October 1, 2014

It's Our Choice: Peace or Stress?

I found myself stressing tonight after getting home from a family dinner, due to my house being in complete disarray.  Travis and I decided to move our vinyl business and home office to the garage, which left behind a disorganized mess in our dining room, with piles of junk everywhere:

As you can see from the picture, we have been so focused on the business and getting the garage in order, that our house has suffered as a result.  Lucas has no clean nice jeans and Travis is running low on clean underwear.  We have so many piles of paperwork on our table that we can't have a sit-down meal without moving items first.  I have a to-do-list so long that I know I can't get it all done in one full day, so tasks stay on there for weeks at a time.

I made a conscious decision tonight, though.  I am choosing to be at peace, rather than becoming unglued and stress out.  I came across a few verses that struck me and softened my heart:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let you hearts be troubled."  ~John 14:27

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, perfect, and pleasing will."  ~Romans 12:2

"Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.  For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.  Nothing you desire can compare with it."  ~Proverbs 8:9-11

The world tells us that our house should be ready for guests at any time and we should have nice decor.  Our children should be dressed in the nicest clothes and should be well mannered all the time.  We should be active in the community and say yes to every opportunity.  That's what the world says.
However, after spending some time in the Word, I've noticed what we as followers of Jesus Christ should really be pursuing: Peace rather than busyness, wisdom rather than possessions, His perfect Will rather than our own selfish desires.  The Bible says in John that we shouldn't let our hearts be troubled, meaning that we can choose to be peaceful rather than stressed.

Tonight, I came home and immediately went into a frenzy to get our house in order, rather than appreciating the time with Travis and Lucas.  I put my desire to be perfectly organized over everything else, including the actual needs of my family.  My house may be messy tonight, but I'm going to go spend quality time with my husband.  I'm making a choice to be peaceful rather than stressed.

I would love to hear your opinions about this topic. How do you handle day-to-day demands and to-do-lists, on top of juggling family life and work?    How are you able to be peaceful in the midst of stressful situations?!  Feel free to comment below!

Good night dear friends!

Much love,

September 30, 2014

The Call to Ministry

It's been so long since I last wrote and shared my heart with you.  I'm sorry, and let me tell you, I've greatly missed the time I spent reflecting here on this blog, sharing my life and testimony with you all!

As many of you have heard me say, I feel the tug of ministry on my heart.  No matter what I do to try to ignore it, the desire and pull is always there.  I know that God has placed this in my heart, after many years of prayer and study.

"Each of you should use whatever gifts you have received to serve others."  ~1 Peter 4:10

We're called to serve.  God has given each of us spiritual gifts, passions, and skills that He expects us to use to bring people into a relationship with Him.  I'm called to serve.  He's given me unique skills that enables me to speak to struggling women in a way that motivates them and calms their fears.  I've known for years that I'm called to serve women in this way, but not until recently have I allowed myself to boldly walk with women and show them Christ's love directly.

I share this with you today, dear friends, because I want you to hold me accountable.  I will spend the next days, weeks, months, and years of my life studying God's Word so that I can know Him even better, therefore allowing me to speak to women's lives and situations.  I will journal and write, enabling me to share my Faith Journey with you all.  I will spend a great deal of time on my knees in prayer on behalf of others.  I will serve others in Jesus' name.  This is all preparing me for all that God has planned for me.  If I'm in His Word and in constant communication with Him, Satan will have no foothold and my ministry will thrive.

This is my prayer and desire, in Jesus' name.  Amen!  Thank you for joining me in this journey!

Much love,

July 24, 2014

Bring the Rain by Mercy Me

"I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty"

July 23, 2014

Godly Leadership

As any of you that know me well are quite aware, I am very business minded and have a passion for leadership qualities and learning how to be a good leader.  I serve as a leader in many capacities, so when I heard the following lesson in Sunday School one day, I took close notes.  I'm not quite sure where the lesson came from, so I'm sorry I cannot credit anyone except the Holy Spirit working through God's Holy Word!  I know I lack in some of these qualities and have much room to grow.  My prayer is that I will continue to mature in each of these areas!

