Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Fresh Look

Good morning precious one. Today I am starting fresh. I was inspired by the word fresh from my buddy Laura over at Heavenly Homemakers since she is doing the funky and fresh challenge in her kitchen. I have nothing funky to offer (at least I can't think of any) but I do have some fresh things going on!

Last Sunday our minister Brian shared with us that he will be starting the book of Luke next Sunday morning in the pulpit. He asked each of us to start reading and studying. I figured since he asked I would make it my next in-depth study of God's word for the next month or so.

The book of Luke was written by the physician Luke who was apparently also a Gentile. He was a companion of Paul who spent many hours researching the genealogy of Jesus. You can really tell that Luke is a scientific thinker when you read the book. He is very detail oriented in his writings.

One of the things that make Luke different is the focus on what he calls the "Son of Man". In other words he zeros in on the humanity of Christ. He is the only one who goes all the way back to the first man, Adam in his account of the genealogy. Luke wants to show Jesus' perfect humanity in such a way that brings us hope.

The gospel of Luke is the longest gospel. He tells of the boyhood of Jesus and of the intense prayer life of the Savior. He is the only one who tells the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Luke really wants to not only show Jesus' humanity but his compassion for the lost. You and I serve a BIG GOD! I am so thankful that he is a God of compassion. If he wasn't I would have no hope and either would you!

So, I am challenging you to open up God's word and start reading the book of Luke with me. I would love to hear your insights as we read along together.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Good morning everyone and welcome to Gratituesday. It is a day we set aside to remember all that God has done for us.

Two weeks ago we dropped off Daniel in Arkansas for college. Michael came with us so we went as a family. We got to St. Louis Friday evening and spent the weekend with my very favorite brother (okay, so he is the only one) and his lovely bride of almost 30 years RoseAnn. We also got to meet the newest member of the family puppy Ike.

John and RoseAnn have never had human babies but they have had marvelous dogs. This dog was found to have been chained outside for several years and was severely malnourished. They rescued him from a shelter. We loved on Ike which he needs lots of right now.

Brother John is a serious bike rider and he was the one who encouraged me to get a bike and train. Needless to say the past few years my bike has just hung in the garage with no use. The plan was to ride with my brother again just for the fun of it. He borrowed a nice bike for me and off we went. What a thrill to get back on the saddle. We rode on a fabulous bike trail right next to Grant's Farm where the Clydesdale's are. I averaged 14.5 miles on the way out and 13.5 on the way back. Not bad for not riding the past few years.

We get back to the house and I am panting and all sweaty and there stood Michael. I challenged him to get on the bike and beat his Mama's time. Silly Mom, why did I do such a thing? Any man/cub needs to know they can beat their Mama at bike riding! And any sane Mama knows you can never beat a 16 year old man/cub! So what did he do, he beat my time by 13 minutes. Apparently he only used one leg, lol. He came back with barely a drop of sweat too.

I got to be with my favorite sister in law and gab, I got to hug on my favorite brother, meet the new puppy Ike and watch my man/cub Michael beat me on the bike! Life is good and for that I am grateful!

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, August 29, 2011

Finding Joy

Joy is a gift from God. Deep down we are all searching to find indescribable joy, not happiness but JOY! I want to start searching scripture to find the recipe for JOY. We each have a hole in our soul that we try to fill. Some of us try to find it in food, pleasure, entertainment and friendship. There is nothing wrong with these things, but none of them will give us the JOY we are looking for. They are only temporary and only a quick fix.

In the book I mentioned yesterday One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp she discovered what she believes is the recipe for JOY.

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22:14-20 (ESV)

I went to my handy dandy Strong's Concordance and looked up the words "given thanks" and found in the original language the word is eucharisteo. It means to express gratitude. That word is used over 26 times in the New Testament. Now lets think about it. Jesus is having the "Last Supper" with the 12. His heart is heavy because he knows what he is about to endure. Think about it, torture, being stripped naked and sent through the streets being made fun of with a crown of thorns on his head. He knows all of this yet, he expresses gratitude. Why did he do that? He knew the bread he was offering was a gift and he was thanking the Father for that gift.

There are two other words that go hand in hand with eucharisteo and that is chara which means joy and charis means grace. SO, gratitude, grace and joy go hand in hand. In order for us to have the joy and grace it has to start with expressing gratitude.

