Small steps in faith

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Church

I'm reading a book called "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller It' written from the author's point of view and I love how he thinks I just finished a chapter on his views of the church

"So one of the things I had to do after God provided a church for me was to let go of any bad attitude I had against the other churches I'd gone to...It wasn't that they were bad, they just didn't do it for me. I read through the book of Ephesians four times one night in Eugene Peterson's The Message, and it seemed to me that Paul did not want Christians to fight with one another. He seemed to care a great deal about this, so, in my mind, I had to tell my heart to love the people at churches I used to go to, the people who were different from me. This was entirely freeing because when I told my heart to do this, my heart did it, and I think very fondly of those wacko Republican fundamentalists, and I know that they love me, too, and I know that we will eat together, we will break bread together in heaven, and we will love each other so purely it will hurt because we are a family in Christ.
So here is a step-by-step formula for how you, too, can go to church without getting angry:

. Pray that God will show you a church filled with people who share your interests and values
. Go to the church God shows you
. Don't hold grudges against any other churches. God loves those churches almost as much as He loves yours."

I have the 1st 2 with Southwest The 3rd one I still struggle with but I'm trying:)

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Goodbyes are hard

I have a really hard time with good byes when it's someone I love My family makes fun of me because I get "weepy" Tonight is one of those times My sister leaves early tomorrow morning to go back to Vermont I haven't seen her in over a year which has made it even harder this time We are only 1 yr 2 weeks apart so it's like having a twin although we look absolutely nothing alike :)..we just sound alike :)
Even though we can call and email it's just not the same as that personal contact
There is something special about a sister bond I know she will read this so I just want her to know that I love her and will miss her terribly and I will keep my promise to come to Vermont this coming year

Friday, November 26, 2004

True worship

I liked this quote from my "quiet time" at lunch

"To worship means to awaken the conscience to the holiness of God.We know the Lord calls us to adore Him with our heart, soul, and mind So when we open our heart to His love, feed our mind on His truth, and devote our will to His purpose, then we achieve true worship...No matter what form of worship we exercise, it must come from a sincere heart or else it amounts to hypocrisy before God...Whether we sing or keep silent, whether we dance or lay prostrate, our praise and worship well be acceptable to God if He has guided us in doing so."

Let God guide your worship Don't be embarrassed or afraid to show your love to Him

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanksgiving Kristen is 18!!

Psalm 100
A psalm for giving thanks
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs
Know that the Lord is God
It is he who made us, and we are his
we are his people, the sheep of his

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his
For the Lord is good and his love
endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through
all generations.

I have alot to be thankful for this family, my friends,my salvation

Today is a special Thanksgiving for us
Kristen turns 18 today, my sister and her family are here from Vermont, and my special friends Mike and Michelle are spending the day with us at my dads and my stepmother's food... It's the best!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Ashlee's surgery

Ashlee had her surgery this morning and did fine Janie will be able to take her home in the morning
What a blessing it will be to have their whole family together on Thanksgiving
Prayers are powerful


My heart and thoughts are heavy in prayer this morning for Ashlee
Ashlee is only 2 months old and she has to have surgery this morning She and her twin Kaylee were born 8 weeks early so surgery is a big thing Please keep Ashlee and her family in prayer today as you get ready to celebrate a day where we can give God all the thanks for blessings he has given us

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Christmas Prayer

I heard a Christmas song yesterday called "My Christmas Prayer" by Bebe Winans with Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 It's my favorite Christma song right now I bought the album at Starbucks when I was there last night If you want a copy you better hurry Oprah announced it on her "Favorite Things List" and they've been getting alot of phone calls about it they said You can only get it at Starbucks The weird thing is when I was looking at the credits "Voices of Lee" from Lee University are backup singers for some of the songs This is the choir that sang when we went to orientation with Kristen and it's the choir she wants to be in It's a God thing !

