welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
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Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and shield.
I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me,
and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
~Psalm 28:7

Almost six months ago.....Josh and I took a leap of faith. You see.....God placed something on our hearts over the past year....

He whispered ideas in our dreams.
He nudged us at Christian festivals.
He poked our ribs listening to certain messages about the youth.
He brought messages about the importance of preparing the next generation.
He smacked us upside the head when reminding us of our talents and what we are called to do.

....so we could not ignore it any longer.

In this unstable economy and living already on a tight budget, we decided to apply for a refinance and take out a decent amount of equity on our home. It wasn't an easy process.....there were so many stumbling blocks and frustrations along the way.....looking back, we know it was the enemy trying to foil our plan. But we just kept trusting in God and knew that if this was what we were supposed to be doing, it would all work out and the loan would be processed.

.....and it was, and just like God.....we ended up with a lower rate and a higher appraisal on our property.

The day the check cleared......we started this journey. We knew we would have to do pretty much ALL the renovation work ourselves to make every dollar stretch. How thankful we are to have Josh blessed with the wisdom needed for all the construction that was necessary . We give God all the praise for the strength He gave to Josh as he worked 4-6 hours every night after working 8-9 at his "day" job.

Most would have given up when fingers and hands were split/bleeding from the labor, back pain was excruciating, and exhaustion was taking a toll on your physical and emotion self.........but Josh kept his eyes focused on God's goal....and pressed forward.

I could share so much on what we have gone through to bring this project together.....but I think that the photos will prove that "all things are possible with Christ" and we did it. We could have never done this without Him.....and this is all FOR Him!

So now......I present to you.....the future home of Bible study/worship center for our kids and their friends. We converted our two car garage into a 600 sq. foot great room for our family and friends. We have a friend, a youth pastor, who will be joining us for our special nights, getting "down with Jesus" with the teens and preaching the Good News. Of course there will be pizza, video games and bonfires too! We want to continue adding to our "Heaven Hospitality" welcoming list.

Josh also invested in tons of equipment for a recording studio that is located in the adjacent room where he is donating his time/talents to aspiring Christian musicians/bands.

So here it is.....from start to finish.

We are so excited to see what God has planned......we know and trust that God has had His Hand on this since Day One. We trust and believe that the angels will be celebrating, singing, and praising Him along with us!

Have a blessed week~

Welcome Committee

Hello friends! Hope this finds you smiling and well......

I thought I would give a nice greeting seeing as though I am going to talk about being greeted and welcomed. But not when you visit someone's home, a retail store or a church service. The Ultimate Greeting.....when we enter Heaven.

I mentioned that we had the privilege of listening to Don Piper speak at our church last month. He spoke about his 90 minutes in Heaven following a horrific car crash. He describes "the celestial greeting committee, the swoosh of angels wings, and the myriads of sounds"

OK, so some say that this might be taken too literal from The Book of Revelations.....but I am happy believing that Heaven is nothing short of AMAZING! Remember, I am a children's bible reader....I believe the Bible literally.....and I am planning on dancing on those Streets of Gold!

But we can discuss that later, one of the things that really intrigued me was when he spoke about who was "at the gates" in that greeting committee......the people whom he knew personally that were ready to welcome him into The Kingdom.

He said that he saw the people in his family that he expected.....his grandparents, close friends and a pastor who had passed before him.....along with people he didn't expect to be greeted by such as a woman who lived in his neighborhood when he was growing up. This woman was the neighborhood woman who took in many foster children. Her station wagon was always packed every Sunday for church, but she still made her rounds in the neighborhood squeezing in any child who didn't have a way to get there. He said that the people who greet you in Heaven are people who have had an impact on getting you closer to God in your life, whether you realize it or not.

So I thought about that.....hmmmmmm, well I know there will be my bestest friend Lili who brought me to that first church service where I just knew this was the God/worship that I have been longing for. (hopefully not implying that she is going first!).....and I know Josh's grandmother, Ruth, will be there.....what a strong woman of faith. I remember an old friend of my parents whose home always had worship music playing and had constant reminders of God's love displayed. There are so many people that I love to surround myself with today who are positive influences and keep me held accountable with my walk of faith. There are people who have graciously given forgiveness for when I have wronged them.....or have reached out to help knowing I would never be able to "return" the favor. I also have listened to many testimonies of people/preachers who have catapulted my faith to the next level. Come to think about it......I am pretty darn sure that many of my blogging friends (that would be you!) will be there too. It might have just been that one post that hit me like a ton of bricks and inspired me......caused me to dig even deeper into The Word.

.....oh crud! This is hard to explain without placing a sentence of death right now on people.

OK, let me switch gears here......

Let me ask you this......if what Don Piper says is true......

(which I do believe.... Who am I to doubt a man who was pronounced dead by four EMTs? A man who was crushed and dismembered. And although he spent 100 days in the hospital and endured over 30 painful surgeries....had no internal or brain injuries and is walking with full use of every body part preaching The Good News of hope and faith. )

.....than who are you going to welcome into The Kingdom? Whose lives have you touched and/or are you touching that are bringing them closer to God? Whose life have you planted that "seed" in? Who have you shown the love of Jesus to? Have you changed someone's outlook for their own life? Who have you brought hope to in their time of darkness? Who have you truly prayed for, even if they didn't know it?

