My Inspiration

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water." Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

His Guiding Hand

I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me. Psalm 73:23-24 (MSG)

When two uncles and my dad died within six months of each other; when my child support ran dry; when life had me by the throat threatening to choke the life out of me, You were there holding my hand and waiting for me to acknowledge You as You led me out of the muck and mire but I lingered there for a while, basking in the moment. Yet you waited and finally when it threatened to swallow me whole and I cried out, you pulled me out, wiped me off and led me through the trial and into your glory.

Have you ever been bombarded by life's issues and felt lost and alone? That there was no one who understood how you felt or what was truly going on inside of you? I'm sure you have my friend and you are not alone. Not only have I but countless saints over the years have had moments of insecurity, hopelessness and feelings of loss and abandonment. The Word is filled with them, their stories and triumphs. There is hope; there is peace and comfort to be found.

The verses from today are the hope you need the next time you find yourself going through or perhaps stuck in the middle and you don't think you'll make it to shore.

Our heavenly Father wants you to know that He is there to guide you every step of the way if you but reach out your hand so that He may take it and walk you through. At times He may have to carry you but nevertheless, you are not alone in this journey. Won't you put your hand in His?

Dear God, it is my prayer that we seek you, the one who sticks closer than a brother during the dark and uncertain times in our life. Lord it is you who will bring us out on the other side replete with your blessings and for that we are grateful. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Psalm 32:8; Psalm 73:24; Isaiah 30:21; Proverbs 18:24; Matthew 7:7-8; Lamentations 3:41

Friday, November 12, 2010

Living Out Loud

I’m alone, scared, hurt, tired, hungry, and angry; I am frustrated and overwhelmed. My life is not what I thought it would be or how I wanted it to be.

Failure seemed to lurk around every corner. Shame became my name and despair my constant companion. Everything I touched withered and died and my soul rotted from the inside out with bitterness and unforgiveness.

Lord do you hear me? How I long to surrender my all to you. Please take away these dark thoughts and replace them with your light. May my parched lips have a taste of your living water so that my thirst will be forever quenched? May your love, mercy and grace abide in me? Father won’t you let you Son intercede on my behalf so that I may bask in the glory of You.

This nightmare has turned into a new beginning, one that will get better with each step I take that brings me closer to You as I bask in the safety and comfort of your arms; praising you all the days of my life. I'll call out to you dear Lord to save me from myself, the enemy and these thoughts that threaten to consume me daily.

I know that with you all things are possible. I can’t do this alone but I can do this with you by my side. No longer will I suffer in silence dear Lord but I will shout it to the rafters that I need you and want your help. Oh dear God in heaven you have looked down and smiled upon me and turned my ashes into beauty.

I will not hide my light under a bushel but be like a light on a hill shining bright for all to see their way out of the darkness too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas & Holiday Cards from Shutterfly

Hello all. It’s that time again… you know the time where you pull out all the family photos from all year long to see which one will go well on your Christmas card. And… when you can’t find just the right image you’ll head to the mall to have a picture taken.

Well once you’ve gotten the hard part out of the way head over to Shutterfly at and check out over 400+ different card designs, 20 new calendar designs and more styles, colors and choices any one person can make. I love their new designs for 2010 and have already picked out three cards our family just have to do this year to accommodate all their different styles and personalities. I really love Family Wall in Red, Pretty Poinsettia Print, the Classic Red Squares and We Heart You. Hmmm wonder which ones we’ll go for… you’ll just have to wait and see.

Happy Christmas Card Shopping made easy at!

Check out the links below to get started on the most fun you’ll have all holiday season as we prepare to eat, drink and be merry in 2010.

• Christmas cards to
• holiday cards to
• Christmas photo cards to
• wall calendars to

My Fabulous 5

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (MSG)

In my devotional today by Melissa Taylor of Proverbs 31 Ministries she talked about Christian friendship and it’s foundation. This prompted me to review my friendships and see if they are founded on Christ and as it turns out I too have 5 fabulous friends that have been there for me in Christian love and friendship.

