Good morning Friends.  I'm sorry for the delay in this post.  I've been up early, but apparently not earlier enough for the kids to still be sleeping.  I've got my chance and I'm going to take it.

This week I'm so excited to go through Make Over.  Having a relationship with God should be our first priority, but the next relationship is that with our spouse.  I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure, like me, you're madly in love with your spouse.  So we get to discuss the Shulamite Woman.  Who's that?  She's the beauty from the Song of Solomon.  <Smile>  The relationship with our God and our spouse should be the 2 most amazing relationships in our lives?  Why?  Because our God knows EVERYTHING about us; the Good, the Bad, the Ugly.  And our husbands; should be the same.  Now I say "should" as I don't know where a lot of you are with your spouse in this moment, but I want you to think about why you became husband and wife. Take those thoughts with you as you go through this week's readings.  If you're single, think about past relationships or those of the future. 

Now before we begin, this week's lessons are very intimate questions.  I will post a question and answer as honestly as I can without revealing too much of what goes behind closed doors with my man.  I do have a side business, Pure Romance by Kate Headley and I'm very comfortable discussing intimacy, so if you have questions, please feel free to privately message me at

So with that, let's go!

Question 1:  Affection is defined as "a tender feeling toward another; fondness."  On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rank the affection level in your marriage?  Does one partner get a higher score?  Why did you answer as you did?
     In my house, I'd say we vary anywhere from the 7-10 scale.  It typically varies on the lower range when things get so out of control, we just kind of "miss" each other.  However, the higher range on the scale is when we have taken the commitment we have made to one another for intimacy and enforce it.  Enforce sounds a little strong, but with everything we do, there is some sort of intentionality.
"Discover that God is radically pro-sex, thrilled about heat between a man and his wife, even happier about their affection."
If you've never read Song of Solomon/Song of Songs, you've missed an amazing love story.  Check out the opening:

1 This is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any
Young Woman
2 Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.
3 How fragrant your cologne; your name is like its spreading fragrance.  No wonder all the young women love you!
4 Take me with you; come, let’s run! The king has brought me into his bedroom.

 Young Women of Jerusalem
How happy we are for you, O king. We praise your love even more than wine.

 Young Woman 
How right they are to adore you.

Question 2:  What favorite elements of romance do you see here?
     I see the blooming of love affair.  She loves his kisses, his smell.  He was so desired not only by her, but by all women and she knew he was hers; so did the other women.
     Do you remember when you met your significant other?  I do.  The desire to be with him was so intense. 

Question 3:  List the top five qualities you loved about your husband when you first fell in love.
     1.  Kind  2.  Gentle  3.  His lips  4. His caring nature  5.  The way he made me feel like I was the only woman in the world.

Question 4:   If affection for your husband has given way to function, can you look deep and see where you are responsible?  What have you allowed?  How have you contributed?  Did you come into marriage with any inflated expectations?  If so, what were they?

It takes two to tango as they say.  We can't put all the blame into our relationship onto our spouse.  We have to admit that we share in some of the "blah."  So as Jen says, "Remember that intoxicating affection you felt....Repent....Do the things you did at first."

Depending on where you are in your relationship, some of these things may be hard for you because you've been hurt.  Marriage is hard work.  So choose your spouse.  "Stand with Jesus and face your marriage together."  Let Him be the center of it all.  Let Him work in the both of you.

Thanks for being here today,
This is our "Refresh" and reflect day.  A day of personal reflection and journaling.  This week focused on 1 Samuel 2:1-10.  Read it, reflect on it, and have some intimate time with God.  Remember that He loves us, gives us grace every day and desires a relationship with us. 

Have a great time with God and rejoice in the fact that He WANTS relationship with creation.

See you next time when we begin discussing our wively roles.  The Shulamite woman will be our area of focus.  Have a great Sunday!
I've been battling a cold that has completely wiped me, it doesn't help that I've been watching Downton Abbey.  :)

In Day 3, we talked about being real with God.  How has that been going for you?  I've noticed that I've been more free with my expressions directly to Him.  I'm not afraid of what He may think of me.  Which I know sounds silly because He KNOWS EVERYTHING!

Today we're going to talk about FELLOWSHIP.  Let's see where God takes us.