I, for one....want to be busy in Heaven with a list of people to greet. Again, keeping this as upbeat as you can when talking about dying.....but seriously. Wouldn't it be great to have your schedule full in Heaven because you are constantly needed at The Gates? I don't know about you, but I want to be on that committee, in fact....let me go so far as to say, I want to be one of the directors! HA!

But that can only happen when we make this a priority in our lives.....right now, while we are here on earth. So whether you believe in Piper's story is irrelevant. The fact is, as Believers we are called to be Disciples. We are called to pray for the sick, give hope to the hopeless and help find the lost. I cannot imagine that these people will not be revealed to us when we get to kick back and chill out with Jesus. (yes, that is my visual/idea on being up in Heaven....hanging out, and like my friend Jennifer's blog title says.....getting down with Jesus.)

So things to think about and please feel free to share. I'd love to hear about those special people in your life that you can be sure will be greeting you. What did they say or do that brought you closer to God?

And on the flip side.....Let's think about who we are impacting in our daily walk. How many people are you bringing/directing towards Heaven? Maybe today is the day that you have the opportunity to add to your Heaven Hospitality list.

Have a beautiful day......enjoy the SONshine!


Good People, Bad Choices

I wanted to thank you all for all your prayers, advice and encouragement with my last post regarding the struggle of praising God during the not-so-great times we encounter in our lives. Talking about the issue(s) of your children making poor choices/decisions even when you've done your best trying to raise them with Godly guidance and boundaries reminded me of a post I did waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy back in December of '08, so I decided to re-post it today. (one, because I don't think anyone read it......and two, because I have been swamped this past week with more babies arriving.....Praise GOD!........and wrapping up the majority of our construction projects.)


Good People, Bad Choices (originally posted Dec 13, 2008)

So we were going over the story of Rahab the other night with our Jesse Tree devotion. This is another one of my favorite stories in The Book. It's just so "real" and relatable. I mean, we all have a past.......some more ugly than others. But we also see how God doesn't always pick the most righteous people to do His work......in fact........He's picked some of the least likely people. So I guess it shows us that sometimes we don't feel worthy for God to "choose" us based on our past.....but we are exactly who He needs. He can turn a harlot into a heroine.......surely He can use us as well.

So yeah, Rahab made some pretty bad choices in her life.....and to think that God used her in such a mighty way....We might ask/think......why? Out of all the people in Jericho, why on Earth would He choose such a woman??? I guess this is another testimony on to how God orchestrates everything and has it all go to His plan. Pretty sure He led these spies to her home......and it was the "right" time for her to have the opportunity to make a choice...will she protect these spies and have faith in their God.......or protect herself and warn the city? I believe this was the moment that Rahab had her fresh new start in life.....she reveals an understanding of Christ that seems impossible considering her past life of sin. Perhaps, being trapped by sin for so long, she was so ready to be freed from the captivity. Throughout Scripture, the poor and the less fortunate were drawn to Jesus......He even told the Pharisees that "the harlots and tax collectors will enter Heaven before you" in the Book of Matthew.

I read this on this site, thought it was pretty amazing:
From that time on, Rahab dwelt with the Israelites. She married a man from the tribe of Judah named Salmon and had a son whom they named Boaz. Boaz took a gentile bride from Moab named Ruth and they had a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse who had a son named David who became King of Israel (Ruth 4:13-22). And 26 generations later, two distant cousins who were both descendants of King David (and therefore of Rahab and Salmon) married and became the earthly parents of our Lord Jesus. And so when you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew, you’ll find Rahab listed there (Matt 1:5).

Pretty cool, huh? :)

So yes.....I guess this story teaches us that even if we don't have the best track record in life, eh hem....like *me*.....God can use us. Maybe it's just to give that grouchy sales clerk a smile or encouraging word......or to pay for the person's coffee behind you in the drive thru as a random act of kindness.....or to be ready to tell others about Christ. He probably has already prepared their heart to receive The Good News even if they appear to be the least likely to be interested.

Oh, and one last thing and keeping it real (I know I talk about how blessed we are, but never want to come off as a "pokey cheeky we are are so wonderful"......

.......no, we have dirt, we have issues......plenty!, we are far from perfect........ we just are doing the best we can with God's tools when problems come up in our lives)

so.......speaking of good people making bad choices......I'd like to say that Gunner is a good example on this subject. For whatever idiotic reason, he decided to have his friend trim up his "chin strap" (yes, I am a mother of a son with a beard, yikes)....in Chemistry class. This idiotic decision landed him in the principal's office. This idiotic decision also earned him a nice punishment including Josh's instruction that the chin strap will be removed until further notice. Gunner takes great pride in his facial adornment......almost to a "Samson" level......so this was the perfect punishment. He also lost many other privileges for quite some time. Did I mention how I thought this was an idiotic move? I am pretty sure Gunner realizes this now too......every time he looks in the mirror.