A Godly Leader must possess the following characteristics: 

1) Wisdom
"I will teach you wisdom's ways and lead you in straight paths." (Proverbs 4:11 NLT)

"For the Lord grants wisdom!  From his mouth come knowledge and understanding" (Prov 2:6 NLT)

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." (Prov 10:19 NIV)

2) Integrity: Who we are and what we do when no one is looking.
He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.  He is a shield to those who walk with integrity." (Prov 2:7)

If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever." (Prov 29:14)

3) Love: How we love is more important than what we know or achieve.
"Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure." (Prov 20:28 NIV)

4) Seeks Godly advisors
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise." (Prov 19:20 NIV)

"For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure." (Prov 11:14 NIV)

5) Self-control
"Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people." (Prov 28:15 NIV)

"A food gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control." (Prov 29:11)

6) Awareness of his influence
"When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice.  But when the wicked are in power, they groan. (Prov 29:2)

7) Compassion
"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." (Colossians 3:12-13 NLT)

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

8) No need for public approval
"Watch out!  Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lost the reward from your Father in Heaven." (Matthew 6:1 NLT)

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." (Prov 29:25)

9) Submission to God
"The king's heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases." (Prov 21:1)

10) Forgiving Heart
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.  Forgive and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)

11) Boldness
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7)

"Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your words with great boldness." (Acts 4:29)

July 22, 2014


Hi Everyone!  I'm terribly sorry that it's been over a month since I last wrote a blog post!  It's been a whirlwind of a Summer, filled with racing, family activities, fair, and VBS!  Racing kicked off in full force throughout June and July.  We've had some trouble; blown two engine to be exact.  We just keep persevering and know that knowledge and effort is what will help us be successful.  The Hend. Co. Fair was last week, and we spent lots of time at the fairgrounds watching demo derbys and enjoying time with our friends and community.  We spent July 4th at fireworks and spending time with family and friends.  And this week is VBS at church!  I just love witnessing to children through this program each year!  There's something special about planting Jesus seeds in a child's life!  This coming weekend really ends our July festivities, as we celebrate being cancer-free at Relay for Life on Friday and gear up for Lucas' 3rd (yes THIRD) birthday party on August 3rd.  I have been asked to serve as the Survivor Speaker for Relay for Life this year, and am honored to share my story and testimony with our community!  I should be putting finishing touches on that speech right now... hmmm... ;-)  All of this is wonderful, but let me tell ya, I'm wiped out and absolutely ready for August and September to be here!!

Health-wise, things are going wonderfully!  I'm feeling great and have no symptoms.  My next MRI will be in September, so I look forward to that, with expectation of great news.  I have really claimed God's promise as my own- By His stripes I AM HEALED!!!  I truly believe that my healing has already came; The Bible tells me that.  I just had to claim it.  I've done so, and now Satan has no authority over my health!  God is SO good!

That's all I have for now, friends.  Please know how much I appreciate your friendship and following my blog.  It means the world to me, knowing that I'm able to inspire others and touch lives through sharing my story!  I hope to see you Friday night at Relay for Life at the West Central High School track in Biggsville!  Opening Ceremony and my speech kicks off at 6:00pm!

Much love,

June 9, 2014

No More Chemo!

For those of you following my adventures with brain cancer, I come to you this week with exciting news!  On Monday, June 2nd I went to Iowa City for my monthly trip, expecting to be placed back on another round of chemo.  I had my MRI and it showed no growth or change!  Good stuff!

The doctor chuckled as Mom and I snapped pictures of the brain scan on the computer screen:

In meeting with Dr. Carlisle, my Oncologist, he stated that May's chemo session was my 12th monthly dose of chemo (on top of the daily chemo for 7 weeks)!  He said that research doesn't clearly indicate or support that continuing chemo for more than 12 months assists any in keeping the cancer away.  Therefore, his suggestion was to discontinue taking it and follow up every 3 months for an MRI!  I was overjoyed at this news, due to each session of chemo affecting my body in more intense ways each month; nausea, weakness, fatigue, and constipation.

