Monday, March 30, 2009

Losing Logan

Great grief struck our home today. Logan Matak, the sweetest natured young man I have ever met in my life, died in a horrible accident. I can't even describe the details because it hurts to much to think of it. I'm blogging because I have hope that one of his friends might stumble upon this and be encouraged. I'm blogging because for me, writing releases all the stifled emotions I have been holding in all day. Lastly, I'm writing to remember sweet, fun, silly, serious and reflective times that my family had with him.

Logan came into our lives before we had kids of our own. He came with a posse. Elizabeth, Philip, Lacey and Scott spent numerous hours at our home after ballgames, on Saturdays, between school years and any other time they wanted. I can't think of any time we turned them away. We played video games, watched Shrek, played cards, ate a ton of chili and talked. The conversation was sometimes rowdy, sometimes serious, sometimes funny.

Over the years, one thing has stuck out in my head about Logan. He loved deeply. You never had to wonder where you stood with him. He hugged freely, said "I Love You" regularly and treated people with respect. He was a hard worker and a dedicated friend.

I have shed a multitude of tears over the loss of Logan today...and I am sure many more will come. His short 24 years was gone too soon in my book. For me, my heart hurts, my stomach is in knots, I'm sad....for his family, his friends, for us. BUT, the glorious news of salvation reached Logan. His faithful friend for life, Philip, led him to the Lord and we know he's with Jesus. So, while earth cries out- heaven welcomes Logan. He's in Jesus' arms now. He's walking with the Savior. Waiting for us.

My Mom- The Motorcycle Hottie

My mom is in Florida visiting her sister and brother in law. This is how she is spending her time. Interesting that I don't really remember her ever being overly fond of motorcycles when I was a kid. She's one hot momma!

Faithful or Faithfilled

Tough breaks pierce through the regularity of everyday life. Unexpectedly the turmoil replaces calm easy feelings with emptiness and fear. Struggles distract the joy of one day and interrupt the peace of another. Ever feel that way?

I'm wondering is it more important to be faithful or faithfilled? When I am empty I feel faithless. I wonder and wander. I question and command. I cry and I yell. The emotions are as varied as the hair color on my head! I want to be faithful, yet, in the middle of life's interruptions I find myself needing to be faithfilled. Filled up with the sweet fragrance of a Father who loves me. Refilled with the faith that is steadfast. Reminded of a grace that is overwhelming. Emptied of the earth's own glory and filled only with the things that will resemble Christ.

I want to be faithful. What I am finding is the deep need to settle in for a good fillup of God's enormous supply of faithfilled things. His love, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness. It's amazing that when I am recharged by the glorious beautiful presence of God, I am fervently and urgently aware of HIS faithfulness to me. Great is HIS faithfulness...and Lord, make me more like you.

Lamentations 3:23 They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reaching Your City for Christ

Check out this article on reaching your city for Christ from Apprentice for Jesus.

If you like more HERE.

Mary Mary

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Iowa this morning, enjoying being snowed in and the warmth of the covers on my skin. Searching for a worship service on television has resulted in nothing but, I did come across this worship video. The words are beautiful and the graphics fully represent the song. I hope you enjoy it too.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quad Cities Christian Writer's Conference

Imagine seventy-five writers, published and otherwise, gathered together in one place, for two days of intense training. What do you get?..a whole bunch of dangling participles, conjugated verbs and improper pronouns? I doubt it!

Over the last 48 hours I have been instructed on the "how to's" of marketing, pr, submitting articles, devotions, honing my skills and editing. It's been overwhelming, exhausting and exhilarating! New facebook friends will be added. New networking will begin and maybe...just maybe, I have gained a little confidence to submit an article somewhere down the line. Be afraid...very afraid.

I also had the opportunity to sit under Cec Murphey again. What a treat! It's been an amazing weekend and I look forward to digesting all I've heard and applying it to my blogging and other writing opportunities.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kindness of Strangers

I don't meet many people face to face outside of church. My work with The Mission is beginning to open doors to meet new people, but it has been a slow process (worth every second). But, recently God brought a few new people into my life. First, we began a tutoring program at the Gunter Middle School and I have been blessed to meet some new, fun, great kids. I find myself wanting to know them more! Along with those kids a whole new group of high school kids, youth workers and adults have volunteered to tutor. This group is awesome. They sacrifice about 3 hours of their time each week to invest in a kids life. Some of these volunteers were strangers to me, but God is bonding us together as we minister. How like Him!

