Ice Cream And RGT

So, do you ever want to eat your cheesecake with ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and almonds ALONE, but your big kids keep coming in- even though it is 10 pm at night!!  Do these kids ever go to bed??  It’s almost like when they were infants and we held, rocked, nursed, walked around…held, rocked, nursed, walked around…and held, rocked, nursed and walked around AGAIN, only to have them still wake up when we placed them in their crib for bed.  Apparently, I need more than just ice cream…I need a weekend away, with Jesus.

So I did just that!  Raising Generations Today THRIVE Conference 2017 was one of the best ever.  Over 300 precious, godly, amazing women gathering in worship in Painted Post, NY to celebrate THRIVING as women, mothers, employees, daughters, aunts, cooks, teachers, business women, friends, and many, many more things.  We CAN do it all- in Christ!  HE is our source.  Jennifer Kindle said “Create Space for the Holy Spirit!”  Listen up, ladies, it’s time to thrive in Christ!   We were made to thrive, and in order to do that we need to make time for God.  These busy schedules seem to crowd out our time with the Lord, but we CANNOT allow it.  Setting aside some breathing space for the Holy Spirit is critical to our survival as moms and daughters in Christ.  Time with Him is even more precious than time with our little, needy, whiny ones. As we move into the “most wonderful time of the year,” strive to thrive in time set aside with your best friend, Jesus!!! 8372A63E-7842-40C5-81C6-9E161485A599


Beach Blog: Is it okay to be different?


“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

As I ponder the power of the ocean, the eclipse of the sun, the water over Niagara Falls, and, most powerful of all, the conversion of a heart at salvation, I am struck by the true power of the Holy Spirit.  I recently recognized the conflict between my belief system and that of a family member.  We simply did not see things the same way.  I saw grace, and she saw condemnation.  I saw inability for peace, she saw compromise to avoid conflict.  I saw unwillingness to change, she saw no need for change.  These things showed me how truly different our perspective on life was.  And in recognizing this, she felt judged and convicted that I didn’t agree with her.  But I just saw how different we were.  I didn’t feel condemned by her, I just accepted that we were different.

Is it okay to be different?  As follows of Christ, we will inevitably be different than others.  We are called to be different than the world.  Sometimes this means different than immediate family members.  As our kids get older and form their own beliefs and worldview, it may even mean that we are different than our kids.  Scary, but true.

So as I move forward in this family relationship, I am looking forward to the conversations that establish our differences.  I don’t hope for conflict, but I do hope for opportunities to share a CHRISTIAN worldview with my family members and friends.  I don’t feel it is condemning them, but it is educating us both.  I plan to use the Bible as my guide for my beliefs and worldview.  I hope to discuss the interpretations and misconceptions out there, change my view if God reveals truth in a new context, and revise my worldview as the Holy Spirit reveals himself.  I do not see as the world sees, but I trust God in faith to show me truth from His Word.  I need to be diligent in studying it, so I can share lovingly and accurately the Biblical truths that it contains.  May God’s grace be ever present in these conversations and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, not the condemnation of man, be the true worldview changer in myself and my family.  Glory to God!

It Is Well…Really?

Can I really say, “It is well,” when SO many are hurting?  I am finding that sometimes I simply cannot say it, sing it, feel it, or really know it.  There are moments of truth when there is so much doubt in my heart that things are well, that I cannot come to grips with that saying.

I heard a story once that the hymn, “It Is Well,” was written by a man while he sat on the dock looking out to the ocean.  He was admiring the mighty seas and writing to the God Almighty after losing his family in a shipwreck.  What a testimony!  If this is true, and he penned those words in the heartbreak of his loss, then certainly I should be able to say them in the midst of my struggles and worries.  Even if I have friends and family member facing cancer, wasn’t his situation even worse?  Is what I say dependent on my circumstances?  Or is what I say dependent on who I believe in?