Question 1:  Please read 1 Samuel 1:11.  Darn.  Have you ever promised God something in crisis that you wished later He would forget? What was it?
     Guilty.  My promises are usually to spend more time with Him and pray more.  It's not that I want Him to forget what I said, but I feel guilty that I didn't keep my end of the bargin. 
"God's eyes search for those who will contend for His glory.  He finds the heart that releases her dreams not just for gain but for God's own fame.  Of course, many have offered the vow but neglected to keep it.  'God, if you will do this one thing, then I will do such and such.'  Yet out of her awe at the Lord's tenderness, Hannah remembered God because He remembered her first (verses 11 and 19)."  (p.60)
Question 2:  1 Samuel 1:21-23.  Why do you think Elkanah mentioned the Lord's word to Hannah?  What uncertainty do you think he was demonstrating?
     There are some obligations that need to be done in order to take of your families.  God understands that, however, He still wants your worship. So even if your "churchy responsibilities" are neglected, take the time you have away from church to carve out time with Him.

Question 3:  If you offered your Samuel--or the dream of your Samuel--to God (whatever the biggest this is), what else would you have to sacrifice? Control?  A time frame?  Fear?  A relationship?
     My biggest sacrifice is the control and my time.  Those are 2 huge things that I think I need in my life in order to maintain order in my life.  Wow, that just went around in a circle.  But to give up all control and to give more of my time is something that I have to give more of back to God for everything He has done for me.
"The purpose of the fellowship offering was to have a little dinner with God, enjoy each other."  (p.62)
Question 4:  Have you ever shared a treasure with God? A child?  A gift?  A talent? A dream?  How was there fellowship there?
     I think the gift of tithing has been one thing our family gets to share with God.  We have been blessed with an overflow that I still don't understand when I see it on paper.  He has made us stewards of His money and we hope to use it and give it wisely. 
"Believer, give God your grief and let Him turn it into a blessing.  Offer Him that returned blessing and let Him use it for His glory.  This is service the way God designed it.  It is born out of relationship and rings with authenticity.  It is fellowship.  It is wholeness.  It is union.  It's the only way to really live."  (p. 64)
Dear Lord,  I know most times my prayers are directed towards my wants and this may not be any different, but I ask that You show me where you are filling me right at this moment or where you want to fill me and take me.  With all the overflow that You have given, I also ask that You show me what to do with it.  But most of all, please help me to make those leaps and bounds of my selfishness to do Your will.  Amen.

Thanks for joining me.
I'm a jaw clencher.  I had a dentist appointment last week and we were discussing how my jaw pops in and out and causes me to have headaches.  I've dealt with it for years, but when I started playing roller derby, the pressure started getting to me.  I've taken a break from derby and have seen my jaw loosen a little bit, but apparently I'm still a jaw clencher at night.  Why can't I seem to relax when I sleep?  As simple as it should be, it's not for me.

Question 1:  Are you holding something you can't release to Him  (Dream, fear, pain, sin, relationship, etc.)?  What are you afraid He'll do with it?
     My husband and I are on our 3rd Financial Peace class that we've led.  In those classes, we talk about giving and receiving.  A clenched fist can't really receive anything, but an open fist (palm) gives the opportunity to give and to receive.  I have no problem tithing and giving monetarily, but to give other things to God, yes, I struggle with it.  It sounds to weird to say that I'm holding onto my dreams from God...because He KNOWS them already.  But yet, I'm holding on to them, not sharing them with Him because I am afraid of failing.   I don't like to be a failure.  I'm not good at not being good.

Question 2:  Where does your pain usually take you?
     My paint usually brings me to anger and frustration.  Sometimes it brings me to God (i.e. 1  Samuel 1:9-11).  Is it easy for you to go direct to God, rather than going within yourself?  I know it is for me. 
"Believer, God is strong enough to absorb your heartache before it is resolved."
Like the clenched fist, God can't bless us if we our fists are closed.  How are we to receive Him?  So why do I not open my heart and share my heart with Him...everyday, good and not so good?  Like Hannah, I can choose to "let go and let God" take care of it all.  He wants me to open up.  He wants you to open up. 

