Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gratitude Prayer by Nancy

I'm coming to the close of my gratitude project. I'm watching for ways to continue practicing what I've been learning. You have my permission to look at me funny when it seems I've forgotten to be grateful in all circumstances. If being subtle doesn't clue me in, please ask me if I'm grateful about whatever it is we're talking about.(Wonder if Dave's gonna read this entry?) :)

Here's a prayer written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss at the end of the 30 day gratitude project:

Father we are astounded at the depths to which You have reached down to redeem us. We don't have language to describe the amazing grace You continue to lavish upon us with the dawn of each new day. And now, at the first light of what we pray will be a new day in our relationship with You and others, we ask Your favor and blessing in the living of it. We need Your help, for apart from the redeeming sanctifying work of Christ for us and in us, we cannot begin to please You or live in accord with Your Word.

We have heard Your Spirit calling us to reject the bitter clutches of ingratitude and to embrace the manifold joys of thanks-giving. May Your call continue to resonate in our hearts. May the multitude of Your blessings never be lost on us but rather reflecting back as praises, poured like afuel onto our worship.

When the enemy comes against us, when emotions or life experiences insist that a joyful gratitude isn't possible, may You visit us with the life-giving strength of Your presence. When others misunderstand us or tell us we're living in denial, may we find sweet justification for our joy in the precepts of Your Word.

Father, we embark on this new chapter with great anticipation, sure of many lives that You intend to touch through our obedience, and also sure of many trials that You will trnsform into opportunities to bless us. Our desire is to reflect Your faithfulness, goodness, and grace through our grateful hearts and words. May You be glorified in us, in our gratitude.

We pray in the blessed name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to who we owe everything.

And one more thing - now and forever: Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009


Christmas Joys

Donating my 2000 Dodge Durango tomorrow to an organization that teaches kids to repair them and then auctions them to benefit the school.

Working through, with Dave, all the questions we've had about the timing of replacing my car. We really both sought to discern what, when and how we should go about it. For two years or more that was going on. We feel peace that we waited as long as we could and we are blessed with a car that we are so grateful for. So many details came together... Truly a joy and relief to us this Christmas!

Family arrives in town in just three short days. We miss them and can't wait to hug their necks, worship together, eat lots of food, put puzzles together, wrestle, watch football, play video games, watch movies and go on walks. We couldn't be more normal or simple when it comes to Christmas joys! I like that about us. :)

Reunions with friends passing through are possibility this Christmas Break too! Joy!

Very little in the way of an agenda this Christmas! Might even be daily grocery shopping just because I really don't know what will be happening from one day to the next. A little surprised to realize I'm actually joyful about that. I'm relaxing in my second half of life.

Stars are getting my attention this Christmas! I keep noticing them everywhere. Top of our tree... Outside when on the deck one night... On a few Christmas cards... Our church sanctuary... It has caught me off guard how much I keep really really noticing them. Like, stop a minute and take in their beauty kind of noticing them. I asked God the other day what that was about. I'm enjoying remembering that God has always been and will always be interested in providing us direction. This Christmas that is my deepest joy!

Dear Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Thank you for bringing our family so much joy this Christmas! May everyone reading this know joys both big and small with You and their loved ones this Christmas. May we notice those who need a little of our joy shared with them. May an increasingly grateful heart bring us joy throughout the whole year. Help us to have eyes to see all that we have to be grateful for and may we react with a desire to share your gifts to us with those placed in our path. Also, please give us brave hearts that are willing to walk new paths with you this coming year.

Merry Christmas, Lord.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Avoiding gratitude...

This morning I was coming up with other things to do besides my 30 day gratitude project.

So when I finally sat down, I asked the Lord, "Why was I avoiding You and this topic this morning?

This is what I wrote down next:

Is a Christian allowed to be disappointed or bummed out? (ponders for a moment) Yes. Evil, seperation and hate are negative and create negative responses. But we are not to stay stuck there. David models this in the Psalms. We are to recognize and circle back around to the goodness, togetherness and love that can be found in any relationship or circumstance because of God. This is full circle living. God is teaching me how to come around full circle. Hmmm...

Another honest question asked and answered. Just now I have realized that I hope that part of the purpose of this blog is for me to share with who ever reads this the value of honest questions put before the Lord. I think God really likes answering honest questions. He doesn't always do it quickly. It's mind blowing for me to think about the number of questions God answers.

More quotes from Choosing Gratitude:

The capacity to respond to adversity with faith and gratitude is not limited to spiritual "superheroes."

The question that came to her heart was: "Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?"

Anything that makes me need God is (ultimately, in the truest sense)a blessing.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Monday, December 07, 2009

Quotes from Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Gratitude is a lifestyle. A hard-fought, grace-infused, biblical lifestyle.

Is the gratitude that flows out of your life as abounding as the grace that has flowed into your life?

When we give out of gratitude to God, we cause gratitude to well up in others' hearts.

The higher our standard of living, the more discontented we become.

The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.

Ungrateful people tend to hold tightly to their rights.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Thought provoking huh? She's stepped on my toes. But, I must say she steps all over her own toes at the same time. This book is written in the midst of her own realizations of how much she has struggled with an ungrateful heart.

Words to be deeply encouraged by...

"And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness." Paul to the church in Colosse

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Random thoughts Sunday

Christmas tree is up. Memory lane is awesome. We've bought many of our ornaments on journeys to other lands.

Christmas music set up on

Counting the days till my brother Terry, sister-in-love Leah, CJ, Megan and Emily arrive on the 24th for a week!!!!

Jingle Bell *ell Tournament at UNT for Matt was great to see. I get now why he like to play Utlimate Frisbee so much. Fun game... fun group of kids to hang with... encouraging coach.

Really joyful about the gadget we put on our tree. All you do is touch this pretty metal snowflake and the whole thing lights up. If your feeling jealous right now I think my Dad found it at Target.

Wondering if the lights will make it up on the outside of the house. Signs of aging are occurring on a more regular basis. :)

I think I might finally have a title for a book and an outline of chapters. I'm giving myself 10 years to write it. Dave said I should give myself 4 months.

I'm thankful for the women who put so much effort into planning our Christmas Brunch at church. It was beautiful. I'm grateful for all the men who served at the tables. I'm grateful for Kim Hill. She's a great story teller and singer. She's good because she's talented. She's great because she's honest.

I love my church family.

This time of year I miss all the people I'm not going to be able to see this Christmas. They live in places like Colorado, California and Heaven. No dear ones in Colorado and California, you don't actually live in heaven. Close, but not. :)

Tonight we go to Dave's parents house to finish off the celebrations of his 44 years on earth! We haven't seen enough of them lately so it will be nice to have an evening together. Dave loves the cake I baked for him so it will be fun to share it with them too. I'm grateful we celebrate birthdays. It gives us a day to make sure we say the things we don't always remember to say out loud the rest of the year.

We checked out Baylor and Sam Houston State University over Thanksgiving break. So far Matt says Baylor is in the lead. Still planning to check out some more schools. I really love listening to Matt think through all this. I'm not longer shocked we're here. Not very interested in contemplating things like how fast the last year and a half went.

All for now.

