Wednesday, May 31, 2006

To God be the Glory!

For months our vehicle has been having major shuttering issues. You go to excelerate and shutter, shutter, duh duh, shutter! We took it in..a few a few different places. And still it would shutter. We had a tune-up, replaced this, replaced was just not working...still it shuttered.
What does one do about a shuttering vehicle? The flesh says...swear at it, bang the dashboard, accelerate real fast hoping it gets through it, go real slow so it doesn't do it. These things do not work. I choose to start praying. Simple choice. My small group prayed for it. (Some of you are laughing at the thought of prayers for a vehicle..that's ok.) So one bible study night my husband was unnerved that the car was shuttering so he had one of our friends take a look at it. This friend is very gifted in all things mechanical. VERY GIFTED!! He offered to take our vehicle home to take a look at it. And by God's doing he JUST HAPPENED to drive their extra vehicle that they normally do not drive. So he would switch with us until he was done with ours. Praise God! A few days later his wife called, he had determined the issue and it was a $90 part. I can deal with that...fix it. So he did. Payday came and I was needing to know what needed to be set aside from the budget to pay for the repairs, so I called our friends. The next day I was speaking to the wife, about many things, when she asks if I got her message. I didn't (I am notoriously horrible for not checking messages.) So she tells me, don't worry about the cost. Well, that's nice thinking she means labor cost. So it would be around $90 for the part. So I ask what do we owe you for the part? To which she replied nothing. That they had prayed about it and they both agreed they were NOT GOING TO CHARGE US ANYTHING for the repair. Praise God. Now I am very thankful...VERY THANKFUL! It is one thing to use your skills and knowledge to help someone..then to finance it as Giving hearts...yup.
That's not all folks. When we went to pick it up...I was blown away! Not only did he repair the known part. He also changed the oil, replaced the mirrors (they were held on by duct tape and cosmetically covered by electrical tape) fixed the CD player (2 dimes, a nickel and a penny...thanks to my kiddos) fixed the sqeak in the drivers door, braced two things near the suspension (yeah I am not mechanical) and...I am sure I forgot something else. They did this for us as a gift to us. Good things DO happen to good people! You know what it makes me want to do? Give more. You better believe our eyes and ears our open to meeting any needs they may have. You got a garden to plant...we are there, we will help. You need a new roof...we are there, we will help. You need someone to watch the kids as you go on a date...we are there, consider it done.
I don't know something happens inside...give and give and give to be a blessing. God sees it and He has blesings in store for you as well. Beyond a shadow of a doubt He demonstrated that to me this week. So thanks to my friends for their gift, for their obedience to the Holy Spirit and their desire to follow Christ. And praise be to my God for providing in all things. For answering prayers for a vehicle. All Glory and honor to you my Lord.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day in Photos

The kids decorated bikes and rode them in a neighboring small town parade.

Each received a token for a free ice cream cone...

Sweet reward...

Time with good friends

Playing in the sprinkler.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I Will Remember

To My Dad...
Today people across the nation remember those who have served our country. Some have fallen, some wounded. Some came home. All brave. All worthy of being remembered. Dad, I thank you for the days and years you served our country. I thank you that when you would have rather been at home with your new bride, you honored your comitment and went oversees to fight. Dad, I thank you that when you would have rather been holding your precious first born, you were holding your gun and climbing poles in the night. Because you honored your commitment. I thank you that when you returned, you made it your whole hearted commitment to be there for your family. To build your family and be a contributing man to our community. I know you saw things that one should never see. I know you experienced the lost of a fellow comrade, probably far more than one. I know you could have lost your life. I know never to startle you when your sleeping, as you always awake, ready and alert for battle. I know that your time in service were not the best years of your life. I know it marked you. I know when you returned you did not return to a grateful nation, but to scorn. That people would spit and say nasty things to you and others that did serve. I am sorry that people did this. That our country was ungrateful. I want to tell you and all your I am grateful. I thank you! And I remember.
With Love,


Sunday, May 28, 2006

63 Days

Have you ever watched a movie that changed your life? The message so profound that it sticks with you and marked you in a way. Or read a book that literaly changed your thinking on something? I read a blog today and this day will be forever etched in my memory; the story NEVER forgotten. I happened about it, a blog on the sidebar. The About on the home page had me intrigued to say the least:
**The names and ages of some have been changed to protect the families of the individuals involved.** In the 80’s, "boot camps" for troubled teens became the new treatment dejour for parents at their wits end. However, after numerous allegations of severe abuse, untrained staff and several deaths, these camps came under much scrutiny. Steve Cartisano ran the most notorious of these camps, called Challenger Foundation. I was 15 when I was kidnapped from my bed and taken to Challenger. 63 Days is the story-in-progress about my brutal experiences there, my subsequent escape and the aftermath. This is my story, this is my life.

I began at post #1. I then read all the way through to current. 3 1/2 hours. Her story is amazing. It is sad. It is heartbreaking. It is an eye-opener. Forever changind my thoughts on Boot Camp.
Warning: Her experiences are real and she relates them as she experienced them. Those who have experience abuse; physical, emotional or sexual may have a hard time reading this blog. This blog is still a writing in progress.

How it marked me? It made me realize as a parent how critical our choices are for our kids. That even when things are tough we should never hand over our kids to another to have full authority over. Abuse happens! To a degree my mind can scarcely fathom. I will relive moments in my sleep, I want to go to sleep to escape the thoughts of abuse going on in our world. Yet, I did not live it. My heart goes out to Allison and all those who have survived. As well as to the families of whose kids did not.

So for those who choose to embark on her adventure start with the following link. At the top of each post it has the next post linked to it..making it easy to follow. There are a few breaks, when that happens the links that follow will keep you on the story line.