1 Samuel 1:20 says, "and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, 'I asked the Lord for him.'”  God hears us.  I sit here in awe of that; God hears us.  How cool is it that we worship a God that is involved and wants to be involved in our lives?  I think it's pretty awesome! 
"A believe who open her hands before God, releasing the hope of her Samuel, stands empty-handed for only a moment.  Because that same open hand is free to receive God's goodness as He hands it back."
Coming back to question 1, I think I'm afraid of trusting in God 100%.  I want to be like Hannah.  I want to shed every inhibition I have and give it ALL to Him. 

Lord, help me to open my hands when it comes to ALL areas of my life.  I need to trust in You.  Amen.

Thanks for joining me. We'll wrap up this week in a couple of days.  Feel free to share a prayer request via email or private message.  

An Honest Mess

"Relationship.  Life without it is meaningless....This is how God wants to do life with us."
I struggle with relationships.  I've struggled with them for as long as I can remember.  With my struggles comes lack of real, intimate relationships.  I'm so lucky that I have a strong, intimate relationship with my husband.  I can be open, honest, and real with him.  I may have difficulty expressing myself, but he understands me.  So if I struggle with my earthly relationships...I don't even want to go there. 

But where I do want to go is that I know I can better my relationship with God.  I've been digging deeper in His word, more than I've ever before and He has been showing me some amazing things in my life, along with the no so good parts.  And the great thing, yes, I said, "great," is that He's helping me to be honest with myself.

In my counseling sessions I've been learning to be honest and open with people.  Not that I've been lying to them, but I'm only showing a portion of who I am.  I've been so paralyzed with fear of what people will think of me that I only give them bits and pieces I think they can handle. 
"Believer, God does not want your good behavior but your honesty.  He is real, not some plastic, heartless taskmaster ambivalent to your anguish.  He'd take your messiest, ugliest prayer over your silence."
That makes me smile because it has taken me a long time to learn that God does care.  God wants a real, authentic relationship with ME.  All of me.  The REAL ME.  And you know what ladies, the real me sometimes just gets pissed off and ugly.  I want to yell, scream, and you name it.  God doesn't care.  He knows it's me and He's in love with me. 
 "On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in
your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  
But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’"  Matthew 7:22-23
Read that verse several times, then think and I mean really think about your relationship with God.  That is TERRIFYING.  I don't want to speak Christian-ese or "walk like a Christian."  I want to live in a relationship with God.  I want Him to know me.  I don't want to not be known by my Creator.  Ladies, take the time to meet with Him.  I know it's a struggle to find the time, but I would suggest like any thing, start in little increments and gradually work your way up to your goal.  I'm not perfect in this arena.  I'm working on it because I want a relationship.  I want intimacy with my God. 

God, thank you, thank you for your desire to KNOW me.  I pray to continue to feed this hunger I have for You.  I want to make You a priority in my life so that Your grace and mercy and not for nothing.  Help me to use my time wisely with You and to focus intently on us.  I love You!  Amen!

Thanks for spending tonight with me Ladies.  I'm sorry it's such a late post.  We've had a rough start to the week and my husband just got called back to work with only 4 hours between.  Please pray for him and his rest when he comes home tomorrow.
Today we'll be wrapping up our week.  I took yesterday off to participate and facilitate at a marriage seminar and   Again, I just want to thank you for taking your time to read and join me in this study.

It's about refreshing ourselves and diving into God's word today. 
"Before you begin reading, spend time in prayer with the Spirit.  Ask Him to teach you.  Pray that He'll remove your preconceived ideas and show you truth. Ask Him to speak clearly."  (p. 38)

Our focus will be on Galatians 5:1-6. Let's read it and then reflect on each verse.  Take time to write down your reflections. 

Ladies, I apologize.  I've been working on this post for awhile and had everything together and for some reason everything, even after saving, disappeared.  Our next refresh will be more in depth, so I again apologize.

Take your time with your God because He wants to spend time with you.  Happy Sunday!

Thanks for joining me,


Curses, huh? So we go from being dancing monkeys to curses? Interesting. How did yesterday's reading make you feel? I was relieved. I can stop all this craziness.  Granted I don't know if it will happen over night, but now I have truth looming over me and that's pretty awesome.  See, I've heard it before, but this time it's about attitude and relying on God to help me change my

Back to curses. What is she talking about? Our focus today
will be in Galatians. 