Jesus is our example. He learned the secret to JOY and that was to give thanks. That is why the author of the book decides to take the challenge her friend gave her and write down 1000 things that have been given to her. So how about joining me on a journey to find JOY? I have always believed and said that we have to chose JOY. A choice that can be sought even in the midst of such pain and grief.

That is the secret to me not crumbling into a ball and giving up. I CHOSE JOY, what about you?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Sunday, August 28, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

"She dares me, and I don't even blink. Could I write a list of a thousand things I love? I read her line again. As in, begin another list? To name one thousand blessings- one thousand gifts- is that what she means? Sure, whatever." This is how the name of the very popular book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp came to be.

The cover of the book intrigued me. A young woman holding a very unique nest with two blue eggs in the center. The writing is not something I am used to. The author weaves words the same way that Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, simply unique.

Ann writes about the day her life "closed to any notion of grace." A terrible accident that took the life of her little sister Aimee. The grief her family experiences hits so close to home for me.Her family was torn apart. Her parents were never the same. They stopped going to church and stopped seeking God's face. Her mom spent many years in a mental health hospital, unable to re-engage with life again. A friend of hers though issues a challenge. To find a thousand gifts that have already been given to her.

Ann believes that we live the Garden of Eden over and over again. She says, "Satan wanted more. More power, more glory. Satan's sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitued. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave."

I have been thinking about that I want to explore deeper some of the ramifications of the sin of ungratefulness. Join me this week. If you are interested has the book on sale right now. It is a very good read.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Redeemer!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight. O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalms 19:14

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, August 26, 2011

May I Challenge YOU?

God of All Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 2 Cor. 1:3-5 (ESV)

I will never forget the day I “found” this scripture. I was searching for the purpose of my suffering I was going through with the death of our daughter. I was at another sister in Christ’s home studying together and we ran into this scripture. In this one small set of scriptures we are given purpose for suffering,

My soul soared when I read that our suffering was SO we could comfort others with the comfort God has given us. The suffering came for a purpose and that truth gave me great purpose again.

God was so good to me during those difficult times. He challenged me to stretch beyond myself. He taught me that I now had the tools to share what I had learned with others who are now going through the same thing. God is like that! He wants us to spend time with those are struggling with things we have already gone through.

Do you wallow in your sorrow? Do you keep the lessons God has taught you deep inside of you? Each of us has been given trials that we can learn from. We as women have so much to offer each other when it comes to offering comfort. Would you be willing to look at your life and ask what lessons God has taught you and then ask God to open doors to help you share? I promise you, God will bless you more than you could ever imagine. Think about it.

Please keep in your prayers this weekend all those affected by the hurricane.

God bless,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An Audience of ONE

Hello precious sister. I hope this finds you striving to serve the LORD right where you are today. He is mighty to save. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the bright and morning star. Heaven needs no light because the glory of the LORD lights up the entire place. He truly is worthy of all our praise and honor.

The other night at ladies Bible class we had a discussion about living radical lives in front of the world. We talked about ways we could do that. When we got down to the nitty gritty of actually putting some shape to it we got stuck. Some rationalized, some got defensive and some got quiet. We are called to live out our faith in front of the crowds each and every day, rain or shine.

We talked about the church being influenced by the culture. It can be SO hard to stand up and be different then the world. What would people think? What if people made fun of me? What if I look like a "Jesus freak?" Most of us just want to fit in, make no waves and not cause any uncomfortableness. I totally get that and I totally understand. However, that is NOT the road less traveled. Which reminds me of this poem by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

...Robert Frost

My favorite lines are the last two. "I took the one less traveled by, and that has made ALL the difference."
When you are being pulled in the direction of everyone else stop and look at the road. A very wise woman once told me this sage advice, "Jill, you play to an audience of ONE." That is all that matters. Certainly not the crowd but the ONE!

Think about that, won't you? That will make all the difference.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Let Them Hear YOU!

Good morning Ladies;
I just finished watching Glenn Beck's "Restoring Courage" and at the end a man sang a song about making a difference in the world. He challenged us to have the courage to stand up and speak truth. Over and over again he sang, "let them hear you".

I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew in the sermon on the Mount;
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matt 5:14-16 (ESV)

Our world shouts lies constantly. This world is never quiet. In fact that is a prime tool for Satan. There is never time for deep thought and meditation so that we can speak out.

It took Jesus courage to stand before a huge crowd and say really tough things. In fact when he told one of the crowds that they had to eat his flesh and drink his blood many of his followers left at that point. It took courage to stand in the synagogue and drive out the money changers.