I have googled Steve Cartisano...this story IS TRUE!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

DS at the Creek

Climbing the rope swing.

Still climbing...

Looking for frogs

Catching a frog. He did catch one. He had it under his net. When he went to flip the net the frog was faster than he was. Oh...good times.

The above creek is a fabulous place. It is a quiet little creek. I call it my diamond in the rough, as few people know that it is there. I grew up coming here as did my mother. Now my kids are enjoying the adventure as well. I love it.

Most Beautiful Day

Grandma and Grandpa took DS on a special date to the creek to wade in the water and catch frogs. So with DS gone, DD and I decided to go on a date of our own. The following are pics from our most beautiful day.


She thought the fountain was pretty.

Jumping on chimes.

The lookout over the Children's Garden

Surrounded by flowers.

Ice cream!

We had a great time!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Has Anyone Seen My Kids...Under That Pile of Clothes

The last couple of days I have been surrounded by clothes. Mountains of them! Wednesday night my DD went to bed unusually early. Perhaps a growth spurt or the fact that she is rarely taking naps during the day right now. So I went downstairs to do some laundry. Upon arriving to the laundry room I was reminded of HOW BEHIND I was on the laundry. Which made me realize the excess we have when it comes to clothes. Which made me think of how the kids are growing and ready to move up to the next size clothes. Which made me curious about what I had been given for them clothes wise. Which motivated me to drag out all the boxes stored in the laundry room to see. You following this train of thought? I hope so. I brought out all the boxes and bags. Some had already been sorted through, others were mumble jumbled together and I had no clue what they contained. Piles of clothes were all over the basement floor. Placed by size and sex. I realize I am extremely blessed. We are given clothes from a few families. So blessed indeed. It was somewhere in the midst of all this sorting that I came to a realization; my friend was praying for me. She had called earlier in the day and asked how she could pray for me. She is my accountabilty prayer partner so she is good at asking tough questions. She asked how I was doing on balance, so I told her. "God is dealing with me on balance, some days great, other days not so great. I really need to do the laundry I am extremely behind." So here I am dealing with it and I KNOW that she is praying. After much progress, I started getting tired so I went to bed. In the morning I called her. Yes she had been praying and yes specifically about the laundry. I KNEW IT! So I asked to her to pray that I complete the project, which she did. Then she gave me some guidelines. You see, she is a very organized person. She is gifted in this area. And God knew what he was doing when he put us together. The goal: drastically downsize. If we had enough clothes to go so long between washing, we have too many clothes! With less choices, we will wear what we like and then wash it. Sooner rather than later. Clutter is eliminated. Everything can have a place. Truthfully if everything WAS clean it would not have a place. It would end up piled up somewhere or in a basket. So yesterday was downsize day. Immediately I went to the missions store to donate the adult clothes that I found in the basement. I had to face it, some things were outdated, very outdated. Those things went to the mission store because I know if not used in America it will be sent oversees to someone who would use them. Other clothes; outgrown kids and current adult items were set aside for the next free sale. Which looks like it will be sooner than later. Another friend has commited to having a free sale in July. So I have approxiamtely 6 weeks of storage and sorting and then they will be gone as well. WooHoo! Today I will continue on...laundry, laundry and more laundry. Yes there is that much.
If you think of me, say a prayer, I need all the prayer I can get when it comes to cleaning and organizing my home!

Thursday, May 25, 2006


I am reading an excellent book called You May All Prophesy by Steve Thompson. I got in from Amazon; if you go to the used and new section you can get some really good deals.
Anyway, the book is well written and very informative. As a believer God speaks to us. Many feel that God does not speak to them, or that they are not sure if what they think or feel is from God or their own thoughts. Have you ever had a sense that you should call someone? Only to have them call you. Have you ever felt like you should pray for someone; uncertain why? Only to find out they were in a situation and needed prayer. Coincidence...I think NOT! God has a way of speaking to us. Sometimes he speaks to us a specific word to share with another to encourage them.
1 Corinthians 14:3
3But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
He can use us to speak His words. He may have you share something that you could not possibly know on your own. Yet it may be exactly what that person needs to hear. An answer to prayer or encouragement.

Those wanting to know more...ask. And I highly recommend the book. Highly!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Visit...

A visit aptly timed. A mentor from the past. Her husband was our first small group leader. She came to my home today. I am so glad she did. Things that God has been showing me confirmed through another. I love it. God is good. His timing perfect. Encouragement in unexpected places. If you could see me...I am smiling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Response to Owlhaven

This post is thought provoking and the attatched articles worth checking out. So go read it, the following is my response.

It would not be as much what will I never let them have or do as much as it is what I will let them do. I will let them be who they are called to be. I will develop skills that they are naturally drawn to. I feel that in the name of safety we cripple our kids from trying new things. My two year old loves to be in the kitchen with me as I cook. She has made scrambled eggs pretty much by herself. I heard the gasp. Fear not, I was standing right next to her. I taught her where to hold the handle and how to use the spatula. She wanted to learn. I want her to learn. I don't want my kids to be held back out of fear of__________. There will always be something to worry about, if we allow ourselves to worry. My 5 year old also had a desire to learn to cook at a young age. He makes some rockin scambled eggs. And I don't have to be hovering. He has provin himself more than capable to do the task, responsibly and safe. When approached with something out of the norm for their age, I have to take inventory. What is a reasonable boundry for this age? What are my fears, are they valid? How can I stand beside them and aid in developing this skill? As a result I have been amazed at what they really are capable of doing! At 3 my son learned to swim independantly. At 4, ride his bike with no training wheels, shimmy up poles and climb trees. Are you holding your kids back? Why?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Go Eat Popcorn