May the rest of your December have enough time in it for some random thoughts. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Moving through to a New Normal

Earlier this fall a friend came over and she had with her a "Peace Packet". It's a collection of verses and wisdom about living in Peace with God.

One of the cards had showed a cycle on it that we all go through:







After you go through the acceptance stage you move back up to what becomes a new normal.

It might be a crisis of faith.

It might be a crisis related to circumstances.

I know this cycle pretty well. Always seems easier to identify in hindsight.

Today I saw it because I was feeling a bit depressed. When God is showing me something new, at the beginning of that there is a "oh my gosh that's awesome" reaction to light and truth. I really do hate stumbling around in the dark. But after that wears off some there is often a sadness that comes.

It is sad to realize how demanding and ungrateful your life has been. It's sad to know that recognizing the truth doesn't eliminate the process of dying that is always a part of God changing your life. I think there is even a part of me that's sad I can't change on my own. Oh my goodness.

Truly being a person who wants only what God wants and chooses thankfulness in all circumstances is not my current normal. I hope I'm in the process of accepting it as truth that I really do need to depend on the Lord to live by.

I'm getting help with this from some friends.

There is a family that lives in Southern California. All three of us, love all six of them very much. I got an email from the Mom telling me they are facing some very tough possibilities for their daughters health. Their daughter is eighteen. We've emailed, we've talked, we've prayed and I've watched their reactions on Facebook.

The post on the day before exploratory surgery and a three day wait for results: "Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Yep, that is what my friend is telling her circle of friends she's gonna do. You see its been her theme verse for quite some time now. She lives with MS. She is not bitter. She is beautiful. She is practiced up and knows how to live out this verse with her daughter and the rest of their family and friends. When we got off the phone the other night, I was truly amazed by her attitudes, thought processes and willingness to walk the thing out. It is a joy to be her friend and to see what trusting Christ can really do.

Are you at one of these stages in this cycle regarding something in your life? Gratefulness may truly be the fastest route to acceptance and then to a new normal found in trusting Christ.

Dear Lord,

Thanks for being patient and merciful with our ungrateful hearts. Thanks for opening our eyes to what is going on inside our minds and hearts. Help us to figure out what keeps us from trusting you and keeps us being ungrateful. Thank you for giving us the grace and mercy we need to be thankful in all circumstances. Apart from you we can truly do nothing.


Monday, November 30, 2009

An answer to many prayers...

Random events sometimes makes sense when they are all put together.

I've been struggling with contentment this fall. God's given me a vision for a meaningful ministry. He's even given me tools to use. I've been introduced to people who tell me that they marvel at the timing of meeting me and to the helpfulness of these tools in their lives. My journey is proving to be helpful to others as they walk with the Lord. Serious amounts of joy and purpose have surrounded all of that.

So what is the problem? Money. Events keep taking place that have drained our financial resources or things we are responsible for have shown evidence that they need our attention beyond our ability to pay right now. One solution to this problem is that I stop spending my time doing what I do. I go get a job that pays me for my time. Enter confusion and frustration. During the summer, I start asking God for help. Don't know how to be not confused and not frustrated.

Enter random events...

Devotional in Colorado includes thoughts on "being thankful in all circumstances".

Participation through the fall in a bible study focused on Colossians. Guess what is a very big theme in this book. Yep, thankfulness.

A friend gives me a book called Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I initially loan it out to someone in my small group because I have 20+ books on my must read shelf in my office. It gets returned to me the Thursday before Thanksgiving.

While devouring this book on gratefulness the light bulb finally goes off. Nope not random events at all. Instead they are all very purposeful answers to pray.

Dear beloved daughter,

You, my dear, have a gratitude problem. Don't beat yourself up to bad about it. It's a common problem. If you will take, what I've been showing you for a couple of months now to heart - then you'll be allowing me to change your life.

Your Heavenly Father

So at the end of Nancy's book, there is a 30 day devotional and journal project. I'm on day three. I'm very grateful to be doing this between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'm also marveling once again how God answers prayer over time.

I've already seen confusion replaced with trust... ignorance with knowledge... frustration with hopefulness. All in the midst of no more clarity then I had a month ago about how God is going to provide. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this has been a significant missing piece. As I allow myself to focus on what/who I'm grateful for each day, I'm better able to give up on trying to control my future.

To my friends who have been in the midst of this confusion with me. Thanks for your patience with me. Thanks for listening to me work through this. Thanks for praying with me and for me.

"Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart." Apostle Paul

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ft. Worth Update

I'm happy to report that a friend has decided to join me in Ft. Worth on Tuesdays! It's incredibly nice to have a partner in this adventure!

The girls amaze me in one way or another every single week. This week one of them asked the group to help her come up with a list of things that distract us from our relationship with God. Can you get a better conversation starter question from a student to the group?

I told another friend a week or so ago, I have no idea what I'm doing. She said you mean your on a wing and a prayer. That's a pretty accurate description. So far its working out just fine. Jesus keeps answering our prayers for this group.

If you think of these girls, pray they have courage to keep trusting God with their lives!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thoughts on Listen To My Life

Below is a newsletter article I was asked to write so I thought I'd post it here too.

What’s Up with Listen To My Life

I was asked if I would write about Listen To My Life and what I see happening in the retreats/workshops/classes that use this material. That’s a really big and broad topic. Why is that? Well, for one thing every life and all the stories that make up that life are very unique. And, God is very aware of who we are… what matters to each of us and why. So as you hear the stories you experience all the variety that comes with uniqueness.

On the other extreme, you see the common themes that make up all of our lives. So you have a chance to marvel at these people who God has created; marvel at how God interacts with them throughout their lives. And you also get the chance to see where your journey has been similar.

A couple of different opportunities arise around the similarities. Sometimes in the similarities you have the opportunity to encourage hope because of what you have been brought through. At other times you are the one receiving hope because of how faith in God has made a radical difference in the life of someone else.

I also see another major theme that shows up during Listen To My Life. It is a place where lies have the opportunity to be replaced with truth. In this process you discover what motivates you and why. This is an excellent resource of information. Sometimes you discover you’re motivated by something that is not true. You realize the lies keep you fearful or controlled. When the lie gets replaced with genuine trust in God there is a freedom that comes with that transformation in your thinking. As you experience that process it trains you to continue repeating it with the Lord and with other believers. You start to ask yourself, “What do I believe? Why do I believe it? Is that true? If it’s not true, LORD show me what is. Give me the faith I need to walk by faith in You.”

Watching people go through all this and being there with them as they explore their journeys is marvelous… heart wrenching… hopeful… challenging… eye opening… mysterious and revealing. You see, every time God is trusted, change happens. I want to be a part of helping people trust God just a little bit more every day. So after five times of doing Listen To My Life as either a participant or a Facilitator, I have no hesitations about going through it again and again. May the Lord keep leading me to others that can benefit as much as I have benefited.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Is this vanity?

Got a little surprised today when I looked up the word vanity. The first definition didn't surprise me.

Vanity - excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities and achievements.

But the second one did, because I would not have been able to state this a definition but on a subconscious level this is believed.

Vanity - lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness.

Christian women are in the midst of confusion. When is doing something I believe is good for me a vain choice and when is it not?