It takes courage in our world today to stand up and speak truth in love. It takes courage to dress modestly when everyone around you dress immodestly. It takes courage to say that we should remain faithful to our spouse no matter how green the grass looks on the other side. It takes courage to teach our young ladies to remain pure when we know they think we are just old fashioned.

Courage is a tremendous gift that we get from the LORD. When Joshua was ready to take over for Moses and I am certain he was overwhelmed the LORD said to Joshua;

Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Josh 1:5-9 (ESV)

You and I can do this sweet sister. We don't have to be afraid anymore. God has redeemed us for His GLORY. Let's glorify God by the things we say and do. We are never alone. Let's pray together that we will speak so people can hear us!

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life Lessons from a Big Earthquake~

Today has been just one of those days. I have had little to say and much to think about it. It is Gratituesday and my heart is filled with thankfulness for what God has done in my life but yet my heart is on the heavy side today.

God is so perfect in His timing. I had been sewing for hours and decided to take a break from the project and turned on Fox News for a quick update. Low and behold just minutes before an earthquake had hit Virginia so I sat and watched and then remembered.

Back in the 80’s my crew lived in California not too far from San Francisco. Hubby was in Alabama at the time so it was just me and the three kids. We were living in base housing. The boys were outside playing in the tree in the front yard. Serenity was in the bathtub and I was in the dining room. All of the sudden I started swaying back and forth. In an instant I thought I was going to pass out but then realized I was not sick but then noticed the curtains were swaying with me in the same direction. By this point I realized I was not sick and deduced that our house had a serious build up of gas and was ready to blow up. So, what does any rational mom in my situation do?

Well, this girl screamed for Serenity to jump out of the tub and run! She was such a sweet 10 year old girl who was so obedient so she jumped out of the tub and ran towards the front door, birthday suit and all. I then yelled to grab a towel (wouldn’t want to blow up without a towel). We then ran outside and got to the tree and the boys were yelling for me to stop shaking it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw our back door neighbor hugging a tree and screaming.

The thing though that really stood out was the ground. I was standing on the driveway and it was rolling just like waves. I was so startled I just kept watching the ground go up and down, up and down.

My other neighbor came running out and let us know we were in the middle of a really big earthquake. Never would I have dreamed that we would experience an earthquake but here we were, rolling asphalt shaking all I believed to the core.

Of course, that was a year I did not get Mom of the Year! My poor daughter was scarred for life. I am pretty certain she has PTSD and wouldn’t get in a tub! However, what I did learn was powerful. Until that moment I had always believed that the ground was solid in more ways than one.

What we believes is not always true. I saw the ground and assumed it would always be right where it should be and I was wrong. God is so powerful that he can take a rock solid ground and make it look like the waves in the ocean.

If the God of the universe can move the ground up and down then he can certainly hold me tight and wipe away all my tears.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matt 11:28-30 (ESV)

In Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".


My friend Laura over at has a wonderful post today with a Matthew West song. Head on over and be blessed. What are you grateful for today?

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Christian or Pagan?

About a year ago the LORD kept impressing me to look at the Israelites. Over and over again this still small voice said look at the Israelites. I read scripture multiple times, I meditated alot on the history of Abraham and the nations that came from him.

What stood out for me was their desire to straddle the fence. They wanted God but they wanted Him on their terms, not His. They were comfortable offering sacrifices but also did not hesitate to give to the little "gods" in their lives. When things went well they forgot all about their Redeemer. When things got tough they went running back to God and begging to be in His presence again. Over and over the story is the same. If you boil all of their history down to one sentence is this. The Israelites wanted God only when it suited their purposes.

Very few were totally devoted to God. Very few were completely 100% servants of the LORD. The grass was usually greener on the other side. They wanted their cake and to eat it too. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

As a body of believers I think we have become totally comfortable in a pagan world. We eat like they do, our eyes are exposed to whatever the culture puts out, we listen to things that ought not to touch our ears just like they do. We talk just like the pagans do. We dress like the pagans do and worry just like the pagans do. They ONLY difference is we go to church on Sunday like that is supposed to insulate us from the judgement of God.

I know precious reader what you are thinking, wow, Jill just doesn't understand grace. She is WAY too harsh on us. I get it, I truly do and I have to say that those statements are from the great deceiver and not from our Father in Heaven. You see, grace is a gift from God for those who love and follow Him. Not on our schedule but His. He wants all of us, every aspect of our lives is supposed to be under the authority of the Master. He doesn't want just 1/7th of us. Not just Sundays but 24/7 three hundred and sixty five days of the year.

