welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

And that's my final answer.....

So this weekend we got the opportunity to listen to Don Piper speak at our church. He wrote about his amazing testimony of his death experience (not near death....death, as in white sheet over his dismembered body for 90 minutes) in his book, 90 Minutes in Heaven.

Here is a little recap from his website:

In 1989, Don was on his way back from a church conference when an 18-wheeler struck his Ford Escort head on. He was killed instantly - pronounced dead by four sets of EMTs. Shortly after the accident, a pastor from the same conference arrived on the scene and began praying for "the man in the red car." God worked a miracle and sent Don back to a broken body. To date, 34 surgical procedures have taken place. He walks only as a result of miraculous and in some cases medically unexplainable circumstances. During the time he was dead, Piper was granted the extreme privilege of glimpsing Heaven itself.

This book has sold over 2.7 million copies and he now travels all over the world sharing his message of hope and healing. It was totally awesome!

Don touched upon so many important things we really need to think and pray about. He believes that we all have that second chance right now to live the life that God has called us to live. To treat people the way they should be treated. To make the best choices.....and to show others The Way as well.

There was one thing that he spoke about that really stuck with me.

He was reminding us that God is still in the miracle business and said that God always answers our prayers. Period.

Sometimes the answer is "yes", sometimes it is "later".....sometimes it is "I've got even more than you are asking for".....

.....sometimes, that answer is just "no". Because "no" still is an answer, is it not?

*sinking feeling in stomach*

It is not because God wants to withhold anything from us.....He loves us very much. I am pretty sure the reason the answer is "no" is just for that reason. He knows what is best for us.....even when we don't understand. I've had a few no's in my life.......many I am thankful that God knew what he was doing in the "answering prayers" department! But if I am going to keep it real.....I have been told "no" a few times these past few years and it's left me wondering why.

So what do you do when God's answer is "no"?

As you ponder that thought........I'll leave you with this beautiful poem by Claudia Minden Weisz

And God Said No

I asked God to take away my pride,
And God said, "No."
He said it is not for Him to take away,
but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
And God said, "No."
He said her spirit is whole,
Her body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience,
And God said, "No."
He said that patience is a by-product of tribulation,
it isn't granted, it's earned.

I asked God to give me happiness,
And God said, "No."
He said He gives blessings,
Happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain,
And God said, "No."
He said, "Suffering draws you apart from worldly
cares and brings you closer to Me."

I asked God to make my spirit grow,
And God said, "No."
He said I must grow on my own,
but He will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked God if He loved me,
And God said, "Yes."
He gave me His only Son who died for me,
and I will be in Heaven someday because I believe.

I asked God to help me love others,
as much as He loves me.
And God said,

"Ah, finally you have the idea."

I'd love to hear your thoughts on hearing "no".....

Have a great day......and remember to live today to it's fullest!


Pass the Salt

Happy Friday!!!

I wanted to thank you all so much for all your great input/insight on my last post regarding *that* question regarding churches and denominations. It just definitely reinforced my thoughts about us all being united as followers of Christ.......We are all ONE in Christ.

Christy Rose slammed dunked it with "It's all about Jesus.....It's about love." LOVE THAT!

So it was really awesome when a friend shared this link on Facebook called Flavorless Salt/Francis Chan. Now, as you know....I am becoming a huge Francis Chan fan, just finished his second book, Forgotten God).....and the title definitely caught my attention because I had written a post when I first started blogging called "Pass the Salt" which was chosen to be published by Serious Life magazine. So seeing as though I had about 3 readers back then, one being Josh...... and as you know, I am a huge run-on sentence abuser and seriously distracted......I decided to share it again today even though my first intention was to post that video clip.

So, if you can hang with me for a bit.....I encourage you to watch the clip of Chan's sermon that I share after this post. He speaks boldly about the church and what he believes it should be. It is about 13 minutes long.....but totally worth every minute.

Pass the Salt (originally posted Jan 27, 2009)

So Sunday we had a great pastor visit and preach. I am always so excited when I see Pastor Felix sitting up front knowing that powerful stuff is coming.

He got into a great message about how Jesus came to mend the broken-hearted.....not so much in the sense of broken heart associated with a break-up or personal relationship. But talking about the broken center or core of man. He talked about how we must be secure in who we are in the outside without the need to be assured/noticed/honored on the outside. It was a deep, but easy to understand message as this man knows how to preach it.