So, please join with me as I celebrate kicking cancer's booty!  To me, this marks the end of my battle with cancer and now we need to continue praying for it to stay away!  As I have said all along, God is bigger than cancer and I know that your prayers on my behalf are why I'm doing so well!!  Thank you for surrounding me with God's hedge of protection this past year!!

May 28, 2014

When Satan Attacks

1 Peter 5:8- "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him."

James 4:7- "Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you."

Ephesians 6:12- "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  

1 John 4:4- "The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

John 10:10- "The thief comes to kill and destroy..."

Isaiah 54:17- "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper."

Ephesians 6:13- "Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground."

This week, and in particular today, I am definitely feeling the spiritual attack of the roaring lion, Satan, on my life.  He's trying to separate a dear friend and I through whispering wrong thoughts.  He's attacking Travis and Lucas as they both have health issues occurring (Travis' wisdom tooth is bothering him and Lucas was diagnosed today with Scarlet Fever).  He's trying to bring doubt and fear into my thoughts, in order to keep me from moving forward.  The ways he's attacking my life right now just go on and on...

1 Peter 5:8 talks about how we must remain alert and self-controlled because the Devil prowls around like a lion looking to devour his prey.  I know it to be true that when I'm at my strongest, Satan's attacks are more intense.  He doesn't want the message of Christ to spread, so he will try stopping me anyway he knows how.  Basically, when I'm kicking butt in Jesus' name, Satan tries even harder to shut me up.  You know what, though?  1 John 4:4 says the One who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world.  It makes me want to say "Na na na na boo boo" to the devil himself!  The Spirit in me, God himself, is more powerful than any attack Satan can throw my way.

Satan is a thief who comes to steal and destroy us, but God's Word tells us in Isaiah 54:17 that "no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper."  God is more powerful and awesome than satan.  He has already won the battle.  The victory is ours!  I claim the victory and authority of Christ on my life tonight!

May 14, 2014

Look In the Mirror

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 ASV

How many times each day do we take a simple glance into the mirrors that surround us?  As women, we check to make sure our hair is in the right face, our lipstick isn't all over our teeth, and mascara isn't smudged.  How often, though, do we look into the mirror to see how others see our insides, our Christian walk in this life?

I’ve often wondered, as I stared into the reflection, if others saw in me what I saw in the mirror. Did they see the face of Christ?  I have often wondered if my face glowed with the glory of Christ. Through both my joys and trials God has transformed my soul to be more like His. I can see it in my mirror…but can others?  Am I a visible reminder of Christ to others?  Do I not only talk the talk, but also walk the Christian Walk?  Do others see me as the joyful, compassionate, loving woman I see in the mirror?

And the important question is: because of how people see me living, does it point them to deeper desire to walk with Christ in their own life?

I challenge each of us to take a long look in the mirror and ask if the glory of God shines through. If the answer is no, then go to Him. Seek Him. Ladies, let's seek for His glory to clearly been seen through us!

April 29, 2014

Happy Scots Day

As I'm overwhelmed on social media with messages about my Alma Mater, Monmouth College, celebrating Founder's Day, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my years as a student at MC.  I walked down the long sidewalk up to Wallace Hall during Matriculation in the Fall of 2007, an excited and nervous freshman about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.  For my first semester, my focus was socializing and figuring out what this college thing was all about.  I had done quite a bit of partying my Senior year of high school, and this seemed to roll over to this first semester of college.  I joined a sorority and made friendships that will last my lifetime, and I made some poor choices that fortunately pushed me to realize who I really wanted to be.  With the help of some amazing mentors and wiser ladies, I came to the realization that life was better with God and family as my focus.

My sophomore year was much different, as I was asked to serve as a Student Chaplain and joined encouraging and uplifting groups on campus.  I spent this year focused on my education, ministry at my home church, and my sorority.  I will never forget the mentoring from Paige Halpin and other ladies of Alpha Xi Delta.  Thank you for your inspiration and love during these years, ladies!  TFJ forever!