Or, they struggle when, they do something that is good for them and it produces good results but then deal with vanity about it at the end. Sure complicates decision making about in future choices. If I'm just going to wind up a vain idiot - Why bother?

I start to explore these thoughts the most when someone in the media says: "If you don't take good care of your self then you can't take good care of other people" I wonder, "Why does that statement ring hollow?"

Here's a few things that I think we should consider the next time we're wrestling with this. Why am I motivated to take action on this... whatever this is for you? Are there any vain reasons driving me? If so what are they and why? Is there something the Lord wants me to reconsider about those types of motivations?

On the other hand, are there any truly healthy God honoring reasons for why I'm motivated to take action? If so, how do I look to God for help? Who's going to get the credit if change actually happens in my life?

This is a big deal! Lack of delving into this paralyzes so many.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What a week!

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing a testimony about freedom in Christ.

A week ago, I thought it might be a good idea to go into Liz's office after Bible Study and Leader's lunch and say. We gotta come up with plan B. I can't do it. The words aren't coming.

But during leaders lunch that day, I was sitting at a table. We started talking about the next week. The walls that were keeping the words and organization of the talk from developing came down. God's provision.

The next day, I met with another friend who knows me better than I know myself. She helped me clarify what I was saying. Identify where the words weren't flowing etc. God's provision.

It has started to become a tradition. I include music in some form or fashion when I speak. I was asking God for a song that matched up. The one I had in mind initially would be a little hard for some of the women to enjoy enough to hear the words so I kept praying. A youtube video of a song that matches up very well shows up on my facebook home page. God's provision.

I go over the talk a third time. This friend does an excellent job of pulling out what do you mean by that. Say more. We identify more place where it's decent writing but horrible speaking material. God's provision.

Technical aspects of power-point and coordinating of digits and people is coming together nicely. No small provision from the Lord.

Many people have contacted me in some form or another and said, your on my mind and I'm praying. God's provision.

Okay Lord, I really think you want me to do this. So how can we deal with the part of me that would like to run in the opposite direction?

A dear mentor reintroduced me to the words below a while back. I was reminded of them this morning.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous."

Usually I camp on the first four words. If you ever think you see me being strong or courageous you can be sure your seeing the Lord in me. I personally am a wimp and a coward. Seriously.

Today the next set of words jumped. Why, because I do believe a part of our inheritance as believers in Jesus Christ is freedom in Him. If I can say something that helps another person trust Christ and therefore know freedom then it is a good idea to say something.

I'm praying that God will be glorified, that the Holy Spirit will speak and I will trust the Lord with my inadequacies throughout the day tomorrow. Believe me I'll be repeating, be strong in Christ a lot.

If you see this before Thursday at 9:00am. Pray for the women I'll be sharing with. Pray whatever the Lord puts on your heart to pray.

P.S. - Those words I quoted are from the first chapter of Joshua

Friday, October 09, 2009

Which is easier?

What a challenge it is to walk by faith!

But is it even harder to walk by doubt?

Maybe the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

Is there an area of your life where your starting to see that you might be afraid to walk by faith?

What makes doubt easier?

When its so normal you don't even realize your doing it.
When its culturally acceptable.
When it feels more secure than faith.
When you can hide rather than be visible. A walk of faith sometimes makes you more visible/accountable than you would prefer to be.

What makes faith easier?

Eternal perspectives
Being fed up with the results of following the culture
Caring about other people more than yourself
Reminders of who God is and who I am not.
Allowing God to show me an error when I thought I was walking in the truth.

My new favorite questions are: What am I afraid of? Why?

Asking these questions has brought me from doubt to faith on a few things recently. Humbling. A little disorienting and mixed with significant moments of rejoicing and freedom.

All impossible without God.

Wonder if I'll ever feel articulate about this walk of faith? Consistently living beyond my ability to communicate. For someone who likes to write that can be extremely annoying! I can only imagine what its like for those who brave reading these thoughts.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trying to take it all in...

I was the recipient of a gift today that has overwhelmed me. Grateful, deeply grateful and shocked are the only words that come to mind so far. I'm hoping that at least one of you is a blog reading friend and can pass this message on to all who participated. Thank you. From the deepest place in my heart - thank you.

Last week I spent a lot of time resisting a walk of faith in matters related to His provision. I had a break through with all that last Friday night and I have been walking in a deeper place of trust since that time. God and His people have totally surprised me twice in the last ten days. I think I'm close to being able to call the lawyer to get True Hearts set up as a Not for Profit Corporation. I'm praying for wisdom.

I understand the pluses of anonymous gifts. The down side is I don't get to look you in the eye, say thank you and give you a hug. So I'm asking the Lord to do that for me.

Crying tenderhearted tears and singing...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father Son and Holy Ghost.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A John Wesley Prayer

Some one offered me a written pray last Thursday. I didn't read it till today. Needed to read it today.

I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art mine and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.


Friday, September 11, 2009


Expectations - My expectations have been a cruel master. One I regret surrendering so much of my life to.

Hope is patient. Hope is willing to put up with a lot. Hope remains... always remains. Hope inspires courage. Hope has been a prophet. Hope knows. Hope has been my deliverer.

God is Hope. Hope is God.

I hope in the future I will be ruled less by expectations and instead walk surrendered into Faith, Hope and Love.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Tuesdays in Ft. Worth

Yesterday I traveled down to meet with urban high school female students in Ft. Worth. I'm a bit conflicted as to how much I can say about my time with these girls. Their privacy matters to me a lot. Them trusting me matters to me a lot. Because we spend the majority of our time in very different places there could be lots of reasons for them not to trust me.

So instead of talking about the girls, which I enjoyed being with very much by the way, I'm going to talk about my reaction to being with them. I have missed being hands on in an urban environment since returning to Texas. I wish I could adequately express how much good this type of environment is for me. It invites and sometimes screams for outside my box thinking. Frankly, I suffer with being bored with my box. This helps with that. It also goes a long way towards putting things into perspective. When you discover your paradigm isn't the only one out there. And you have to reconcile the two to one another so you can cope with the differences. It forces me to think biblically rather than culturally. Last but not least, I deal with fear. The fears I have related to all this help me to be dependent on the Lord. I acknowledge the fears. I ask God to give me courage and to make a way for me where I don't necessarily see the way. I can say that God has been incredibly faithful in answering those prayers for me.

The symbol of a bridge has become very important in my life. I think one of the things I am is a bridge builder. I like looking for ways to bring people together and I like looking for ways to highlight what we have in common. Discovering what we can learn from each others strengths is a highlight for me.

What I hope for the girls is that this will be a time to talk about the Lord, to pray about the challenges they are facing and an encouragement to walk with the Lord at school. Most of all I hope they feel loved.

I will be doing this each Tuesday. I will be leaving my house at 10:00am and returning to the Flowerplex by 2:00pm. I am there for two lunch hours. I am praying for and would love to have a partner to go with me. If your interested in doing this together please give me a call.

A word of caution on this commitment. I have waited this long to get involved because I didn't want to do it until I knew I could be faithful to these kids for an entire year. Many of them have experienced adults bailing on them. So don't hesitate to visit a few times with me but if you commit to being involved it will be very important that barring some life changing event in your life that you are faithful to come weekly.

