Friday, October 31, 2008

The Good, The Great, and The Goofy!

Hi and thank you for stopping by my blog-life today.

I love blogging!

I love life!

I LOVE to laugh!

There are some who have questioned those three statements lately.
In reading my Yes To God Tuesday posts you may think I walk around depressed and questioning God every moment. You may think I live a serious and thought provoking life. You may wonder if this girl ever has any fun.

My Yes To God Tuesday posts are a bit on the serious side. I am questioning things in life just now. Those posts are raw, real and relevant as God is doing a deep work within my spirit. It's an important work and a painful work. It is something very difficult to share in a public forum yet a work that needs to be shared because learning to be authentic and real is part of what God is doing. BUT, I do love life and consider everything I go through necessary in my growth with God.

However, I do not have a sad and boring life.

So today I thought I'd share some of the pictures that have been taking in the past 2 weeks around my world.

The Great is the work God is doing in me!

Here is some of the good and goofy moments in recent days.

My mom took me out for lunch on my birthday and then we came back to my house for a few pictures.

Our family 'meeting' place at the Grand Canyon and me feeding Mark a piece of my birthday cake.

This picture was taken in our hotel room at the GC ~ Mark just LOVES having his picture taken!!

Kori and I showing off our new pedicures and my mom with some of her grand and great-grand kids.

Mark and Kori being silly ~ we drained our pool for a fall cleaning and decided to play in it while we waited for it to fill back up.

Family birthday party fun ~ The three birthday kids with their spouses and then we added my 72 year young mom.

And then there was this moment!

Left to Right

My sister ~ Pam ~ 52 on November 7

My brother ~ Ken ~ 40 on October 27

Me ~ Cindy ~ 50 on October 24

Yes ~ we fell into the fire pit behind us ~ luckily it had not been lit yet!

So you can see ~ I do love life and laughter and just having fun.

I do Consider It All Joy including the great and hard work God is doing in my spirit!

Make it a joy-filled day!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Without All The Concealer!

Before I begin this week's book study post I have the pleasure of announcing the winner in my 50 on my 50th birthday giveaway, Jenny at Special Considerations. Congratulations Jenny, please email me with your address and I will put the book in the mail.

This week in our Behind Those Eyes Book study hosted by Lelia of WriteFromTheHeart, Lisa Whittle challenges us to take the concealer off and reveal the real us. Umm, ok but I have a few questions first.

What if you have used concealer so long that the layers are just too thick to be removed?

What if in covering up the flaws you just cannot see the 'real' you any longer?

What if the concealer has become so hard that there is just no way to penetrate its depth?

What if your tears have been held back for so many years trying to protect the concealer from, you know, those lines that ruin the perfectly applied makeup, that the well of tears is totally dry?

What if, in response to other's comments regarding your emotions, you pulled the emotional trigger and buried your emotions so deep that you cannot find them in the mountains of concealer they are buried under?

I don't live my life in the 'what if's', I am far too busy to live in that neighborhood, yet there are times when I go visit and reading these two chapters this week has caused me to slow down and take a walk through the what if's. I don't like what I see in this dark and lonely neighborhood and it actually scares me to think that this place exists within my soul. A place called lonely.

How could lonely exist is someone as busy as myself? How could there be emptiness in someone who loves the Lord as much as I do? How could there be a hole in my heart as big and deep as the Grand Canyon itself in someone who knows God is there is fill every void?

Layer upon layer upon layer of concealer!

Insecurity, jealousy, rejection, fear, pride, and hurt cause us to lather on the concealer. Don't let anyone see the real you, they may not like what they see and therefore may not like you. The problem with that coverage is you lose site of who you are and loneliness settles in. I stand and look in the mirror and I do not even recognize the person staring back.

Here is were the concealer comes off.

I have lived my life with some concealer attempting to cover up a few bruises and scars from battles long since ended. However, five years ago I became very proficient in the use of concealer. There was a particular day, I remember it so vividly, and that concealer became my very best friend. Details are not important but looking back it was the most damaging day in the life of my emotions. It was the day I decided to turn off all emotion and cover them with the ever growing mountain of concealer.

I can look back at that day and see, it was not only the day I buried my emotions, butI think it was the day Cindy died. I just can't seem to find my way back to life.

So, I go back to my what if questions.

What if even God cannot peel the layers off?

What if my heart stays buried and I never feel again?

What if healing rain never comes and I never cry again?

It is possible that God is using this book like stripper on an old piece of furniture. Pouring it on THICK, allowing it to penetrate and then scraping it off to reveal the beauty which lies underneath. I hope so! But you know what ~ it hurts and it takes time.

The layers are plentiful. They are thick, deep and hardened by life's disappointments. But this morning as I type I am reminded of a scripture that I have prayed numerous times over my children.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

Though it is terribly painful, Lord complete the work you have begun.