The writer of Hebrews records in chapter 11 verse 1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  If we choose to believe the word of God, then there it is.  What I say is dependent on who I trust, not how I feel.  It is dependent on who is in control, not how little I feel in control.  It is dependent on the mighty God of the universe and what HE says is well.  If HE says it is well, then


IT IS WELL.ocean_waves_ventura_california_usa_20120704

The things we should be telling each other more often

We gathered around the dining room table, a tissue box set right in the middle. This group of women was her village, come to say goodbye as she prepared to move away, to affirm, to validate friendship, share hearts and love.

Taking turns, we reminisced of meeting, of fun times that brought rounds of laughter and joking, of moments of deep friendship forged in times of trial that brought tears.


13433[2983]We told her how much she was loved and valued and all the things we would miss in not being able to live life together as we had been used to. And even though goodbye was imminent, our hearts were full.

Listening as each woman shared, I thought…We need to do this more! To not get “used to having,” taking for granted the blessing of friendship and love in our lives. But to purposely take the time to tell our families and our friends the things we



are thankful for

and would miss if we didn’t have them.




(our last official book club night of the 5 Mamas!)


Read about one part of my village and so many others in The Mom Village.

Give the Weight (or Wait) Away

This is short and sweet.  It’s not just that it’s all I have time for, it’s that it’s all I need time for.  I’m burdened to pray for all you moms today, this special Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day beautiful, godly, moms!!!! I had a rough day on Friday.  So overwhelmed with the weight of grading, finals, illness, taxi-driving, grumpy kids, and grumpy me. The Lord clearly showed me that He would take the weight if I gave it to Him. I prayed out loud to give it all to Jesus, and He strengthened me. I discovered that I was attempting to carry other people’s burdens as well. Today is, of course, so much better. So continue to cast your cares on Him, beautiful moms! Because sometimes those burdens are heavy, and serious, and worrisome, but He will take them!  So whether you’re worried for yourself, or a friend, or waiting on a decent job, a baby, or a timely phone call, be encouraged!  May God get the glory as we give, give, give (isn’t that just what we do, ALL THE TIME?) and then remember to give it to Jesus.  Love you all so much.

If you or a mama in your life has loss this Mother’s Day…

I wrote this post last year remembering my first Mother’s Day on the other side of loss.  This year my Samuel’s day lands on Mother’s Day, and my heart is heavy for the mamas who are facing this day with fresh grief. I know from my own experiences and speaking to so many others who have gone through this, that what people say and do in these moments has such lasting impact.

When someone has a pregnancy loss, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Many women suffer in silence because sometimes people don’t acknowledge that this mama has lost her child. Her child, whether at 6 weeks gestation or 6 months, a day after she found out she was expecting or the day after she gave birth, this is her baby.

What can we do to be a comfort to these mamas? These are just a few things I think are important to remember…

~say “I’m so sorry.” or

~”My heart breaks for you.”

That’s it. You do not need to explain it away for them, or give them a theological sermon on suffering, or a reason why. Just tell them how sorry you are.

I’ll never forget the well meaning woman who patted my arm and told me to try not to think about it. Or my dear friend, who was crying after the loss of her son, and someone said to her, “Oh, you’re still on that?”  But, of even MORE significance were all the sentiments of sympathy, validating my loss, valuing my grief, and showing me love during that time.

~Recognize that they have lost a child. Say “your baby”, or the name they had chosen. Value the life that was lost.

~Let her share…let her talk about it, feel, cry, whatever she needs. Listen. And keep doing this, because there is no time limit on grief.



~Do something. Drop off a meal, bring flowers, give her a gift to remember the baby by. If she has other children, take them for her or help her in the house. Saying, “let me know if you need anything,” doesn’t help. Find something to do and fill the need without being asked. Remember that she is suffering emotionally and physically. It is very difficult to recover from a pregnancy cut short by loss.