A friendship grounded in Christ is made up of 5 qualities that make the friendship solid. When a relationship is grounded in Christ, a new level of intimacy is achieved. We know what we say to each other is in Christian love, so we can say just about anything without fear of judgment or abandonment.

1. Love – we love each other unfailingly, the way Christ loves us. A true friend loves you even when you are unlovable.

I have been blessed to have friends who came to me at different stages in my life. One has been there all my life. She’s my sister but over the years she has become my friend. Although we have times when we disagree on things the love of Christ and family brings us back to each other. Another has hung in there with me since high school and although our lives have taken us on two separate paths it has always brought us back full circle as we have reached out to each other for love, support and accountability in our lives and relationships. The last three ladies came to me during the worse period of my life and when I could not do for myself or those in my care they stepped up and did what needed to be done but most of all they just loved on me until I could get myself back to accepting Christ’s love for myself.

2. Encouragement – we intentionally try to build each other up. I want these ladies to know I believe in them.

I love to encourage them and be encouraged by them. It’s like having your own little cheering team as you go through the challenges of life. I know that if I need a little kick in the butt to get me jump started with a little love mixed in that all I need to do is call on them. I love to let them know what they mean to me and how they have encouraged me in my life. They in turn encourage me when I am down and feeling as if I’m not making a difference. Their sphere of influence has been monumental to me as I’ve gone through some very challenging times while we have been friends. The greatest joy has come from knowing that they are just a phone call away night or day and I will have all the encouragement I needed and then some.

3. Forgiveness – forgiveness requires a loving heart and a lot of nerve. The Lord does not keep a record of our sins, and neither should we. Everyone needs forgiveness at some point.

Oh how true these words are because a misspoken word, a forgotten date, task or request can easily cause unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. So often in friendships the forgiveness factor is a big thing over very little things. It is so very essential to keep it Christ centered. It is hard to have a friendship when another is harboring unforgiveness against the other(s). The ability for us to say “I’m sorry” and be greeted with a hug is huge. The fact that we trust each other enough to say my feelings have been hurt or I didn’t like it when you said or did x, y, or z is a true testament of Christ working on the inside of each of us. So often we are self-absorbed and don’t often pay attention to our words and the affects they have on those around us but in this friendship I feel that we do and our forgiveness is quick and sincere.

4. Accountability – we love each other enough to be real before each other. This is HARD! To give accountability you need to be honest, bold, available, and authentic. To receive it, you need to be humble, open and approachable. Not everyone wants accountability, but we all need it. In our group, we ask for accountability in certain areas of our lives.

We don’t seem to have a problem with this. In fact we look to each other as barometers on our “walking with God scale”. Whether spoken of in the group or individually we have each held the other accountable in loving actions and words. It is very HARD to approach someone and say “Hey you, you’re messing up at _________, and I’m a little worried but that’s when the love of Christ through the Holy Spirit takes over and lets it be received with the love and care it was said in. I want to know if I’m doing wrong in all aspects of my life. I may not like what they say but I receive it and when the time is right adjust things accordingly but what is really cool is that it never has to be confrontational it usually comes out during a conversation and indirectly pricks our heart for thought and prayer later to have the trueness of the words spoken revealed to us. Depression, guilt, dependence on a substance and how we are treating ourselves, our families and our spouses are not off limits. I for one welcome the probing of “what’s going on?” “Something’s not right,” because before I can answer them I have to acknowledge what is taking place within myself or my life and sometimes that is the first glimpse that I’ve gone astray and before I’ve gone to far I can turn things back around.

5. Service – I don’t know what I would do without the service these ladies have provided me with at key times in my life; meals, housecleaning, taking care of kids, a listening ear. Their service is love in action.