I really am Considering It All Joy,


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finally! The GC Pictures and Highlights

Oh my, I know many of you have been holding your breath waiting for me to post highlights and pictures from our trip to the Grand Canyon. I really intended to early this morning but instead I got called into work at 6:30 am and have been playing catch up all day. The sun has set, my granddaughter just fell asleep and I have come back to my computer with hopes of completing my promise before the end of this day.

Let me remind you that you still have a chance to win in my 50 on my 50th birthday post. Just scroll down to that post and leave a comment. I will do a random drawing on Monday and post the winner(s) with my Tuesday 'Behind Those Eyes' post. Of course, I know you ALL want to win so don't be shy, just leave a comment.

I am incorporating this post with 'My One Month' hosted by Genny at MyCup2Yours. She has challenged us to live as though we only have one month to live (based on the book One Month To Live). I have not done alot of posting in this regard yet I have really focused on what is important in my life and have made changes to my priority list. One of the things I realize I need to do more of is spend time with my family ~ not just in physical proximity ~ but really spending time WITH them.

My husband, boys and I have not taken a family vacation in 18 years or so with the exception of going to visit family. I decided that one of the things I wanted to do before my 50th birthday was to spend an entire weekend with them away from home. So, I planned a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon. Here are a few highlights.

Words escape my thoughts as I attempt to write the emotions and joy I experienced last weekend. I thought I would finally cry but instead I couldn't get the smile off my face. I had such peace and was filled with a sense of gratefulness as I scanned the vastness and creativeness of God.

Spending 2 days with my guys, no phones, computers, TV or radio allowed us to focus on each other. We visited our lives and memories of days gone by. At one point we found a quiet, secluded cliff and nestled together just talking and loving on each other. It was such a special moment. Still, a week later I am basking in the afterglow of time well spent.

We went to Bedrock City (yes, it is a Flinstone town), Planes of Fame Museum, Tusayan Ruins, an IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon and every single view point from the South entrance of the park to the East entrance. We ate way too much food but walked alot.

I have lived with a fear of being pushed from high places so standing on the edge of a cliff was not easy for me but I did it and it felt great. My guys were so good to me that they were 'willing' to get up in the dark of the night so we could be on the edge of the canyon before the sun rose Sunday morning. It was glorious! I could continue to ramble on but words really do escape me just now so I will just share a 'few' of the nearly 100 pictures I took.

I have enjoyed 'My One Month' and will continue to live the lessons I have learned during this time. Thank you Genny for reminding us that life is more about relationship than our to do list!

I will share Birthday pictures next Saturday!

Until my next post I am:

Considering It All Joy,


Friday, October 24, 2008

50 On My 50th

They say it's my Birthday so I'm gonna have a GREAT time! I have been celebrating all week. No tears here! Just joyous thanksgiving! I've been wondering how to share the celebration with my new blog friends and decided to share 50 people, places and things that are blessings in my life. And then...
Last year I started a new tradition. For my birthday, I give gifts to others. So, at the end of this post I'll explain what I am giving away to one or two of you!

Here is my 50 on my 50th!!

1. God ~ Father, Son and Holy Spirit ~ without whom there would be no reason to celebrate.
2. Mark ~ my husband who has faithfully stood by me through the darkest days and brightest moments of the past 28 years.
3. Andrew ~ The oldest of our two adopted boys ~ he brings life and movement to my heart.
4. Matthew ~ Our littlest miracle ~ he puts a smile on my face.
5. Kori ~ What can I say ~ she is my only grand child and I love her.
6. My mom ~ without whom I would not have life.
7. All of my family near and far ~ I just love you all to pieces.
8. The Grand Canyon ~ beautiful ~ peaceful.
9. My job and employer.
10. Our new little church.
11. Trees ~ I wish we had more in Arizona.
12. My home is almost paid off and in this economy, that's important.
13. Two cars fully paid off.
14. Rainbows.
15. A voice to share God's love.
16. My digital camera ~ a clean lens would be a good idea!
17. The Golden Spoon ~ frozen yogurt.
18. Red.
19. Military Personnel.
20. My piano and music.
21. Scrapbooking.
22. Tootsie Rolls.
23. My Bible(s) ~ they all have so much of life in them.
24. Electricity.
25. Silk Jammies.
26. My own pillow.
27. My scale ~ because today it reads 35 pounds lighter than last year ~ 25 to go.
28. Robbie ~ my hairdresser of 10 years.
29. Christian Radio.
30. Cindy, Adrianna and Emaly ~ Another story for another post.
31. Nothing Bundt Cakes!
32. Autumn and the colors God creates.
33. Pumpkins spice bread.
34. Apothecary Shop and FedEx ~ I never had to drive downtown to gets Mark's meds.
35. Beautiful journals.
36. My Utmost to His Highest.
37. Ice Cream ~ Dreyers Vanilla Bean.
38. Being alive at this time in history.
39. Running water.
40. Garbage day ~ get it out of here.
41. Roses.
42. Bees ~ pollination.
43. Hummingbirds ~ aren't they just the cutest little things?
44. Beaches ~ both the movie and the real thing.
45. Sunrises and sunsets in Arizona.
46. My computer ~ Duh!
47. A clean and uncluttered home ~ what peace it brings.
48. My I-pod.
49. Long walks on a beautiful fall morning.
50. Of course, my new bloggy friends.