Maybe this is what he needed to have a fresh start himself....time to straighten up his act....(again).....and realize that fooling around, making bad choices gets him no-where fast. We told him the choice was his......(inserting the wide road~being the popular/ class clown, getting the laughs, etc vs. the narrow road ~focus on doing the Right thing lesson too).

The one thing he did do, that was not so idiotic, was calling Josh immediately after it all happened. We have always taught the kids about how the punishment would def. be less severe if they are honest and upfront. He could have certainly not even mentioned the incident as we probably would have never found out.....but I guess we have gotten a few good messages through to him these past years....as he readily confessed from the school's bathroom stall. I think that saved him from having his head shaved as well.


So I guess I needed to re-read this as well today and remember how blessed we all are when we make mistakes, which we all do and know that we can come to our Loving Father and confess those sins and wrong-doings to Him (of course He already knows about them). He is abundant in mercy and ready to forgive. He is eager to forget and always has His arms open wide with unconditional LOVE!

I hope you have a blessed weekend with family and loved ones today.....

Jeremiah 17:7-8

So it's easy to trust and praise God when things are going well in your life......isn't it?

When things are flowing great...joy is radiating from me where-ever I go! I am giving people a Holy high-five....I've got that extra pep in my step on most days. I am "letting Go, letting God". Kinda like being on a rollercoaster with your arms waving up high!

But what about when times get a little rough? You wake up Monday morning and your checking account is already in the negative? You get that dreaded phone call that some medical tests were "inconclusive" and you need to return for a follow-up. Rumors are surfacing of an impending lay-off within your company. Despite all the guidance and boundaries......your children make poor choices in their lives.

I find that when issues arise (which they do!).......my hands that were freely dancing in the sky are now clutched with a white knuckled grip in a panic state. My brain starts racing on how to "fix" the issue with my own doings/actions/thought processes. I snatch the issues and hold them tight as if I can smother the solution out of them.

Of course I am doing more damage by reacting this way. Not only am I robbing myself of peace and joy with constant worry and anxiousness, I am basically telling God that I don't trust that He is able to handle it. I mean, let's be honest.....He can overcome the grave, but I think *my* issue just might put Him over the top and be a little out of His league!

How insane does that sound? But it's what I am saying when I act that way.

So friends, I need some encouragement to unload the burden and get back to the weightless freedom that trusting God with everything brings! Remind me that freedom is what God is all about.

Revive my way of thinking.....remind me of all what is taught in His Word:

We were bound in sin......Jesus sets us free.
He has paid The Ransom.....now we are free.
We will know the Truth and the Truth will set us free.
We are no longer slaves to sin for He has rescued us.
We are no longer prisoners, we have received the Ultimate emancipation.
There is total freedom in Christ

I know......the references are endless. Sometimes I just need that little nudge. I know God wants me to remember that He is never going to fail me. I woke up this morning, and flipped my Bible open. Ironically, my eyes went straight to this Scripture:

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

~Jeremiah 17:7-8

What do you do when times get a little tough? How do you keep your eyes fixed on God? Can you offer some advice/prayer for me... and maybe that one person who also needs some encouragement that came to visit my place today?

Thank you in advance!



Yesterday, I was getting ready to put together a little something as I wanted to participate in Bridget Chumbley's "One Word at a Time" blog carnival. This week's topic is gentleness.

But you know me, I am easily distracted, my brain is like a pin-ball machine and I have a hard time collecting my thoughts.

But that was not the case this time....

I got preoccupied with something. Something so beautiful and I was blessed to be part of....a gift from Above.

.....and yes.....oh, so gentle.

I helped welcome this little girl into the world

......along with her two other sisters.......

Their mama tending to each one.......ever so gently......
never shown/told what to do.....only taught from Our Great Creator.

Again.....thank you, once again, for allowing me to share the miracles that I have graciously been given in my life. I think this last picture it all up for us.......as we give Him all the Glory!

Peace and love~

......for many other stories about gentleness......pop on over to Bridget's place and be blessed.

Happy Easter, my friends!

Through the Cross, we are redeemed and forgiven;
Through the Resurrection we are given life and hope;
and Through Jesus Christ........we are heirs to eternal life.

How awesome is that?!?!?

Praying that you all enJOY this Easter weekend. So blessed to be celebrating and sharing
the Ultimate Gift of Salvation with you all with this blog. I have been so fortunate to make some really great friendship/relationships over these 18+ months. Many of you have touched my life in ways you can not imagine....and I know it's all because of Him. Yes, I believe that God brought each and everyone of you into my life for a purpose. Maybe it was only one comment that you took the time to leave where you shared what was on your heart.....maybe it was when you shot me a quick email reminding me that you were praying with/for me....or gave me the privilege to pray for you. Perhaps it was when you popped on my FaceBook wall just to say hello or said something silly when I really needed that laugh.

I look forward to the day where we all will meet and dance on the Streets of Gold.....together!

Peace to you all as you surround yourselves with family and loved ones this Easter~


Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise."
- Phillips Brooks


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