Then just last week I met two men who want to help with the community garden. I don't mean just a little bit either! One man wants to provide the equipment and labor to level the lot, move some dirt to low spots and spread new dirt. Another wants to pay for 300 yards of dirt to be brought in (that's $5000 worth of dirt!)

So, yesterday the process began. A $250,000 piece of equipment leveled the property, moved dirt (it smelled wonderful, BTW) and cleared some debris. Now, if the rain will hold off just enough to get this dirt delivered!!!!

God is always on time- a lesson I am learning as I type this. Last week, just before all this came to pass, I was having a conversation with a dear friend. I was trying to convince myself that I was trusting God to provide what we needed...and yet, I seemed so surprised when He actually did it! I wonder if He chuckled when He saw me doing the happy dance, or when tears of joy were streaming down my face? I wonder what He was thinking when something I should have been expecting...surprised me so greatly.

Thank you Lord for the kindness of strangers, your timely provision...and loving me in spite of myself.

Thanks to KW Utility Construction (Kerry Williams) in Whitesboro, Texas and Classic Reflections Pools (Stan Penner) for their generous gift!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Man Behind the Words

Have you ever met someone who knocked you socks off from your first encouter? I don't think I had ever experienced that feeling until Thursday afternoon. Enter Cec Murphey. He's a author, ghost writer, teacher, preacher, missionary, mentor, husband, father and encourager. We scheduled Cec at our church through his equally charming assistant, Twila Belk . They were looking for a place for Cec to speak on Sunday after the Christian Book Expo and Twila asked if we were interested. Interested? Most people who have ever met Cec crave just a few more moments, so having the priveldge of having him in our church was wonderful! We booked him and then had to wait 2 months!

We met them at the airport to get them settled in a rental car. I watched as they came through the revolving doors, and although had never met either, knew who they were before we even reached them. I held out my hand to introduce myself and Cec pulled me into a fatherly hug...and then the chatter began. Warm, fun, engaging conversation that lasted only 20 minutes while we waited for luggage. It was a wonderful appetizer for what was to come.

After they finished at the CBE in Dallas on Saturday I was honored to have them in my home for dinner. Simple soup, salad, blueberry muffins and drinks headlined the meal, but the real flavor was the conversation. The literary industry has a real champion in this small framed, big hearted, generous giving man. His love for the Lord, church, family, friends is sprinkled into bits of conversation.

I could go on and on- but the real gift was seeing him at church interacting, pouring his life into others, having conversations with complete strangers, building up people, sharing hope. We were definately the blessed ones.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Today was an excrutiatingly painful day. Shopping...which is normally a very fun adventure- became a chore. A few questions for the fashion industry;

1. Why do you assume that because someone is a little on the fluffy side that they are also 7 feet tall. I searched 6 hours for a pair of brown pants and brown pants.

2. Why would a girl who is (again) on the fluffy side, want to wear horizonal stripes on any part of her body?

3. Why do stores not sell leggings or footless tights in fluffy sizes if they are going to sell short dresses. I dare one wants to see "that" if I need to bend over.

4. When did fluffy women stop wearing colors other than black and brown?

5. Burmuda, capri, cropped, bootcut, straightleg, flared? Decisions...decisions...decisions.

6. Why do stores not sell fluffy sized work out clothes? After all...isn't that the type person that needs to be exercizing?

7. Do fluffy girls really need padding in any type of undergarment?

8. Why do I want a purse that can hold 2/3 of the food in my refrigerator when I already have a tough time keeping up with my keys and phone?

9. Why were there shoulderpads in the jacket I tried on today? Do the early 90's not bring back horrid fashion memories for anyone but me?

Just overwhelmed by the large task of trying to pack for a 7 day trip out of town...with money to spend on clothing- so that I can look like a professional instead of a sweat pant wearing, slipper donning, koolaid stained SAHM!...oh well I am what I am!

Gadget Time!

This post is for all the garden gadget guys and gals out there. Pardon this post if you aren't into this kind of thing...and I understand...I wasn't that into this kind of thing 3 months ago...but my oh my...what a free piece of land will do for a girl's heart!