I would also appreciate your prayers for me, for these girls and that God would draw girls to this lunch that could benefit from it the most.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Just finished another Listen to My Life Retreat! Yeah God! What a blessing!

Women of Faith with 50 women somehow connected to CBC was memorable! Especially since my Mom, Mother-in-law, sister-in-law and cousin were all there.

Wrapped up planning for Fall and will do the leadership training day tomorrow! It will be good to be together! Side By Side is a new theme for Thursday mornings. There will be two different studies offered with a couple of connecting points throughout the morning. So far we're getting lots of positive feedback on the idea. :)

I start participating in a Spiritual Director training program on Saturday. Its the first meeting of a three year journey.

Starting next Tuesday, I'll be going down to Northside High School in urban Ft. Worth to facilitate a Bible Study at lunch in a public school with teenage girls! Can't wait to see what comes of that!

Tuesday nights I'll be facilitating a class at church. I so need to spend some focused time on that!

I love the fall... lots of new adventures.

In big ways and small ways I'm having to trust God with all of it.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Come to Ft.Worth on August 8th! Why?

If you have ever heard of the book The Cross and the Switchblade you might want to come check out this event. Nicky Cruz one of the main people in the story is coming to talk about what the Lord has done in his life!
There will be a couple of different bands playing before Nicky gets up to speak!
If you not in the local area we'd appreciate your prayers for this event! We're trying to reach kids who need to hear the gospel... to consider leaving a gang lifestyle. And to encourage the kids who have already made the committment to stay in school and avoid the pitfalls of gang life.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Pictures are worth...

My friend Laura invited me to a Creative Memories Corporate Event here in Dallas.

My favorite part was the professional photographer who came in to give some tips. Living with, you know who, meant that I didn't learn a bunch of new things but I did get a couple of great tips.

What I enjoyed most, was watching a presenter who clearly loves what he does and displaying his art for a whole gaggle of very encouraging and appreciative women. Should have heard the sighs when he put up a face shot of his darling 4 yr old with with tight curly blond hair who clearly loves flashing her eyes in Daddy's direction!

So I came home on Saturday afternoon inspired to catch up on my photo chores and got to work. I didn't stop working until after 12:30am. Due to a couple of recent hard drive crashes and various other challenges, simply getting things from Dave's computer to mine and determining when we last printed was a bit of a mountain to climb. But by the time I'd gone to bed last night I had 200 plus pictures from the last eighteen months gathered into one place and ready to get printed. I was very pleased to be at the crest of the mountain!

For those of you who have literally climbed mountains, you know they rarely stand alone. Which means there is one right beside the first. In all the work I'd done, I hadn't even touched our pictures from Kenya. In part because you don't just come home with your own pictures but with all the rest of the teams pics too. This amounted to thousands of pictures...totally not exaggerating!

I decided that going for a second mountain top experience at 12:30am wasn't wise so I called it a night.

Then this morning at church, Merrikay presented a short synopsis of all the mission trips this summer. During the offering, a slide show of all the trips set to music was shown. All the pictures were great. But there was one in particular that got me. It was a picture of Rose and Miriam. Miriam had wrapped her arms around Rose from the side. Both the giver and the receiver of the hug, were thoroughly enjoying the moment. I love these two women. I can't go into all the reasons why this picture impacted me so much but it got me shedding a few tears.

Then to make a long story even longer... (short story people have already given up on reading this anyway) my Mom handed me a CD of pictures. My parents recently returned from visiting my brother and his family. I was already missing them.... all five. But the power of seeing a picture of them all gathered around a picnic table having a meal together was unexpectedly and intensely bittersweet. I loved seeing their smiling faces. They have all changed since the last time I saw them. It made me miss them even more than I am already missing them.

So a friend asked me this week, "What you got planned this weekend?" My answer was, "Not much, which is a nice change of pace." I'm really grateful there wasn't much planned because I enjoyed a wonderful set of circumstances that reminded me how important and powerful pictures can be.

When I get tired of climbing the mountain of sorting, editing, cropping and inserting pictures into an album, I'll try to remember, what it is like to have that moment, when a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Keepin it Real

So a couple of entries ago I admitted to having what I called Division Fatigue.

Wouldn't you know, since then God has been opening my eyes.

Shortly after that blog, it was time for me to go to church to pray. I meet up with a friend once a week to pray for whatever is on our hearts to pray about related to our church family. We usually read a passage of scripture before we begin. I flipped open my bible getting ready to flip through the pages of the Psalms. There was no need to flip...

Psalm 134

Oh, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord,
you who serve as the night watchmen in the house of the Lord,
Lift your hands in holiness and bless the Lord.
May the Lord, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem.

Right between the eyes... "You've lost perspective. Keep your eyes on me. Bless me. Pray and watch."

So of course we proceeded to have a wonderful time of prayer together.

God wasn't done yet. In addition to already discovering I had division fatigue I was confronted with the possibility of facing three significant losses. God has the ability to make all three of them go away. Turn them in the direction I want them to go... surprised to be faced with all of them at once.

not fair
please don't do that
why can't life be easy?
i don't like being vulnerable

So I decide to be in those thoughts long enough to act like an idiot. Only family got to witness the melt down.

A couple of days pass... then last night I was reminded again. The Lord knows. Not your plan necessarily but trusting God has never gone badly over the long haul yet. And, by the way Cheri, God is responsible for working all this stuff out. Your responsible to worship, learn to love God and trust, accept His will and follow. Please stop pouting when you don't get your own way. Your family will experience fewer melt downs. (Can I hear an Amen from Dave and Matt?!)

So grateful for my sisters in the Lord who were a part of helping me through this week. It really does take a village to grow me up!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I've been hanging out in the book of Esther this summer. The study I'm doing is written by Beth Moore. As usual, I've enjoyed her insights. She works so diligently on these studies and out of that comes some very meaningful observations and connect the dot kinda insights on God, his people and his enemies.

One observation is that we often want and look for really powerful moments of calling. She asked us instead to consider, that there are very small moments when we quietly choose faith instead of fear. That in a simple act of surrender and obedience that it might just lead to way more than we ever expected. I'm paraphrasing Beth's words here but think I've been faithful to the idea she was trying to get across.

Life is an accumulation of moments. Choices considered and then made. God wants to be in the midst of all of them the small, medium and large decisions. I think one of the ironies of life might be that we think we know which ones are small, medium or large and maybe we don't know much of the time.

I can think of at least one occasion where I made a decision to walk by faith into what I thought maybe God wanted me to do. That moment turned out to be the beginning of real change in my life. I look back now and think, of course that was God asking me to follow. But in the moment it felt like maybe. The evidence so to speak came later. Not sure what would have happened if I'd waited to be 100% sure.

Is that even possible and have faith be a part of it? Maybe if your waiting to be sure, your missing part of the point? Something I'll be thinking about more.

Right now, I'm stepping out in faith on something. Don't think I'm going to know for sure whether or not its really a good thing until months from now. Seriously walk on water kinda stuff for me.

Do you think God is asking you to get out and walk and see what happens? Hope so!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Division Fatigue

I have it.