Tomorrow will mark the end of the study of John. It has been an incredible journey. Connecting with other women across the US as we dig into the Word together. I love these women. We come from different backgrounds, different parts of the country, even different denominations. Yet one thing is certain we love and serve the same God. I have been blessed by the insight of others. The words of encouragement and prayers of other believers. With the end of John it is not the end of the journey. Amanda has decided to continue on. This Wednesday we will begin "Go Eat Popcorn." A study of Galatians, Ephesians and Phillipians. The requirements are simple, read one chapter a day (Mon-Fri) and comment that you read. Share insight if you like. I would encourage any of you that are interested, please join us. For more information you can check out Amanda's blog at

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Post #250

My hubby is the greatest!
This morning he was up before anyone else in the family. This alone is a rarity. So I knew he was up and since the kiddos were still sleeping, I slept on. Then I smelled it; hotcakes and sausage. He had brought it in to each of our rooms. Whaffed it under our noses and walked out. Needless to say we all jumped out of bed. It smelled so good. Hubby said we all reacted the same way. Sniff, sniff....SMILE. What a way to wake up.

Looking at this picture I think someone snitched my hashbrown.
I 'll thank you anyway, love ya honey!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

One Spiffy Family

Psalm 91

I have been memorizing Psalm 91
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Early this morning I was still asleep. In my mind I was singing this psalm. "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty" My son woke up and came into our room. I welcomed him into our bed. I wrapped my arms around him and he went sweetly back to sleep, snug in my embrace. I want to be so dwelling with the Lord that I daily feel His embrace; that I may rest in His shadow.

LIttle Girl Quotes

Little girl LOVES the moon. Everytime we go outside she looks up to see if she can see it. When she finds it she exclaims "I see the moon, that makes me SOO happy!" This morning she found the moon. As we were walking in to the store she said "Somebody wiped some it away."

This morning I asked her "Who do you love?" She answered..."Jesus."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Before and After

In the below picture I took my son to get his teeth cleaned. You can tell it had gotten out of hand. Take note of his hair as well. Shaggy, a bit long.
Fear Not!

The hygentist was great! She had him all cleaned up in no time.

"Mr. Thirsty" helped too.

Then we got his haircut. Isn't he handsome?


Whenever I am stressed I get tension in the left shoulder. Like a little knot that throbs. Last night I was not sure what it was that I felt stressed about. Yet the signs of stress were there. Was I carrying it for someone else? Or was it my own? I wasn't so sure. So I prayed. That God would take the stress. That burdens would be lifted. I awoke this morning with a twinge of reminder.

Feeling stressed? Give it over to Him.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Email me at

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Yes, ladies and gentleman, for the first time in 8 years of marriage I did it! All by myself. I mowed the lawn using the riding lawn mower. Yippee!

It has been raining for nearly a week. Which is good. We needed rain. Today it was nice. Which is great, I love nice! The grass was getting shall we say...long. The yard has always been hubbies domain. Which is fine with me. I don't mind. With our schedule filled for the remainder of the week and threats of more rain, the best time to mow was today. I had a choice. Ignore it completely and hope the neighbors would do it for us. Or do it myself. I started out thinking I will just push mow the front yard. That way it will look nice for the neighborhood. So I went to the shed to get the push mower. Which was trapped in the back in front of the rider. I thought to myself, "hmm, can start it and move it back a bit to get to the push mower." So I sat on the rider and looked it over. Pressed a few levers and clank, clatter, sputter, stall. No go. Not wanting to kill the rider I decided to put it into neutral and push it back enough to get to the push mower. Success. Well, sort of. I noticed that the wire to the thingy was not attatched so I reattatched it. Pulled and ...nothing. Sigh. If I was going to get anywhere I was going to need help. Time to call my hubby. DH was more than happy to instruct me on starting the mower. The thingy was the spark plug, with some adjustment there, we were up and going. Front yard done in no time.
I called Hubby to share my accomplishment. Then he gave me a tutorial of how to use the rider. He actually gave me the go ahead to use the rider. So I thought to myself " would be nice to get the back done as well. I can try, if it doesn't work out, hey at least I tried." So I put all the gears in place, foot on brake and started. I backed it out of the shed and it seemed to be shuttering. smoke. Not good. Something was not right. So I turned it off and got the phone. 2 seconds into our conversation our hubby had already diagnoised the problem. I forgot to put the choke back in. OOPS!! He had mentioned that, oh well. So I tried again. Suprisingly it works really well when you put that little choke thing back in place before trying to drive it. So off I went on one BIG loop around the back yard. Upon completing my first loop I realized I forgot to put the blade into action. OOPS. So I had a free ride around the yard, no biggie. I dropped the blade and whallah, it cut the grass; go figure. I weaved my way around and around, back and forth. Not bad at all. Then it got closer to the house. A little trickier but doable. Move climber and table. Continue on. Then it was done. WooHoo!!! I called hubby to share my accomplishment. He was thankful. It was done. Well, kinda. I got the push mower back out to finish the corners and around the kids area. It looks so beautiful. I did good.
Although, hubby just called and said "Now, you can mow the yard."
What have I started?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Tuesday Treasure #2

My MOM! She is my Tuesday treasure!

I am the baby of four. My mother. My hero. Birthed four large babies. One was merely 9 lbs the other three all 10lbs something. Did I mention naturally? Yup...naturally. She stayed home with all of us during our early years. This is never to be underestimated. I realize now how important those early years with Mom really were. She would read to us, take us to the library, we were included to trips to the store. I played outside, a lot! I dug for worms, climbed the swing set, played jump rope. We experienced life. We would go on family trips; camping. We would barrel down the highway singing songs. Hike, my how we would hike. I went on hikes before I could even walk. I was pushed by stroller across the mackinaw bridge. Every night I was kissed before bed. I was blessed. I was blessed by the presence and touch of a mother. Not just any mother, MY MOTHER!