"My Christmas Prayer"

I pray for peace
Blessings and honor
Heaven right earth's despair
This is my Christmas prayer
For those that grieve
God will bring comfort
Laughter and rapture there
This is my Christmas prayer

I pray for you
That you triumph and conquer
And possess the strength you need to bare
This is my Christmas prayer
For those in need There would be plenty
And each other's burdens share
This is my Christmas prayer

So let hope fill our hearts
Shine the light through the dark
All around the world and everywhere
I will pray
This Christmas prayer

See I pray that love will rule and reign
And I pray that time will rid the pain
Of this world as we learn to trust and care

This is ....
my Christmas prayer


"The heart of the Gospel is that God loved us enough to come to where we were, so that we would love others enough to go where they are."

Putting yourself in someone else's place ...seeing things through their eyes , walking in their shoes These things aren't easy but this is what Christ did for us
He came here and experienced what we experience here on earth Something he didn't have to do.. he did it out of love.

"When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd."
Matthew 9:36

We need to reach out to others in love "If they reject you they'll only push you closer to the crucified life. If they accept you tell them, "Whatever you need, God has it, In spite of your circumstances it can be done, and I'll stand with you until it is"

Monday, November 22, 2004

Happy Marriages

I've been married 19 years and the following article is true but not easy!

Want a Happy Marriage? Be Nice, Don't Nitpick
True Compatibility Doesn't Exist, so Shrug off Little Conflicts

By Jeanie Lerche Davis

Thermostat settings. Dirty socks. Toothpaste caps. Our little habits make our spouses crazy. But no two people are ever truly compatible, so quit nitpicking each other, relationship experts advise. Save the battles for the big issues -- and you'll have a happy marriage.

Susan Boon, PhD, a social psychologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, teaches classes in interpersonal relationships. A few years ago, she picked up the book, Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work, by John Gottman, MD, psychologist, relationship researcher for 30 years, and founder of The Gottman Institute in Seattle. Ever since discovering the book, Boon has recommended it to her students.

Secrets of a Happy Marriage

Long-lasting, happy marriages have more than great communication, Boon says. "Dr. Gottman brings up something no one ever talks about -- that irreconcilable differences are normal, that you just have to come to terms with them, not try to resolve the unresolvable. On some level, that should have been obvious, but it hasn't been," she tells WebMD.

Most marriage therapists focus on "active listening," which involves paraphrasing, validating, affirming your spouse's feedback, says Boon. "That's all well and good and may help you get through some conflicts in a less destructive way. But, as Dr. Gottman puts it, 'you're asking people to do Olympic-style gymnastics when they can hardly crawl.' Many people will fail at those techniques. Research indicates that most people are dissatisfied with the outcome of marital therapy, that the problems come back."

In happy marriages, Boon points out, couples don't do any of that!

Instead, you must be nice to your partner, research shows. Make small gestures, but make them often. "The little things matter," says Boon. "What a happy marriage is based on is deep friendship, knowing each other well, having mutual respect, knowing when it makes sense to try to work out an issue, when it is not solvable. Many kinds of issues simply aren't solvable."

Learn how to identify issues that must be resolved, that can be "fruitfully discussed," she notes. "Learn to live with the rest. Just put up with it. All you do is waste your breath and get angry over these things that can't be changed. You're better off not trying to change them. Work around them. Commit to staying together, even though this is something you don't like."

A long-lasting, happy marriage is about knowing your partner, being supportive, and being nice. Research shows that, "for every one negative thing you do, there must be five positive things that balance it out," Boon tells WebMD. "Make sure to balance the negatives with positives. Your marriage has to be heavily in favor of the positives."

While it sounds easy -- and while it can be easy -- this commitment to being nice is no small matter, Boon says. "You have to do nice things often. But it's harder to be nice when the heat is on, when you're really angry, or when something has happened for the 15th time. Nevertheless, the balance must be heavily, heavily stacked in the positive, to have a happy marriage."

