

Sometimes, I think as christians we have the wrong mind set when it comes to our fears. We forget that God never puts more on us than we can handle, and no matter the heighth or depth of our fear - He is ALWAYS with us. Faith is stronger than fear!

Sometimes I just need to get a ladder out and go sit on the roof about you?

and this is a piece of my heart today;

Monday, December 14, 2009


It has been a few years since we have gone to the mountaintop to celebrate Christmas, but the memories of it are as fresh in my mind as the pine needles are on my mantle. When the children were younger, we would pack up and drive to Petite Jean Mountain and stay in a cozy cabin and celebrate Christmas in a unique way.

The steep climb up the road to the cabin was always interesting. Especially if the road was slick with ice. It was always an adventure to go up the road and we always had to make sure we stopped at the market down at the bottom of the hill for fear that once we got up the road that we would not be able to get back down again, because of the iced over road.

The most memorable trip to Petite Jean Mountain was the year that we all ventured out on a long hike around the mountain. The paths become very steep at times and it actually is a dangerous path to take. Caution must be taken when hiking these trails. On this particular trip, our boys were young and my husband decided that he would explain to them the "do's" and the "don'ts" of hiking on a dangerous trail.

Rule #1 ... stay on the path.
Rule #2 ... do not try to take a shortcut through the trees.
Rule #3 ... step carefully, as it ices in places and you will lose your footing.
Rule #4 ... see how steep this mountain is? people have disregarded rule #1, #2 and #3 and have fallen to their death off of the mountain.

Almost as soon as these "rules" came out of my husbands mouth, he slipped on the ice (rule #3) and slid off of the path (rule #1) and slid down the side of the mountain, only to be caught by a tree (rule #2). After we caught our breath and realized he was alright, the boys laughed and laughed at how daddy taught them how to "properly" slide and fall off of the mountain.

Remembering this awesome memory of our Christmas past, caused me to remember what the scripture in Proverbs says about slipping and falling...

"People with integrity have firm footing, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall." PROVERBS 10:9

How firm is your footing? As you walk on this path of "life", do you find yourself having a difficult time following the 4 "do" and "don't" rules?

Stay on the path, keep your eye on the prize!
Taking shortcuts will only delay your blessing...put your trust in God and allow Him to take the lead!
Getting off course can cause harm or even death ... stay firm in His Word!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Get moving!

Every year we go to the beach. It is one of the highlights of our summer. It never surprises me how the weather can change so quickly. We can be sitting out on the beach chairs, soaking up the sun rays and splashing around in the water as the waves roll in and out and almost as suddenly as the wind blows, the weather can instantly change. The dark clouds start to move in and the wind picks up and before long, the beach assistants are folding up the chairs and locking everything up and moving everyone off of the beach.

A storm is brewing and in order to get back to our condo safely before it hits...we better get moving quickly. It never surprises me that every time this has happened, there is always someone who ignores the signs and stays out there on the beach.

I was thinking about this the other day, and how some of us are living our Christian walk much like those on the beach. The signs of danger and the warning that a storm is near is all around us, but yet we ignore the signs. Maybe we think that the storm isn't going to be that bad, or possibly we aren't sure what we are suppose to do ... so we just don't do anything.

Sometimes it is easier to plan to do something than it is to actually do it. Thinking about your plan of action in the midst of a storm doesn't do us much good when we are still sitting around when the hurricane hits. When God calls us to action, He will be our guiding light in times of danger, but we must not be still in this moment, we must trust Him and just get moving!

PSALM 119:60 "Lord, I hurry and do not delay to keep your commandments."

If there is a storm brewing around you ... have you noticed the warning signs?
 Get ready and get moving!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

THANKFUL THURSDAY ... the Gift of Protection

As I have been shopping and getting into the Christmas spirit around our house, I can't help but to think about the families that will be apart yet another Christmas season. This time last year, my heart was heavy as one of my sons was not with us for Christmas, he was serving our country overseas and for the first time in 26 years our family spent the holidays away from each other.