This is the area that my friends excel in. Service to me and my family is no light task. I have the most and neediest children out of the bunch. These women have loved them like their own as they have bathed, fed, read and tucked them in. My house has been cleaned and laundry has been folded and put away while I sat helpless to assist. Their ears have been talked off, yelled into and had words flung that no one but a Christ centered friend can handle spoken at them. I can’t thank them enough for their listening ears, their selfless service and their acts of service over and above the call of friendship. They are true examples to me and I hope that one day I can be as great of a friend in service as they have been, are and will be for many more years (I hope!) to come.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Giving up and breaking down

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Six months ago I stopped having my quiet time with God. Prior to that I was up every morning at 5 or 5:30 spending 30 minutes to an hour reading, praying and pondering the things I had read. I kept a prayer journal of sorts and could track the effectiveness of my prayers but one day I allowed the enemy to whisper in my ear “Are you doing this because you want to or because you have to?” and that question was enough to make me stop and question my motives and fore go my quiet time to see if I had an answer.

It didn’t take long for me to continue to lie in the bed when my alarm went off to get an extra 30 minute to an hour of sleep and then when summer hit I would get up and go running through my neighborhood because it was light and I enjoyed the high that came from the exercise. I reasoned that I could take my lunch break and make it my quiet time but I didn’t have a specific time I went to lunch each day and I quickly forgot that idea. Occasionally I would remember the day’s devotional but first I’d have to go back and catch up on the days that had passed since the last time I read. I had left myself drift really far from that faithful servant who gave the first fruits of her day to her Lord and Savior and left home ready to tackle the world for my God and was quickly replaced by a burdened, burnt out, overwhelmed wreck who didn’t have the strength to tackle the day to day issues in my life much less the harder challenges that reared their heads during this time. I was lost and alone in the wilderness but too prideful to come before God, confess my sin, ask for forgiveness and rescue my quiet time with Him and the enemy reveled in this.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill and to destroy…” John 10:10

Eventually it got so bad I had a break down because the enemy was wreaking havoc in my life and I was too weak to fight him off. I was close to throwing in the towel but God…

I couldn’t do it. I did as I was prompted and reached out for help. I called my doctor and counselor; I emailed my family and friends. I went to my husband and my mother telling them all that I was scared because I was ready to give up. I felt so lost that I couldn’t see a clear path to find my way back.

“Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long? Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. No one remembers you when he is dead. Who praises you from the grave? I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:2-9

These past few weeks have been very difficult and I know I’m not out of the woods yet but I know that during this time when I am at my weakest and most vulnerable state my God will step up and carry me if he has to. He will hold me up until I am strong enough to stand on my own and He will surround me with people who can help lead me to the path He desires me to walk down.

“…, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Will I allow the enemy to talk me out of my relationship with God again? Prayerfully not! When I have questions about my faith and obedience I will take them to the Lord and together we will find an answer.

I learned that when I am weak and confused that I can turn to God for his strength. He is not the author of confusion but the giver of hope, life and light in a dark world.

Psalm 51; 1 Corinthian 14:33; Psalm 6:2-9; Psalm 91; Psalm 13;

The Word

Lord your Word speaks to me. It soothes my soul and makes me desire to be in your presence continually. You are a great God full of love, compassion, goodness, grace and mercy.

Thanks be to you for sacrificing you only begotten son to die for me! Me Lord! He died for me! A sinner, while I was still yet a sinner and continue to be to this day, He died for me!

I know that you have me in the palm of your hand and you are watching over me. You will not let one hair on my head fall without it being part of your plan. Thank you Lord for watching over me so diligently these 46 years; you have been protecting me from the enemy and myself.

Oh Lord, my God, I desire to be all that you want me to be. I want to walk out these last days according to your will and not my own. I want to live for you Lord, for to live for self brings the desire to serve self and deny you. I want to be here until you call me home as it is written in your book. So wash me, purge me with hyssop and make me clean and whole once again.

This is my desire in Jesus' name. Amen

Psalms 51; Exodus 33:14; Psalms 29:11, Deuteronomy 33:25; Hebrews 13:20-21

Heartaches Take Time

I have listened to this CD every night for the past two months as I fall asleep. I am trying to find my way back to Him. I am trying to make sense of it all. The songs and the spoken words on this CD are so awesome and inspiring that it is hard to remain stone cold as you listen to it over and over and over.

Here’s the description used on Amazon to describe the CD.

