Feedback Corner

I am borrowing this concept and title from my writing group. We use the "Feedback Corner" to have other people read and critique our work, but today I have a little bit of a different purpose in mind.

I know I already mentioned the Beth Moore simulcast I "attended" a few weeks ago, and how powerful it was (and still is!) in my life. One thing has really stuck with me though, and given me an awful lot to think about. Since I can't sit down with Beth and ask her my questions, (I would absolutely DIE if I ever got to go to Starbucks with Beth and have a heart-to-heart!) my wonderful counselor suggested I ask YOU, my blog world.

Beth had said something like, "I am not chained by fear anymore, but I still get afraid." I am in the battle of my life to lose the shackles of fear that hold me down. To actually hear someone proclaim they are "no longer chained by fear" blows my mind, and gives me incredible hope. I can't even fathom being in that place, but I'm fighting hard for freedom.

As part of this process, I'm really intrigued by what YOU all out there have to say! If you are a willing participant, step right up, and please answer these 3 questions.

1.) Do you currently, or have you ever struggled with fear?
2.) Have you conquered that fear?
3. If yes, HOW did you conquer that fear?

Thanks so much in advance!!

LifeWay/B&H Publishing

Whoa. My heart is racing. A couple days ago I found out about a program through LifeWay and B&H Publishing for bloggers and readers. I ecstatically applied and could not sleep that night over the anticipation.

A little backstory. Less than 2 weeks ago I attended a Beth Moore simulcast in Lancaster. I thought it was something I was dying to do, but less than five minutes in, I knew Jesus was the one who wanted me there. It was a life changing day. I didn't expect to be spoken to by Jesus so uniquely and personally. Jesus used Beth to speak words of life, hope, healing, and passion that sparked a renewed connection with Him. I'm really grateful for Jesus, and for Beth. That woman is anointed.

Those who attended the simulcast were offered the opportunity to order her new book, "Audacious". I jumped right on that because the book is essentially the simulcast in written form. I wanted more! The book arrived, and I dove right in. At the end of chapter 3, Beth asks two questions. One of the questions had been kindof haunting me. What are you most compelled by the love of Christ to do? As I mulled over the many things in life I enjoy, I couldn't think of an it. That one thing. As I prayed about it, there was one very quiet answer sitting tucked safely away at the bottom of my heart. It was more of a whisper....writing. Writing. And I would argue with the inner voice. Things like, "I have no idea where to begin", "I don't have as much experience as others", "I don't know what to write about" plagued my mind. I actually hadn't continued reading in "Audacious" because I was so stuck on the question.

Now we can fast-forward to today! I heard back from Lifeway/B&H Publishers. Drumroll pleeeeease-  I got accepted! This means I get to read LifeWay books or Bible studies (for FREE!), and review them on  my blog! Once I write a review, I'll order a new book. Wow. Seriously amazed by how God has brought this all together. Stay tuned, friends! They will even give me books to GIVE AWAY on here.

I think it's been pretty clear all along what I feel compelled to do. Now I will audaciously answer the call! If anyone is out there listening, tell me what are YOU most compelled by the love of Christ to do???

Trust Isn't Scary?!

Sometimes a post just begs to be written. Take it or leave it, but I just had to get this out there.

For the last couple of days, my kids have been sick. I've navigated new waters, and have stepped into the sea of crazy as I care for two kids with fevers and congestion. Jase's fever has been going on longer than Basye's. Whenever he has a fever, I am on edge. He has a history of febrile seizures, which is really frightening. I've been so effected by this, I even started counseling.

There's a determination in my heart and mind to overcome fear, whether or not my circumstances change. If you struggle with fear, you know there always is, and always will be something to fear. There's always going to be circumstances, so my journey of overcoming has been about grasping onto Jesus in a brand new way.

Scripture is a huge part of the fight. It's one of my main weapons. Recently I've been stuck on the word trust. There are many verses that talk about not fearing, but trusting. I wanted to get to the bottom of it, the meaning of trust. What does it actually mean, and how am I supposed to do it? What I learned was, TRUST IS NOT SCARY!

