Monday, October 17, 2016


I want to tell you a story that I hope will encourage you to see how strong you truly are. 

Last week during my training session at the gym, we were doing "leg day." Now, let me start by telling you that my trainer is an Army guy. He's tough. I'd already done a ton of squats and lunges and all those fun leg exercises. We were running out of time and he gave me the option of doing one more exercise to "burnout" or finishing the last couple of exercises on my own. I'd never done an exercise to failure before so I chose that option. We went over to the leg extension machine and I got on. As I sat down, he told me I was going to do 100 reps. Continuously. Then he said that if I let the plates touch (meaning I stopped) he was going to raise the weight. 

Just for a little background... I do this exercise every so often, usually in 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. I've never done more than 12 reps without resting. Also....I pretty much hate this machine. 

I started and got to about 20 before my quads started burning too badly. I thought at that moment that there was no way I was going to get to 100. I kept pushing. 30, 40, half way there! My legs were on fire and my trainer was urging me on...60, 70, 80. I couldn't believe my legs were still going! 90! At this point, literally my whole body was shaking from exertion. 

97, 98, 99, 100!!!

I did all 100 reps without quitting. The first thing my trainer said to me was "WOW! You really didn't want me to raise that weight did you?!?" Then he told me something that absolutely floored me. He said that I was his first client to EVER do that on the first try.  I was blown away. It made my whole day!

The next morning, I was thinking about it and I asked God what lesson there was in that experience. He's been teaching me a lot about myself and Him this way lately. What He said was "You can do so much more than you think."

Here's the thing. I used to doubt myself all the time. I didn't think I could do anything, so I didn't even try. When I started writing this sentence, I originally started with "Maybe you're like me and you doubt yourself all the time." Then it hit me, that's not who I am anymore! I don't doubt myself like I used to!

When I look back over the last 7 months, I am amazed at all the ways that I have been transformed. Yes, there are the parts that everyone can see, I've lost over 40 pounds. I run races that I never imagined possible. But the bigger transformation is in my mind and my spirit. I dream of doing things I never imagined and they all seem possible now! I'm excited for new things instead of afraid of failing. I want to try!

Through it all, God has been showing me who I really am. Who He made me to be. How strong and capable I am. The plans He has had for me from the beginning.

So if you doubt yourself, I'd like to encourage you to ask God to change your mind. Ask Him to show you who you really are.

Then.....go do that hard thing! You are so much stronger than you think!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” 
Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:5

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken has always been one of my favorite poems.  I think because it can speak to so many situations in our lives. We are never going to stop having to make big choices or even little choices that feel big. 

I feel like I'm at a crossroads in my life. 

I can see myself standing right where Frost describes. 

Off to one side is the well-worn path. It's comfortable. Safe. Easy to travel. Probably not too many surprises, maybe just a couple of small hills. 

Then there is the other path. It almost seems unrecognizable as a road. You have to trust you won't get lost. There are probably a lot of thorns and roots to avoid. It might even feel as if it is always uphill. 

I know which path to choose. Knowing isn't the actual dilemma. The doing. Taking that first step toward the unknown road, that's the hard part. Worried about where it will take me. Will I be alone? Will I know where to go next? What if I get off the path? 

But then....I think about all the wonderful things that only I will get to see on that path. All the beautiful gifts, planted there just for me because it is my path. Rays of sun breaking through the thick of the trees, tiny wildflowers, birds chirping and flitting here and there. 

It feels like an adventure now. And I know if I keep my eyes fixed on the maker of the stars I'll never be lost. I know He will never lead me astray. 

So I'm choosing the road less traveled, knowing it will make all the difference.

Friday, May 9, 2014


There are so many things I am grateful for. But grateful is more than I how I feel about the things I have or the blessings in my life.

Grateful is a heart posture that I am learning to live by.

In the hard times I am grateful for the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father who is always there for me and sees my pain.

On the hard days, I am grateful for the roof over my head.

On the days that we are struggling to get homework done, I am grateful for the education that my son is receiving.

On the cold winter days that seem never-ending, I am grateful that spring always follows.

On the days I miss my husband, I am grateful for the memories.

On the days I get caught up in guilt and shame, I am grateful for His Son who took what I deserve.

I am grateful that no matter what the world throws my way, I know that my future is secure.

I am grateful that no matter how I feel about myself or perceive the world to see me, I am loved by the Creator of the universe and that is enough.

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
                             ~Habakkuk 3:18


Today I am linking up with LisaJo for Five Minute Friday. 
Join in and be blessed!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Rhinestone Jesus-A Giveaway

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony 
                                                                                                                                                                             ~Revelation 12:11

Walking through a slum in Kenya, tears streaming down her face, Kristen asked God "How can you allow so much suffering?" He answered her, "Kristen, How can you allow this?" Kristen told this story on her blog We Are THAT Family and those words have stuck with me. They always linger in the back of my mind when I am faced with injustice in the world.