When I was in the hospital, two of my dear friends came into the room with my most treasured gift of that time, a beautiful memory box and a soft, brown bear. Still they sit on my dresser- the box filled with cards and memories of the love I received during that time. I can still picture the flowers and cards, the meals, the precious faces of the visitors who came and loved on me and barely said a word. The people who cared for my littles and cleaned my house and did my laundry. The cards and calls that came randomly throughout the years of those who reached out to let me know…I remember.  You don’t know how something you do could comfort so much.

And if that mama is YOU this year, remember…

Your loss is real. Let yourself grieve. Give yourself grace and rest and time. It does get easier.

You are not alone. There are so many who have gone through what you are experiencing. Don’t be afraid to share your pain with others.

You are loved and valued. Our Father longs to comfort you and strengthen your heart. Ps. 73:26 ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the rock and firm strength of my heart and my portion forever.’

This year, as I celebrate my very full, very loud life with my boys, I still feel the loss of what could’ve been. I don’t know if that ever goes away. So, I’ll be thinking of all you mamas who know that feeling, too, and praying for comfort and peace in the midst of it.


Resources available for healing and help


Keep perspective even in the midst of trials.  Despite the difficulty, and even looming dread, we can remember that HE will lead us to green pastures and quiet waters to restore our souls.  Be still and KNOW that I am God!  Why do we doubt?

Recently, I learned that several friends are facing serious health issues.  In my limited mind, it seems unheard of that young moms would be facing such trials.  Where is God? What is going on?  What will happen to their kids?  Their husbands?  And how can we help? Is it enough to just pray?

I couldn’t help but feel pressed to do more.  It’s time to fast. The Bible calls us to fast and pray when we seek the Lord.  I feel called to be reminded by those  pangs of hunger to pray fervently…to pray continually for my friends’ healing.   There is no doubt that fasting reminds us to pray and seek God.  He is our source of wisdom and counsel.  I am hoping to fast to feel closer to God and hear from Him.

F – Find a food to remind you to pray.  chocolateMaybe it’s chocolate.  Not having chocolate reminds me to pray at least 20 times a day.  It’s amazing how much chocolate is in my life!  The kids are selling candy bars, there’s chocolate macaroons in the fridge at work, and everyone is having hot chocolate, chocolate milk, mochas or frappe!  Just fasting chocolate and desserts has freed up my mind and time for prayer.

A – Allow yourself grace. What if you accidentally eat something when you’re fasting?  There’s grace.  You are under grace and God will not condemn you for forgetfulness. Keep going and pressing in. You’ll be amazed what God is going to say!  Keep praying and listening for His voice!

S – Set scriptures around to remind you to focus on the Lord and His word.  Placing God’s word around the house and listening to Christian music helps us focus on the things above, not the world around us.  You may find that if you’re fasting, you have a few minutes to work on your Bible Study lesson or devotional.  It’s amazing what time we have when we’re not preparing breakfast!  It’s a few minutes to spend with the Lord that you might not have otherwise.  Use your time wisely!

T –  “Testing your faith produces perseverance, so let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:3-4.  We can embrace a trial as a testing of faith.  Maybe we do not really want to be tested, but it’s a sure way to get stronger through belief.  Lord, help my unbelief!  I pray that we would come out stronger after these trials.  Let nothing keep us from the faith that God would freely give us.

And in the midst of it all, remember God’s unconditional love. This is a time of reconciliation, redemption, and resurrection.  I pray that the cross will change us into women of faith, not doubt, and that fasting and praying will draw us into a closer relationship with our Jesus.

Great Expectations 2

More hope, less fear.  More love, less condemnation.  More power, less helplessness.  More joy, less worry.

I pray these things over my kids.  I expect that because they know the way to walk with Christ that they will have hope, love, and joy.  And I pray that when they get handed a flier announcing the “Coming Judgment and Wrath of God” that they will be confident of their salvation.  But WILL they know that they have hope against all odds?  WILL they know that their trust is not in riches, power, or politics?  WILL they embrace each day with joy, peace, patience, kindness, and love?