Junior year, I focused on figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.  I felt a call to start a nonprofit and I spent a great deal of my time off campus in meetings with community leaders with Danielle, developing plans for FOCC!  I was also busy planning a wedding and developing my relationship with Travis during this third year at Monmouth College.  At the end of my junior year, my amazing Advisor, Kristin, and I met to discuss plans for my senior year.  I discussed my desire to bring FOCC development and planning into my Senior Psychology courses and Kristin was thrilled to help me achieve my goals in this way!  We developed an Independent Study course, where I got credit for developing this nonprofit; I researched best practices, learned how to raise funds and write grants, and worked with Danielle and our lawyer to file our nonprofit paperwork with the government!  Kristin also allowed me to complete my Senior Research project based around FOCC, conducting a Needs Assessment Survey to see what the greatest needs were in Henderson County.

Looking back on this semester of college, I truly appreciate how MC and Kristin allowed me to bring my passion into the classroom.  I am now the Executive Director of FOCC, which serves over 200 families each year.  I can honestly say, without my time spent working on this project at Monmouth College and their willingness to be flexible with my learning experience, FOCC would not be the organization it is today!

After that Spring semester was complete, I graduated early and soon discovered Travis and I were expecting.  In January, I got my first "big girl" job and in May, I proudly walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  Thank you Monmouth College for the wonderful impact you had on my life!  Once a Scot, Always a Scot!

March 9, 2014

God Gives Me More Than I Can Handle...

We've all heard the line, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." This phrase has been spoken to me many times since my diagnosis and it makes me cringe each time I hear it.  I know it's always spoken out of love and from a good heart, from people who want to say something to comfort but don't quite have the words.  

But I prefer to think about tough times from a different perspective.  Maybe it's true that God Himself doesn't necessarily send more than we can handle.  Only good things come from God.  I do believe, however, that God allows Satan to give us more than we can handle.  God allowed Jesus more than he could handle; all of our sins laid upon this perfect, sinless man. But Jesus knew he could get the strength to continue from God alone.  So why would we think that we are so special as to not have more than we can handle placed upon us?! 

God allows us to have more than we can handle so that we can learn turn to Him for strength and comfort and give Him the reins of our lives.  Only in our hardest, darkest moments do we really turn to God in such a way that we bow down at His throne and give all our hopes, dreams, and lives fully to Him.  So, I'm here to say, I'm so thankful that God has given me more than I can handle.  Through the messy, hard moments, I have learned that life is so much more manageable when He's fully in control. 

When I heard the diagnosis of brain cancer, my whole life as I knew it came crashing down.  All of my dreams were stopped dead in their tracks.  It changed the way I looked at every situation, every activity I was involved in, and the people around me.  This may sound crazy, but I truly am so thankful for this cancer.  I'm at peace knowing that I've learned to give control of my life to God.  I no longer take life for granted; I enjoy the people around me in new ways, I appreciate the little moments of joy more, I don't participate in things just because people want or expect me to but rather because I enjoy them, and I have learned to live each day with a passion and fire that I never had before.  I see each day as an opportunity to make a difference, rather than as a day to get through. 

Life is short and can be taken at any moment.  Our community learned this lesson this week, as a wonderful woman's life was cut short due to cancer.  Sharri understood the importance of loving her family and friends while she still had an opportunity to.  She remained joyful despite the Doctor's prognosis.  She cherished each moment that God gave her.  I was impacted by Sharri's life, as I know were many others.  We can only hope our lives are as fruitful! 

I challenge you to live this week in such a way that you appreciate and cherish each moment God gives you!!