Also, couples must stay in touch with their special ways of repairing the relationship, Boon says. "It can be humor; it can be whatever helps diffuse the escalating heat. In happy marriages, couples naturally do this. They deflect the anger, and get back on an even keel."

Trials of Faith

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

I had a big test of my faith yesterday so I thought it was ironic that this was one of my morning devotional
"If God's plan requires that you go through tough times in order to accomplish his will(and it usually does ), then faith is what enables you to endure. It's like the night watchman that protects God's purposes in your life."
I had a discussion with a friend at church yesterday about someone who has created dissension in my life I don't hate the person but I do try to stay away from them because I feel they cause problems I haven't had to deal with this person for quite awhile which I had told her was a relief Within 1 hour that same person showed up at my daughter's concert at Christmas in Springboro It's scary how quickly Satan works I literally could not look at this person the 1st 10 min they were sitting there I had to go to the back of the tent, take a deep breath and silently and desperately pray for God to get me through this and help me hold my tongue
God is faithful
At the end of the concert my church family from Southwest completely surrounded us literally in a circle and I didn't feel threatened by this person any longer
Now I guess I need to work on forgiveness

Saturday, November 20, 2004

"Facedown Worship"

"We live in an irreverent and informal age These Days you can get up close and personal with just about everyone and anything Internet search engines unveil pages and pages of people's personal information at the touch of a button. The paparazzi zoom in as close as their lenses will allow, taking intimate snaps of unsuspecting celebrities. And reality television invites us into the tiniest details of people's lives.

In the midst of such a culture, God is seeking out worshippers who will not shrink Him down to sound-bite size. Worshippers who will recognize and respond to His beautiful "otherness" A people who will revere Him with every thought, word, deed and song. A people who wonder at His greatness, and in response aim to paint a big picture of Him with the whole of their lives, that others too might come to know Him. They are an army of facedown worshippers, ever bowing themselves low, and ever lifing Jesus high.

Facedown worship is the answer of a heart who has encountered the glory of God."

Matt Redman

The ultimate worhip experience we should all be striving for

New books to look for in January 2005
"The Way I was made" by Chris Tomlin
"Praise Habit finding God in sunsets and sushi" by David Crowder

Christmas in Springboro The Garage Sale

You always know that Thanksgiving is close when it's Christmas in Springboro weekend
I enjoyed watching the parade with Tyler,Dylan, and Zach and their many comments about the floats,people,etc Kristen looked great as the Statue of Liberty on the float
The best part of today though was working the garage sale
Southwest Church is helping to develop a teen center from the old bus garage
It's a very old and unique building but needs alot of work In order to raise funds our church decided to have a garage sale I have never had a garage sale nor do I frequent them so it was definitely an eye opening experience to see what people buy It is true that one man's junk is another man's treasure Things that you think nobody would buy were sold It just fascinated me to see what people saw as valuable
There was alot of interest in the teen center itself and God definitely touched some hearts in contributing financially today
It's been a long road to see this project started and alot of prayers have gone into it
There is a light at the end of the tunnel and this will truly be a blessing to the teens as well as the whole community

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Growing pains

Sometimes it's painful to grow in your faith
Sometimes its confusing to know if you're following God's will
I was listening to the worship music for 722 tonight and I got my answer

"Be still and know that I am God;....." Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I am a HUGE Jeremy Camp fan I love his music and I love his heart It's not many men who would marry someone knowing that they might die soon He wrote his 1st album during his 1st wife's illness and death and the words to those songs touch my heart everytime I hear them
My family makes fun of me They threaten to throw my CD "Stay" out the window because I listen to it alot Well now I have a new CD It's called "Restored" and it just came out yesterday Darrell preordered it for me It's just as good as his first 2 So it's Christmas music and Jeremy for the next month :)