There was a time that I didn't know if my mother would live to see me graduate high school. She did! She went on to see me marry, have my babies. She has been here to see me transfer from her baby to a mommy. She has given me good advice when I was frantic over fever. She encouraged me when I doubted myself. She has been a cheerleader, she is my friend. I am glad for every day I have with her. So today I treasure her, I love you mom!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Free Sale!?

Back in February, I had taken some time to go through stuff in our home. I managed to set stuff aside to be given away. Some went to family, some went to a friend and the remainder went to the FREE SALE!
Around the same time that I went through things God was speaking to a friend and I about giving. Being generous. Giving without desire or expectation of return. So my friend came up with the idea of a free sale. What is a free sale? Good question. Her neighborhood has an annual neighborhood garage sale. She decided she was going to have her garage sale at this time except everything would be given away for free! Fabulous. My husband has always said he would rather give things away than have a sale. God was dealing with me about being a generous giver and also, not to hoard things. Especially that which is going unused in my home.
So this Saturday was the first annual FREE SALE. I say annual because yes we will do it again!
The response was hilarious. As people walked up to the garage we would greet them with a "Hi, everything on the tables is free so if you find anything you like, it's yours. Let us know if you need a bag." We had a variety of opening lines as well as a couple of signs that stated everything on tables free. God bless! So then came the responses. "Are you serious!" "You have got to be joking." "That's a first!" "Ummm...are you sure." laughter, smiles, "No way, I had JUST said to my girlfriend, wouldn't it be cool if we went to a garage sale were EVERYTHING was free." Well, she found it. Then it was also interesting to observe human nature. There were some who would shop around, find a true need then come back to you to make sure it was really OK that they take it. To whom we would reassure that yes, they may, yes we are sure. No we dont want anything for it. Have a great day. Then there were others who would quickly load up that which they wanted, avoid eye contact and make a mad dash; before we could change our minds. Some were giddy about their free treasures. Some people questioned our motives. The biggest response being, "You really must have wanted to get rid of it." To which I would respond, "No we just wanted to bless you!" Some got it; others didn't. There were specific words for some. Converstions that needed to take place. One lady early in the morning, questioned my friend over and over. She wanted to understand. In the end, my friend gave her the whole story of how God was leading her to do it and it was an act of obdience. So she reached in her purse to give my friend some money. Which my friend did not want to accept. She stated again that it was an act of obedience and she didn't want any money. To which the lady replied.."Then I am being obedient"and thrust a dollar in her hand. My dear friend I love her so, she hid it in an item to bless someone else. The very last woman to come as we began to put things away ended up stay for a long time talking. Sharing her heart and pain of the last year. In the end we ended up praying for her. How cool is that?
I learned some very valuable things this weekend. All things truely do belong to the Lord and I am just a stewart of what he has given to me. That He will give good gifts to his kids. That there is GREAT JOY in giving! It is a blessing to give. That I don't need all the stuff in my house. In fact I am excited about going through stuff to give away. That I can learn a thing or two from those around me.
Also, we were able to give away all but one box of stuff. Woohoo! Which will be given away to a charity.
Note: I am not suggesting that everyone stop having garage sales and instead give everything away. I know for a fact that God has used garage sales to bless some of you with the extra cash to meet a specific need. I will also say that if God leads you to do a free sale. Don't discard it as a silly thing, for you will be blessed beyond measure if you obey.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Interview With Pastor Brad Mitchell

Brad Mitchell is currently the senior pastor of Trinity Church in Lansing. Before coming to Trinity he was on staff with Willow Creek Community Church as Director of Men's , Prayer and Sport's Ministries. He has also served as a pastor for 9 years to a small church plant, Evangelical Free Church of America in Alexandria Minnesota. That started with six families and through the years God has blessed.

When did you first know you were called to be a pastor?
When I was in college at Wheaton College of Chicago, I was in a men's singing group of about 40 guys. The summer of my sophomore year we went on a six week singing tour in Europe. We sang at Notre Dame; packed out. We sang at Grossmunster Cathedral; packed out. We sang at some places that were big but empty when we sang. One place we sang was a town called Lyon, France. There were 40-50 of us and there were 35 people who came to hear us in a huge cathedral. It really didn't affect any of us, we knew we were singing for God, so this was fine. But I really sensed the Holy Spirit speaking to me that the church in America was probably two or three generations away from the very same thing that had happened in France. These once full cathedrals that were now almost empty. And the church in America was heading for this same kind of demise. And that I was to do everything I could to build up the church in America. Which is kind of strange because you would almost think "Well, your in France, the call is to build the church in France. To reach people for Christ over there." And that wasn't it. Well then you go "did I really hear from God or did I just eat a bad croissant?" Kind of wondering if it was true or not. So I ended up bouncing it off of people. But when your with Christians and you think your called to ministry everyone is going to go "That's from God." No one is going to tell you no that I don't think God is calling you to ministry; everyone is going to affirm you. So I needed to give it time and space and seek out other wise counsel. I knew the next thing for me was to go to seminary. Now I thought I may come out and be in the market place but be a better trained person in the market place and still be involved in building the church. So it was kind of steps of progression for me. So it was seminary a time for preaching classes and those were good. Then it was time for my internship and I still wasn't sure what was next. But in the internship I felt confirmed and called further. So it was ongoing progressive revelation. So far I haven't felt uncalled and it has been 18 years, so I think this is where I am suppose to be.