Recently, my college student received a tract from the boisterous evangelist on the Syracuse University campus.  He was visibly disturbed.  As he waited for us in the doughnut shop, he read the packet. When we came in, he said, “This is pretty awful. There’s a lot of bad stuff that happens.”

So true, so true.

If we live apart from Christ, there is a lot of bad stuff that happens.  We face eternal death in the lake of fire designed for the devil and his angels, and we face separation from God.  To fear death is good motivation to trust in the one true God.  But is this enough?

As we discussed the packet and the in-your-face evangelism that the local preacher demonstrated on the side walk in Syracuse, I was reminded of a verse.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 says, “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?  The sting of death is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Death is real!  It is inevitable!  BUT WE NO LONGER FEAR DEATH! Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, we have victory over sin.  So we do not fear death.  We have the opportunity to live righteously on the earth knowing that our hope is in Christ.

So I continue to pray. I expect my kids to be turned to the Lord and embrace their walk with Him.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide them.  And I expect many, many discussions in the future about the scriptures and how it impacts them.  The love of Christ is manifest in many forms and verses.  I pray that ALL my kids would know the fullness of Christ and fellowship with Him, whether they are in college, school, home, or the community.  I have great expectations for them in Christ.

Great Expectations

The snow fell as we made our way to the Carrier Dome.  The air was crisp, and we hiked the hills with gusto with crowds of young, old, and in between, all dressed in orange.

The entry was simple.  Ticket ringer, security scan, and searching for a seat.  Higher, higher, and higher in the dome.  The seats were on the VERY TOP.  It made my 10 year old a little dizzy, but we savored the moment.  Just the three of us cheering, shouting, and savoring.  Soon, the rest of the family showed up.  The air in the dome electrified as students shouted during the basketball game.  Balloons flying, whistles blowing and fun cheering, “Let’s Go Orange!”  The Orange stayed ahead the whole game.  They pulled out a win, and the fans stormed the court. Next stop, the Mighty Oaks basketball game just down the street.

In the small school gym, we saw a great game between the ESF Mighty Oaks and the Vaughn college team.  The Mighty Oaks maintained a two to ten point lead the whole game…except the last 2 minutes.  Vaughn caught up, scored to get ahead, and forced ESF to foul at the end.  Final score: Vaughn 79, ESF 69.  Another loss.  However, next week our struggling student gets reinstated to the team.   According to him, if he had played… they would have won.  When he makes changes to his work and finishes a great essay, then he’s back on the court.  When his professor changes his grade, then he’ll be able to play again.  He’s learning his lessons and how to work hard.  He has great expectations.

We visited our college student today and saw him in his element.  He’s on the basketball team, he’s got a girlfriend, and he’s a “big” man on campus.  Our adopted son is growing up.  He’s seen the hard work needed to do well in classes, and the consequences of losing focus (probation with the basketball team), but he’s got great expectations.  There’s much more to come from this young star…


Hanging On to His Coattails with All You’ve Got


A prophetic friend recently wrote the following on Facebook: “I keep seeing a vision of someone trying to get a kite up in the air, and then WHOMP, it nosedives into the ground! I hear the Lord saying, ‘You’ve struggled with believing that you could do the things that My word says you can do. Your old thinking tells you that it’s impossible, and even though you try to go higher, you crash back down into a lack of success. But I say to you, who do you believe: your doubting nature, or Me? I say to you, BELIEVE! JUST BELIEVE! Believe My word, believe My heart for you! As you believe, you’ll tap into a spiritual power of faith that is deposited in your spirit that will cause you to SOAR HIGH without the THUD of crashing! Stop expecting to crash, and get ready to succeed! Stop sabotaging your future. Shift your expectation, and begin to BELIEVE that I am with you and will bring manifestation to the promises spoken over you! Get up into the atmosphere and SOAR HIGHER! I’ve created you to do it!!!!'”

This is a good word, it boosts my faith, and there’s a ton in it for me to really chew on. But I’m going to share my first reaction to it and what I heard the Lord say to me in response.