Doing the only thing I know to do about it... praying.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'd just like to say, that I just became aware of something my kid did, that well, made my day... maybe my week.

I knew, when I was very bad at being the mother of a toddler, that one day I would love being the mom of a teen. Turns out that wasn't vain hope. It was/is true!

Matthew Thomas- I love you and I am so glad you are a part of my world!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wasn't even on the list...

For as long as I can remember, people have been mentioning some version of that list. The one where people write down all the things they want to do before they die.

In some ways, I'm not a big planner. I didn't have my wedding day planned out years before it happened. I didn't have a list of requirements for a husband. I didn't really have an adventure list either. It might be counter intuitive for an adventurer to make a list of adventures they'd like to experience. At least it is for this one.

Even though Mutual of Omaha was kinda a big deal in my family growing up. I never gave 10 seconds thought to going on a Safari someday. So what I'm about to say seems a little hypocritical but, I think you should give it more than 10 seconds of thought and maybe even put it on a list somewhere. Or, you could go with the option of trusting there is going to be an outstanding group of Safari companies on the "new earth".

I wasn't even that convinced about going on a Safari when we headed out of the guest house in Nairobi. We were hot and tired...very tempted to think I wish we were headed home now. But when we got to the airport, they gave us this cool bag with lots of info inside. Next we saw the Cessna we were to board and all the desires to go home disappeared.

Upon arrival, we met our guide Joseph! He was awesome - 15 plus years as a guide!

He showed us:
elephants and their babies
wart hogs
bright colored birds, birds and more birds
baboons and their babies
black rhino and her baby
dozen different kinds of antelopes
water buffaloes- veggie tale song about killed me
mating lions - yes, that's what I said
male lion surrounded by a pack of hyenas
male lion very much in charge of the hyena situation
gorgeous sunset and sunrises

That's all I can think of off the top of my head!

We had to be patient. We had to wait out hiding animals and a rain storm. Patience, however, was always rewarded!

We prayed to see certain things- one of the things on Suzi's wish list was a running Giraffe. Yep, the last morning, that is just what we saw!

If I pay attention to the words of songs that come to me, there is almost always something very telling in it. The state of my heart is revealed. The lyric that kept coming was, "O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise." After a day of this words (in between bouts of veggie tale water buffalo lyrics), I realized I was singing it because it would take a thousand voices to do justice to how I wanted to praise God... for the beauty, the creativity, the majesty and the reality that a small town girl from Kansas/Colorado was sitting in a Safari truck in Kenya, Africa. Overwhelming joy, excitement and continual anticipation!

There is no comparison to the week we had before the Safari. The most meaningful part of our trip was the time we spent with the people of Kenya. But I gotta say, the "icing on the cake" Safari was way beyond my ability to have expectations about.

To enjoy Dave's favorite pics, click on the title at the top, "Wasn't even on the list...",


put in-

either way should get you to Dave's Photo Web Page.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I have a friend. Her name is Wendy. Wendy and I met as Freshman at LeTourneau.

LeTourneau is strange yet wonderful bird. When we started, there were seven times more men then women. Wendy was an aviation student. She has since gone on to be blessed with a wonderful career flying airplanes.

Last fall, I got email out of the blue. We're moving to Dallas, help! Where should we live? What are the pluses and minuses of the different areas of Dallas. I'm happy to report they chose Flower Mound. As it turns out, they (Wendy, her husband Steve and their three kids: Alex, Shelby and Mikey)have also chosen my home church as their place to worship.

In the last couple of weeks I got an email labeled urgent. Wendy was asking people to pray. A tumor was discovered in Mikey's (12 years old) spinal column. They were back in Detroit, MI visiting old friends and family. So the medical treatments started there. Now they are back in Dallas and will continue care here.

I have several things I'm praying about for them. I'm asking God to heal Mikey. I'm asking for strength and patience for everyone who loves Mikey. I'm asking God to help our church family love them well through this. If you think of Mikey and his family please pray for them too.

P.S. - To my Crossroads friends, if you see their names on a name badge please don't be shy about introducing yourself. Wendy is one of the friendliest people I have ever met. She is standing on the far left side of this picture.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Leaving an impression...

As we were in small groups or informal conversations, random comments or questions would come out. Below are a couple of examples:

Question: Now I've heard, and please tell me whether this is true or not. That the American government requires you to have five children. Is that true?

Comment: These people (Americans) are so different then us. They will even talk to each other about a millipede. There is something to be learned there.

Part of what keeps cross-cultural travel an adventure is you never know what might come your way. I was keenly aware that I was representing my people when I gave them a response. Knowing how challenging some of the questions were in our small group times. I wasn't as brave as some of our presenters. A few of them invited questions at the end of their presentations. They got a couple of doosies! It was fun to watch what happened because the Lord provided well stated and solid answers. So glad God provides in those moments! Maybe I'll risk opening the floor next time?!

A transition that was interesting to experience happened with the staff at the hotel. We were enthusiastically welcomed. But there was also cautiousness in the welcome and our first encounters with many of the staff members. They seemed slightly afraid of what we would be like. All of us did a great job of making eye contact and thanking them for all they were doing. Over the week you could see them relax and even truly welcome the sight of us. I was sincerely grateful for this. I wish there had been time to get to know them too.

It's kinda funny that after spending so much time praying that the Lord will help you represent Him, your church and your country well. You leave with no real idea of the kind of impression you left. Instead you come home with all these powerful impressions of the Kenyan people and their country. I now find myself wondering, how will God use the mark that has been left by them on us?

Friday, July 03, 2009

Our team.

Last night the team reunited minus Merrikay who is still in Africa to be interviewed by John Newton. He's putting together a short video about our trip. Not sure when it might get shown. May just go in the archives to use before future teams leave on trips.

I don't think any of us on the team where terribly excited about being in a video. I think Dave compared it to the joy of a root canal. But as always there are unexpected blessings in doing what you don't really want to do. John interviewed each couple for about 10 minutes each. We sat and listened to each couple giving their responses. It was fun and heart warming to hear how each of us was impacted by "Impact 2009"... and to hear our hopes and prayers for the couples we left behind.

All of this has had me reflecting on what God has brought about in my life through this trip. My parents went on short-term missions trips when I was a kid. Since then, I have had the bug. My first opportunity, for a mission trip out of the country was crossing the border from SoCal to Mexico to build homes. It was a youth trip. I went on several It was a great experience but not really what I had been dreaming of doing.

About five years ago, I started to long to be able to go on a trip where I'd be able to do some teaching. At the time this desire began it seemed unrealistic for several reasons. But God did it. He got rid of all the unrealistic reasons and put together a trip for Dave and I to do together as part of a team that just "made sense".

There are a few longings in my heart right now that I'll keep between me and the Lord. But I gotta tell you. What God did before, during and now after our trip to Africa is giving me the courage to believe that if a longing of mine matches up with God's will, its gonna happen. I assure you all of them have obstables that make them seem humanly unrealistic.

It will always mean a lot to me that Dave, Mike, Joye, Paul, Suzi and Merrikay from Crossroads and Rose, Miriam and Erick from ALARM were a part of time in my life when God has given me so much reason to have so much faith!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

More new friends...