This is a valve splitter. This will allow me to water 4 rows of my garden at one time. I'm hoping that I will be able to have more than one of these...enabling 8 -12 rows of watering at once, but I need to wait and see what kind of meter thingy the city is going to put on the fire hydrant we are using for water....oh the joys of small town...undeveloped land!

I met with my new best friend...the dirt man...this week. It's unbelievable what he is willing to do for the community garden. $5000 of dirt, leveling the ground and clearing the rock. I'll be posting about a couple of other very generous people once I get pictures.

I'm so impressed, humbled and delighted by what God is doing. Beth Moore describes "hope" as knowing God is going to show your circumstances. I'd venture to say...HOPE HAS BEEN REVEALED! Thank You Lord!

Watch out for my niftly gadget segments every once in a while. I'm trying to impress you will all my knowledge! (NOT!)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Territory

Gainesville of my favorite places to take the kids. Most people might laugh because the zoo is small. There's probably only 50-75 animals on any give day. But it is laid out well, you can feed the giraffe, goats and deer, and best of's not too big! It's perfect for my family at this stage in the game. We left this morning at about 9:30am and arrived at the extremely full zoo at 10:30. It was dollar day at the zoo so everyone in the state of Texas with kids under the age of 10 were there. Ok...maybe not...but it felt that way. Nevertheless, we thoroughly enjoyed our time. It's fun to see the kids faces as they see things they have never see the two toed sloth or a flamingo.

We headed to Braums for lunch. Even had a dish of ice cream!

Then...we decided to take an adventure! We headed north into Oklahoma. I realize this is a bit hard for native Texans to hear...we don't usually venture into that state, but we have been curious to see the lay of the land around Lake Texoma since we moved here 2 1/2 years today was the day! We cross the lake and went through countryside, passed by tons of good-looking antique shopping and in general just had a nice afternoon drive. Both kids ended up falling asleep, so Bruce and I enjoyed some good conversation...with Radio Disney....turned OFF!

We headed to Target, bought a few things and then made our way home. I've worked some this evening, Bruce worked puzzles with the kids...and of course, we watched American Idol.

It's been a fun day. I hope yours was too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Searching for the "Write" words

I was writing a lot for work today. Press release for a new book due out in April, emails to perspective reviewers, followup emails to media outlets, emails to clients about calendars...where I wrote what I have been doing all day, Emails to boss, blog posting on professional blog....and the list goes on. Thank God for the delete button though! So many times I begin writing, only to find myself searching for just the right word. You know- the one that will sound the best, be the most descriptive, give the best visual picture of what I am trying to say. I use the delete button when I change my mind, misspell or don't like a word I use. When I find that perfect word, it just oozes a good feeling. Complete. Enough said. Descriptive. Picturesque. I love it when it all comes together.

In a recent conversation with someone who thinks outside the box, we were talking about the accuracy of the scriptures, the inerrant of the Word of God. We both agreed that though there are many other books that are good, and many men and women who teach the word of God accurately, that the Bible we have today is inerrant, infallible and trustworthy. It's completeness, wholeness and entirety may be debated through the ages, but the most important issue at hand is that it is exactly what we need for everyday of our lives. It is the perfect, inspired word of God- written by men who I am sure never in their wildest dreams believed that they were contributing to something so big. Translated by men who solely devoted their lives to nothing less than accurately translating, copying and binding the words of God. I can imagine them searching for the best noun or adjective to describe something and the great sense of something bigger than themselves running through their veins.

Searching for those write words can be frustrating sometimes. When we finally find those words you know it. The manuscript has a flow to it, people can sense your passion and love for the book. Others catch a glimpse of what you are trying to say. May we all be in search of the "write" words as we strive to live a life full of passion, expectation and humility before the Lord. After all this isn't a draft copy we are writing on.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

While I'm Waiting

Bruce and I had two really nice days together this week...without the kids. We love them...but we were really needing some time by ourselves. We watched TV, shopped and even rented Fireproof....which we thoroughly enjoyed. This song was used during the movie and I liked it immediately. Maybe it will minister to you like it did me!

Friday, March 13, 2009

What to say.....

Words escape me right now....but because I've asked so many of you to pray for the Mission's community garden I feel like I need to at least say something!