But what really pierced into my heart, was how he started out his sermon referencing to how as Christians.......we are to be leaders. The city on the hill, the light in a dark place.....the salt of the earth. He made this excellent reference about how when you cook or bake....you don't need a large amount of salt as you would other ingredients. A little bit of salt goes a long way. It is very influential and can affect the whole recipe.

So, I started thinking about how I want to make sure I am doing my best to be the salt in this life. I want to be that addition in people's life and season it. I don't want to just go through the motions, but really live the life that God has called me to live.

I want Jesus's love and glory to radiate through my everyday life.

Even better.......I want people to see Jesus when they see me, but not because I am wearing a cool Christian t-shirt (even though I do have some pretty awesome ones)

Wow, that seems like such a huge unobtainable feat, doesn't it? But you know what? This all can happen because He is in me!

And He tells (commands) me to love and treat people the way Jesus did (would). As His servant, I am commanded to go out and teach others about Him. And who am I to doubt what He says I can do (and that He expects me to do). This is something that I cannot let my own insecurities or junk that I am harboring in my heart to stop me.

So I am jotting down just a few things that I want to hold myself accountable for:

I want people to "meet" Jesus when they meet me.

I want teachers to know there is something different about my children.

I want to choose being kind over being right.

I want to give that stranger a smile when they didn't even realize that they needed one.

I want to inspire others to keep the faith, even when it looks like there is no hope.

I want to be kind to that cashier, even when she if she is rude to me.

I want to radiate God's glory, even when I am in a dark place.

I want to encourage others to seek Him when they are the furthest away from Him.

I want people to ask me why I have such a burning desire for God.

I want to show that you can see God's artistic ways in every insect to the highest of mountains.

I want to lead the broken hearted to The Ultimate Physician.

I want to be able to have the perfect words land on someones' heart.

I want to display the confidence God gives me to face anyone or anything that tries to bring me down.

I want to do all these things (and I can, The Word tells me so....Philippians 4:13)
......not to get any personal satisfaction/reward.

My reward has already been given to me.
Eternal life.
Jesus living in me.
The joy.
The peace.
The forgiveness.
The hope.
The strength.

......the love of Christ.

I want to be the perfect dash of salt that God has created me to be in this world.


and without further adieu (I always wonder what that means) ..... I share with you a powerful message:

Flavorless Salt by Francis Chan.

Have a beautiful weekend.......filled with SONshine, my friends!

Hello, my name is.....

So we visited a friend's church yesterday. Josh wanted to talk with their worship team as he is going to be working with them on some recording projects. So what better way to get an idea on their needs than to see them "in action" and also have the opportunity to worship with some new Believers.

It was a smaller church than ours, but in a way......I loved the feeling of family that was felt as we walked through the door. You could tell that everyone knew everyone, it almost felt like a huge family reunion. I like that. Even their announcements included shout-outs for members who were celebrating birthdays that week. very cool.

After the announcements, there was a short intermission for people to "welcome others/mingle". Because everyone was part of this family, our family def. brought attention to ourselves as we were new-comers/visitors and were greeted by many wonderful people. There was just simple small talk with introductions, where we were from, and then *that* question.

The question that I never know how to answer.

What church do you go to (well of course I know that answer) but more so..... what kind/denomination of church is it?

I get asked that often and always feel like I am not answering it correctly, because I don't think I ever really thought about putting a "label" on what kind of Christian I am or what kind of church I attend.

I am pretty sure the church we go to is a charismatic Pentecostal church. Does that sound right?

Here is the faith statement from our church's website (I took out the supporting Scripture references)

  • We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary, by which we obtain remission of sins.
  • We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion, in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in the creation, test and fall of man as recorded in Genesis; his total spiritual depravity and inability to attain Divine righteousness.
  • We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of men, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, very God and very man.
  • We believe Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day, and personally appeared unto His disciples.
  • We believe in the bodily ascension of Jesus to heaven, His exaltation, and personal, literal and bodily coming again the second time for His Church.
  • We believe in the salvation of sinners by grace, through faith in the perfect and sufficient work of the cross of Calvary by which we retain remission of sins.
  • We believe in the importance of water baptism by immersion in the Name of the Eternal Godhead in order to fulfill the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a real experience at or subsequent to salvation, with the Scriptural evidence, namely, speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
  • We believe in the operation of the gifts of the Spirit as enumerated in I Corinthians 12-14, as manifested in the Early Church.
  • We believe in the Spirit filled life, a life of separation from the world and perfecting of holiness in the fear of God expressing the true Christian faith.
  • We believe in the healing of the body by Divine power, or Divine healing in its varied aspects as practiced in the Early Church.
  • We believe in the table of the Lord, commonly called communion or the Lord's Supper, for believers.
  • We believe in the reality and personality of the devil and eternal judgment in the lake of fire for the devil and his angels.
  • We believe in eternal life for the believers , and eternal punishment for the unbelievers.