Today I'd like to tell you a little about Pastor Zachariah Okech and his lovely wife Mary. They have been a part of the church we attended on Sunday for a long while. But in the recent months they and their church concluded that Pastor Z and family should start a church in Malindi. Malindi is north along the coast and I understand it is a much larger community than Kilifi.

Pastor Z and Mary have several children. One of their children is in Grade 8. It is in Grade 8 that you are eligible to take a national academic test. If you pass this test you are allowed to enter a special school system. I gathered that a very small percentage of students make it. But those who do are well prepared for further education after high school. Obviously an important accomplishment that leads to more opportunities later. So even though the church has started meeting, the family still lives in Kilifi most of the time. This way their daughter will be well prepared for the national test.

So Pastor Z has been driving back and forth to Malindi, longing to be there full time. He misses his family when he is gone. And, he knows the church will do much better once he and the rest of the family are there full time. I was struck as I was listening to their situation how universal it was. Jobs pulling fathers away from home. Education as a focus and sacrifices that need to be made so the children will have as many options as possible.

They also shared with me that Malindi is a more popular place to live than Kilifi. Which means the land and buidling prices are higher. This has been a big hurdle. But they wanted me to know how much they have waited with hope knowing that if God wanted them there that he would make a way for them to have a place to live. Sure enough just days before the conference, as God seems to do frequently, through a friend of a friend, Pastor Z and his wife had taken look at a home. The house is big enough for their family, close to where the church now assembles and affordable. God has provided someone who is willing to sell his property to a pastor for less than the value of the property. They weren't surprised at all. It was fun to rejoice with them about God's provision for the work He has called them to do.

We shared a couple of meals and tea time together over the course of our week. Pastor Z is an eager learner. If our personal resources were unlimited, I would be figuring out a way to make more books and training available to him. He know that the best teaching comes from personal learning. He was really enjoying the challenges of the week. He was not afraid to be stretched and yet not going to accept everything we had shared just because we had shared it. He asked great questions!
Mary is shy but very thoughtful and delighted in communicating with me. She is a preschool teacher. She taught me some Swahili words and I taught her some new English words. I enjoyed the time I spent with both of them. We've exchanged contact information and hope to be able to continue encouraging each another. They don't have an email address yet but hope to in Malindi. So for now we're relying on snail mail.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


We truly met some extra ordinary people on this trip.

One of them is a young man named Onesimus. The team from Crossroads met this young man two years ago. I understand as a result of being at the conference then that the Lord opened up some doors for him to receive further biblical training.

Words that describe him are bright, quick to laugh, warm-hearted, generous, and eager to encourage others.

He wasn't with us the first day because he is single. But we needed additional translators, so word got back that we needed him and that the team would love to see him again. So I believe he arrived at the end of the first day. And anyway, our new African friend Erick didn't want to be the only single guy in the room. They seemed to strike up a nice friendship over the week.

At one point I asked Onesimus how he became so good at translating. He told me that many years ago, must have been a teenager or early twenties, that he was personally hungry to hear from teachers from other places. So, he started inviting them. He had the best English skills in his church so he was it. He became the translator. He was smiling from ear to ear the whole time he was telling me. He is a young man hungry to learn.

I also observed that each of us had testimonies of being encouraged by Onesimus. It kept coming up in conversations at dinner. Each of us sharing what Onesiums had said to one of us that day. He was very articulate and enthusiastic about the need for marriage conferences in Kenya. He was genuinely pleased to be learning this material before entering into marriage.

On the last day, I asked Onesimus, "What is next for you?" He paused for a minute and then cautiously said, "I think its missions, but I don't know where." Immediately I said, "How about the United States?" He smiled and stepped back a bit. My comment had defintely taken him by surprise. Then he asked, "Is there was a program for that?" I replied, "I have no idea but you could certainly be the first Kenyan missionary to the United States." We both agreed it would be a good thing to pray about.

I don't think Onesimus would have a hard time getting a group of jadded Americans to listen to what he has to say about Jesus Christ. There is that much light coming from that young man. Can't wait to hear what God's plan for Oneisums turns out to be...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pardon the interuption...

I feel like I'm interrupting my Kenya posts but I'm excited about something that happened today. So please pardon the interruption...

Many of you know, I've had the joy of attending two Listen to My Life Conferences. I have co-led one Listen to My Life retreat with Liz Eaton. I believe that leading retreats and classes associated with these materials is something the Lord wants me to be doing.

While I was in Africa, the website for this material was launched. I spent an hour today getting caught up via a recorded webinar on the ins and outs of their new website. It is full of resources for both facilitators and participants. If your interested, I would love for you to explore the website as well. You can find it at:

I've added a link here, on my blog, under "Places to go and people to see..."

If you think of me and my desire to serve, please pray that the Lord will open doors for me to share the Listen to My Life materials with others.

And now back to Kenya...

My biggest challenge in Kenya.

As we prepared for this trip I kept having questions about women teaching men and women together. A big chunk of my time in seminary got spent on the various aspects of this question. I have concluded a couple of things. I am willing to go where I am welcomed to teach but I am not interested in being a stumbling block to those who do not understand or value the need for women to be teachers of men and women in the church. God knows that if He wants me in that kind of a room teaching, He will have to figure out a way to make it very clear to me that I am required to be there out of obedience to Him.

So for this trip, there were twelve sections to the marriage conference we were leading and seven teachers. Merrikay who is single decided to teach a class on parenting. That left the six of us with two classes each to teach. We were encouraged to team teach because Paul and Suzi had done so two years ago and it had made a big impression on the people at that time.

We also prayed that we would each be teaching about something that was and has been important to develop in our own relationships. It was really amazing to see how that worked out.

As Dave and I began to prepare, we decided it was best for us if we each prepared two sections but invited the other to insert a story or observation from the other persons perspective during our presentations. Dave and I took Communication part 1 and 2 and Conflict Resolution part 1 and 2. I focused on Communication which came into the schedule on Tuesday. But Dave wasn't set to lead his sections until Wednesday. The consequences of this for me, had not really occurred to me before Sunday. It hit me kinda hard that I would be going to teach before Dave. We'd been introduced as a couple on Monday but still I wasn't to thrilled. Dave assured me a couple of times that it was okay and not to worry...hakuna matata.

Finally, I gave up worrying and accepted that this was the way it was meant to be.

When it was my turn to help Dave with his section, we realized that he had ended up with the most fill-in the blanks in the workbooks we provided. For communication purposes, communication from us to the participants, we had discovered on Monday that the fill-in words needed to be written down on a flip chart. This simple act made it much easier for everyone to get their blanks filled in. Dave doesn't like to write at all. So he was very relieved when I offered, as my part, to simply stand there and write downs all the words. In Dave's first session, I don't believe I spoke at all. At the end of that day, I was struck by the contrast. In the first session, I was the primary teacher. In the second I was totally content even happier to be in the background. I could live out both roles in contentment. It seemed important what Dave and I had modeled together.

The other couples truly shared their talks more. There was a lot of give and take throughout their presentations which was also a great model. I'm hoping on the evaluation forms there will be some comments about the way the teaching was presented.