HEARTACHES TAKE TIMEFeaturing Mike Shiflett & Terry Sharpe Life can change in the blink of an eye. It is during these time of heartache and crisis, when our world falls apart, and when the nights are darker than they have ever been, that we can experience God’s love in a deeper, more intimate way. Sometimes when our hearts are hurting, God speaks to us when we cannot utter a word or prayer. It is during this time that He comes to us through friends, family and strangers who care. But what happens when these caring people go home, as they should, and we are once again alone? This CD was created to be placed in the hands of someone going through heartache or needing a special time of reassurance. It acts as a reminder that we are never alone. God walks right beside us through the darkest valleys until we can reach higher ground. Whether you are experiencing the loss of someone you love, a separation or divorce, an injury, illness or addition, loss of a job or home, or receive some shocking news, these events may leave you devastated. Mike Shiflett’s strong tenor voice, accompanied by Terry Sharpe’s soothing words of comfort and hope, assures the listener that someone is praying for them as they begin a new chapter of life, traveling down a different road…a road of faith, hope and joy!

My favorite spoken word on there is the title piece “Heartaches Take Time”. I took the time to write out the words.


By Mike Shiflett & Terry Sharpe

Heartaches do take time and it’s in these moments of brokenness we find ourselves hungering for healing. We’re desperately seeking meaning and direction from this pain which often leaves us feeling crushed and isolated.

I pray Gods mighty hand will offer you protection and the very angels of God will watch over you. He alone is the only one who fully understands where you are hurting; where you need healing and how to bring you hope. No one can fully recognize what you are feeling and what you are experiencing. Only you know the depth of your emotion. You own it. Your struggle right now is not to allow your heartache to own you. You have to walk into the valley, you’ve got to walk through it which means that you’re going to come out on the other side and God will be with you.

It takes healing, it takes hope and it takes time to know that you will be able to walk through it. And on days when you may feel that you can’t walk, know that it is then that God carries you. He will carry you until you have the wings to fly. When you see the dawning of a new day it is then His grace will surround you and you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His wings of strength will protect you and his presence will be so close to you. It is then that you will be able to hear his whisper of assurance in your ear.

Often God sends godly people into our lives to give us direction and yes to walk down a different road. A road of strength, a road of hope, of new direction and a road of renewing who you are because God has created you to be uniquely you. He knows your name. He cares for you and He loves you.

I am trying to embrace those words. They are like salve on a wound but my heart and mind remain stubborn and try to blot out the feelings these words invoke. But I won’t be thwarted. I will continue to listen to this CD every night as I go to sleep and over time I know they will penetrate the dark recesses of my mind and I will know the truthfulness of it all and start the true healing and recovery process that only God can do in me.

If you know someone who is broken, hurting, lost or suffered from multiple losses this CD can soothe them and give them comfort while allowing His presence to do a mighty work on the inside of them. It’s work the cost to see the joy and peace come back into their lives.

He Will Carry You

Another song on the CD Heartaches Take Time by Mike Shiflett & Terry Sharpe that inspired me to want to do what I needed to do to get myself and my life together. Knowing that He would carry me until I could stand on my own, that He could handle any problem that I had and would see me over the highest mountain and through the lowest valley gave me the extra strength needed to move forward.

This CD has brought me so much peace and understanding. It is full of the truth of God's goodness and mercy during difficult times in our life. If you have the chance to get it and add it to your collection you will definitely be blessed. It has caused me to search deep within and release a lot of hurts and fears over the past couple of months and I just have to share it.

He will carry you
By Mike Shiflett & Terry Sharpe

There is no problem too big God cannot solve it.
There is no mountain too tall He cannot move it.

There is no storm too dark God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe it.

If he carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my brother that He will carry you.
If He carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my sister that He will carry you.
He said come unto me all who are weary and I will give you rest.

There is no problem too big God cannot solve it.
There is no mountain too tall He cannot move it.

There is no storm too dark God cannot calm it.
There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe it.

If he carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my brother that He will carry you.
If He carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my sister that He will carry you.

If he carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my brother that He will carry you.
If He carried the weight of the world upon his shoulders I know my sister that He will carry you.