So when we make that decision to stop dancing for others, do we start dancing for God in such a way that we are trying to His love like we were doing with everyone else?

Question 1: How do you feel standing  before God today? What do you think He's thinking of you?
     Today, I feel better standing before God, but more often than not I feel unworthy to be a part of His kingdom. Sometimes I think He's saying, "Seriously, this is what you choose today?" with a hint of disappointment.

Question 2: Galatians 3:1-3 -- What trap had the Galatians fallen into?  Why do we accept grace for salvation but deem it insufficient for the rest of life?
     They fell into the trap of trying to be "perfect by your (their) own human effort."  Ouch!  Guilty anyone?  I am foolish like Paul says. How can I accept Christ's death on the cross and then turn around say, "Thanks for DYING for me.  I'll take care of it from here."?
Question 3: Galatians 3:4-5 -- How do you answer Paul's questions here?
     I don't want Jesus' death to be for nothing.  I don't my relationship with God to be "void of authenticity."   I have been living  a life such that if I do something against God, I back away because I think He gets tired of having to correct me.  Who am I to say I know what He thinks?  I want the real relationship He has been desiring with me.  I don't have to continue to appease Him like I do/did with my grandparents.  See, if I didn't do something according to their standards, they would take their love away by shutting me out.  Case in point, not speaking to me for 4 months.  I feel guilted by the fact that we haven't spoken, but yet, relieved that I don't have to dance anymore.

Our key verses for today are from Galatians 3:10-14.  What are doing by living out life by our own efforts?  We are applying God's curse because we CANNOT live our life by follow all of His rules or by attempting to live life by our own efforts.  We need to live our life by faith, not by works.  Jesus took our curse of death away from us by dying for us that day.  Will we accept it or will we let it be for nothing? (Galatians 2:21)
"So Jesus became the curse we couldn't escape by ourselves.  The cuse of striving but not achieving.  The curse of trying to be holy but blowing it.  The curse of not doing enough.  The curse of not being enough.  The curse of the dance." (p. 34)
Question 4:  Why do you work for God?
     It shouldn't be this difficult to answer this question.  God loves me...I hear it in the back of my mind...BUT.  The statement "but" shouldn't follow the word love.  Love should be unconditional, which is EXACTLY God's type of love, so why do I say, "but..."?  There it is, I'm working for God for His love.  :(  I've been sitting here for a few minutes after typing that thinking about that statement.  I don't have to work for His love.  He will not disappointment me like my grandparents.  He loves me for me; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 
"He couldn't love you one ounce more than He loves you right this second.  You'll never be more righteous than you are today.  Not one thing you could do or stop doing would change Jesus' mind about hanging on that cross for you.  Believe it.  Stop dancing until you believe it.  Begin a new dance once you do." (pp 35-36)
Jesus, I am so sorry for making your love for me by dying seem like it was for nothing.  I need to remember You are Love.  You love me, as is.  I want and desire and authentic relationship, not one where I continue to try to do things on my own or dance a dance for You to get You to like/love me.  Help me to accept Your unearned grace.  In Your Name, Amen!

Tomorrow we will wrap up our first week with some reflection time.  Thanks for joining me today.

Dancing Monkeys

So I know yesterday's post was a bit long.  I will try to keep them relatively short. I was just in a daze as my counseling sessions are starting to make even more sense.  So I do apologize for the lengthy post.  I will also not post all of the questions from the lesson.

Look at that, we're three days in.  That's HUGE for me. Thank you for your continued prayers. I'm so excited to see where we go from here.

This chapter brought forth some things that I've been going to counseling for; performing for others, looking for validation, and being disappointed everytime.  I've danced the dance of being a certain weight.  I've danced the dance of being a certain parent.  I've danced the dance of being a certain me.  I've danced so many dances, my shoes have holes in their my soul.  God doesn't want me to be a dancing monkey. 