For all the men in my life who have indicated that they value listening to a female perspective, I want to say thank you. To my Heavenly Father who orchestrated events, such that the first time I would teach in front of a mixed group, that it be in Kenya, Africa. Well, I am beyond grateful. This group was so receptive, loving and respectful to our entire team. And it all took place in such a memorable setting - in the midst of a dream come true for me.

I am so grateful for God's involvement in my life. He keeps making it easier and easier to trust Him.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A very big question...

How to start talking about Kenya?
That is a very BIG question.

The people we encountered:

anxious to learn
certain of the existence of God
full of questions
hungry for more resources
honest about their struggles
hard working
worshippers of God
dependent on the Holy Spirit

Kilifi, Kenya

hot and humid
15,000 or so people
corn fields under coconut trees
mud huts for homes
hundreds of tiny shops
welcoming to strangers
soccer fans
call to prayer heard five times a day
mosquito nets

African Leadership and Reconcilation Ministry - ALARM

doing important work
excellent staff and volunteers
willing to push where biblical perspectives aren't yet embraced
missing each of them - sad we live so far apart from one another

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The one who made our time in Kenya possible.
The one who brought the mix of people together.
The one who prepared the way.
The one who will bring fruit to bear.
The one to whom all glory and honor and praise belong.
The ONE.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We made it back!

Its so good to be home and I miss my new friends in Africa. Isn't heaven going to be great? Hopefully no need for 30 hour plane rides to see one another.

I have written 80 journal pages about the trip and I'm not even done yet. After a couple of days of resting, I'll start sharing some details about what we experienced in Africa.

Some of my first reactions to being home...

Good to see my boy/man. Good to hear his voice and see his smiling face. I missed the word Mom.

Television is a little weird. Way to much information and so much of it really isn't very important.

Hot water flowing even gushing from your showerhead is not something that should be taken lightly.

I'm jet lagged and my tummy's not very happy about something so that's all I got today. More soon...

Friday, June 19, 2009

What a day! Kilifi, Kenya

We finished the week in Kilifi. Let's just say I shed a lot of tears this morning in the closing ceremony. It was hard to say goodbye. We held a renewal of vows wedding ceremony. It was beyond beautiful. To know their stories and to see them so excited about renewing their vows together was well, beyond wonderful. We managed to find roses for the women to hold. They shared communion together during the ceremony. The were a little embarrassed by, "You may now kiss your bride." Must not be a part of an African ceremony. So sweet to see their joy mixed with a tiny bit of embarrassment.

They could not have done more to express their thankfulness to us. It was incredibly humbling. They want us to bring their greetings back to America. They have asked that we return to teach them some more.

We don't know if that is God's will for us or not. But we're dreaming of teaching this material to other local churches so more teams can come and teach this material. They truly desire to have biblical marriages but they know their will be many cultural hurdles to overcome. We expressed over and over again how grateful we are that we serve a big God that can give them the courage to be different. What an amazing testimony they will have to their friends, neighbors, extended family and congregations.

We're about to get on a plane to head to Nairobi. The plan is to join Pastor Steve and the other team members at the guest house. They go on to Kawale. We head off to the Safari in the morning. We look forward to being back home again soon!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Countdown to Kenya...

We leave on the 11th. One week from tomorrow. Whew! Really? Cool!

Here is the link to the blog we'll be posting comments, stories and pictures on throughout the two trips to Kilifi and Kawali:

The first trip goes out on June 11th. I believe the second trip returns on July 5th.

Thanks for all your prayers, provisions and questions to date!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A prayer

I read a prayer today that I can't resist quoting:

"Dear Lord,

Thank you for your church.

Forgive us for not knowing very much about what it means to be the body of Christ.

Forgive us our professionalism, for spending so much time on dressing up the church and make it presentable to the world, respectable to the world, or worse, marketable to the world.

Forgive us our perfectionisms as we forgive those who are perfectionistic against me.

I pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Help me to understand that though I may (am) not able to align the earth to your will, I can (by God's grace) align the small part of this world that is my heart, my mind and my will.

Align my thoughts so that they become your thoughts, Lord.

Align my ways so that they become your ways.

And align my questions with the questions you would ask of me.

Help me to realize that in answering those questions with my life, I am helping to establish your reign on this earth and doing my part with great tenderness to ease the pain of those who are suffering here."

Ken Gire
North Face of God (pg. 155)

This piece alone could be the the beginning of life altering journey with Jesus -"Align my questions with the questions you would ask of me."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One, two, three...

I was sitting here thinking about everything that has happened the last two weeks. So much of it seems like the culmination of a lot of praying.

Most of the monies we need to go to Kenya have been raised. (many thanks to those praying and giving)

The list of what's next for me this summer and then into the fall is coming together.

Watching God protect and work in my immediate and extended family.

Seeing a practical way for this white middle aged suburban lady to be an encouragement in Urban Hispanic teenage Ft. Worth.

Real things, not hoped for in the future things, are happening. Some fun surprises too. Never would have thought to put it on the list surprises! (Safari in Kenya)

Letting go of my own agenda for my life has been, and I'm not being dramatic, agonizing at times. It reminds me of the feeling I got when I was nine or ten and someone talked me into jumping off the high dive at the community pool. Seemed like a great adventure on the way up the ladder. Then your at the edge... The agony sets in.

Retreating is agony. Letting go of the fear is agony... which hurts less seems to be the most important question at the time. Will I jump into the pool? What if I break my neck? How did that happen to the lady who travels around the country telling her story? (Joni) Or, look at them down there, just sure I wont jump and will instead climb back down the ladder. Wont hear the end of that for a while. Might have to give up coming to the pool. Agony.

The little girl decided to trust she wouldn't break her neck and jumped. A training day for the big girl now.

Okay God, I did say I wanted an adventure. One, two, three... jump!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

"I have learned to be content." Paul

I think one of the biggest hindrances to this being true for people is our association of the words good and comfort.

Is it really good to be comfortable? I can certainly think of ways it hasn't been good.

Is is good to be always uncomfortable? I don't think so.

Is it good to think about the kinds of good that come from uncomfortable situations and relationships? Yep, I'm thinking it is.

If God seems remote and life seems uncomfortable and your not sure if good can be found there. Check out The North Face of God by Ken Gire. I think it is possible that it will be helpful.

I am learning to be content. Cheri

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

God of the City - Frisco, TX

I went to a worship and prayer service last night called God of the City. Outside on a a beautiful spring evening. (Which by the way was no small thing, given the weather report at 8am that same morning.)

I'm grateful I went.


A call to worship - A think it was a Ram's Horn. Chills when down my back... not hard to pictures being in a desert encampment and being gathered together with this sound! It's a courageous sound. Humbling. Reverent. To powerful to be ignored. Does not belong inside a building.

The Drummers - pounding, pounding, pounding in unison - smiling from ear to ear! Incredible. A vision of unity.

Worship leaders - beautiful skin colors, dancing with joy, playing instruments with passion and joy! Leading others into the presence of God.

Participants - permission to be passionate, arms raised, heads bowed down. Brave. Praying... Repentant... Hopeful... Exhausted by lukewarmness... Ready for the church to be different.

Lyrics - Words straight from scripture set to music that reflects the mood and power of the words. Closest thing to heaven for me.

Remembering God... so much to remember!