Today I received a phone call someone who is going to donate $5000 dollars worth of soil to garden. Can you believe it??? Sure you can! That's the kind of God we serve! I will take pictures as it happens!

Thanks for your prayers! Keep 'em coming!

Safety in the Light

How many times do you get up during the middle of the night and stumble getting to the bathroom? This is a regular occurrence at my house. I stumble to the bathroom nearly every night...through the maze of dirty laundry piled on the floor, stray shoes and misplaced toys. It's probably one of the most dangerous feats of my daily life (ok...besides tasting Bruce's tuna chili or BBQ wienies.)

Wednesday (after I lost my Internet connection- which I just got back tonight- in case you've wondered where I have been) Tucker and I were playing a dangerous game of Nerf football in the house. It was terribly overcast outside, maybe even raining, and the living room was darker than usually for 5pm in the afternoon. I over-threw the ball and it bounced down the very short hallway we have. Due to the overcast skies and the solar screens on the widows, the hallway seemed way too dark to Tucker. He looked at me and with a timid look said, "You get the ball?" I said "You can turn on the light". He looked at me as if I had just given him such tremendous truth- a light bulb moment for sure! -and ran to the light switch and tip-toed to turn it on. Then he triumphantly returned the Nerf ball with an excited winner's smile.

He felt safe in the light...the same way I feel scared for my safety as I wander through my house after "lights out"- he felt scared of the darkness looming in the 6 feet of hallway space in my house. But as soon as the light was turned on....BINGO! Everything was A-OK.

I've thought about that a lot since Wednesday. The spiritual corelations are just too obvious. Isn't it true that when we are stumbling around in this world of darkness that it can be very scary. We don't want to walk around without a light, we don't know what might be looming, ready to trip us up, hurt us or cause us to stumble. Yet, as soon as we turn on the light, things appear brighter, better and more clear. The things that lay in our way are still there but we can walk around them avoid them and even clean them up when they are exposed by the light.

I'm so thankful that I have a relationship with the Light of the World- that His Word is a light to my path- He is the bright and morning star....leading the way, shining the light and exposing the darkness. With him, we are safe.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Catching the Vision

This picture came in my email box this morning. This is my husband's EKG class at church (would be mine but I teach 4-5 year olds). This adult class (along with other adults, kids and youth in our church) Have embraced the vision of the community garden that the Mission is planting this spring.

TJ, one of the class leaders, did the graphics. He is an awesome graphic designer and we are blessed to enjoy his talents almost weekly at our church.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. - Oswald Chambers

This quote sums up the feelings I have been struggling, striving and wrestling with lately. Today it was used in Bruce's sermon and I felt like a chord struck my spirit. Finally! Someone put into words how I have been feeling recently. I'm struggling with this calling God has on my life during this season. I feel unworthy, uneducated, ill-equipped and scared. Yet...I am trying not to respond to things through these enemy-induced feelings. I'm learning to claim His worth, His wisdom, His provision. I am learning that my midnight talks, meditations and early wake-up calls from Him are divine appointments.

For a while I feared the things God was calling me to tackle. I feared because I felt like there was no way I could do it. And I was right. There is no way I can do this thing He wants me to. It's too big, too hard, too overwhelming. There's no way I can do it. I don't want to. I want to see it accomplished but I am sure that my fingerprints won't be on it. Yet over the last few months I've changed...I'm willing now. I'm willing to do my part, to lead, to work, to pray, to sweat, to dig, to plant, to water, to harvest...but along the way...I want people to see something - someone bigger. The ONE who can make a real difference...eternal in lives.

I wait with breathless expectation to see what God will accomplish. Wait with me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I've been thinking about couponing for quite a while. I remember when I was growing up, my mom would spread out the coupons on the kitchen table and make her menu's for the week based on what was on sale. She was an expert! For some reason I have never thought the trouble was worth it...but recently I have been intrigued to see all the people who are couponing it in this tight economy. So, I am going to try my hand at it. I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.