The Amazing Race

I'm not a big TV watcher but I am hooked on the Amazing Race It fascinates me to watch the dynamics between the couples themselves and how they interact with the other teams as well as the people of the country they're in Last night they started from Chicago and went to Iceland From the beginning you start to pull for certain teams and there is always someone who is totally obnoxious that you love to hate
So far I think my favorite team is the father/daughter team They are doing this to strengthen their realtionship
There's a professional wrestling couple who are married As big as he is, I think she definitely is "boss" in that family I wouldn't mess with her They were very likeable
The oddest person was a guy they called "hell boy" He wears these little pony tails in the front of his head that look like devil horns and he definitely has a different personality
It should be an interesting race and I'll be glued to my TV on Tuesday nights

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

God's love and faithfulness

God is faithful
I have to remember that in my down times I have special friends who he uses to help me through these times

"For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies
Be exalted, O God above the heavens, let your glory be over all the earth
Psalm 57:10-11

It makes you want to get your Third Day CD out :)

Monday, November 15, 2004

Ups and Downs

It's funny how God can give you such a positive experience and a negative experience in a matter of hours My emotions are on edge right now and the only one who can help me with this is God I'm relying on him to get me through today and I'm listening for him He didn't talk to me in scripture this morning but he did speak to me through a beautiful pink sunrise so I'm on my way to work in a minute with a beautiful sunrise, a worship CD and hopefully a better attitude to do God's work with his guidance

Friday, November 12, 2004

"Who Can Know What the Lord is Thinking?"

I'm finishing a book this morning called "Emerging Worship Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations" by Dan Kimball
It gives a great perspective on different worship styles whether you're 18 or 44 :)
I get these in my email every morning This one really touched my heart

Who Can Know What the Lord Is Thinking?
by John Fischer

Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are His riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be His counselor? And who could ever give to Him so much that He would have to pay it back? For everything comes from Him; everything exists by His power and is intended for His glory. To Him be glory evermore. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

I have loved these verses for a long time—ever since I did a detailed study of the book of Romans as a young man. When you come upon this statement of praise in context, you realize Paul wrote this after three chapters of trying to explain God’s plan for the salvation of all people—how God picked the Jews to be His chosen people, how the Jews rebelled and God turned to the Gentiles, and how the Jews will once again share in God’s mercy. Salted and peppered throughout are statements of God’s predestination and man’s responsibility that have baffled us ever since and eluded the theologians’ attempts to explain. In fact, our attempts to grasp contradictory concepts like free will and predestination have driven Christians into warring camps and divided the church for centuries. It is precisely why Paul blasts off into worship here, to show us that when our minds can’t go any farther, we need to stop acting like we know everything—admit we don’t know anything—and worship God.

“Oh, what a wonderful God we have!” exclaims Paul, and in essence goes on to say, He’s way past my being able to explain everything. This is as far as my little mind can take me. Don’t ask any more from it, because I’ve already taxed the poor thing too much already!

Sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and revel in the wisdom and glory of God. Sometimes you just have to humble yourself and admit what you don’t know—might never know. I’m not suggesting this is an excuse for being dumb. Nor does it condone poor scholarship. We need to study, and think, and research, and do the background work necessary to build our confidence in the word of God and what it says to us. God gave us a mind to use and not waste, but that mind can only go so far. Worship is what happens when the mind runs out of reasons.

Is there something you don’t understand, whether an intellectual question or a question about your life—what God is thinking? Go back to the verses at the top of this devotional and read them in light of your questions, and worship. Sometimes that’s all you can do.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

A Grey November Day

Some people love rainy grey days like today I'm not one of them Give me sun everyday and I'll be happy It seems to affect my spirits I'm trying to keep a positive attitude but it's hard with this weather
I did do something to brighten my day though Darrell and I went to see "Shall We Dance" at the matinee with Richard Gere,Susan Sarandon, and Jennifer Lopez Definitely my kind of movie I think we were the youngest ones in there though :) It has tender moments, funny moments and passionate moments The dance scene with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez is definitely worth going to see the movie
I grew up in the "disco era" and loved going to dance clubs in the 70's early 80's not for the alcohol (I've never been a drinker) but for the dancing( Darrell cringes at the thought of disco :)
That movie made me want to go sign up for dance lessons at Arthur Murray :) Who knows?.. maybe I will one of these days ...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Psalm 4