As I sit here and type I realize my list could continue forever ~ It is so wonderful to be grateful for all things.

And now........ the giveaway!

I have a brand new, still in box, leather bound book by Charles Capps: God's Creative Power! I actually have a couple and have read mine several times. It is a beautiful book of scriptures.

How do you win? Leave an 'encouraging word' and tell me something that you are grateful for. I will randomly choose one name before my post on Tuesday morning and announce the winner with my 'Behind Those Eyes' post. If there are enough people I will also give away a brand new Brighton Book Mark.

Thank you for sharing in my Birthday Celebration! You are a treasure in my life and I am so thankful to get to know you ~ I hope some of us can meet in person some day. If you are ever in Arizona ~ let me know and I will make every effort to welcome you here!

Be Blessed My Friends.

Considering It ALL JOY!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Tribute!

Today I get to join my friend Jenny at Special Considerations in Thank You Thursday. Jenny reminds us that in a society where we spend so much of our time thinking of ourselves we need to stop and say thank you to those who have influenced us, helped, supported, encouraged or just been kind to us in some way. So, today I take time to honor and say thank you to someone who has influenced every aspect of my life.

As I write this I stand on the brink of a new decade in my life. I pray it is filled with peace, joy and gratefulness. I also pray that it is filled with special moments with my mom. How could I start this new season without saying thank you to the woman who carried me for nine months and has been instrumental in helping to shape my life.

Mom, if I were to write you a thank you letter this is what it would say.

Thank you! You have been a guiding force in my life as you taught me to love Jesus and hold on to Him through any trial or joy I would ever face. I remember as a small child,though dad didn't allow us to go to church, you always talked about God and Jesus and how important they are to us. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't love Jesus. I don't know if you realize that you made Him my friend when there was no one else. I have been able to answer God's call to ministry because you set a solid foundation in my life as I grew up. There is nothing else more important than that in raising a child.

Our home was not always pleasant growing up but you were able to raise four wonderful Jesus loving kids who, though each of us has had times of faltering, have all served the Lord in different capacities through our adult years. You now have 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren and I watch you tell them the same things about God and Jesus as you told us. Many of them are already serving the Lord and the others I know will follow because you again are helping to set a solid foundation in Christ in their lives.

Mom, I also want to say I know the hurt you have felt in the loss of your littlest child whom you were never able to wrap your arms around. The one who you never got to tell about Jesus. I know you have struggled with that for nearly 40 years. Your littlest child got to see Jesus before ever taking a single breath and is helping Him prepare a place for each of us someday. Mom, I pray you find peace in knowing that one day (NOT YET!!!) you will get to see your littlest angel heavenly body to heavenly body and finally wrap your spirits together. What a day that will be, when we all get to see the angel we lost.

Mom, thank you for the beautiful sun shiny day we sat out on the back patio of your home (and Ken and Cindi's) and you acknowledged the abuse I went through as a child. No details need to be shared but I will never forget that day as it changed the way I look at life now. Healing began with that acknowledgement.

Thank you for raising kids who have known how to have fun together. As I began looking at pictures this past week, I found most of them are of all of us laughing and being silly together. Many of us have been through difficult times these past few years but knowing how to laugh has helped ease the pain.

"Laughter (A cheerful heart) doeth good like a medicine." Proverbs 17:22

I could sit here all morning writing specific times when you made my life easier because of your presence but I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being my mom, for giving me life, for encouraging me in times I wanted to give up, for teaching me about God, for being faithful when it would have been easier to run, for loving through trials, for teaching me moral absolutes, especially in a world that does not seem to acknowledge that, but also loving me when I made mistakes.

You are a mom many would love to have but you are ours and I am grateful that God chose you for us. Thank you for being my mom for 50 incredible years. I LOVE YOU!!!!

Certainly Considering It All Joy,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ms Spirituality...More Than Just A Mask

*For those of you who have asked, here is a list of my upcoming posts:
Thursday, October 23 ~ A very special Thank You Thursday Tribute!
Friday, October 24 ~ An extremely important day ~
A special post with a giveaway ~ don't miss it!
Saturday, October 25 ~ What you have really been waiting for ~
Highlights and a few pictures on my recent trip to the Grand Canyon ~
because I know you are just on pins and needles wanting to see those pictures.