March 6, 2014

Prayer for Our Husbands

I preference this blog post by stating that I indeed have my hubby's permission to share this story.  You see, my life is an open book on this blog.  I share my deepest emotions, moments of excruciating pain and of awe-inspiring joy, and photos of the ones I love the most.  I pray that through honestly sharing my life with you all, the tears, the joys, the anxious moments, and more, that I am able to make a positive impact in this dark world.  But if any of you know my wonderful husband, Travis, it's a bit of a different story.  He's a quiet guy who's just fine listening to conversations rather than joining in.  He's very reflective and likes to think things through before expressing his opinions.  He's the type who will answer questions honestly if you ask, but he won't necessarily just come out and start a conversation about too much, especially his emotions.  I wouldn't want Travis to be any other way, but I felt the need to let my readers know that he has given me permission to share this with you all.

Travis has been a Church attender since he was a little guy.  His Mom made sure that he knew Jesus, and I respect my Mother-in-law so much for the emphasis she placed on that as Travis grew up.  But he hasn't always been the most open about his walk with Christ.  I'm kind-of ashamed to say this, but we weren't the type of dating couple that did Bible Studies together and had deep conversations about God.  We've both had our individual relationships with Christ, but he's generally not too willing to talk about his faith, especially outside of Bible study or with his buddies. 

Travis is a servant, though, and has served communion for a couple years at our church and is always willing to help whenever needed.  This year, he was voted onto our church's Board as a Deacon.  He's only served a couple months in this way, but was asked to give the communion meditation this past Sunday.  The week before, he reminded me that he had to do it and I told him to let me know if he needed any help.  We didn't talk about it again until Saturday night, when I asked him if he had anything prepared.  He said "Yes, but you'll hear it when everyone else does."  I was nervous Sunday morning, as I didn't know what he had prepared.  All I could do was pray that God give him the words. 

As Travis walked up to the platform and took the covers off the communion trays, I was frozen in disbelieve that my husband was giving a meditation in front of people.  This is the man who a few years ago wouldn't even pray in Bible Study.  But there he was, standing at the front of the church.  He started off by preferencing that he's a little nervous because this is the first time he's given the meditation.  He went on to share the story of how he was talking to the guys at work about how he was asked to give the communion meditation at church.  A young co-worker of his, who's new to his faith and a baby in Christ, said he was surprised to discover that Travis was a believer.  He said that he would have never guessed that Travis went to Church.  Travis shared with the congregation how this really hit him and made him realize how little he shares his walk with Christ.  The men he spends 40+ hours with each week, some weeks more time with than his family, didn't even know that he was a Christ-follower.  Travis said he was really using this as a wake-up call, and challenged us to do so as well. 

Some of us live in such a way that those around us wouldn't separate us as Christians.  Some of us proclaim the name of Christ loudly, and then choose behaviors that make others question whether being a Christ-follower even matters.  I pray that his story makes as much of an impact on you as it did to me. 

My husband's words shook my core.  You see, I have been whispering quiet prayers to God for Travis for many years; prayers for his choices and actions, for his patience, for his career, and for his faith-walk.  I am overjoyed to see such honest and open words pour from his mouth.  And I pray that his faith in and relationship with Christ only continues to deepen.  Prayer matters, ladies, and I challenge you tonight to say a quick prayer for your husband.  Be his helper.  Forgive him.  Live in purity and faith so much that they are won over to Christ because of it (1 Peter 3:2). 

Wives, please join me tonight as we pray for our husbands:

Lord God, I come to you tonight in prayer for the man whom I was created for- as you said woman is made from the rib of the man.  I pray that I am the best helper I can be for him, as you created me to serve in this way.  I thank you for a husband who will love me even as Christ loved the church.  Father, you said that the head of every man is Christ, and tonight I pray that my husband give control of his life to you.  Lord, I pray that he be a godly leader in our family and lead our children to you.  I thank you for all the things my husband does to make our home stable and safe.  I pray that you give him knowledge, wisdom, and strength so that he can make godly choices in our home and in his workplace.  Silence all other voices in his mind, and his social circle that would tear him down and please give him confidence and boldness in you Lord. Let him be a man of influence for you, dear God.  Help him to be a light in this dark world.  Again, I thank you for my husband.  I ask all these things in Jesus' Holy name.  Amen. 