"Answer me when I call to you
O my righteous God
Give me relief from my distress
be merciful to me and hear my prayer."
Psalm 4:1

I have a sad heart tonight Not just for myself but just in general for friends who have been through hard times and sadness lately I pray these last verses of Psalm 4 for them They gave me comfort when I read them

"Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?"
Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord
You have filled my heart with greater joy
than when their grain and new wine abound,
I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord
make me dwell in safety.


Monday, November 08, 2004

"Being a Christian in the workplace"

I thought this was a good article to remind us to share our faith in the place we spend alot of

Being a Christian in the workplace
November 2004
By Liza Hoeksma

When I became a Christian at 18, I very enthusiastically promised God that I would serve him in any way He chose. Which meant, I assumed, doing some kind of church work. His immediate answer was (a very kind) "Thanks, but no thanks." The majority of us aren't called to work full time for a church or in a traditional overseas-missionary role but that doesn't mean our work for God is any less vital.

We need to view each day of working "in the real world" as an opportunity to do God's will and to bring His kingdom into that place. Every one of those you are working with is someone God dearly loves and at this moment in time He has sent you to be His spokesperson in their lives.

Scary thought? But the only qualification we need to be the proud owners of the title 'evangelist' is to love God and to enjoy spending time with people who don't know Him. And there's no need to over complicate things. As we build relationships with the people we spend time with every day, pray for them and see what happens. Simple as that.

I've found everyone is different. Some people want your testimony in the first week of knowing you, others want to thrash out great theological questions but the majority are simply happy to work alongside you as they would anyone else.

Even if they're not interested in talking directly about our faith there are so many opportunities for them to see Jesus in us: by the way we treat them, how we relate to other people in the office, how we live our lives, how we handle difficult situations, how we listen to them and care about what's going on in their lives - the list goes on and on. It's not meant to be unnatural: we don't need to set goals - how many people become Christians, come to church or even how many people we get to talk to about Jesus!

I've enjoyed starting each day asking God what He would like me to do. It yields some surprising answers. Sometimes it's been as simple as taking the time to chat to someone God places on my heart or offering to give someone a lift while their car is being repaired. Once I bought a chocolate bar for a colleague who needed cheering up. Other times it's been to say something encouraging to someone who is having a hard week.

In a world where people are too often wrapped up in their own problems to have time for anyone else, I've been amazed by the difference simply listening can make. Everyone wants to be loved and the person sitting at the next desk is no exception. Whether they come across as super-confident or totally uninterested in saying a nice thing about anyone, chances are they're, just like the rest of us - not sorted and in need of a friend.

Embracing all that God has for us in the workplace also means making the most of each practical opportunity. This may not be your dream job but God has you there for a reason. He sees the bigger picture and knows how the skills you're developing now fit into the things He has for you in the future. God cares about our work just as much as He cares about any other area of our lives so pray for His help with our practical tasks too.

So whether you bounce into the office on a Monday morning with a cheerful heart or are currently struggling to make it through each day without quitting, remember that each day you're there, God has a role for you - you can make a real difference to people's lives.

Liza is a freelance writer and author-in-the-making. She used to work in PR where she once found herself in David Beckham's bedroom.


The Psalms

"Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe."