This week's portion of our journey through Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle and hosted by Lelia at WriteFromTheHeart takes us to meet Ms Spirituality.

Who is this Ms Spirituality?

Paraphrased from Lisa's checklist, Ms Spirituality is a person who:

Attends church, Sunday school and midweek services every week.
Heads up one or more ministries.
Volunteers for everything.
Displays through pins, T-shirts, bumpers stickers or any other sign that she is a 'Christian'.
Collects and gives away money to the less fortunate.
Attends many women's conferences.
Speaks fluent Christianese.
Listens to only Christian radio and watches only Christian TV is she even has a TV.
Prays for missionaries and goes on mission trips.
And anything else she can use as a public display of her true Spirituality.

As Lisa introduced us to her, I realized that I had not only met her before, I was her. Ms Spirituality was not just a mask I wore, she was my full body armor, hiding a lonely, insecure, rejected, and broken woman.

I wore the armor well for many years. I had it all, did it all, was all that and a bag of chips and was the icing on the cake. I had title, position, influence and power all within the armor I so proudly wore. As the women's Pastor, all of the women came to me with their issues, needs and prayer requests. As the church administrator, everything came through me first. If there was a question, a need, a prayer request, a concern, a ministry opening, a volunteer position, I was there to fill the void. Oh, yes, I did it all, from cleaning toilets when others forgot to show up to designing and decorating the new building, if it needed to be done and there was no one else around, I did it, because I was in fact Ms Spiritual.

But it wasn't just at church that I wore the armor, no not me, I also wore it at home. My need for self preservation followed me everywhere. I suited myself with this armor as a means of protection from being hurt anymore. Nobody was ever going to hurt me again.

Any nobody did. I was taught not to cry or let anybody see any emotion. I held my head high through trial after trial and received great accolades for my ability to stay 'strong' and show such faith through the worst of them. I embodied Ms Spirituality.

Here lies the problem. Armor is heavy. The longer you wear it, the heavier it seems. The person inside becomes weak and after time collapses under the weight of the armor she has so lovingly and proudly worn.

February 8, 2007 God removed the armor from this broken and exhausted vessel when I walked away from all the titles, positions, influence and power. Those things and that life didn't matter anymore. The doors to that life were closed forever.

Yes, I was a Christian all that time, I was just a broken and hurting one who felt the need for protection. I learned well that you should 'never let 'em see you sweat' or cry or show emotion. Ms Spirituality was who I was taught to portray. Don't be real, just be there. Don't show emotion, just allow others to dump theirs on you. Don't say no, just do it. What lies we are taught in places we are supposed to feel safe.

Through the past 20 months, God has healed me in so many ways. The armor may be off and the pride has been totally crushed but there are still remnants of my past training that continue to be evident in my life. I still have not cried and find it difficult to show emotion. But I trust my Father to hold my hand until the process is completed and the real me is nothing more than a reflection of HIM!!!

Lisa's book is a tool God is using to help me see what has been hidden, not only behind these eyes but under the armor of protection I wore for so long.

Ms Spirituality is dead and buried. I pray that I will never dig her up and dawn her armor again.

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30 NIV

"I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and light." MSG

I will learn to live freely and light. What a great interpretation of a powerful scripture.

May we all learn to live freely and light as we walk hand in hand with our God. May He carry the weight of our brokenness. May my 'I' be sandwiched in H'I'M so that others will never see Ms Spirituality but only HIS reflection through my life.

Considering It All Joy,

Friday, October 17, 2008


In just a few short hours I will be RESTING here

in the vastness of

HIS creation with my three guys.

I know when I return my outlook and

perspective will be better.

Maybe I'll even cry!

I can already feel God working at

helping me let it go!

See you when I get back!

Definately Considering It ALL Joy!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Today I am again joining Jenny at Special Considerations in her Thank You Thursday Post.

First I would like to thank Jenny for reminding us that we need to say thank you to those around us who have impacted our lives in some way.

Now for today's Thank You Thursday.

It goes to you, my readers and commenter's over the past few days and months.

Blogging is fairly new for me and I started it as a way to journal my path to healing. I never expected anybody to read it let alone become friends through it.

Through my journey you have seen me run, walk, stumble, trip and fall. But through it all you have continued to come back, check in on me and leave the sweetest and most encouraging comments. Please know that even if I have not personally responded to every comment, each one is read, re-read and re-read again then tucked away in the center of my soul as encouragement and is contributing to my restoring health.

I know that ultimately God is my healer and the rock beneath my unsteady feet. But, He has chosen blogging and YOU to encourage me on my path. A few of you have become my email buddies, your personal words of wisdom and love toward me are such a blessing. I can see where God has placed each of you along my path to support and encourage me forward. I am so blessed!!!