There are many families similiar to mine, who will spend yet another Christmas apart. Children, spouses, brothers, sisters, parents ...spending Christmas morning apart because our world is under fire. Our soldiers are sacrificing so much so that we can be safe and secure in our country.

I am so thankful this Christmas season not only for their protection over us, but also for the protection that God gives us against the enemy and the strongholds that come our way. God's weapons are potent, and His stronghold is secure! But, it does us no good if we do not know WHAT His weapons are or HOW to use them. Truth is totally useless to us unless we have learned what Truth is and memorized it and learned to rely upon it in the heat of the battle.

PROVERBS 18:10 "God's name is  place of protection - good people can run there and be safe." (MSG)

Dear Lord: Thank you for your protection and for the reassurance that I can run to you and feel your safe, loving arms around me in the midst of my battles. Thank you for the men and the women who are protecting our country ...protect them, bless them and keep them while they are away from their loved ones. Help me to remember not only the great sacrifice that these soldiers are giving for me each day, but help me to never, ever forget the greatest sacrifice ever - Your son, Jesus Christ. AMEN

Please join your grateful heart with ours today and link up your THANKFUL THURSDAY post below in Mr. Linky! Happy TT!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...take a chance on me

Recently, I heard someone say that they weren't sure about giving their heart away to someone, for fear of getting hurt. When one gives their heart away, in essence what they are doing is trusting their heart to someone else. Trust sometimes means that you will take a "risk" on another person.

This kind of trust is summed up in an old song, sung by the group ABBA, "take a chance on me". Sometimes, that is exactly what we need to do if we are to trust someone. Many times, honesty and openness can only come as someones "word" and in time it is proven by their actions. Often times what we need to do is just simply "take a chance" and trust people.

Many of us step away from taking chances though. We need security and everything in order and we demand things to make sense before we can trust in it.

MATTHEW 1:18,19 "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. (19) Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly."

Can you imagine what it took for Joseph to trust in what Mary was saying. In last weeks YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers the following question, "what would you have done had you been Joseph and there was no angel to tell you the truth?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 50% of those polled said that if they were in Joseph's situation, they would have talked to Mary about it.
2. 30% voted and said if they were in Joseph's situation, they would have cried alot.
3. 10% of those voting said that they would have forgiven Mary right away.

Joseph wanted to trust Mary, but how could he know her story was true? Read on...

"But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.' "(Matthew 1:20,21)

Joseph had somewhat of an easier time trusting Mary because an angel came to him in a dream and verified Mary's story. How many of us wish that we could have a similiar verification of every story that is told to us by our children, our spouse or our friends? Most of the time, things do not happen this way. We usually do not have angels coming and telling us who and what we can trust, so we have to be the ones to decide who we take a chance on.

But we don't have to make such a difficult decision on our own. Even when people let us down and cause us to mistrust them, God can be our guide and our example of how to trust. Putting our trust in Him will allow us to trust others in a way that we never thought possible.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A PIECE OF MY HEART ... picking a good apple

When our boys were younger, we lived in Wisconsin and one of our most favorite fall family outings was to go to a local apple orchard. I don't know if you have ever had the opportunity to visit a apple orchard to pick apples, but it was always an adventure for us to do it with 3 small boys.

(Our son Jordan picking apples 17 years ago!)

As you walked down lanes and lanes of apple trees, you just had to stop and begin looking over the fruit selection. Once you found a good picking area, we would let the boys go freely to pick as many apples as they could. The goal was to climb up the small ladder to the tree where the "good" apples were, but it never failed, one of the boys was always insistent on picking the apples from the ground.

Funny thing about an apple orchard...just because the apple has fallen from the tree, does not mean that the apple is rotten. In fact, sometimes it is quite difficult to tell the "good" apples from the "bad" apples. Most of the time I could not separate between the two until we got the apples home, and I began to cut into them to make an apple pie or homemade applesauce.

Once I sliced into the apple, the value of what was inside was revealed quickly. Oh my ... if only we could grasp this concept as christian men and women. We often times put on the "church clothes" and we walk the walk and talk the talk, but if we could examine the inside of our fruit - I wonder what we would find?