You see, over the course of the past 5 years, I have come to a place where I don’t trust God like I used to. A very dear friend of mine lost her son to brain cancer 5 years ago. We were praying full of faith for his complete healing, and when he died, everything within me expected him to rise from the dead during his funeral. But he didn’t. And then, just a few years later, another friend, in the same faith circle as the first, found out her daughter had the same kind of cancer. She died a year and a half ago. When my husband was out of work, I feared foreclosure on our house (which didn’t happen). In the past, I would have been so sure that God would miraculously take care of us before anything like foreclosure would happen. This time, it was a real struggle to believe in God’s goodness. I’ve seen how high my faith can soar, only to come crashing down hard enough that I wondered if it would ever be the same again.

So when I read this prophetic word, I thought, “But what if the nosedives have hurt so much that I don’t want to go high anymore? I have a trust issue with God, and I don’t know if I want my faith to be strong again if I’m going to take any more hard blows.” I told my husband, “I love this word, but nosedives hurt so much that it makes trusting His heart for me a little difficult.” He challenged me, “What’s the alternative? Not trying?” When I shared this with Claire, she said she’s told her boys, “no matter what happens in life, no matter how hard things get, hold on to Jesus and don’t ever let go.”

I told God, “A tiny bit of me wants to go back up, but I don’t know the first step.” Then He showed me a mind picture of a woman timidly holding on to Jesus’ coattails, the very end of his clothes, like the woman with the issue of  blood did. He showed me that the reason I’m still holding on is because I remember His faithfulness in the past. I’m standing behind Him, holding on, because I cannot see the future. The future looks cloudy, and I imagine there is just more disappointment there and an unchanged me there. But I have just enough trust left to hold on, because what’s the alternative? Then He asked me, “Do you trust me enough to hold tight to my coattails? Do you have enough resolve to not let go?” The woman with the issue of blood sure did. I’m sure she wasn’t afraid, but if I can sneak up behind him and timidly hold on, I bet that little amount of faith could still let me witness some pretty powerful stuff! Jacob also chose not to let go. He wrestled with the Angel of the Lord and said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.” He walked away with his hip out of socket, but he and a whole nation were forever blessed.

Sometimes (heck, many times) life hurts even enough to almost crush a person’s faith. I keep coming across people who have decided that even if God never answered another prayer or gave them another blessing, that what Jesus provided for us on the cross was more than enough for them to give their whole lives to serving and loving Him. I’m not sure I can say that myself. I’ve read too many stories about God doing amazing miracles in the Bible and countless times in the lives of people who have lived since Bible times. I believe that God is “the God who performs miracles,” and displays His “power among the peoples.” (Psalm 77:14) My heart longs to see people that I pray for healed, people delivered from addiction and oppression, lame people get up and walk, and dead people rise right before my eyes. That’s the kind of God I serve, and He still does miracles today. I’m sick of only hearing the stories from far away or long ago. I want to experience God’s power personally, over and over again.

I’ve been taught to take prophetic words and see if they line up with what the Bible teaches. If they do, it is a confirmation that the word came from God. In the word above it says, “As you believe, you’ll tap into a spiritual power of faith that is deposited in your spirit that will cause you to SOAR HIGH without the THUD of crashing!” 1 Corinthians 12 says that one of the spiritual gifts is a gift of faith. So the faith the Bible and this word are talking about is a spiritual kind given from God, not something I can produce myself. My job is to believe God and what He says even if my experiences and my “doubting nature” (see above) say something different.

After I was honest with God and He challenged me, I can say that He has assured me that if I believe and won’t let go, He’s going to grow my faith. The cloudy, disappointing picture of the future is slowly being replaced by a new glimmer of hope, hope that is growing like a glorious sunrise. If I don’t let go, I’m going to be blessed just like Jacob and the woman with the issue of blood.

Will you believe just enough with me that He can ignite your faith once again? Let’s hold on to him with a tight fist and soar once again. Whether we crash or not, He’s trustworthy!