So, today I say a huge THANK YOU to YOU my readers and commenter's. YOU are the BEST!!!! I wish I could just wrap my arms around each of you but for today this will have to do.


*And now a quick update on Tuesday's post.

I am doing much better. I should have known what was happening. I ended up with a severe migraine yesterday and it lingers this morning. This happens a lot. I go into a deep depression and then end up with a horrible migraine. Instead of a visual aura my migraines are always preceeded by a few days of severe depression. Once the migraine hits the depressive state leaves. Oh, such is the life of someone turning 50 in ***8*** short days. Yikees!!!!

Definately Considering It All Joy Today,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ms Happiness Has My Number!

**After reading this post, please see today's update below.**

Today I am continuing on my journey with other bloggers through the book “Behind Those Eyes” by Lisa Whittle and hosted by Lelia at WriteFromTheHeart.

I begin this post by saying that I really don’t want to write anything. I know part of this journey is to be authentic and real, but my heart is just so void of emotion that I don’t want to be real today. I don’t want to be authentic and I don’t want to be honest. I want to put on my Ms Happiness face and go on with my day. But that is not what I am to be learning today. I am to be learning to be real, authentic and honest. Today, I don’t like it but I will do it.

Lisa begins this chapter with a quote from Job. “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy”. (Job 8:21) The message reads: “God will let you laugh again; you’ll raise the roof with shouts of joy”. God will let me laugh again. I am waiting for that day. As many of you know I haven’t cried in 5 years. I don’t think it’s been quite that long since I really laughed but probably close to it.

It seems as though the past few years have been filled with one disappointment after another. My husbands’ illness has changed our lives and our marriage. The loss of my job, ministry, church and friends last year nearly sent me to the grave due to overwhelming grief. My children are grown and really don’t need me any longer. I am going to be 50 in just 10 short days and I feel as though my life and purpose are over. Is this what they call Mid-Life Crisis? I honestly didn’t think it would happen to me.

Ecclesiastes 3 says in part that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance. I think I must be in the mourning season. So, someday maybe I’ll dance again.

As I read this week’s chapter I could closely identify with each tactic and thought Ms Happiness uses and searches for. I search for happiness through work, food, friends, relationships, my children and granddaughter, ministry, blogging, or any other person, place or thing that might bring some joy to my life. All of the above bring momentary satisfaction but no real lasting joy.

Depression comes when you lest expect it and affects every aspect of your life. It is not just your ‘feelings’ that change. Everything about you is affected including your physical health, which if you have read any of my blog posts this summer you will see I have struggled physically over the past few months.

I do know where joy comes from. I know the source of lasting joy. I know God loves me and desires to have my heart find joy in Him. I trust God with every aspect of my life. I know He cares for my family and my relationships. He is my redeemer and my source of strength. He is my strong tower and my refuge.

Lisa states: :True joy comes from within when we are operating in our life in the way that pleases God". I suppose that today those words mean I am not operating in a way that pleases God. Guilt and depression loom larger.

I would love to say that this chapter lifted my heart and I am filled with joy right now. But honesty is needed here and I cannot say those words. I know in a few days or weeks I will feel better, but today, not so much. I have closed off my feelings for so long that I am numb to them. Some day the joy which seems so elusive today will return as I sit at the feet of my Jesus and am once again filled in His presence but today I cannot grasp it.

Ms Happiness is calling my number so, after I have hit the publish button and this whiny post is made public, I will close the door to my home office and put on Ms Happiness and go to work. The emptiness, loneliness and pain will be tucked away for another day. I will purposefully place one foot in front of the other when I would rather be in bed or worse. I will carry out the duties of the day with a smile on my face and then host a ladies night at our church. I will come home and go to bed pulling the covers over my head, not wanting to ever get up, only to wake up and do it all over again the next day.

I won’t forget the words I have read this week and I will pray fervently regarding them but God will need to do a lot of work to penetrate my heart and reach inside to awaken my spirit again.

I am sorry this post is such a drag. Honesty is ugly sometimes.

Don't feel sorry for me today. It is just a season of life. Change and transformation are hard. Being faced with the realities of life at times cause us to reflect on what used to be. I know there is hope for my future but today I just don't see it. I will! In time!

My prayer is that each of you were able to grasp on to the truths Lisa wrote about in this chapter. Her words are honest. I will leave you today with a scripture Lisa quoted in her book.

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11 NLT

Considering It All Joy,
**As I sat on my bed this morning with my Bible in my hands thinking of the scripture: Why so downcast O my soul, God took my to Psalm 103 instead.
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise th Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits~who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's". Psalm 103:1-5
I cannot say that I am dancing, but I have hope today. I am going to the Grand Canyon this weekend with my husband and boys. It will be our first trip together in 19 years (we never travel). Please pray that as I stand and search the vastness of who God is and what He has created, that He meets me there and joy fills my weary soul.**

Monday, October 13, 2008

Two Important Announcements!