He will carry you. He will carry you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Writers' Retreat

The Lake House Writers' Retreat at Chesapeake Bay, VA

Nothing prepared me for the beauty, the peace and the tranquility found in this little slice of heaven right here on Earth. I had the pleasure of spending a weekend at this retreat and it was absolutely one of the best places I've stayed on the East Coast in a very long time.

Pictures do not do justice in showing the peace and tranquility that is found there. I spent hours staring out and being inspired as the lake moved slowly and deliberately down it's chartered course.

To see the two men in the boat fishing was a joy. Although they didn't catch anything just watching them fellowship with each other brought joy and tears to my eyes. I could imagine my brother and father out there although, my father passed in June.

There is not a bad view in the whole house. I truly enjoyed the dining area and The Skipper Room which is where I had my quiet time with God and just felt His presence in that soothing and calming room.

It is truly a "retreat". One I will return to visit time and time again because I know what I found there is not something that can be found everywhere - a chance to be at one with God and to relish and partake of His beauty and bounteous blessings through nature while allowing my creative juices to flow unimpeded by the outside world.

To book your week or weekend at this magnificent place contact Charlyne Meinhard, Retreat Owner.

We the people...

I’ve tried to stay out of the political fray these past 22 months and just let things be but this letter and the things that have been happening lately make it impossible to stay silent.

I am ashamed to be an American right now; ashamed of my fellow countrymen and the beliefs that make up the Constitution. The Constitution was a living, breathing moral compass written up by our forefathers to help establish . They had the mindset that as times changed the Constitution would change to keep up with the times. Instead we have taken that piece of paper and made it our Holy Grail and it’s truly a mockery of the times in which we live. Life in 1776 was nothing compared to life here in 2010 and most of the issues addressed are no longer realistic or relevant to our lifestyles. Depicting our president with his foot on the Constitution is a cruel joke as is how we go around mocking him in print, prose and theatrics. We should be applauding that fact that he is trying to make a change in this country from the archaic way we have been running our government since its inception.

I am in total agreement with, the Canadian journalist, William Thomas’ column from October 1 and take it a step further by saying if I were in Europe, Asia, South Africa, or South America I would look at the people with pity. We look like two opposing teams playing tug of war but instead of a flag in the middle you have the lives of the American people hanging in the balance and all you care about is who’s got the most votes in the house or the senate. I dare say we look like fools and make great fodder for their presses on our stupid antics.

If we spent as much time working on fixing the state of the economy as we spend debating who’s at fault for it, we might be further along in this recovery process. As a middle class citizen I struggle with all of this asinine petty bickering and am ready to fire all your asses and start from scratch. The Tea Party, which would now be considered the independent party, has gotten a strong hold now and so it is a three ring circus; such a pity and what a waste.

To liken the president to the anti-Christ or accuse him of being a Muslim is egregious on our part. We are slandering our own leader. set the tone for racial intolerance with the overthrowing of apartheid. We applauded and supported President Nelson Mandela when he took office. The people of did not do to Mandela what we have done to President Obama.

President Obama has reached out across all lines – party, political, racial and sexual and tried to include everyone in the process of rebuilding our country. We as a people have cloistered ourselves into those parties and turned our back on the hand that is trying to help us out not put us down. He’s reaching out a hand to help and we’re smacking it way. Well keep smacking it down and when the ship sinks and all the life jackets are gone you’ll find out just who is on your side. We are not invincible. We are not acting like world leaders; we are children squabbling in the sand box or boys in a pissing contest to see who can piss the greatest distance. All jokes aside, we need to let him do is job for the next two years with our support no matter what. All differences aside it’s time to pick ourselves up, dust off our clothes, shake hands and play nice. After all, he is our President and “We the people” put him in that position.

You should be hanging your head in shame but you are too proud, too arrogant and too stupid to see that the whole world is laughing at you and waiting and betting on when you will implode. You no longer represent the strongest nation in the world. You no longer set an example of freedom and democracy you are now hypocrites and what’s sad is you don’t even know it.

God bless America don't turn your back on us as we have certainly turned our back on you.