Kristen and her family founded The Mercy House a few years ago after she traveled to Kenya with Compassion International to visit her sponsored children and learned about the reality that young unwed mothers face in Kenya. This book, Rhinestone Jesus, is the story of her (and her family's) "Yes" to God after she returned from Africa.

She starts at the beginning and tells of wearing her sparkly rhinestone JESUS pin all throughout high school as a statement of her faith. She honestly tells about the struggles in her marriage and as a parent as well. Kristen and her family are regular people, just like you and me. They just chose to say "YES" in the middle of their mess. When that small YES was given God took them right out of sparkly, safe faith and led them into an amazing adventure.

One of Kristen's main themes is saying "Yes in your mess". So many of us are waiting for the "right time" to do God's work, for the finances to be right, for our kids to be grown, for the timing to right, to be "better" Christians, or maybe for God to send us a written invitation with explicit instructions (or maybe that's just me!?!)

But, you see, all that waiting for the "right" time and perfect conditions, that isn't faith. That isn't a real yes.

A real Yes is scary, it is following Jesus into the unknown and trusting He has the best for you. A real Yes is believing that God is in control and that He will finish the work He calls us to. A real Yes is hard. It is demanding, but it is so worth it. Just ask Kristen.

I really cannot recommend this book enough! Rhinestone Jesus is an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness. It is a heartfelt, honest, real life story of one family's "Yes" to God. It will certainly bring tears and some belly laughs too. There is at least a part of Kristen's story that we can all identify with. You cannot read this book and NOT be inspired!

I am so excited to be giving away 2 copies of Rhinestone Jesus!!! Enter on the form below and  I will choose the winners on Friday May 2nd. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A portion of the proceeds of Rhinestone Jesus benefit The Mercy House Kenya.

If you would like to learn more or donate to The Mercy House Kenya click here.

{I was given a copy of this book to review but all opinions are my own.}

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rhinestone Jesus

In her new book, Rhinestone Jesus, Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family tells her story of moving from artificial "sparkly" faith to the real thing.

If you feel a longing for more, if you feel deep inside that there is more to life, then this is the book for you!

It will inspire you to say YES to God, right in the middle of your mess! 

I am honored and excited to be hosting my very first giveaway on Friday! I will be giving away 2 copies of Rhinestone Jesus!

(The official release date is May 1st, but some retailers are shipping it out now!)

Come back on Friday for my review and your chance to win your own copy!

Friday, April 4, 2014


Five Minute Friday

Today I'm linking up with LisaJo Baker for Five Minute Friday. We all writer for 5 minutes on the same prompt. No editing, no fixing, no fear! Then go back and encourage the writer before you! 
Come, join in and be blessed!

This weeks prompt is Writer:

The first time I remember words really moving me was in the 4th grade.

We had a student teacher reading us Where the Red Fern Grows. Thankfully, her assignment with us was done before she finished the book. (Crying in class isn't cool when you are 10.) I had to know how the story ended though so I checked the book out from the library and I didn't put it down until I finished. And I cried and I cried.

That was the beginning for me of a love affair with words that has never ended.

It also was the beginnings of a dream deep inside of me to be a writer.

When I was younger, I wrote short stories, poetry and filled journal pages. I never showed them to anyone and eventually tucked that dream away somewhere under some fear.

It's been rising in me again lately, that long ago dream. It's funny how when God plants a dream in our heart He doesn't let it fade away.

This time I won't hide under fear. I will dare to dream my dream. I love words and I have a story to tell.

I am a writer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hello again (aka "Oh yeah...I have a blog")

Hello again!

I have missed this place.

I write posts in my head all of the time, usually on my drive home, but by the time dinner is served, homework is done, showers and bedtime are (finally!) done, those ideas have long escaped my mind and I feel blessed if I can get a few minutes of reading in before I fall into bed.

But, I've been dreaming some dreams and some of them involve writing. So, I figured I should probably get back to writing again. Seems like a good place to start. :)

It seems like this winter has been never-ending here in Minnesota, but it is raining outside now and that is a sure sign of spring! (I'm pretending I don't know about the snow coming later tonight.)

Spring is my favorite of all my favorites! This spring has some especially big things happening! For one, my birthday, but not just any birthday, my 40th birthday!! I'm not sure where all the time went, but I'm looking forward to even better things to come in the next decade!  I am also really looking forward to the InRL life event at the end of April! What a blessing this group of ladies and this community has been to me!

In other big news, my son has decided he likes to read books. (Can you hear the angels singing their Hallelujah chorus?)  This has been something I have dreamed of happening! He loved "reading" books when he was little but then after struggles with school and such he decided reading wasn't for him. But in the last couple of weeks he has been asking to read together, carrying books around with him....and actually reading them!!!!

The other night I caught him trying to sneak books into bed!!! Joy, unspeakable joy!!!

Well, there you go, it's not much, but it's a start! It is good to be back here!!

Blessings to you and so much love!

I am looking forward to seeing you here again soon!