All my life whenever trust has been a topic, it's been described by scary things like "trust falls". Who wants to close their eyes, cross their arms over their chest, and fall off a chair backwards into a group of people? (For that matter, who wants to catch them?) That is not at all like trusting Jesus! Trust has usually been associated with negative feelings until this week. I specifically dove into the verse Psalm 112:7, "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD." There it is. The answer to not fearing is trust. GAH! What does that even mean?

I did some digging into the original Hebrew word (This is another blog post, but I have my "Uncle" Jim to thank for giving me the resources to study the original language, and to teach me how! I could have saved thousands of dollars and skipped Bible college.;). What I found was in the original language, trust means to "move quickly for refuge, be bold, careless, put confidence, make hope".  WOW. To trust literally means to move quickly to Jehovah for refuge. There I can be careless, He is where I can put my confidence, He is the one I put my hope in.

It probably won't blow your mind like it has blown mine because this is a very personal journey between Jesus and me, but I hope you can find some encouragement, at the very least. When I step into the reality of trust, it means I race to Jesus for refuge where it's so safe and so peaceful and so not scary.

Practically speaking, this week as Jase's fever has climbed and dropped, climbed and dropped, I have been boldly running to Jesus. With His peace, I attended a beautiful writer's retreat, and a birthday party for a teen. Normally I would never leave Jase's side when he has a fever for fear he would have a seizure, but I am learning how to practically live out trust. When I physically walk out in obedience, my trust in Jesus grows. He hasn't let me down, and I know He won't. This has been very real.

I should also mention, I have asked several friends to pray for me through this time. When I find myself drowning in fear, I send out texts or a Facebook message and ask friends to bring me to the throne. Prayer seriously works. He hears. He listens. In him we can unscarily trust. And there's no falling off a chair involved!

BIG Praises!!

Very recently Chuck said, "I wonder when I'll get a motorcycle?" I had to laugh to myself in wonder that he actually believes he'll get one someday. So I said (ever the realist), "I wonder when I'll get a brand new wardrobe?" We chuckled at ourselves and our vain little dreams. But then I shared in sincerity that it was my dream to get my own laptop so I could write, blog, and keep up with the pictures I take on our camera. Guys. God heard me! He heard my heart.

Just days later a friend text me and asked if I still needed a laptop. Chuck still hasn't been able to fix the Mac we have, but I've always liked PC's better. (I'm fully raising my hand to be the PC nerd.) After several texts, she proceeds to tell me she has a BRAND NEW, never been used, still in the box laptop she was willing to give me. I was shocked! Chuck went and picked it up from her that night. I still can't believe it. I'm so thrilled!!! Friend, if/when you read this: THANK YOU! I just can't thank you enough!

I'm so overjoyed at how much God cares about those little and big desires in my heart. I have prayed and dedicated this laptop to Him. I am asking Him to use me to write for Him, and use this computer as a tool for Him! I'm just crazy excited! I guess it's time for Chuck to get his motorcycle. ;)

And now, some pictures! Finally!!

Jase had to move into his toddler bed this summer. LONG story. But it's a joy to see my babies play together!
How did we end up with two kids in high chairs at the same time?!


In a few days my baby boy will be turning 2. Sniff sniff. 2 just sounds so incredibly old. We are entering a totally new era here. This boy of mine brings such joy to my heart each and every day. He makes me laugh quite often, and I would probably laugh more if I could spend less time getting angry. ;)

Jase runs on maximum capacity at.all.times. He is smart. He is intelligent. He is fearless. He is brave. He is an overcomer. He is BUSY. He runs. Like everywhere he goes. He went from crawling to running, I think. He is super curious. Ironically, one of his favorite cartoons is Curious George. My Mom gave Chuck a Curious George stuffed animal as a joke once becaue Chuck is a crazy curious person. Now that George is one of Jase's favorite stuffed animals!) He is saying more and more words every day, and it's such a blast to hear what he'll come out with next. He is starting to repeat words that I ask him to repeat. My heart just melts to pieces when he says, "Pleeeeease".