What is the hardest part of pastoring a church?
The spiritual warfare! It can come from all different fronts.
Is that on you personally or the church as a whole?
Personally! When you ask the hardest part, it's personal. Because if there is a bull's eye on a church, the pastor's the center of that bull's eye. So that I think is the toughest. The enemy will use circumstances, he will use people, he will use anything to bring discouragement and distraction. So that would be the toughest for me.

Which leads me to the next question. Overall, in your time at Trinity have you been encouraged in your role here?
Hmm. That is a loaded question. In many ways I have, I have seen just incredible spiritual growth in the congregation. And that has manifested itself in a lot of different ways that are trackable. I have a number of people come up to me and encourage me. Whether it's cards, or notes or comments. That means a lot.

What are some practical ways a person can encourage their pastor?
There are so many pastors...I am sitting in a really neat congregation, a really neat church. And I don't say this in a bragging way but just in a self awareness sort of way. Trinity is in the top 1% of all churches size wise. But I have been in a church of 35 people so I know how difficult it can be; where you have to do everything, be everything and slug it out. And I think one of the best ways a congregation can minister to their pastors is empathize as best they can with what they are carrying, instead of take it for granted. And then to think proactively about how they can best honor, support and refresh their pastor. I don't think anyone understands, unless they have been there in the seat of leadership, how lonely leadership can be and how draining it can be. So, it takes the proactivity of a congregation and the leadership of the congregation to be thinking; "Does our pastor need a couple extra days away" "Is there anything we can do to give them some space." "Let's surprise our pastor and give them a Sunday of not teaching, and we can line it up and set it up." Now, I am just thinking out loud here; this is not something I am looking for here. But those are the kinds of things. Gift certificates, watching the kids, get a group of people to mow the lawn and do some of the outdoor chores for a pastor so he doesn't have to worry about it for a week or for a summer. Those are the kinds of things that will allow for moments of refreshment in the life of a pastor. Often times a pastor is seen as a hireling. You know, our tithes pay your salary pastor, you live in our parsonage (I am not in a parsonage,) and you are kinda here to do our bidding. But he's not, he is there to do God's bidding. Sometimes churches confuse that and they don't really hold their ministers in the right respect. I have been around enough, to see enough congregations disrespect their pastors. To know that's an important component. The healthiest churches are the ones that can keep a pastor for the long haul. And they really need to see their pastors as their greatest resource to treasure and take care of.

How do you balance work and family?
Poorly!...There's the answer, not the one I want to give you. In fact, increasingly it has been difficult for me to do. Heidi, my wife and I, we really work hard as a team. Our challenge are some of our own problem, because we are both type A; driven, personalities to accomplish a lot. I really try hard to not do any work when I am home and my kids are awake. So when I come through the door, I come through the door prepared to be with them. To be with Heidi and the kids. To talk. To be a husband and dad. Not to bring the stuff home with me. If I have extra work that needs to be done, and often I do, I do it at night after Heidi is asleep. I will sit up in bed with my laptop on my lap and I will work until wee early morning hours or do what it takes. But I am not going to sacrifice family time for that. I really do try to guard my day off or time off as much as I can. It doesn't always work. That is where I say poorly, when it comes to time off, there really isn't any. Because the work is never really done. Now here at Trinity you do not do as much of the hospital visits and stuff? NO NO!! You don't have as much of the unexpected interruptions? No I do not have as much of the unexpected. I have a lot more the oppressive other stuff, that comes in. My work... just even with email and correspondence alone is 4-6 hours a week, of just trying to keep up on that. And I don't do that very well. And then you have got on top of that 20 hours of message prep, then you have all the meetings. Not even counting Sundays. So it adds up very quickly.

What are some personal disciplines that keep you grounded in your faith?
One of them is, monthly I try to get away for a day of some fasting and prayer; a day of solitude. Then I try to do one if not two weeks a year, that is more of a study break but that is also an extended time for fasting and prayer I will do about 3 days of fasting and prayer during that time as well. So far I have only taken one study week a year. I am allowed two, I haven't been able to fit them in, I haven't figured out how to do that yet. How about daily? Then on the daily thing, I journal regularly. That is not quite daily but journal regularly. I read scripture everyday. Pray, I have got my prayer list and things that I work through. But really trying to ever listen to God. Part of my spiritual growth isn't just a devotional time, but it is trying to be sure I am engaging with God. That's a big piece of it. So you have got solitude, fasting, time in scripture, time in prayer and journaling.

What are you passionate about?
The right answer is Jesus and that is true! But if I am taking it down a level I think it would be my family. For Heidi and I, it's 23 years of marriage coming up next month. Our kids! We have a son that is just graduating from high school. And our daughters are awesome. So it would be family. Things that I enjoy doing, which I would lump into that. I love travel, I just love travel. I enjoy seeing new things and meeting new people. And I enjoy golf.

This last year God has been showing me the importance of obedience. In both things big and small; the routine and the ridiculous. What is the "craziest" thing God has asked you to do? or say?
I am not a flambouyant, wild and crazy guy. So it hard for me to come up with the craziest thing I have had to do or say. But sometimes the craziest things to me are the steps of faith or promptings that God gives me in a moment. For example: I was on a flight, two weeks ago, coming back from California. I was seated next to a fellow that just seemed very anti-social. So we didn't talk, he had his back turned to me, it was just the two of us sitting next to each other. He has his back turned to me and he was reading things. It was an hour and a half flight. On our way down I had to turn off my computer, we are descending. I sensed the Holy Spirit prompt me to ask him if he was heading home. Well I already knew he was heading home. I peeked over his shoulder and saw his driver's license as he looked at it. But this is what God was prompting me and I argued with God for a moment about it. And just decided alright we'll go for it and see. And this is one example; a recent example of something. I just said "So are you going home?" And he turned around and said "Yeah, I am." And that opened up a fascinating conversation. That not only went all the way through landing and another half an hour as we waited for a luggage. Which then led to an awareness of where the man is at spiritually, and people in our congregation who know him. And who knows, long term, what may come out of that. But it was a fascinating conversation with him and it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't asked him the question I sensed the Holy Spirit was pressing on me. So the craziest just joining him in the adventure everyday.