Sometimes we tend to place too much value on what the outerman sees and we forget that in the end what matters is the value of what is on the inside of our spiritual man. Our heart that is. We must guard our heart so that it will not "fall" from the tree, God's Grace that is. God warns us to not fall for the enemies schemes and deceipt.

1 JOHN 3:7a "Little children, let no one decieve you."

Next time you bite into an apple...remember that we are "fruit inspectors" and it is our job to be wary of the "bad" apples. Distinguishing the good from the bad may not be as easy as it sounds, but with God's leading and direction, I am confident that we can all be good apple pickers!

And that is a piece of my heart today!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tracing footprints in the snow

Now that I live in the south, one of the things that I miss about this time of the year is a fresh snowfall. As a northern girl, I saw my share of snow growing up and believe me, now that I live in the south I don't miss shoveling it, or scraping it and shoveling it some more. But I do miss the beauty of seeing freshly fallen snow hanging ever so gently on the tree branches and the lightly covered ground.

The greatest thing about a lightly snow covered ground is that you can tell a story. You can retrace each step that was taken across the yard and tell where the steps began and where the steps ended. As a child, living in Wisconsin, I loved playing a game in the snow - where I would try to retrace someone's steps in the snow. I would try to place my foot in the footprint of the one who walked across my yard and see where I would end up at.

As silly as that may sound to you now, it reminds me of exactly what God has done for us. He has already shown us the way, His footprints have been left for us - all we have to do is follow His steps.

PSALM 119:133 "Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me."

If we would follow His footsteps, we will never have to wander around, wondering which way is the right way or which way is the wrong way. As we follow His lead, God will be with us each step of the way.

Dear Lord - Thank You for sending me Your Son. Help me to follow His example and to be more like Him everyday. As I seek direction, help me to seek His footprints to find my way. I am so thankful that He will never lead me astray. AMEN

Friday, December 4, 2009

LACED WITH's best friend

Today I have shared a devotion over at the LACED WITH GRACE site. For the past year, I have been honored to join a team of awesome writers for this great ministry. If you haven't checked out the link yet, stop on over, you will be blessed monday thru friday with some great words of encouragement by some great writers! Here is the LINK keep reading to see today's devotion:

We have 3 dogs. Jasmine, Lucy and Maggie. Each has its own personality and habits. It is fun to watch them, and if we try to give one some attention… they all come running. Fighting to get more attention from us than the others.

Have you ever noticed just how faithful your pets can be? It doesn’t matter what we do ~ our dogs are always happy to see us. If we forget to feed them … they still wag their tail when they see us. If we leave them home alone all day long … they still patiently await our arrival. If we accidentally leave them out in the rain … they still love us.

FAITHFUL. I was reminded just the other day just how faithful these canines are. My teen daughter was in her room, all 3 dogs were sprawled out on her floor. She sat down and the black lab (Lucy) came close to her. Anna began to tell Lucy (the canine) all about her awful day. All the while, Lucy listened intently and didn’t take her eyes off of Anna. When Anna finished her story, she looked down at Lucy and asked, “so what do you think?” And almost as if Lucy understood, that canine whined right back at Anna, like she was saying “it’s alright, I’m here for you.”

It’s no wonder that these animals are considered Man’s Best Friend. They are faithful and loyal. Doesn’t this describe exactly the kind of friend that God wants us to be?

PROVERBS 20:6 “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is really faithful?”

It may seem like finding such a loyal friend can only be found in our canines, but God has raised us up to pursue a life of faithfulness and loyalty, not only to Him but to those around us. Have you considered what being a loyal friend means to you?