He's here! He's here! He's here!

My niece had her baby boy
Saturday evening at 9:13 PM

Healthy, happy, and darling!

Zachary Estes Nathaniel C...

Thank you Lord for adding another precious little one to our growing family.

Congratulations to Nathan and Amberlyn

To my sister and hubby: Pam and Mike

and to Great Nana who now has 6 great grand babies!!


And now for the announcement you have been waiting for:

The winner of the 'Churched' book giveaway is:

Drum roll please:::::::::::



Please email me and let me know your address

so I can get this in the mail right away.

Thank you to everybody who participated.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Churched" Review AND Giveaway!

This week I have had the privilege of reading and now reviewing the recently released book, Churched by Matthew Paul Turner.

From the first paragraph of the Prelude:

"The man's shoulder was inked with a tattoo of Jesus breathing fire out of his mouth, which I concluded to mean one of two things: the man was going to offer me the opportunity to be born again in the hot fumes of a fire-breathing Messiah or he planned to kill me and make it necessary for me to be born again."

To the last:

"Oh, I won't quote it ~ YOU have to read the book", I was intrigued with Matthew's wit and ability to draw the reader into his stories.

A timely, humorous and sensitive book where chapter after chapter offers a glimpse of a childhood rooted in a fundamental church where rules were made to be followed. It seems this was a place where fire and brimstone were preached in order to scare the Hell out of you. Yet, Matthew has relayed these stories in a way that I wish I was growing up with him.

I encourage you to read this book as Matthew takes you from fundamentalism to loving Jesus.

Thank you Matthew for allowing me to read and review your newest 'baby'. I am thankful for the opportunity and truly enjoyed the book. It is one of those books I will re-read time and again.

I even had the chance to read some of it to my granddaughter.
Look at that face, she loved it.

Now, your chance to win a copy. Just leave a comment anytime before Monday, October 13 at 4:00 PM. I will randomly draw one name and announce the winner Monday evening. Please make sure you leave some way for me to get ahold of you. Anybody can win ~ it will be a random drawing. I will put every name in a hat and my son will draw the winner!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Life Is Fragile!

Tonight a dear 32 year old friend is living his last hours surrounded by family as his body is being eaten by pancreatic cancer. His whispers barely heard relay his love for his wife and children.

Tonight a 29 year of wife and mom is looking deeply into the eyes of her husband grasping to hold the picture of a face she will soon see no longer. She is desperate to breath in the smell of his skin, the touch of his hands the sound of his voice so as to never forget. She wonders what life will hold without him, how will she comfort her children?

Tonight two young children watch as their father sleeps. With little understanding of the changes about to take place they wrestle with why daddy can’t play today.

Life Is Fragile

Tonight a dear friend sits home alone mourning the loss of her only child. It was a cold and wet January morning when the police officers showed up at her door with the news that there had been a single car roll-over and her 19 year old daughter didn’t make it. She rests in the arms of Jesus while her parents trust Jesus to get through another day without her.

Life Is Fragile

Tonight another friend recalls the day a similar call came. For her it was her 11 year old son who, when stung by a swarm of bees, ran out in front of a car and was killed. Her heart torn apart by pain and grief yet she must go on for the children who continue to look up to her for strength and love.

Life Is Fragile

Tonight I spoke to my oldest son who has recently lost a friend and coworker. A father walked into his home to find his child with a gun shot to the head. Tonight a father sits trying to understand what went wrong and why his son was so disillusioned with life that he couldn’t bear to go on.

Life Is Fragile

This week a friend of my youngest son was hospitalized with a seizure which lasted 1 ½ hours, he nearly died and has some brain trauma. He was released from the hospital on Monday and came straight to our home where I found him asleep on my son’s bed. His brother nearly drowned a few years ago and unfortunately now lives with brain injury. Tonight both boys are on their own to make their way in this world. A family has been torn apart by tragedy and two young men clinging to life with seemingly no hope of a brighter tomorrow.

Life Is Fragile

Tonight a mom is attempting to move on with life after the loss of her son due to an allergic reaction to a prescription medication. He was my youngest son’s best friend and left us this year.
Life If Fragile

My mom called two days ago, she had received a call from a former neighbor and friend who wanted to tell my mom something before she heard it on the news. This woman sits tonight broken hearted, her world shattered as her son now sits in prison after being found in the house of a murdered man. Tonight a mom’s heart is torn apart and a young man will spend the rest of his life in prison. An innocent man has lost his life and tonight a family grieves that loss with questions and no answers as to why this had to happen.