If we want to truly give our lives to the LORD and take up our cross and follow Him then we need to take up our cross. Not the cute little itty bitty crosses we like to wear around our necks, although there is nothing wrong with wearing them but God calls us to take up our cross and follow Him.

This whole train of thought has so convicted me over the past year. I have started looking at how I spend my time, how I spend God's money, what I look at and what I listen to. God wants us to be clay in His hands. He wants to mold and shape us which means we have to allow Him to work in our lives. Truly a teachable spirit is what is needed.

So here is the really tough question I have had to ask myself this past year. Am I living a pagan life with a "little" of God sprinkled in? Or am I a true follower of God turning my back on the world and just focusing on Jesus? Please don't gloss over this question. When I realized there were areas of my life that I had not handed over and surrender I had to make some really important decisions. Think and pray about it. Till tomorrow.

Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

Psalms 27:11 (ESV)

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

I Can Comment!

I am not very computer savvy. I can write my blog but had to have someone else design it for me. I have been so frustrated because I have NEVER been able to comment on my own blog, how sad is that. I am here in St. Louis with brother John and he was able to figure it out. Little things tickle me! Have a great weekend.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This will probably be one of my most deeply felt post I have ever written. I have thought about this post for almost 6 months now. I have decided to proceed in the hopes of helping even just one woman so here goes.

I have read my share of blogs from young gals who are deeply in love with their husbands. They change diapers, they give them a night out with girlfriends every now and then to just make them feel better. They give them back rubs and breakfast in bed on their anniversary. They hold hands in public and snuggle at home. I love reading those blogs because it gives me great hope for the future. Of the three of my children who are married they each have that kind of relationship and I count my blessings.

What happens though if you don’t happen to be one of those women who are the recipient of the practically perfect in every way husband? What happens when all of your dreams are smashed in one fell swoop? What happens when the music dies? When there is no holding hands any more. What happens when you walk in on your husband and see things on his computer that should never be there? There is a song called Happy Plastic People that I really like. It talks about all of us walking into church week after week with plastic faces on, smiles painted on our faces when really we are just dying inside.

I am reminded of the woman who did not marry a man of faith and she comes week after week alone. Every week she has to decide if she will stay with her husband or come and worship with other believers. Her husband may not understand her desire to give back to the LORD when it comes to money. She sits alone in her pew wishing for her husband would be with her.

Rich and I counseled multiple women and men who struggle with pornography. We saw many marriages destroyed. We have seen godly men turn their backs on their families and vice versa. We have also had dear friends kiss their hubbies good-bye and they are dead in less than an hour later. These situations remind me once again that life is so fragile and can change in an instant.

I then think of the women who don’t have a sudden loss but a very long and painful goodbye. I know of a godly woman who has cared for her husband for the last 25 years all alone. He is bedridden and doesn’t even know her yet she serves him day in and day out. I know in my case no one believed my husband would live till Christmas last year. He was ready to go home to the LORD and was ready to leave. Apparently God had other plans because he is still here. Now I know this may be hard to read but that is not always an easy answer to live with. The physical pain takes its’ toll physically and emotionally and yes even spiritually.

The silence can be deafening. I grieve for what we have lost. No, he did not die but life will never be the same again. Our ministry is gone as a couple. He is unable to do the work that God had for him. Most men’s identity revolves around their work and when that is cut short at such a young age it is a hole that is hard to fill. We chose to marry so that we could serve God together and that is gone. Truthfully it is hard being married to someone who mourns with every waking moment. Dreams that are now gone.

I don’t want to be one of those happy plastic people. Through other losses I have learned that God remains steadfast in his amazing love and grace. I also know that I have a calling and that is to serve my husband faithfully whether or not our dreams are fulfilled or not. I also know that with challenges come great strength through God’s Spirit. I look around and see what others may not see. People who are truly hurting but don’t share it with anyone because they think they are alone. If that is you, you are never alone. God walks right next to you and when necessary he will carry you.

I have learned that when God says no we are called to glorify him anyway. We will be faithful till the end. For those of you with a wonderful marriage that would be defined as practically perfect in every way thank God. You have been given a wonderful gift. For those of you who suffer alone with deep hurts and unmet needs remember that God will never desert you and to be thankful for the life he has given you. Each of us can still glorify God in our circumstance. If one woman is encouraged then my openness will have been well worth it.

If you do comment all I ask is that you be gentle.

Truly in Christ Alone,


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".