Jase is the most crazy about his Papa. EVERYTHING is about Papa. We go upstairs during the day, and Jase says, "Papa!". When we go back downstairs, "Papa!" A man comes on TV (like Jude Law the other day! ;), "Papa!" When I ask Jase to say, "Mama" he says, "Papa!" EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. The best part of the day is when Papa comes home from work. A lot of times we wait outside, and wait see his car drive around the corner. Jase gets the hugest smile on his face, and runs to the car.

Jase (can be) sweet to his baby sister. He loves to give her a binky, and say, "Hi sissy!" He finds it great fun to rip off her helmet or sit on her back. Boys! Basye is such a tough little thing- she handles her big brother just fine. Watching the two of them (once in a blue moon!) play together just about makes me weep. Sometimes Jase will get in such a silly mood, usually before bed time, and he just laughs and laughs. He'll go right up into Basy'e face and laugh, which always prompts her to break out laughing, as well. I caught it on video once, and it's probably my most favorite video of all times. They are my heart. Truly.

Happy (early) Birthday, my sweet healer, stong man, born of God. May God's blessings upon blessings be all over your second year of life! Papa and I love you like blueberry pancakes and strawberry milkshakes.

UNshort Sale

There's been a lot of chatter on our part about this housing process we are going through. (Mostly via Facebook.) To be clear, God has provided us with a house that we love. After MONTHS upon MONTHS of searching, HOURS upon HOURS of looking houses up online, and COUNTLESS discussions with Chuck, we both finally landed on the same house. Lest you forget, we did put offers in on two different homes, but they both fell through. We're hoping the third times a charm.

After finally agreeing on the same house, it ended up being a short sale. Or shall we say UNshort sale. It's an incredibly tedious process, but our realtor gave us the best and worst case scenarios, and we made the decision to put an offer in. The house has everything on our wish list except the location. Waa waa. Chuck will have a 25 minute commute (NOVA friends, please stop laughing), and we'll be about 4-5 miles from the nearest grocery store. That may not sound like a big deal, but we've had the luxery of being within walking proximity of a grocery store for the last SIX years. I am a walker. I love walking. I love walking to the grocery store.

Speaking of walking, that is one of the reasons why I fell in love with the house! It's in a beautiful neighborhood covered with sidewalks, a play groud, and it's right next to the elementary school! I could walk the kids to school if we're still living there in 4 years.

Anyway, with our particular short sale: we made an offer, the seller accepted - including leaving us with the washer, dryer, built in storage shelves, and outdoor shed, which were not originally included- and now the offer has to be accepted by the seller's bank. This is the annoying part because the bank doesn't have to respond for up to 90 days. That would take us into November, which means we wouln't move in until December, worst case scenario. We've been believing God would allow us to hear back from the bank quicker than 90 days, and we've been asking Him to allow the bank to approve our offer now so we could move into our new house by the end of Septmber.

Unfortunately, our lease on our rental home ends at the end of September, so we were really asking God to move on our behalf. I am learning to pray and ask God for things, BELIEVING them to happen. I get so discouraged with people when we tell them we're asking God to let us hear back from the bank before our lease is up, and they say, "Well what's your Plan B?" I don't pray asking God for something, and then give Him an ultimatum. Like, "God, please give us this house, but if you don't..." No way! I am crying out to God believing He hears me, and my desires. Of course He doesn't always answer the way I desire, but that's for Him to decide.

In actuality, God did not respond to our request the way we had asked, but today He PROVIDED. We did not hear back from the bank in time to be able to move out of our rental by the end of September, but God always provides. Our rental company was supposed to charge us $250 extra a month if we stayed an extra month or two, but they are just charging us the raised rent price, which is "only" $25 extra a month. He's got us covered, even though it wasn't what we asked or desired. But now I don't have to pack for awhile, which is fabulous because I HATE packing!

We continue to pray and BELIEVE God is giving us this house- whether in September, October, Novmeber, or December. He has made it clear every step of the way that we are to keep moving forward with this house. He has provided in miraculous ways! And I know He will continue to.  A friend of mine shared a great verse with me today, "Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him." Isaiah 30:18