February 27, 2014

Such a blessing!!

This month, I received a couple large checks from Rozetta Baptist Church to help me with my chemo pills!!  This gift to my family means that 6 months of pills are paid for!! I cannot express to you enough how much this means to us!  THANK YOU all so much for your love, support, and prayers through this process!  This gift has taken SO much stress off our chest and I feel like I can now breath easier knowing that I can continue these chemotherapy treatments without having to worry about the finances.

I feel so loved and blessed to live in this community!  And I thank you all for your prayers and love!  I just wanted you to know that I so appreciate this and feel very blessed!

February 25, 2014

One Year Mark

This Thursday marks one year since my surgery to remove the brain tumor (Trixie, we called her) and my later diagnosis of brain cancer! I can't believe we've hit the one year mark already!  This past year has been an absolute whirlwind, but so many blessings have come out of it. 

First of all, because of my realization that this life can so quickly be gone, I have refocused my priorities. Before my diagnosis, I was so focused on making money and on work that I often put my relationships with Christ, Travis, family, and friends on the back-burner.  I worked so hard that I came home exhausted with no energy for the people who really mattered.  Now, I recognize that work is still an important part of life, but it must be focused on leading people to Christ and I must have enough left after my workday for Travis and Lucas! 

I have learned to rely on Christ alone and my relationship to Him has been radically deepened.  I have recognized that I cannot do this life by my own strength.  Life is too much to handle to do it alone.  He is now in complete control of my life.  I pray daily for direction and for His guidance in my decisions.  I pray for the Holy Spirit to work in my life each day, leading me where He has planned.

Not only has my relationship with Christ grown stronger, but my relationships with friends and family have intensified.  I have truly realized the importance of sticking together, serving one another, and putting others before my own needs.  Before, I was so focused on our finances and goals that I often forgot how important it is to spend time with and uplift those around me.  Now, I have been more purposeful in my friendships, setting aside time for those who matter; whether it be a lunch date, evening visit, quick phone call, facebook message, or letter, this year I have focused more on my friends and family than ever before.  As a result, I see my friendships deepening and myself connecting on deeper level with family members.  I pray this only continues as the years go by. 

This year has also led me to long for Christ and my Heavenly Home!  I have realized that this place is not my home.  I will continue on Earth for only a short time, and I long for the days when all I do is sing praises to my Creator!  In my final days on Earth, however long that may be, I will praise God through my actions, words, and thoughts.  I know that my time is short, but I will use each hour I'm given in a purposeful way, in order to show people Christ through my life!  I pray today, dear reader, that you have committed your life to Christ as well. 

Thank you all for your continued prayers, love, and encouragement as I live each day to the fullest.  Remember, friends, the best is yet to come! 

God bless you,

February 20, 2014

That's What Faith Can Do

This song is so perfect for today, as a friend also battling cancer was given terrible news about her prognosis and my Father-in-law is in the ICU with a medical condition.  As I sat at my desk at work and this song came across Pandora, all I could do was cry and thank God for His faithfulness and gentle reminder that my big faith  in Him can indeed move mountains, heal the sick, and cause miracles to happen.  Please pray with me today for Sharri and Ed!

Please enjoy the following lyrics from Kutless' song "That's What Faith Can Do"

Everybody falls sometime
Gotta find the strength to rise 
From the ashes 
And make a new beginning

Anyone can feel the ache 

You think it's more than you can take 
But you're stronger 
Stronger than you know

Don't you give up now 

The sun will soon be shining 
You gotta face the clouds 
To find the silver lining

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling 
I've seen miracles just happen 
Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do

It doesn't matter what you've heard 

Impossible is not a word 
It's just a reason 
For someone not to try

Everybody's scared to death 

When they decide to take that step 
Out on the water It'll be alright

Life is so much more 

Than what your eyes are seeing 
You will find your way 
If you keep believing

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen 

Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do

Overcome the odds 

You don't have a chance 
(That's what faith can do) 
When the world says you can't 
It'll tell you that you can

I've seen dreams that move the mountains 

Hope that doesn't ever end 
Even when the sky is falling 
And I've seen miracles just happen 
Silent prayers get answered 
Broken hearts become brand new 
That's what faith can do 
That's what faith can do

Even if you fall sometimes 

You will have the strength to rise

February 5, 2014

God is the Reason...