Dear Lord…today I am asking You to help me to be a faithful friend. Help me not only to be loyal to those I call “friends” but also to those that seemingly are “friendless”. May Your loving Spirit shine thru me as I pursue to be the BEST friend that I can possibly be. AMEN

Thursday, December 3, 2009

THANKFUL THURSDAY ... being unique

Today I went shopping for a new pair of jeans. I gathered up several different styles before I finally found a pair that actually looked alright on me. On my way to the checkout to pay for my purchase, a beautiful blouse caught my eye. So I made a slight detour to check it out. It was hand beaded and beautiful (but not on sale!), as I looked at the tag for the price, something on the tag jumped out at me. The tag read, "I am your special garment. I am unique and often hand-woven, hand-beaded, hand-printed, and hand-painted. My defects are part of my beauty!"

Have you ever considered your "defects" as being part of your beauty? You know what I mean...all those things that when we look in the mirror we see as flaws or defects. Wrinkles, grey hair, extra weight, etc. I once read that the average woman in America is a size 14 ... well who am I to try to be below average? The culture that we live in today tells us something different though, doesn't it? It trys to sell us on all kinds of products that will erase away, tuck away and wax away those things that we find unacceptable, so that we can be less than the average size.

GENESIS 1:31 "God looked over all that He had made, and it was excellent in every way."

Each of us is made in a very special and unique way and God loves us so much that He gave each of us His own garment tag and it reads, "Created by His hand to do marvelous and wonderful things. You are my special child, unique, not like any other."

Being unique is something we all can be thankful for! What are you thankful for today...join your grateful heart with ours this week as we celebrate THANKFUL THURSDAY!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD...the gift of a robe

What do you suppose is the most important ingredient in developing a friendship? This is exactly what I polled the readers last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, and the top 3 answers were:

1. 63% of those voting said that one would need to be self giving instead of self focused.
2. 45% voted and said that friendship needed to be worked at.
3. Another 45% said that trust was the most important ingredient in developing a friendship.

In the book of 1 Samuel, we find the story unravel between two friends Jonathan and David. This was not just any kind of friendship, but it was a deep, intimate friendship.

1 SAMUEL18:1 "After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself."

After I read this passage this week,  my mind wandered about this deep friendship between these two men...for instance, how did this intimacy come about? Was it from talking with each other late into the night? Or perhaps it was from fighting side-by-side in battle? It is not clear as to why this deep respect existed between these two friends, but we do see the how...

Jonathan expressed his friendship with David through a meaningful symbolic gesture. This gesture tells me some important things about how exactly a deep, intimate friendship can develop. First of all, Jonathan gave David his robe...

"Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David." (1 Samuel 18:4a)

This robe was a unique garment that designated him as royalty. So you see, this gift of the robe was much more than what we might see today when friends give a sweatshirt or a ballcap to a friend. Jonathan had given David an important symbol of his identity and status. This gesture certainly showed how much he valued their friendship.

It also showed how much he placed "trust" in their relationship. I can't imagine anybody giving something so precious and important as Jonathan did and not place trust in the person to do well with it. To honor his name and his reputation. Now that is total trust, isn't it?

In order for us to develop intimate friendships, we must first decide to trust!
Whom have you placed your trust with today? and more importantly, are you a trustworthy friend?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A PIECE OF MY HEART ...r.e.s.p.e.c.t

RESPECT ... Aretha Franklin sang about it: R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (just a little bit). More and more I see that Aretha was going down the right path suggesting that what we are  missing in this world is plain and simple respect!

You have experienced it too. At the grocery store. Driving on the freeway. At the dry cleaners. Waiting in line at the Post Office. People are impatient and disrespectful. Having a lack of respect isn't just an issue with our children and teens, I see many adults that have a serious issue with showing respect not only for themselves but for others.

My kids make fun of me everytime we go thru a drive thru window, because of the way I talk to the little loudspeaker. I say "please" and "thank you" and "yes maam". Even when the voice on the other end of that little box is short, rude and confusing. I can't explain it...maybe it was the way I was raised or possibly it is one way that I can brighten someone's day, it might amaze you to see the impact that alittle bit of respect (and kindness) can go.

1 PETER 2:17 "Show proper respect to everyone." (NIV)

Showing respect should not be based upon whether or not a person deserves it...but because God has asked us to show proper respect to everyone. The best way to have a little bit of respect in your world is letting it begin with you!

and that is a piece of my heart today;