So here is what I wonder. My friend's church is an Assembly of God and from the preaching style/message, it seemed to be on the same page with what we have always been used to, only on a much smaller scale. Now I know, of course, that I didn't get to find out if they have the same exact beliefs with just this one time visit. But this pastor's message was great and the bonus was that we got to partake in Communion!

So here is where I am at; there are so many Christian faiths out there.....I have friends who are fundamental Baptists, Jehovah Witness, Methodist, Lutheran, Protestant, and Catholic. There are Word of Life churches, Assemblies of God, Worship Centers, Calvary and Bethel churches. What separates us all???

I have always said that I never claim to know it all......in fact, I am learning every day. All I know is that I love Jesus with all my heart and soul. Maybe I'll get corrected (please be gentle!).....with what I am about to share; but I am not so sure how much emphasis needs to be on what name tag we wear when it comes to being a Christian. I think it is more about taking Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and when we truly have Him *in* us.....our beliefs, actions, etc should follow according. It is SO not about religion......it's about our relationship with Him first and foremost.

I also know that God wants us to be joined in the body of Christ...the church is to be His bride. So how do you know you are in the "right" one?

I guess another reason why this is on my mind, is because I caught the tail end of this preacher who was on TV yesterday morning and he had a picture displaying many churches with arrows pointing to Heaven in the center. But he was talking about how we are misled in thinking that all churches/faiths are probably not going there. He referred to Noah and his ark being the only One way but more implied that his church/faith was the only way. Not sure if it was him that was more frightening or his message? (please don't ask me who it was.....not only is my short term memory blown to shreds....but I don't want to turn this into a bashing session on any faith/preacher/etc)

So my question to you.....how do/would you answer when someone asks what "kind" of Christian are you and/or what "kind" of church do you attend?

Looking forward to all that you can share with me......

Thanks in advance!


A Great Design

So I recently talked about how crazy I think it is that many people believe that the animal kingdom was just random mutations over billions of years. Or that they only behave a certain way due to instinct or an automated response/reaction.

I wish all those people were hanging at my house over this past weekend to witness yet another display of what an Amazing Creator we serve. (well maybe not the whole weekend)

3 weeks ago, straight from our nesting boxes to our incubator......life began as soon as these eggs were surrounded with warm air. Within 25 hours the heart begins to form, by the 42nd hour.....it begins to beat. By the sixth day.....all organs and muscles......everything is pretty much formed including the little egg tooth on it's beak that it will use to enter the world. Feathers are forming by Day 8.

They were automatically turned for 18 days, then placed in a still incubator to prepare for this world. For those next three days....these little creations are turning themselves around to the only air cell pocket and absorbing the nutrients of their yolk sac that will sustain them for the exhausting journey ahead. They actually circle inside the egg, pecking tiny perforation holes to enable them to break out when the time is right. How crazy is that?!?

So here it is.....after a mere 21 days......shorter than it takes me to read a book!.....we welcome a beautiful creation of God to our world.


(you can see it's little friend pippin' out to the left)

Within hours.....feathers fluff out, legs strengthen and they are ready to be taken out.

And check this out: These little chicks already have all their eggs formed within; that will continue on this beautiful circle of life.

21 days.
a self containing capsule complete with
membranes to protect,
capillaries for blood flow,
tiny sacs with just enough air

but most importantly,

equipped with instructions from Above.

.......and speaking of instructions from Above, what blows my mind even more with all of this (if that can be possible)....is that God designed all of the birds to hatch their young on their own. No humidity controls, no automatic turners or thermostats. Just God's hand on all life and being the Great Designer.

Thank you for allowing me to share in my awe of The One who creates it all.......which is exactly the reason I named my blog why I did

How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
~Psalm 104:24


Breech of Security?

So I know I have been pretty absent for the most part in the online/blogging world. Things have just been so busy.....but very productive.....in my physical and emotional world, as well as my spiritual world.