Life Is Fragile

Genny at MyCup2Yours has posted a challenge based on the book “One Month to Live”. Tonight I wonder if I would live my life differently if I knew I only had one month to live. It is possible. Yet, because I live in a world filled with tragedy I realize that everyday is precious and every life is fragile.

February 8, 2007 I made the most difficult decision of my life. I was the full-time administrator for a church, I was also the full-time Women’s Pastor at the same church. I spent nearly 90 % of my waking hours at the church, working FOR the church. I loved it! But my Lord called me to revisit my priorities. My family was suffering due to my schedule. After spending 21 days seeking the Lord through prayer and fasting I quit my job, walked away from the ministry, left our church and lost my friends. My life was turned upside down. It was the darkest of days but the most peaceful.

God changed my heart, my priorities and my focus. He became first, my family became second and all else fell under those two. Money was no longer a worthy prize, nor was a title, a ministry, a name or fame. Ambition for the world’s success pales in comparison to the desire to be obedient to my Lord.

Spending time loving on my family and true friends is all the blessing I need. Allowing God to mold and transform my heart has brought joy in areas I never thought possible. Today we are settled into our new church and I am again ministering to women but my focus is different. Instead of working for the church I am living for God. Listening for His voice and responding to His words.

I have not yet read the book One Month to Live but I believe if I really only had one month, my focus would be the same.

Looking into the eyes of family and friends and being thankful for the moment, spending time loving on them and telling stories of life and God’s power, leaving memories for my children and grandchildren that will last their lifetime. Praying with my loved ones and spending time in scripture, helping them to really know Jesus instead of knowing about Him. You see life is about relationship, both vertical and horizontal, and there is nothing on this earth more important than that.
Considering It All Joy,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ms Confidence...Not Me!

Today I continue with the book study Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle
and hosted by Leila at Write from the Heart. Words in blue are quotes from Lisa's book.

This week's chapter is entitled ‘Ms Confidence’. I began reading this chapter with an attitude of there is nothing here for me because I am not ‘Ms Confidence’. I usually tend to be insecure and am highly uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations. Being overly confident is not my issue, or is it?

Confidence according to Webster’s is a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances. I did not believe I did this at all UNTIL I read the following excerpt from Lisa’s book.

Aggravated by my lack of conversation, Scotty began to try to engage me in an argument to get some sort of reaction out of me. “Man! Why are you so stubborn, Lisa? You don’t care about me, do you?” I could see his face starting to redden, and his eyes were beginning to get watery. I desperately wanted to reach out to him and share my feelings. I wanted to, but I just wouldn’t let myself. I sat there with a coldness that scared even me, and I remained silent. Then all at once, something inside of me broke. The dam that had been holding back my tears suddenly wasn’t keeping them contained any longer.
“I am so sorry, honey,” I said, sobbing. “I have been so strong for such a long time that I don’t know how to be weak. I love you. And Scotty, I need you.” A sense of calm came over me as I reach for my husband, and we held each other tight. … God had revealed to me that though I had great strength and could handle many things, I had a vulnerability problem.

That did it. A vulnerablility problem! Vulnerable! Why, oh why, God do you want me to be vulnerable? Why do I have to allow others to see my weaknesses? I am not overly confident but I play a great role in my attempts to make others believe that I am.

Ms Confidence is often so afraid of rejection ~ either because of past hurts or past experiences ~ that she prefers to stay in her confident shell and not let the soft side of her emerge.

I have lived this life. I have been rejected. I have been hurt, terribly, and I don't want to be hurt anymore. I have not cried in more than 5 years. I have had to be strong and carry the weight of a spouses’ illness, a child’s disabilities and another child’s drug and alcohol habits along with some other extremely painful events over the past several years. Some of these things are better now but I still remain the strong one.

Lisa’s challenge question is this: Is it hard for you to admit your vulnerabilities to others? To God? Why?

Three simple words can answer these three questions:




What an ugly, awful five letter word. I don’t want to admit it but it’s true.
Pride keeps me from being vulnerable. It’s easy for me to be vulnerable on my blog with people who don’t know me and whom I will probably never meet but with my husband, my family, my friends, church members, and God, well that’s a different story. They see me, they would judge me if they really knew me and that would lead to being rejected and hurt. To allow them to know that my heart aches and that sometimes I just don’t want to be the strong one would be too difficult for me.

A woman’s pride brings her low, but a woman of lowly spirit gains honor.
Proverbs 29:23

Deep within the recessed of my heart I am desperate for someone to just hold me and tell me that everything is going to be ok. Under the exterior of confidence is a soft, warm, compassionate, loving friend who is just now trying to find her way out of the fortress which pride has built.

As I write, I am becoming more authentic while allowing my weaknesses to be accessed in new ways. My heart is pliable and being transformed by the very hands that created it. I have been brought low because of my pride and now my spirit cries out for humility. I fall to my knees in humble worship of my God who has been so merciful and gracious to me.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are ~ yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

This is the confidence God bestows upon us.

True confidence comes from only one source ~ an inside Source ~ and it cannot be bought, sold, put on, or manufactured.

Father, I thank you for the true confidence you have given to me. A confidence in knowing I am your daughter and You love me no matter what I do. A confidence to be able to come to You with the truth no matter what it is. A confidence to trust You no matter what I face. A confidence which allows me to BE exactly who You created me to be.

Considering It All Joy,
PS: Please join me in wishing my beautiful niece Amberlyn a happy 28th birthday. Amberlyn, I know you are in the beginning stages of labor and will soon be delivering your second child. Happy Birthday! I am praying for you and I cannot wait to meet Baby Z!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's the middle of the night and I should be sound asleep in my nice cozy bed but here I am in blogland. I started coughing so I fixed myself a nice hot cup of water and am drinking it with a cough drop. Oh how I wish I liked tea!!!

I am working on the challenge Genny at MyCup2Your has posted based on the book she read entitled 'One Month To Live". This is not my actual post for the challenge but I thought I'd share some family times from this past week. Spending time with family is a must and I love every minute of it.

Kori learned how to ride her bike by herself today!

Kori helping put up a few fall decorations!

Andrew and his friend built a smoker and made some yummy smoked beef ribs and pork loin. They did get a little dark on the outside but the inside was great.

We had some friends over and I love this picture of Andrew getting tackled by the kids in one of our last swims of the summer season.

Today we went to Tempe Beach Park and enjoyed the Oktoberfest. We have lived in Phoenix for nearly 14 years and I've never been there before and it's only a 20minute drive. Oh, how sad. We had a great afternoon enjoying lots of yummy desserts like funnel cake and caramel apples.

These are just a few of the moments we spent together this week instead of watching TV or some other non important thing.

By the way, I am now only 19 days from my '50th' birthday AND I did book that trip to the Grand Canyon. Yes, again we have lived here nearly 14 years and NO my kids have never been there. It's only a few hours away ~ can you believe it? I have asked them to take time off work and we are going as a family in two weeks. What a wonderful birthday gift. I am so excited!

Good Night~My cough has subsided and I'm going to look at the inside of my eye lids.

Considering It All Joy,

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jenny at Special Considerations hosts Thank You Thursday each week. I have never participated but today I want to take the time to publicly thank my husband.

He's not the man I married!

As a women's ministries director I have heard those words numerous times from women who are tired of their marriages not being perfect and want out. He's changed, he's different, he doesn't do what he used to do when we were dating, he's not the man I married, etc. It makes my heart sad that we spend so much time tearing others down instead of begin grateful and lifting them up.

My husband is not the man I married. He has been ill for more than 5 years. He has had a kidney transplant, takes numerous medications to stay alive, his hands and arms are permenantly bruised as side effects and he bleeds if you touch his skin. The medications make his hands shake, make him moody and sometimes grumpy, he sleeps alot, he has lost too much weight, he doesn't often enjoy my gourmet meals (lol), and in general he is certainly not the man I married from the world's perspective.

But I still feel compelled to thank this man for his faithfulness to me and our children. He has continued to work and support us though his doctors advised him to go on disability. He gets up everyday at 3:15 am and drives nearly 40 miles one way to work, works 10+ hours and then drives home in the midst of Phoenix rush hour traffic. He never complains.

He loves our children and granddaughter tremendously and has been willing to do anything to help them even when his body wanted to rest. He has supported and loved me through the trials and joys of life.

This man I married is different. He is no longer the young, playful, energetic, spontaneous man I married 27 years ago but I wouldn't change it for the world. Today our lives are different than they were in 1981 but that is good. It is part of growing up and growing older together. Though we may not do the same things we used to do, there is still that look in his eyes that tells me 'I still love you'. There is still that pat on the back side, the kiss on the cheek, that same smile I saw on our wedding day that tells me Yes, he is the man I married.

Mark, you are the love of my life. You are the person God chose for me and I love you. Though life has brought us many twists and turns you have stuck with me like salt and pepper (go see Fireproof!). I cannot imagine a day of my life without you. You are strong when I am weak, you are determined when I waiver, you are calm when I am stressed. We stand on God as our rock and foundation but you have been a stabilizing force in our marriage.

Mark, today I take time to honor you and publicly say that I love you and I am so thankful that God placed us together. Thank you for the fun times and the times you have held me up when I was too weak to stand. You are my knight in shining armor, even though the armor may be a little tarnished, I love you just the same.

We still try to be silly once in awhile!

Considering It All Joy My Love, Cindy