Question 1: In what ways do you feel like--or not at all like--Barbie?
     I don't know about you, but I've never compared myself to Barbie.  I only had 1 Barbie growing up and when I got her, I didn't know what the big deal was with her.  I'm not blonde, thin, or bendy and I don't think Barbie was ever an insurance adjuster or agent.  I didn't desire to have all of the Barbie ideals, but what I did and still sort of desire is the fact that I want to have it all; mom, wife, career.

Jen says, "Rather than chase impossible standards dictated by this unforgiving world, let's rise up, Girls, and declare that we won't be dancing monkeys anymore." (p. 26)  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a dancing monkey.

Question 2: Who do you work so hard for? What are you hoping to receive from them?
     Growing up and even until 4 months ago, I worked hard for my parents, hoping to get love.  Well, that didn't pan out.  My grandma says she loves me, yet she can't forgive me for things of the past.  That makes me sad.  Now I work hard for my family.  I don't expect to receive anything from them.  But in the background, I work hard to prove myself to others.  Sad.

Our focus today is on 1 Kings 18:16-41, the story of Elijah and Ahab and the decision that decisions the Israelites had to make; to follow or "dance" for God or for Baal.

Question 3:  Why do you think the Hebrews had a hard time choosing between God and Baal?
     I think, that like me, they wanted it all.  They wanted to please everyone.  It gets so tiring to do that.  I know I dance a certain dance for certain people because that's what they expect of me.  And Jen's right; it does get tiring.

Question 4:  What parallels do you see between the futility of this dance and the one you and I get trapped in?  (ver. 22-29)
     The followers of Baal, were at one time followers of God.  He led them out of oppression, but here they are dancing for a god that doesn't exist.  They were dancing for validation that they will never receive.  They wanted validation so badly they gave their blood, sweat, and tears.  Ladies, this is sometimes how I feel.  I give of myself to get validation when my God is saying, "Let ME show you your worth."

Question 5: What is God showing you about our dance? (ver. 30-39)
     That no matter how drenched or under water I feel by this need to dance for everyone, God's holy fire can consume me and free me.  "Discover that your value exists because God takes pleaser in you and let it rain." 

Father, show me all the places I'm waiting for applause.  I know I have a lot from mothering, being a good wife, to my friends and family.  I need your strength to help me change my audience.  I don't want to dance anymore.  It's tiring.  Help me to focus on you.  Thank you  for not shaming me.  Thank you for loving me, despite it all. Amen.

Ok, so here it goes; time to be even more vulnerable. 

I came across Jen Hatmaker through the (in)courage site a few months ago while I was completely bored out of my mind at work.  Her book, 7, was being highlighted as their book club book.  I didn't get a chance to read it, but I followed the discussions.  "7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to  varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence. In the spirit of a fast, they pursued a deeply  reduced life in order to find a greatly increased God."  I'm hoping to be able to read it in depth myself, but not till after I've read Make Over. 

Make Over
is a Bible study about balancing the lives we lead.  We, women, have been called to play a variety of roles in and out of the household and sometimes those roles can bring us down.  As you may have seen with some of my previous posts about the kids, this book could not have come at a better time.  I am in desperate need of a "make over." 

While reading the introduction, my heart and my lips said, "Thank you, Lord!"  My heart has been heavy concerning my children and the craziness of life that seeking God through this study will help rejuvenate me only the way He so desires.  The nice thing about her book is that she is so realistic.  This study is a 6-week study broken into short, two to five, maybe six page chapters for each day.  And her week is 5 days; totally doable.  So it's 30 days of reading, if you're doing the math.  30 days to get a new, refreshed perspective on the craziness we call life.  30 days to "make over" you. 

At the beginning I said I was going to be more vulnerable, so here it is:  For each lesson/day, there are questions, some simple and basic and some very personal.  I'm going to spend the next 30 days going through this study with you.  I'll post the questions, the verses, and my vulerable answers.  As I'm writing, my head it saying, "Shoot, spilling my guts is easy, but doing something, especially blogging for 30 days...that's a feat in itself.  You can barely blog 2 days in a row.  What makes you think you can do 30?!" Well ladies, I'm squashing that voice in my head today.  I know that voice is the enemy not wanting me to do something that will help me grow spiritually.  So your prayers for this journey of rejuvenation and vulneralbility will be much appreciated. 

Thanks for stopping by,