What would you say to one who is a believer?
There are so many things seeking to take your eyes off of Jesus. And not remove him from your life but remove him from the center of your life. Fight to make sure Jesus stays at the center of your heart, of your desires, of your passions, of your disciplines. Don't let anything crowd Jesus off the throne of your life.

What would you say to one who is seeking to know and understand the truth?
God promises if you seek him you will find him if you seek him with all your heart. So this is the most important thing you could ever devote your life to, is the search for truth. So give yourself 100% to it, stay focused on it. Seriously investigate the claims of Christ. My recommendations are some books. The Case For Christ by Lee Strobel. The Case For Faith by Lee Strobel. More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Those would be key works for you as a serious seeker of the truth. If you are a casual seeker of truth or you are just saying it in word. Then you really need to do some introspection because your eternity hangs in the balance on this. And it is worth all your effort to get this one figured out. Because if you get this figured out right. Life will be better and your eternity will be sweeter.

Favorite verse:
Joshua 1:8-9 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Favorite CD:
Hard to call..I am kind of eclectic in my music taste. I like all kinds of music. Country, rock, oldie rock, worship. Right now I am listening to Travis Cottrell's AliveForever. My favorite is Trinity How Great You Are. That's my favorite. Yeah forget Travis, I am enjoying him but my favorite is the Trinity CD.
Favorite Song:
Christian: My Hope Is In You from Trinity CD
Other: Takin Care of Bussiness by BTO
Favorite Hymn: Holy, Holy, Holy
Favorite Book: Bible
Current Reading: Breakout Churches by Thom Rainer
Recommended Reading: Anything C.S. Lewis, Too Busy Not To Pray by Bill Hybels and Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.
Simple pleasure you enjoy: Sitting in a boat on a lake or walking on a beach.

Is there a particular verse that stuck out to you this week and how is God using that in your life?
Ephesian 6:12 1For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms
I have been real mindful of spiritual battles at work. Trying to be discerning of what is a spiritual battle around me and what is just human junk.

Is there anything that you would like to say that I have not thought to ask?
I like the proverb above all else guard your heart it is the wellspring of life. That goes back to my challenge to Christians.
No I don't think so. This was fun.

Thanks Pastor Brad for your time. For your heart for Christ. Thank you for leading in such a way that brings Glory to Christ. Gods richest blessings!

Those wishing to send a thank you or word of encouragement, you may send it to

Editor's Note: I have never given an interview before. All bold and italics print are my words and questions to Brad. This was a face to face interview. The text is true to our conversation with minor grammar changes. Links have been added to aid in further investigation, they are highlighted.

Training in Action

I had a dream this morning; early this morning. In my dream my five year old was driving our vehicle. I was in the car giving him directions. I was calm, like it was no big deal that a five year old was driving in public. I told him when to get over. Stop. Slow down. Go around this or that. It was on the spot training. At one point in my dream I remember looking ahead and he was riding to the far right, where cars should be parked at the curb. It was then that I thought, he is doing really well listening to my instructions, but maybe he needs a little more training before he is out there doing it. So we pulled into a parking lot and there was a timeout for instruction.

End of dream. Well sort of...then I dreamed there was a hang out of sorts. I got the feeling it was a young adult hang out, perhaps a tattoo shop. Not sure exactly, just young adults (17-21.) We went in, hung out for an unknown time. When we got to leave I over heard a man say "There is a presence of angels." I looked around and I could see a spiritual battle going on. The place was a place of darkness and they did not want the light to enter in. For when we came in we brought the presence of God with us. I began to pray. Then we left.

That was the end of the dream.

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
-Pablo Picasso

This morning the above quote was a highlighted quote of the day.

Overall, we are parents that are laid back. We let our kids do things that other parents won't even consider letting their children do. Such as climb. My son will climb anything, anywhere, anytime. Besides restrictions of personal property, or destruction; we let him climb. It is not uncommon to see him perched on top of the swing set. Or up in a tree. He is an excellent climber. He can out climb teenagers. I have seen him do it. He does know his limitations. He is safe. When I read this quote this morning a few things came to mind. We learn by doing, even if we don't feel like we have enough experience to do it. Somethings are only learn by jumping in and doing them. DS learned to climb because he has climbed since he was 6 months old. His skills have progressed with his experience. The more he climbs the better he gets. By the way, little girl is also a climber. At 2 1/2 she climbs up to the highest point of the swing set, hangs briefly then puts her feet back on the bar. My first instinct was to rush over and help her. I did rush over and put my hand behind her but did not touch her. Oh I was ready to catch her should she slip. Yet she did it. She continues to do it. Each day getting a little stronger.