I found a great site with all kinds of tips on money saving/frugal living. Check it out here: The Creative Homemaker

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Tribute to a Father

Today is the anniversary of my dad's death. It's been 18 years. I've now been without him as many years as I had him. Seems strange since those memories are so close to my heart. I've done a little reflecting over the last few years, about what I really miss the most by not having him here on earth. Here's a list:

1. I miss that he will never meet Bruce (my husband)
2. I miss that my kids will never know what an awesome man he was
3. I miss that my mom will not grow old with the man she gave her heart to in 1968
4. I miss that he will never be here to give me advice on how to raise Tucker...since he obviously knew something about raising a strong willed boy!--if you know my brother, you don't have to ask how!
5. I miss the thoughtful things he did, like bringing home a blockbuster movie and candy bars for family movie night.
6. I miss how devoted he was. I think he video taped every basketball game my brother, sister and I ever played...and we all played about 5 years....3 different teams.
7. I miss how he protected me from people and places that might bring me harm.
8. I miss how he kissed my mom at the front door everyday before he left for work.
9. I miss his hilarious sense of fashion...he was color blind!
10. I miss his dedication to things eternal...people, the church, the Word of God.

He was an amazing man. His son is the greatest example of who he was. My brother walks, talks and acts like him. Sometimes it almost feels like he's around when I am around him. What a feeling that is!

He's missed. Those who knew him- loved him, those who loved him...were blessed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Edits and the Editor

Before I start this post, you should know something. I absolutely love my job and my boss is terrific. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work at home, make good money and have flexibility to take care of my family, do ministry and still have a life!

For those who don't know, I am a Publicist Assistant. Here's a brief synopsis of what I get to do:

1. Write press releases for some of the greatest authors in Christian non-fiction...and soon...fiction.

2. Coordinate blog tours to get these books great exposure.

3. Maintain media lists and activity reports on clients.

4. Write interview questions that radio and tv hosts use when they are on the air.

5. Create mailing list for reviewers

6. Create eblasts to get the word out about the books

7. Use online document sharing sites to upload our authors media kits

...and more! It's like a dream come true! thing I don't like so much is proofing and editing. In fact, I stink at it! You would think with all the online tools there are that I wouldn't have to do so much of it...but really in the writing industry, the best tools are your own eyes. Still, I lack the skills needed to do this part of my job justice. Fortunately for me though, I will be attending a conference in March that has a class on editing and guess what???? I'll be there - front and center!

You know, editing is really very similar to the way God works in our lives as Christians. I was thinking recently as my boss and I were sending emails of a document back and forth...editing it, that each time we passed it back to the other, it was a little bit better because something had been added or taken away. Isn't that just like the Lord - The Master Editor. When I read His Word He is making my life better by the things that are added and taken away. The refining process that takes place is beautiful. His Holy Spirit gently convicts of the things that need to be removed and sweetly encourages us to develop the things that are lovely and pure. He's editing us constantly. In fact, we need it to become more mature Christians. There's something in the writing industry called "writing tight". It means to say what you want effectively, using the fewest and best words. That brings to mind the song "Let My Words Be Few" from a Philip's Craig and Dean song a few years ago. I want the editing going on in my life to be so that with the fewest words spoken people will know about my love for God, His love for them and His desire for a relationship with them. As the Holy Spirit makes edits to my life, I pray that it will be more and more clear what He is trying to accomplish.

So...I am in the process of learning to be a more careful editor...all the while being edited by the greatest communicator of all time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Gardening...Almost time!!!!

The Dallas Planting Manual has becoming a gardening Bible for me during these winter months. On New Years Day I made my annual trip to the bookstore and bought this wonderful book. In my mind I thought it would be handy to have for my own personal garden this summer. Little did I know God had such awesome wonderful plans ahead. The Mission was given almost an acre of land to garden on shortly after the New Year. So these past few weeks have been spent getting the soil ready, the rock out and this week, new dirt brought in. And this manual...has become very important in helping me make some big decisions.

I love the book because it breaks down what you need to do each month...including winter months. So instead of waiting until March or April and being stressed about what needs to be done, you can be planning and readying yourself, your plans and your soil. I'm a little behind, but thankfully I have lots of volunteers to help me!

It's going to be a great garden. The amount of people who will be helped by this food will be tremendous, but more than that the relationships that will be developed will last beyond gardening season. Christians will come together and share time with non-Christians, the worker will help the invalid, home bound widow, the young will help the old, the old will teach the young, and on and on.

If you're reading this and have faith in the God who is bigger than anything we can imagine, please pray. Pray that God does something more than we could ever imagine with this property. To Him be all the glory.