Psalm 61:1-3

I have fallen in love with the book of Psalms
They renew my spirit
There's nothing like sitting in front of a beautiful early morning sunrise, drinking coffee and reading the most beautiful words of worship written to God
If you're feeling stressed, challenged, discouraged try finding "alone time" with God and the Psalms

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Daddy's Girl

Everyone who knows Kristen and Darrell also knows that she is definitely a "Daddy's Girl" They have always had a very special relationship I think part of that is because I worked 3-11 until she was 3 and worked almost every Friday night so that was always their special time together Even after Zach was born Darrell would always take Kristen on special errands
He caves in every time she wants something I don't think there are too many dads who will take their daughter to every shoe store in the area to find "the perfect" shoes for an outfit
Lately it's been a strained relationship with hurt feelings
Kristen is growing up and Darrell feels "left out" and he's having a hard time letting her grow up
Letting go is tough when you're a parent sometimes
Their relationship is changing but I think tonight he realized she'll always be his "Daddy's girl" He bought her fresh cut flowers for her bathroom as a "peace offering"
He's definitely a "one of a kind" dad and she's a very special daughter

Saturday, November 06, 2004

My Best Friend

I love the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" I don't think I can count the number of times I've watched it and everytime I still hope that he ends up marrying Julia Roberts ( his best friend ) and not Cameron Diaz

I am married to my best friend I can't imagine it being any other way

I started thinking about this on my way home from a funeral viewing I went to this morning
My friend and coworker Cindy lost her father-in-law very suddently and unexpectedly this week after he had knee surgery Her in-laws celebrated their 50th anniversary 3 weeks ago in Gatlinburg with their children and granchildren and they had a video of their life made with pictures It was so obvious that they were best friends from the video,and the stories from their family and friends They loved spending time together ( They rode a motorcycle together :)

I think thats the most important thing ;spending time together Even if it seems like the most mundane thing like getting salt for the water softener at Home Depot
With Darrell nothing is ever boring He makes a whole adventure out of a trip to Home Depot You never go on a simple errand It's a variety of errands with coffee stores,bookstores, and office supply stores ( he has a pen fetish ) in between and he always knows someone wherever we go
We are off together every other Thursday and we have the best time "doing nothing" together Our kids have "ditched" us on Fri nights so we get to have that night too now
When we had no kids we spent all kinds of time together Then we had Kristen and Zach and focused more on "family time" and very rarely had time to ourselves and now we're coming full circle as our kids are older, back to spending alot of time together again
We've been through our tough times and I'm sure we'll have more but with God,prayer, and love we're always best friends
I think everyone should marry their best friend

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

God never lets you down

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."

God never lets you down.... ever

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Kid's Voting for the last time

Darrell and I went early this morning with the intention to vote before work On our way it started to rain and when we got to Clearcreek Fire House they were lined out the door about 30 deep and it was pouring and we had no umbrella so we went and got coffee instead
I went to work and left early with the intention of taking my umbrella from work and going to vote but forgot my umbrella so I ended up going home first
Kristen was home and asked if she could go with me so she could do Kid's Voting (She turns 18 on the 25th so she can't legally vote yet) As I watched her filling out her ballot while I was waiting in line I realized this would be her last time with Kids Voting :( I remember taking her when she was in kindergarten in 1992 for Kids Voting so she could vote for Bill Clinton :) Little did she and I know what we were doing then:)
I think God wanted me to have that one last Kid's voting experience with my daughter :) Hopefully we did a better job in our choice for president this time

Monday, November 01, 2004

How We Help Each Other Grow

"Encourage one another and build each other up."
1 Thessalonians 5:11

This is the key verse this week for 40 days of Community and from my personal experience it's key to our relationships and growth in the church
I have some very special friendships and for me it's because they have invested time and cared enough to be there when I needed them to "build me up" This past year has been challenging at times both physically and emotionally and I know their prayers,phone calls,emails,cards,and hugs ( you need 8-10 a day :)) have meant alot to me
At times, some of those same friends have needed to be encouraged and prayed for and I have tried to be there for them as well
It's opening up your heart and letting God work through you whether it's someone you know well or someone you've just met who needs that special attention and encouragement
Find someone who needs encouragement this week It can make a difference in their spiritual did in mine