I feel like God is showing me that he is my trainer. He is the voice telling me which way to go. When to stop or slow down. When to go around an obstacle and how. There are times of training. Some are on the road, sometimes at the side of the road. He is showing me that we are a light for him. Wherever we go we should bring his presence with us so that even those in darkness can recognize the light. It doesn't matter if you are a babe or elderly. Age is not a matter to Him. He will use children to show us simple truths. To keep climbing. Respect the guidelines but climb, climb, climb for Him. Each day striving to be closer to Him. That he is near me as I stretch my wings. He is standing by, ready to catch me when I stumble. The more I trust Him and continue to act in faith; the stronger I will get.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


There are times when life feels dry, it drags along. You wonder what am I suppose to be doing? There are other times when it is a raging river. Things are moving so fast, you have to keep your eyes ahead as to not crash into a rock. Puzzle pieces fall into place, answers come, the Holy Spirits activity is undeniable. I am in a Whoosh state right now.
The River is Here by Andy Park (Vineyard Music)
The river of God sets my feet a dancing, the river of God fills my heart with cheer. The river of God fills my mouth with laughter and we rejoice for the river is here.
I had not planned on that song, it just came to me. Yet that is how I feel. I am rejoicing. God's hand in my life right now is busy; steady and firm. I know I need to stay in the "prayer closet" and continue daily to seek His face, His will. Then yield to the Spirit, obeying all that He calls me to do. I know that He calls me to obedience.
Pride says "Lord, I will do that which does not embarress me." When he asks for humilty. I remember hearing once this story. I do not recall where it came from. This is Sarah paraphrase.

A man was coming home from an evening at church. He was praying and praising when the Spirit prompted him. The urging strong, the request odd. He felt the Lord was asking him to go to a specific store. And he was called to do a specific thing. The Lord showed him he was to go to the frozen food aisle and stand on his head. The man laughed. Lord, I am not going to stand on my head in a grocery store. The Spirit's urging got stronger. The Spirit called him out. "You say you will follow me, wherever I lead. That you will do whatever I ask. I tell you go. Will you obey?" The man knew it was of the Lord and could not shake the urgency. So he obeyed. He went to the store, he stood on his head. After completing the task, he looked up to God and thought "OK Lord I obeyed but that was about the craziest thing you ever asked me to do." Then he heard the sound of weeping. He turned around to see a man; sobbing uncontrolablly. He went to the man. And this is what the man said "Tonight I was going to kill myself. Over, done with! I cried out to God saying Lord if you are real...send someone here to stand on their head." The man went on to recommit his life to the Lord.

My God is real! He will reveal himself. He may call me to stand on my head for Him or perhaps something even more ridiculous. If it brings Glory to him, I will go. I pray I am obedient to His call. "Here I am Lord, send me."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tuesday Treasure #1

Today I share with you one of my treasures. A cross necklace with a simple black cord. It may not look like much. But it means so much to me. I received this necklace at the closing of a life changing retreat. During that weekend it was prayed over multiply times by prayer warriors that took me to the throne. That weekend was breakthrough and healing. Learning the Christian faith. God revealed and more.
On one side of the cross is a picture of a butterfly. It reminds me that I have died to the old and have been made new in Christ. I am a new creation. Just as a butterfly was once a catapillar plodding along, I too was ugly and plodding along. Then I went through my Chrysalis stage of transformation. Were the old died. And when I emerged I was a beautiful butterfly. Ready to fly.

On the other side of the cross is the words "CHRIST IS COUNTING ON YOU" It reminds me that I am the hands and feet of Christ. He is counting on me to share His message and His love. There was an occurance shortly after this weekend that it truly gave me the boldness needed to get out of a situation. With it came the words..."Don't ever ask me to betray my Lord again." No it does not have any magic powers. It does contain some powerful memories. A reminder that my God is good, kind, loving and forgiving. That He gave me a community of believers for building up and encouraging me in my faith. And that I am to do likewise.

It's a treasure indeed.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Save on Gas

This article is too good not to share. Effective and practical tips to get more out of your gas.
Check it out. Send me the savings. (wink)

Thanks Dave!

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I ...
I have an awesome relationship with God
I wish...others would know Him more
I hate...disrespect
I am...a stay-at-home mom
I friends that moved out of state
I hear...the tv in the background
I wonder...what our founding fathers think about America today
I can't imagine...what it will be like when the kids are grown
I regret...the foolishness of my youth
I am not...a great house keeper
I dance...for the Lord
I sing...often
I cry...every three months and at baptism's
I am not always...on the computer :P
I do have...integrity
I to sit down with a lemonade and chat face to face with my new internet friends
I make...people smile
I write...everyday on the blog
I confuse... my ie ei when I am typing. I know the correct spellings but my fingers mess it up all the time.
I should...get my house organized
I start...going and I keep going
I was Christy

What about you?

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Hicka Billies in the City

Today was a great day for yard work. Sunny but cool. I cleaned out our vehicle. DH straightened the backyard. Yesterday he filled in holes that our dear puppy loves to dig. With the work complete DH took the kids for a ride. Hicka Billy Sledding.

And then this is just too sweet of little girl.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Current Listening

I Want to be like Jesus
By Vineyard Music

Awesome songs!
Made for kids yet it ministers to me.

Let The Worshippers Arise
by Phillips, Craig & Dean

My son loves I Am a Friend of God.

My favorite is Let the Worshippers Arise. I think this is because I feel a renewed need for all to worship.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Aspiring To Be

A week ago a friend said that she was inspired by me and was aspiring to be like me. That was nice of her to say, really it felt good to receive a compliment like that. But really it is not about me and I told her that. I am aspiring to be like Christ. More and more I want to be JUST LIKE HIM. I think that is what we should aspire to be, like Christ. Not your pastor, Beth Moore, Billy Graham or other person here on earth. While I love Beth Moore, it is not about Beth. What I love about her is her heart to be obedient to God and her daily yielding to the Spirit. Where did Beth learn to do those things? I am sure she learned it from Jesus and His Word. There are things that I love about my pastor, but it is not about him either. It is the qualities of God in him that I admire. Sometimes learning from these people helps me to put things in perspective and help me to understand what something looks like; this is good. I do believe we are to learn from one another. But people please don't sell yourselves short. Strive after perfection, not man and our imperfections. Don't spend so much time trying to be like your neighbor that you totally miss it on being like Christ.
So who are you aspiring to be?