God is the reason why
even in pain, I smile;
in confusion, I understand;
and in fear, I continue to fight!

- Author Unknown

God truly is the reason.  He's the reason I wake up each morning; I've taken a vow to represent Him each day and love people in His name.  He's the reason I smile at people, hoping to be a ray of sunshine in a dark world.  God's the reason I am able to understand that difficult situations only bring us closer to Him and each other.  Honestly, God's the only reason that I'm able to continue this fight! 

God, thank you for carrying me through this difficult season in my life.  Thank you for my family, friends, mentors, and church.  Lord, I give it all over to you; the burdens I carry are too heavy and you have offered to take them.  Thank you.  You are my strength and my hope, my joy and my reason for everything. 

God, to you be the praise! 

February 4, 2014

Tonight, I Ask For Prayer

Tonight, I'm blogging to simply as you for prayer.  You see, I had a rough visit to the doctor today and am kind of down tonight as a result. I am being heavily attacked by Satan and could really use your prayers for God's peace on my life.
My oncology doctor has been offered a position at Penn State as the Director of their cancer clinic.  This is a wonderful opportunity for him and I am thankful for the time I was able to spend as his patient.  In the period until they find a replacement, Dr. Carlisle, my former oncologist, who retired this year, is coming out of retirement to help care for Dr. Hohl's patients.  I very much respect and trust my current doctor so it was hard news for me to take that yet again I will be switching.
Because of how much I respect him, I asked Dt. Hohl his opinion of what he would recommend if all continues to look good on my brain scans (my next scan is in March).  He said that with my aggressive form of brain cancer, he would like to see me continue chemo for an extended time (potentially through next April), since my body is handling it well and if finances would allow.  But he is concerned if I stop chemo too soon another tumor will resurface quickly. So, it seems as if I might be continuing chemo for awhile longer. Of course, this is not the course that I must definitely take and depends of many factors including my scan in March and Dr. Carlisle's opinion. 
I am struggling tonight most of all due to the the stress of the financial burden that continuing chemo for another year would place on us.  We are currently paying $300 out-of-pocket each month for my five nights of Chemo on top of a substantial insurance premium.  We are simply not mathematically able to put $300 in our monthly budget for the next year.  However, I MUST trust that God will provide every need, including this. 
Although I'm just slightly overwhelmed this evening at all of this new information, I knew directly what to turn to: Godly Friends and God's Word.  Right away after returning home from my appointment, I tore open my Bible and dug deep into the Word, as well as emailed some important Christian mentors asking them to pray for me.  I know that I must fully turn this situation over to the Author of this story!  Please pray for me to do just that. 
In closing, I end with some verses that helped me through tonight:
"Submit to God and you will have peace; then things will go well for you." ~Job 22:21
"The Lord gives his people strength.  The Lord blesses them with peace." ~Psalm 29:11
"But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm." ~Proverbs 1:33
"Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he's done.  Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hears and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." ~1 Peter 4:12

January 9, 2014

Choosing to Be Joyful

A question I get very often is "how are you always so happy and smiling?" Let me tell you, and Travis could testify,  I am absolutely not always happy. There are days where I'm simply tired and completely frustrated.  There are people who frustrate me and moments that my patience is pushed to the max. Today is one of those days; my body is worn out, my mind is full of thoughts,  I don't know what to do,  and I just feel like crying. We all have those days, you know what I'm talking about. Everything that could go wrong does.

In those moments and on those days we have a couple choices.  We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves, complain about our life and by our attitude cause our situation to get worse. Or we can choose joy. Choosing joy isn't easy and sometimes may even feel like you're being fake. 