We are at the tail end of our renovation project....finishing up painting and now only the tile flooring to do. Josh and I (well.....mostly Josh) has been doing everything ourselves with the exception of the wood stove pipe installation. To give you an idea of what we are doing, we took our 600 sq. foot double garage that was under our house, closed it all up and are turning it into a family room, homeschooling room and music area. The best part of all, is that this room will also be the place that we are going to do something exciting that God has been working on us to move ahead and do.....(more on that soon enough!). Josh works his full time job 45-50 hrs a week, so you can imagine how all our his time has been devoted to this project. Just emptying out a two car garage with 13 years worth of crap was a job in itself. I think I would rather pluck out every eyelash than do that again.

Another "project" that is moving forward is our little farm.....With two does kidding (having babies) within a month and trying to get a new barn ready to move half the herd.......we did what any other UNseasoned still wet-behind-the-ears farmers would do......

meet Reese and Cyrus:

They are 6 month old Huacaya alpacas and we just couldn't resist! Hey, some women get shopping sprees with their tax return.....some are thrilled with spa weekends.....others indulge in some jewelry. Josh spoiled *me* with these two cuddly babies and I am over the moon!

So, again.....not being a hard-core farmer.....I was very concerned when I learned that alpacas do not prefer to be in closed in barns. In fact, it can stress them out. They like three sided structures so that they are able to come and go as they please.

Now we know that I am terrified of anything happening to our animals from past horror shows, all our little guys are locked up safe every night. So when we left them out the first night, I had a very hard time sleeping. In fact, I tossed and turned and kept waking up to check on them (who of course were completely FINE). Yeah, like 2 and 5 o'clock in the middle of the night.....they probably thought, "are you kidding us lady, are you really going to keep shining that flashlight in our face all hours of the night?"

So the next night, I decided that I needed a decent night's sleep if I was to continue to keep up a house, homeschool and be as conscious and alert as a person needs to be to survive in life. I also know that luggage bags under my eyes are not very attractive. I decided to pull out the big guns and utilize a new security system for our new little members. We had Mufasa, our Rottweiler, sleep outside to patrol and keep an eye on things.

I felt like I was wrapped in the ultimate security blanket and slept like a rock that night.

Isn't it funny how having that sense of security can do a 180 for you? There are so many "security blankets" we have/need in life. We feel comforted when we punch in that code on the control pad of our security system before bed. We buy different kinds of insurance policies to "protect" ourselves and our loved ones. We employ security guards, we need secure jobs.....we even put protection on our computers to keep out dangerous invasions/threats. Social Security was originally proposed to limit what were seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens of widows and fatherless children (according to Wikipedia)

We need to have security in our minds and hearts. And there is a 100% Ultimate Security Protection Plan that is completely free. This plan includes 24/7 surveillance, alarm systems of impending danger(s), and total protection. It has a lightening speed response system, all you need to do is ask for help (it will even help when you don't ask).

yeah,.....it's God.

We have God who protects the most precious "gifts" of all.......gifts that come from Him in the first place.....peace, joy and comfort. He promises us that no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

So why is it.....that sometimes......during trials in my life, do I not realize that I have this Fort Knox style protection of my heart, my mind......my life? Why is it that when the enemy.....the THIEF........ is trying to sneak into "my space" and rob me of all of these precious gifts from Above....do I not just activate this security system? Why is it that I try to suit up with my own worldly gear and pick up my own artillery rather than simply slip on the Armor of God?

Today I pray that I continue to remember that I have protection by The One who is higher than any force or power in the universe. No matter what I facing, God is my shelter. He is my refuge from trouble and my fortress that protects me from any attack (spiritually, emotionally and physically). His protection is never-ending and covers my whole family because we all His children. He is our Good Shepherd and will always take good care of His sheep.

I have had these thoughts on my mind for the past few days, but with my hectic schedule, I just haven't gotten chance to really sit here and write (which is when I feel I am having my time with The Holy Spirit because most of the time, I look back at some posts and wonder....wow, that is pretty good, who wrote that?!?!).

But this morning, I woke up to this encouraging word email from K-Love (a daily Scripture/devotional) and took it as a message that God really wanted me to take the time and pour it out. I am guessing that I am not the only one who needed to understand and remember His awesome protection and love for us.

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? ~Psalm 27:1

Oh, and one last thing.....(sounding like an "as seen on TV" commercial).....if you act NOW whenever you just ask.....His Security system package deal also comes with bonus features such as a life time warranty of joy, hope and love.

Hope this finds you smiling......

Peace and love~

Give me strength

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:31

God knows when we are tired and weary, even when no-one else does.

I hope this finds you all well....


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