1 Corinthians 4:16 (Paul speaking) Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 Corinthians 11:1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
2 Corinthians 9:13Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
Ephesians 4:11-13 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Well after further review of the Word, maybe it isn't so bad afterall to be like someone godly.
What do you think?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Could not have more pictures of the falcons then my kiddos.
Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Exit Public Schools

Interesting article, Southern Baptist consider resolution that will encourage an exit stradegy from public schools. Go check it out. Quick read.

"Christian parents have a choice to make. They can continue to risk the public system or take responsibility for the education of their own children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." -Taken from the above article.
Addition- I came across this blog yesterday and this is a great post.
My stand is that each family needs to make their own choices regarding the schooling of their kids. For some it will be public or private, others it will be homeschool. It is a choice that need to make after much prayer and guidance from the Holy Spirit. I know that for us, for this season, we are to homeschool. I have known that for long before they were born. I also feel that there will come a time that they will indeed be in public schools. That is not my plan. If I had it my way they would be homeschooled throughout. In March God showed me that there will come a time that he will call them into the schools to be a witness for Him. Sent out into the mission field. It is my responsiblity to train them for that. I am thankful that he gave me some notice on that one.
In all things teach your kids they way of the Lord. Be it Public, Private or Home.

Under His Wings

Psalm 81:10 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt. Open wide your mouth and I will fill it."

Hosea 11:4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.

Psalm 91: 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

I mentioned a few days ago that the baby falcons are here. I have loved watching them. It was awesome to watch Victory over the last couple months. How she diligently sat and waited for the time to come. How she kept them warm and waited and waited and waited. Then when the time came near she prepared for their arrival, she brought food. She turned eggs, waited some more. Once hatched she took them under her wing.
Then to watch her feed them. I can imagine all the little chirps. She brings in the meat. Holds in tight in her talons, then bit by bit pulls of a piece to drop into an open mouth. Once fed they go back to the shelter of her wings.

I am reminded that my Heavenly Father feeds me. When I was young it was milk, as I grew it became more meaty. Sometimes when it is praticularly hard to swallow, he breaks it down for me to take piece by piece. When I need protection he covers me with his feathers and under his wings I find refuge. He is daily my protection.

Monday, May 01, 2006


This is a true story...I was there.

In the evening at the crusades there is an offering. Freewill, no one is pressuring you to give. At the crusade there was a family. Mom, dad, grandma, aunts, uncles, kids and cousins. Eli was fourteen. Dragged there by his parents. He half heartedly attended the first day. 9 hours sitting, listening...did I mention he's 14. Friday evening comes and along with it the offering. Somewhere in that time God touched his heart and he had the desire to give. His mom shared later that a year ago she felt the family was to come to this crusade. In order to save the money needed to attend they cut back some things in the home. One of those things was allowance. She said her kids were the only kids she knew that did not get an allowance. So here is Eli with the desire to give but he has no money. That is where this kid went from the ordinary to the exceptional. For his thirteenth birthday his parents had given him a gold necklace. It was the first thing of value he had ever owned. It was his pride. He loved it, he wore it everwhere. Imagine a teenager. It was a part of his identity. Having nothing else to give he leaned over and asked his mom if it would be ok if he gave his necklace. She told him that was his choice, it was his necklace. So that's what he did. He stepped forward to the basket and dropped it in. Just like the widows mite, it did not go unnoticed. The next night just before the offering they called him up and asked what he had given the night before. (This is not normal practice to call people out but God had a plan and it was good.) Eli came forward shrugged his shoulders and said "gave my gold necklace," that's it like it was no big deal. There was more to the story which mom came forward to share. It was a big deal, a tear streaming down his cheek revealed that. He was moved by God and he responded. He gave all that he had. A teenager, gave all that he had. He went back to his seat, if it ended here it would just be a cool story but what happened next made it amazing. A little old lady in the back of the room walked to the front and handed the leaders of the crusade a check. She whispered something to them and walked back to her seat. They were a little taken back and needed to clarify. "If I understand you correctly you want us to take this check in place of the necklace and return the necklace to that correct?" Yes that was her wishes. The check was substantial, more than enough to cover the cost of the necklace. They called Eli back forward retrieved the necklace and began to place it around his neck. Something in that room broke. A heart to give, a realization that we were all being taught by a young man. Give out of your heart and God sees, he blesses beyond comprehension. People began to come forward and give him money. The prophets were so touched they began to give to him. The offering underway people kept coming. Money for the prophecy club was for the basket, money for Eli was to be put in the boys hands. Tens, twenties, fives and ones. The wad grew. As he went back to his seat the man leading the offering said he suspected there was $500-600 there. Eli sat down and began to sort it out. He was sitting behind me and I watched as he put it in order and counted. After the offering was a dance and the basket left out until the end of the dance. With the money in order he came forward again and dropped something in the basket. I assumed that's nice he is tithing off that and giving his 10%. Wrong. At the close of the dance, the prophet looked at him and said "You gave more than 10%, was it 25?" His reply blew me away, "NO it was 50%!" He did not have to give a penny of it back, but he did. Does this kid get it or what? I believe he will grow up to do GREAT things for the kingdom, a financer for the kingdom. I hope I am around to see it be so.

Is there something God has asked you to give over to him? Are you going to do it?
In obedience there is blessing, far beyond our comprehension!

Addition: I can not get this song out of my head. Go here than click on What If I Give All.