Honestly my friends,  our feelings don't matter though. If they did,  we would all be divorced and without jobs because I know we all have moments where we don't feel like going to work or don't feel in love with our spouse. 

You may feel too tired to get into the Word; do it anyway and see how being connected with God gives you a lift. You might feel like crying; try smiling at a stranger instead and see the blessing you'll receive. You may feel like complaining about your situation; list all the goods things and blessings in your life instead.

Joy is something that each and everyday I make the conscious effort to choose. Joy isn't based on my situation. It's not even based on whether I'm happy or not.  Actually joy and my happiness shouldn't be connected at all in my life. 

You see,  joy is something we're commanded to have: "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,  for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thes 4:16)  God's will is for me to be joyful simply because Christ is in my life! Wow!

When hard times comes,  which they do to everyone, it's sometimes not easy to be joyful when life seems to be crumbling around you. But you can have joy in the fact that Christ is your friend and the Creator of the universe has your back.  Friends,  I pray that today we're all able to choose joy!

Good bless you,

January 7, 2014

One Step Closer to Debt Free!

After closely reviewing our remaining debt, we realized that we were paying way too high of an interest rate on one of my student loans and the current mortgage interest rate was substantially less than we were currently paying.  After meeting with our bank and spending some time in prayer and crunching numbers, we determined that a refinance would be a huge positive in our finances.  In this refinance process, we took out an extra $10,000 to pay off my smallest but highest interest student loan.

As we make a $10,000 payment on Wednesday to payoff this student loan, that means we are one step closer to our goal of being debt free other than our house!!

This is such an exciting step in our lives and I know this hurdle will spur us on to continue with this long and tedious process!!  As we look forward to the rest of 2014, I pray that we are able to make progress on the remaining $14,000 in order to be another step closer to our dream of adopting a child debt free!  :-)

January 6, 2014

Christmas 2013

I just realized that I never posted pictures from Christmas, so for those of you who don't have Facebook, here's some pictures!  :-)

We started off our Christmas season by making a gingerbread house at the library!  We were there about ten minutes and Lucas decided it was done.  He had a great time, though, and was extremely proud of his finished product!

We then visited with Santa at the village Christmas celebration and Lucas asked him for a race car!

Then Christmas morning came and we had fun watching him unwrap his presents and say "Thank You!" after opening each one!  His favorite gift this year was his "racecar" from GT and Aunt Tana!

I can't describe to you how blessed we are to have this little man in our lives!  He's such a passionate, curious guy and has a spirit that will carry him well throughout his life.  Most important of all, we're raising him to understand that God loves him and Jesus is his friend!  It was so precious to hear him talk about Baby Jesus as he saw a nativity scene, and pray to God at each Christmas meal!  :-)  We are blessed beyond imagination!!

January 5, 2014


"This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth." -Isaiah 4: 18 (NKJV)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

“At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail." -Job 14:7 (NIV)

"Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." Colossians 3:10 (NLT)

Our God sure does love to make things new!  Everyday, a new child is born, a beautiful new sun rises, and each twenty-four hours, we have a fresh start.  Even in death, God brings about newness, as Believers receive a new home and new body.  

As we embark into this new year and we are bombarded with a snow storm, I am reminded of God's newness.  Each winter, He wipes the slate clean by bringing frost and snow, in order for flowers and trees to have a new life each Spring!  Although this snow brings us inside and depresses some of us, we must remember that it is needed to create a newness this Spring.  :-)

And as I've had time to reflect today, I realize that God gives me a newness each twenty-four hours.  Every day, I have the opportunity to wipe my slate clean, forgetting the issues of yesterday and looking forward with anticipation and hope.  I can choose to forgive the people who have hurt me, repent of my sins from the day, and passionately look forward to all that God provides me in the new day ahead.

Let us all look forward to the year ahead of us with anticipation, seeking Christ fervently!  Let us all wake up each morning with a freshness that only God can provide, allowing Him to shape each day.  Let us press on to reach the end of the race, as Paul writes in Philippians...

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." -Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT)