Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beth Moore is so cheesy!

Is it any wonder I just love this Bible teacher so much?

Beth Moore Simulcast (video)

LPM blog (Beth Moore blog)

Simulcast this weekend - are you going?
Monday, August 24, 2009

Because He said Go...

As you know, I'm headed to India in November. All because He said...Go. I don't think the fact that I'm going to India surprises anyone more than it does me. I don't believe one single person has questioned my (His) decision except me. God is the ultimate Provider and when He says Go, I have faith that He will provide the means. It is my responsibility to ask.

I'm posting this video maybe more for me than anyone else. Because when I think about why I am going, all I have to do is see this. I think about the proud child who Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick encountered on her Compassion trip to India who was so proud of her tiny house that so many people lived in. So many people that they weren't all able to even sleep inside. They have to sleep on the streets. Have you seen the streets? Have you seen the living conditions? Why do I go? Because I have seen and I cannot ignore that God desires for me to take His word to the other end of the world and that in doing His work I will be uncomfortable. But wow at the blessings for them and for me.
So why do I Go? Because He said so. Will you help me Go? I need prayer and funds. Just email me at cathy.m.davis@gmail.com for more information if you're able to provide either of those. (P.S. you can donate online too!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Come Thirsty

Prayer of the Thirsty
Lord, I come thirsty. I come to drink, to receive.
To receive Your work on the cross and in Your resurrections.
My sins are pardoned and my death if defeated.
I receive Your energy.
Empowered by Your Holy Spirit,
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
I receive Your Lordship. I belong to You.
Nothing comes to me that hasn't passed through You.
And I receive Your love. Nothing can separate me from your love.

From the book: Come Thirsty, Receive what Your Soul Longs for
Max Lucado
Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Blood

I enjoyed this and wanted to share. I don't know wrote it.


One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God's call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. The change in her was evident.

As time went on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry,
teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor's son.

The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans. This is when the problems began. You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman
with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor's son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past.

As she began to cry the pastor's son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this:

"My fiancĂ©e’s past is not what is on trial here.. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?"

The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Too often, even as Christians, we bring up the past and use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters.

Forgiveness is a very foundational part of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble. What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
End of case!!!!

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:23

Ten Questions

These ten (10) questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. They're better known as the questions that James Lipton asks every guest at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio."

1. What is your favorite word?
I'm not sure I've ever considered what my favorite word might be. Agape! (A love that I feel is only possible through God. How else could I feel such overwhelming love for a person I've never even met and know nothing about?)

2. What is your least favorite word?
Right now, it's "the flu"!

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
Creatively: Does watching HGTV and DIY count? I'm not very creative, although I did enjoy laying tile!
Spiritually: Wow, this could be a series. I love events, words, actions that seem to be a coincidence but are really God doing what God does.
Emotionally: Hearing laughter my childrens' voices and always hearing I love you.

4. What turns you off?

5. What is your favorite curse word?
I don't have one anymore.

6. What sound or noise do you love?
Laughter. Chopsticks purring. I love you.

7. What sound or noise do you hate (dislike)?
Incessant barking.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would love to be a counselor or what I think of when I think of a counselor.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that will rely on my pulling the wool over peoples' eyes.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
First, Heaven most definitely exists and sometimes you get to experience Heaven here on earth.
"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful..." (Matthew 25:21) "You have fought a good fight; you have finished My course; You have kept the faith." (2 Tim. 4:7)

If you decide the answer these 10 questions on your page, let me know! I've watched Inside's the Actor's Studio just to see hear the responses to these questions. (Plus, I wouldn't mind knowing someone visits me!)
Monday, August 17, 2009

Exceeding Your Expectations -- Blog Tour *giveaway*

Exceeding Your Expectations: Learning the Ten Leadership Principles that Guarantee Results by Linda Olson (Guardian Books)

Is it possible that no matter how many times you’ve failed at getting ahead, that the secret to finally breaking through could be … Easy?

The Answer is Yes…No matter how many times you have tried to get ahead and failed, even if you have had little breakthroughs and then were set back again – you can learn to rise above your circumstances and enjoy the life you deserve.

Linda Olson is best known for her work in equipping and empowering women. She knows how discouraging in can be to work hard at getting a breakthrough only to be set back one more time. She also knows that getting the big breakthrough is possible regardless of how many setbacks, how many people tell her to give up, or discourage her from moving ahead. Linda has learned to exceed her expectations wherever she goes.

Exceeding Your Expectations offers timeless principles in an easy to follow format where readers can journal their insights about the material. Applying the principles will work in any situation, for any generation, and are guaranteed for a lifetime.

Anyone reading the book will benefit by: 1. learning the secret to connecting with others wherever you go2. recognizing the power available through relationships3. following the actions steps that position you to exceed your expectations.

Exceeding Your Expectations, a must-read in this economy, teaching how to rise above your present circumstances and learn to exceed your expectations.

About the Author
Linda's infectious storytelling ability, along with her passion for giving to others, captivates audiences wherever she goes. Linda believes in living life and living it to the fullest.

From a farm in Midwest Canada to the desert in Southern California, Linda has embraced every part of her journey. She has learned strong work ethics, the power of perseverance, and finds her strength through her personal faith in God. Her leadership journey began at the age of twenty-one and has included everything from teaching troubled teens to surviving on an island. She has enjoyed the college life as Dean of Women, counseling men, women, and families in her private therapy practice, empowering women through service in Women’s Ministry, to inspiring women to preserve their photos and memories through Creative Memories. She has also worked as a counselor and program coordinator at a Domestic Violence Shelter, as a social worker with Visiting Nurses in the Hospice department, and has volunteered many years in children’s and women’s ministry at her church. Linda has encouraged people from all walks of life, equipping them to fulfill their innermost dreams.

Her formal education includes a Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy, and one in Christian Education. She’s a Certified Life Coach, a member of Toastmaster’s, and has over thirty-five years experience as an entrepreneur and leader–all of which have equipped her to train and inspire leaders to become who they were meant to be. Linda has empowered audiences throughout the United States and Canada since 1973 with her inspirational stories, leadership principles, vulnerability, and call for action.

Linda has a special heart for non profit organizations. She loves to “give back” to the organizations whether it’s a church group or a fundraiser in the community. She speaks to both Christian and secular audiences-both men’s and women’s groups-on anything from inspiration and motivation to developing Christian women in leadership. Her husband, Rick, a counselor, Life Coach, and speaker, often joins her at her events. Together they have raised two beautiful daughters, and make their home in Palmale, CA.

There are several things available on Linda's website (including how to purchse the book) which is

  • Coordinating Journal, Goliath Challenge – My gift to you.

  • My new book & DVD, Exceeding Your Expectations.

  • Capturing your Vision – is a program where I will work with a leadership team and teach them to Capture their vision, Explode their influence and Bring $ back to their organization. As part of that program I speak to their group equipping and empowering women to recognize their value and their potential.

  • Teleseminar Series – for anyone who wants to go deeper. This series consists of 6 teleseminars as well as time for leaders to ask their personal questions.

If you'd like to win a copy of the book, then enter one of the following ways:

  • Leave a comment (making sure I can contact you).
  • Blog or tweet about this giveaway and then come back and leave a comment.
  • Go to Linda's website and then...come back and leave a comment!

Giveaway entry will end August 22nd and winner will be announced August 23rd.

May you have a blessed day and good luck!

Monday, August 10, 2009

iPod Shuffle

What's on your iPod? I did this on Facebook and thought I'd post it here too (should've done it the other way around!). So, what's on your iPod??

Once you've been tagged (if you wanna)... (1) Turn on your MP3 player. (2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode. (3) Write down the first 15 songs that come up--song title and artist--NO editing/cheating, please. (4) Choose people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you.

1. Hallelujah What A Savior (Various Artists)
2. Life Light Up (Christy Nockels)
3. God has Come to Earth (Aaron Shust)
4. Arms Open Wide (Hillsong United)
5. Taste and See (Jason Allen Rich)
6. Amazing Grace (Darlene Zschech)
7. Just As I Am (Brian Doerksen)
8. Yours Forever (Hillsong United)
9. Softly and Tenderly (Bart Millard)
10. I'll Love You So (About the Golden State)
11. Power in the Blood (Bart Millard)
12. Your Hands (J J Keller)
13. I Surrender All (Israel Houghton)
14. No Reason to Hide (Hillsong United)
15. Traveler's Song (Future of Forestry)

A Triple Threat Novel: Face of Betrayal (Review)

A Triple Threat Novel: Face of Betrayal
By Lis Wiehl and April Henry
Fox News legal correspondent and former Federal Prosecutor Lis Wiehl has created a suspense novel that's as timely as tomorrow's headlines.

While home on Christmas break, a seventeen-year-old Senate page takes her dog out for a walk and never returns. Reporter Cassidy Shaw is the first to break the story. The resulting media firestorm quickly ensnares Federal Prosecutor Allison Pierce and FBI Special Agent Nicole Hedges. The three unique women are life-long friends who call themselves The Triple Threat--a nickname derived from their favorite dessert and their uncanny ability to crack cases via their three positions of power.

Though authorities think Katie might have been kidnapped or run away, those theories shatter when Nicole uncovers Katie's blog. They reveal a girl troubled by a mysterious relationship with an older man. Possibly a U.S. Senator.

As the three women race against time to find Katie alive, their increasing emotional involvement brings out their own inner demons and external enemies. There are many faces of betrayal, but they must find one face in a crowd of growing suspects before they become the next victims.
In Face of Betrayal, Lis Wiehl's expertise in law, politics, and criminal investigation merges with April Henry's narrative genius to create a gripping mystery filled with rich characters, real danger, and a shocking yet satisfying final twist.

My review:
Recently, my reading time has been consumed with other things, so I was glad this book was fast-paced and engaging, and well worth my time. I liked the information on the subplots about the work performed by grand juries, the day-to-day pressures of TV journalism, autopsies, domestic abuse – even about myspace. I could relate to the Triple Threat friendship (and how much do you love they are named after their favorite desert?) she had – three independent women interwoven by strong intimate bonds.

As other reviewers have stated, the plot brought to mind the Chandra Levy murder case. I became totally enthralled by Wiehl's tale of trying to figure out "whodunit" and why. As each new turn came, I had to change my mind as to the perpetrator. The book kept my attention until the very end.

I enjoyed Lis Wiehl and April Henry first book. I’m looking forward to their next book Hand of Fate. Will I find out about the threads that were deliciously (and deliberately?) left untied in the first novel??
Face of Betrayal Recipe Contest - Submit your recipe for Triple Threat Chocolate Cake http://www.liswiehlbooks.com/contest/
Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blog Tour: Letting Go with Sandy Hancock

Blog Tour
Letting Go: Pathway to an Amazing Life by Sandy Hancock (iUniverse)

Balloons and streamers! Having joy in our hearts. Finding satisfaction in life. Discovering the picture of happiness we have in our minds. These are things we all pursue. But what path does this pursuit take us on?
There are many choices in life. Travel with Sandy as she leads us on her journey to find hope and what she discovered to be the pathway to an amazing life.
Excerpts . . .
"This pattern of feeling lonely and finding relief with a new relationship followed me much of my life. I had a desire to have the type of family once again that I had known as a child. I wanted to be loved and to give love. I desired to belong somewhere and to feel safe. These are all good desires--desires that God created us to have.
However, I did not realize these desires had become more important to me than my relationship with God. Instead of first seeking His desires for me, I selfishly sought what I wanted, relegating God to the fringes of my life. I wanted God on my own terms and was convinced that in order to be loved I had to do things my own way, not God’s way. I had become trapped in a faulty way of thinking."

About the Author

Sandy Hancock has been a student of God’s word since childhood. From first grade into college, with the exception of two years, she attended a Christian school in which she had daily Bible study. Throughout life she has studied the Bible in her personal reading, Bible study groups as well as regularly attending church. She has also been a student in the School of Hardknocks. Life has offered many lessons. Some have been more painful than others. These lessons brought her a greater understanding of who God is and His love. As she walks with the Lord He brings her wisdom and knowledge.

She decided to become a writer after a “wilderness experience” occurred in her life. A “wilderness experience” is a time of hardship in which there is nothing we can do to help ourselves; a time in which there is no other choice but to let go and trust God. At this point she completely surrendered her life to the Lord. She let go of making decisions based on what she wanted and started making decisions based on what she believes glorifies the Lord. The Lord changed her life and set her on a path that has led to joy and contentment. Now she wants to share what she has discovered on this path.

She was born in Anaheim, California on September 1, 1961. As a child, she lived in Fullerton, California until her ninth grade year at which time she moved to Durant, Oklahoma. She currently lives in Southern California and has two sons named David and Jeremiah. She attended Fresno State University and received her Bachelor’s degree in Business in 1998. Also in 1998 she earned a Toastmaster Competent Communicator award. She has worked in sales in the real estate, advertising and insurance industries. She has also taught at Mount San Jacinto Community College, Menifee, CA.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Lifesong

*This picture was taking in 11/99. If I'd know it was one of the last pictures we'd have together, I wouldn't have tried to wear my contacts, which made my eyes squinty!

I wrote a tribute as a testimony to my brother’s faith while he was staring down one of life’s greatest trials. He lived Hebrews 3:5-6 knowing that God hadn’t forsaken him, nor would Joey forsake his God. I updated this in 2007 to include my own living testimony so it's REALLY long! Take it in small spurts ;).

Joey & I are the only children of Jean & Leon. (He went by Joey for a long time until he went to college, and then we were supposed to start calling him Joe. I tried to respect his wishes, but he’ll always be Joey to me.) He is 3 years and 4 months older than I am. When I was two and he was five, our parents divorced. We lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and our dad lived in Montgomery. Both sets of grandparents lived a couple of hours away in different parts of the state. While we spent a good deal of time with each of them, our family was made up of my mom, my brother and me. Family outings and vacations always consisted of the three of us.

Our mother worked long hours and typically Joe would take care of me until she got home. Although we fought like cats and dogs when we were younger, we became great friends, the way most siblings do. We talked often and of many different things. I truly couldn’t have loved or respected him anymore than I did.

Joe was always the bright shining star of our family. While he didn’t try to outdo anyone he just possessed a natural ability to exceed everyone’s expectations. He was a very intelligent person. He had high goals for himself, even as a child. We attended the same school from kindergarten to 8th grade, and he was the best student they had ever had attend. (I know this because I heard this often from our teachers.) I went back to Advent to visit a few years ago, and was still remember as Joey Morgan’s little sister. He was the valedictorian of his High School class at Altamont, which was shocking to me because I never saw him study!

He wasn’t content to just sit around and not do anything. When he was 13, he started working for a local toy & hobby shop. He loved working on the trains and models. After he started driving, he worked at our friend’s video arcade. He could fix a machine in no time.

After he graduated from high school, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was under a Naval ROTC scholarship. He soon learned, much to his surprise, I’m sure, that he wasn’t the smartest person around! While attending school, he interned at GE, worked as a teacher’s assistant, and performed his ROTC duties. Somehow he found time to study and he graduated with a double master’s degree in computer and electronic engineering.

Following graduation, he joined the Navy as an officer and began preparing for his tour of duty. He loved a challenge so he decided to work on nuclear submarines. He learned that it wasn’t so easy being an officer and he was going to have to delegate tasks to other people. He much preferred to do it all himself, but that is not what a supervisor is to do. I think by the time his duty was up, he had learned how to effectively manage other people.

After he left the Navy, he returned to Birmingham. He started working for our friend, who used to own the video arcade. Our friend now owned a large video game business that operated throughout the state. A couple of years later, Joey left and started working for Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) in their information technology department. He quickly started progressing up the corporate ladder and became a team lead. He led a team of 10 people, who adored him. As with our family, he was considered a rising star with the company. Right after his diagnosis, he found out that he had been promoted to an executive level position.

For all that he did, I believe his biggest challenge in life was not solving problems or overcoming dilemmas, but was relating to other people in way that did not make them feel ignorant. He made it seem effortless, but it was hard for him. In recent years, he developed a wonderful personality and an awesome sense of humor. People looked up to him and respected his abilities.
In 2002, my mother told me over the Valentine’s Day weekend that she was worried about Joe. He was having stomach problems and wasn’t feeling well. I wasn’t alarmed - I figured he needed to make some diet/stress modifications. We’ve always struggled with our weight and diet. However, on February 21st, I received a call that would forever change my life. Mom called and said “They think your brother has cancer - lymphoma.” I quickly found that lymphoma is very treatable and squelched my fears. Still, I made plans to fly home to spend time with him. At the time, we lived in Seattle, Washington and our two daughters were 9 and 6.

Unfortunately, Joey didn’t have lymphoma and the news he continued to receive only got worse. On 3/1, after performing multiple biopsies and tests, Joe had a diagnosis: Metastatic Stage IV Esophageal cancer. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. The cancer had spread into his lymph nodes and had formed a large, non-operable, globular tumor. The tumor had attached itself to his organs and was causing the organs to be distressed. On March 4th, Joe started what was to be his only option for treatment: 96 continuous hours of chemotherapy with some potent drugs. So potent, in fact, that the pharmacist called the doctor to double check the dosage.

After a few days, the doctor said that the chemo didn’t appear to be working. He said that Joe’s organ function, particularly the liver and kidneys, were not reacting positively and he was quite concerned. He suggested that we prepare for the worse and he estimated that Joe only had a couple of weeks left to live. It was at the end of the chemo treatment that I got to Birmingham. I was shocked to see my brother so weak and pregnant looking. He was in so much pain; he wouldn’t even let me hug him. Initially, I was only going to be there for the weekend, but I just couldn’t make myself go back to Seattle.

The doctor’s news seemed like a challenge for Joey. He started getting his affairs in order, just in case, but he was determined to beat this cancer.

At his next doctor visit, we sat in the waiting room for what seemed forever. We had made it through the weekend, which really surprised the doctor. The three of us were pretty nervous waiting to see what the doctor would say, and I remember Joey placing his hand on mine, patting my leg, and simply saying, “I love you.” I choked back, “I love you too”. It was the only time I knew how scared Joey was.

At this doctor’s visit and subsequent ones, the doctor told us that Joe’s liver and kidney functions were improving and we were pretty ecstatic. The chemo was working! The tumor was shrinking! The doctor started talking about more chemo. One day Joe felt so good that he walked out on to the patio dancing and singing “I Feel Good!” a la James Brown. A precious memory for sure.

Joey received a visit from a pastor from Valleydale Baptist, the church he was attending. He wanted to transfer his membership to this church from the one he had been attending in Florida. I was blessed to hear my brother profess his faith in Jesus Christ. With certainty, he could say that he was part of our Father’s family and he had a place in heaven because he knew that Jesus was the Son of God.

Joe and I had many different conversations regarding his feelings about his illness. Being the inquisitive sort, I wanted to know how he really felt about everything. These are the things that he shared with me: I am not angry about my illness - at whom would I be mad? I am scared, because I know that one day, I’m going to die from this. But most importantly what he said was: I know that this is God’s plan. I know that God can cure me or he can call me home. I’m selfish and I’m not ready to go, but if it’s God’s will then it’s His will. Joe knew that God would never leave him. Hebrews 13:5 tells us - “He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” Just as God would not leave my brother, he wasn’t about to leave or forsake God because of cancer. While he could have been angry or yelled “why me?” he knew that God was with him.

Because he seemed to be doing better, he really wanted me to take the girls and head back to Seattle. They were missing school while we were there and I was missing work, neither of which I cared about at the time. I asked him before I left why he had to be the first to do everything. He held up his index finger and said “I’m number 1!” He admitted that he hadn’t really intended on being first to die. I told him I wanted to take this cancer from him, even if was just a part of it. He told me I couldn’t do that because I had two daughters to care for. That wouldn’t be fair to them.

On March 25, 2002, just 24 days after his initial diagnosis, Joe was told that there were no other options available to him for treatment. The doctor said that his time was short. His body couldn’t handle any more chemotherapy and his liver was failing him. With quiet resolve, he said okay.

He had a few more things left to take care of before he could be called Home. He still didn’t get angry. He knew that God’s plan was not to include a cure and that his time with us was very limited. However, he was no longer scared. Psalm 23:4 tells us “yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou are with me. Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” I truly believe this is how Joe felt.

Two days before he passed away, Joe witnessed to our uncle. He asked him if he believed in Jesus and would Joe see Philip in Heaven one day? How selfless an act to be worried about someone else’s soul while he was fighting a battle that could not be won? Joe wanted to make sure that he would be greeting all of his loved ones again.

Again, I loaded up the girls and we flew back to Birmingham. We arrived late on the 27th. They went to their grandparent’s house to spend the weekend. I was pretty shocked to see my brother. I had only been away 6 days, but the look of death was taking over. I don’t know how I kept my sobs away from his ears.

On 3/28, Joe was pretty miserable most of the day because he was so bloated. He was having a really hard time getting comfortable, yet he kept saying that he was so tired. Late that evening, as my mom and I watched, the good Lord wrapped his arms around Joe and stopped his pain. He took him home to Heaven, only 27 days after his diagnosis.

As I try to make sense of what has happened to my brother and why it happened, I realize that I may never know. God’s plan and His will are some times not meant to be known. However, I would like to believe that my brother’s story will give God the glory He deserves. My brother gave an awesome testimony to God during his illness. He never complained; he never got angry; he never said “why me?” He accepted his fate because he knew God had a plan for him. Know that my brother wasn't perfect, nor did he claim to be. He was a good man and giving with his time and resources, but he knew that this was not the way to ensure his entry to heaven. He knew you had to accept that Christ was the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again three days later. How many people can look death in the face and say “It’s okay, God is with me, He hasn’t forsaken me”? How many of those are 37 years old who had a whole life ahead of them? Not only did Joe know that he had a place in heaven, he shared his faith with others. How many people have the faith to say “Yes, I have a place in heaven because I have truly accepted Jesus as my savior?” Reader…can you?

Part of what gets me now is that in March of 2008, just 6 months from now, my brother will have been gone 6 years. He never made it past 37 and I’m about to be 40. I ask myself “how is that possible?” all the time. It’s a weird dynamic to go from being the baby sister to an only child in an instant. What do you say when people ask if you have any brothers or sisters? I almost feel bad for them when I tell them my brother is in heaven because they don’t know what to say. Usually they say, “Sorry”. And I’ll say, “It’s ok.” Neither of us really knows what to say to the other.

Of course, my story didn’t end on March 28, 2002, though in a way, it did mark the end of my life. We put our Seattle house on the market and moved back to Birmingham. I wanted the girls to be close to their family and I felt the need to be close to my mom. In reality, none of us were really handling Joey’s death all that well, and we needed each other.

In August of that year, my Mom’s dad was placed on hospice care for his congestive heart failure. Big Daddy showed us where we each got that fighter spirit from. He stayed around and kicking until November of 2003. I think I heard the angels singing the day he went home. I know they were glad to have him. I know I was glad he was whole again. It was painful to witness his steady decline.

My husband was working a contract in Louisville, Kentucky. Being in Birmingham put us closer together, but not soon enough. Too much time apart and too much past had hurt our marriage, and we separated in November of 2002. We briefly reconciled in 2003, but our marriage to each other was not to be saved. Unfortunately, the divorce proceedings got ugly and just couldn’t be over quick enough for me. It took us a couple of years to get back on pleasant speaking terms. He is remarried and living in Louisville with his wife and her two daughters. He still works contract jobs.

In December of 2002, my mom had surgery on her back. She was released from the hospital and almost died while in my care of septic shock. God was watching over us and got her back into the hospital and in the care of a wise ER nurse just in time. She fought the infection that was trying desperately to kill her. She went into cardiac arrest two times. She stayed in the hospital from December 19, 2002 until February 28, 2003. I could write a novel about this time frame, as it was truly another defining time period in my life.

When my husband left after the Easter service in April, 2003, I just pretty much threw myhands up in the air and just gave up for a while. Obviously nothing I was doing was working out and I was really tired of even trying. I was mad. I was mad at God and I told Him so. I didn’t try to work it out with Him either. I didn’t want to work it out. I wanted to do my own thing for while. And do my own thing I did.

I spent most of my time planning what type of fun I could have (when the kids were gone). What was I going to do to keep me from really thinking about how crappy my life was? Who was going to be the next person to momentarily make me feel better? How was I going to alleviate the guilt I was feeling? Where was the next party? Most of the things I did to make me feel better, in the long run, just made me feel worse.

I continued on this destructive path for a while. I had a little devil and a little angel sitting on my shoulder and usually it was the little devil who would win. What the devil wanted to do seemed more fun anyway. The devil was pretty good at drowning out that little angel.

I started settling down when James and I started dating. When we decided to marry, I was pretty adamant about getting married by a preacher and having our union blessed by God. It seems pretty funny given everything I was doing and how far from God I had gotten that I insisted we get married by a preacher. I guess that little angel was working hard at being heard over the little devil.

Even after getting married, there were still parts of my life I wasn’t ready to turn over to God. Until I was ready to turn everything over, I knew I couldn’t go to church. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t know how to explain this except to say that there are some things that you do that you know are 100% against the will of God and they cannot be justified. At one point, I tried coming back to church regularly. I was telling myself that all sin was the same in God’s eyes. God was just happy I was in His house. This might have been true, but that tug on my heart told me something different. I just wasn’t ready to stop the sin.

The conviction of the Holy Spirit is a funny little thing. We started tussling back and forth a little, but soon after James left for his deployment in July 2006 is when the conviction really hit. I started having conversations with various people about church and sins and hypocrisies, etc. I pointed out that sin was sin in God’s eyes, and how could you say my sin was any bigger than your sin? Oh what a merry go round (that wasn’t very merry) we got on with this debate. One well intending person finally got through my thick skull and pointed out that the fruit on my branches was so rotten that no one could taste the sweetness of Christ in the fruit if they tried. My life was showing that my branches should be pruned from the vine and burned. (John 15) I got it then.

That Sunday I got up and ready for church. I couldn’t fight the Holy Spirit anymore, nor did I want to. I sat through the service with what felt like an elephant on my heart. I couldn’t wait for the service to be over. As soon as any type of invitation was given, I think I about sprinted down to the altar and got on my knees and started praying. I don’t remember a whole lot of what went on, except telling Steve that I was tired of just talking the talk and I wanted to walk to walk. And boy did I cry and cry and cry. Several people came up to me at the altar and hugged on me and said things to me. I couldn’t tell you who or what they said. But I remember allowing the Spirit to take over.

I always wondered why I didn’t seem to grow as a Christian. Even though I had been in church for most of my life and accepted Christ at a young age, I just never grew. I stayed active in church activities, I guess hoping that would help me grow. I read my bible. I went to church. Nothing worked. But, walking to the altar on August 13, 2006, and begging God to forgive me of my sins and allowing His Spirit permanent residence in my life worked. I guess it was just my time to start growing.

I wish I could say that I no longer deal with any of the strongholds of sin that kept me away from church for so long, but I do. None of them do I do any longer, but some I struggle with daily, and others God just took them away. I just have to remember to give it over to Him and not even think I can be in control. Sometimes I don’t even make it daily but I go moment by moment. I have to remember that if God wouldn’t take the thorn from his faithful servant Paul’s flesh, then why would I expect Him to take the thorn from me? “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:7–10)

I think some of the best advice I heard about living a Christ-filled life is best summed up in this children’s song: “Oh Be Careful Little Ears”.
Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear;
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see;
Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say;
Oh, be careful little hands, what you do;
Oh, be careful little feet where you go;
Oh, be careful little mind what you think;
Oh, be careful little heart what you love
For the Father up above is looking down with love, oh, be careful little one what you hear, say, say, do, go, think and love. (I have to remember this as a mom too.)

My testimony doesn’t end here. It’s just getting started. I’m having so much fun soaking up God’s word and growing spiritually. Watch out world because here I come! With the Father up above looking down with love, I’m going to be shouting His praises and glory all the day long.