Veronica, thanks for inviting me!

Monday, May 04, 2009

What is Spiritual Direction?

This has turned out to be a very important question in my life.

I was first introduced to Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Directors while in Seminary. My own initial reaction to these terms was not particularly positive. But I trusted the people who were wanting to define and explain these terms to me. The more it was explained to me the more curious I got.

Eventually, I was invited to participate in a Spiritual Direction group. A year or so after that I decided to ask the Lord to lead me to a Spiritual Director I would be comfortable meeting with. The Lord provided one in California and now again in Texas. I'm about to share a few quotes from a book I'm reading by Alice Fryling. The title is Seeking God Together: An Introduction to Group Spiritual Direction. These quotes may help you to understand what I mean when I refer to these terms in the future. In some ways I am already interacting with people in this way. I believe the Lord is leading me to some additional training.

"The Beginnings of Spiritual Direction - Spiritual direction is a way of companioning people as they see to look closely, through the eyes of their hearts, at the guidance and transforming work of God in their lives. It's a practice that began in the early years of Christianity when people followed the desert mothers and fathers out to the wilderness to ask them how to know God. Over the years, spiritual direction has appeared in many faith traditions. It was kept alive in the Christian faith mainly through the Roman Catholic Church, but today the Protestant church is rediscovering it. People throughout the Christian Church, including those of an evangelical orientation, are experiencing again the gifts that God gives to his people through the loving listening and gentle guidance of spiritual directors. This gift is usually offered in the context of individual spiritual direction, but the potential for spiritual direction in small groups is a growing and promising expression of the ministry of spiritual companionship." pg. 11

My comments: The Spirit of God is the one who does the directing. A spiritual director believes God does this and is moved by God to sit there with you as you explore through words the dynamics of your relationship with God. Always grounded in the Word of God and relationship with God. Listening for questions that God may want the directed to explore more. And providing encouragement through faith in the One who is able to provide all that we need.

"Group spiritual direction provides a unique opportunity in the life o the church or community of believers. It is different from more typical conversations such as the superficial (but necessary) hi-how-are-you encounters or those that go a bit deeper but sill require out best-dressed presentations. It's also different from our conversation and groups that revolve around meeting needs (casseroles for those who are sick, babysitting for those who are tired, mission work for those who are needy). It is different from teaching Bible Study adult education classes, seminars and workshops. All of these are very good things to do. (Cheri- Essential things) But they do not provide the unique opportunity given in spiritual direction: the opportunity to be heard to have someone listen to us as we describe the milestones, detours and questions of ours own spiritual journeys." pg. 12

My personal experiences, encounters with the Lord and other believers in Group Spiritual Direction meetings and one on one times, have been life-changing encounters with God for me. Among other things they have fueled courage and faith in my time alone with the Lord and as I interact with others.

I continue to receive confirmation through the Word of God, my time alone with Him, and conversations with people in the body of Christ that I am to continue to offer a ministry of listening and spiritual companionship with others.

I wish I could convey to you how much faith it has taken to write this post. And how delighted I am to be following God on this adventure of faith!

I'd appreciate your prayers for True Hearts: Nurturing souls in Grace as I continually ask God to show me what is next for me to do. I'm attending a training program introduction night here in Dallas on the 15th and need to decide about applying or not by June 1st.

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Joy is

knowing that your son will check in with you when it's something really important.

knowing lots of really interesting, complicated and honest people.

knowing when to walk away from some thing and when to dive in head first from the high dive.

knowing God is helping you help someone else.

knowing God is crazy good as an orchestrator.

knowing your husband really did miss you when you went away.

I haven't blogged in a while because I've been spending my free time with my head and heart in some good books. I'm learning some great, keeping things in eternal perspective, stuff.

If you read this before Thursday, I'm teaching the closing session of our Thursday Bible Study. I'm excited about what the Lord has put on my heart to share. Please pray that the Lord will use my weakness for being in front of large groups for His purposes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


A lot has been going on lately...

I've allowed myself to get a little swallowed up... some of it has been in not so healthy ways.

Two books came my way and not by accident. They are:

Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton and
George Muller of Bristol

These two books led me back to the Lord and Psalm 51:

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
2 Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
3 For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.[a]
5 For I was born a sinner—
yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
6 But you desire honesty from the womb,[b]
teaching me wisdom even there.

7 Purify me from my sins,[c] and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels,
and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

Regrouping is good. Glad the Lord didn't let me wander to far...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kenya - June 2009

A couple of weeks ago, one of the pastors at our church asked us (Dave and me)to consider going to Kenya on a short-term mission’s trip this summer. We were surprised. We began to pray about it and asked several questions. We now believe this is something the Lord is leading us to do. We are very excited about the opportunity to be a part of His ministry in Kenya.

We are going to Kenya at the invitation of an organization called ALARM – African Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries. Their purpose: “We are an African ministry, empowering African pastors and other leaders to bring hope and transformation to their communities.” If you are interested in finding out more about ALARM their website is

The primary purpose of this trip is to provide a marriage conference for pastors and their wives. Our hope is that we will be an encouragement to them as well as equip them to teach their own churches. We have always had a heart for pastors’ families and the struggles that they face in leading God’s people. This trip matches up with our desire to serve as an encouragement to Pastors and their families. For this reason, we are especially grateful to be part of this trip. There are seven members on our team each of which will be leading the conference. Our travel dates are from June 11th-23rd, 2009. The conference portion will be held over five days in the middle of the trip and will take place in the coastal town of Kilifi, Kenya.

We would really appreciate your prayers and here are several requests you can start with!

We will be equipped with every good thing to do His work (Heb 13:20-21)
All spiritual, physical and financial needs will be met (Phil 4:19)
We will be pleasing to Him in everything (1 Thes. 2:4)
We will be united in spirit, looking out for one another with love (Phil 2:2-4)
Our words will be full of grace and encouragement (Eph 4:29)
Protection for our families (Ps 91:9-10) (Matt may be in Mexico on a Mission trip at the same time)
We will be flexible and content in all circumstances (Phil 4:12)
We will be filled with compassion, kindness, humility and patience (Col 3:12)
We will be completely useful to the Master (2 Tim 2:21)
We will be light to the nations, so Your salvation may reach the ends of the earth (Is 49:6)

As we get closer to the trip, we’ll be updating you all on how things are progressing!

In His Love,
Dave and Cheri

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Listen to My Life Retreat - February 2009

Recently I shared here that I was full of anticipation about an upcoming retreat.

The first words that come to mind when I think back on the retreat are: "Now to Him who is able to do so much more tnan I could ask or imagine... be all honor and glory and praise."

Things I marvel at:

The number of women that attended was the maximum the two homes could hold comfortably for sleeping, eating and enjoying the sessions together.

Some testified to being specifically prepared for this weekend and that just weeks before there was no way they could have come. This was a prayer God had led me to pray about a month before the retreat.

Some weren't to sure about the material when they received it. It felt a liitle like a bait and switch situation. In the end, all seemed grateful they had trusted Liz and my appreciation for the material and how God can use it.

The combination of people God drew was also delightful. I had prayed from the beginning that it would be a varied group of ages and interests. We had 20 somethings to 50 somethings. When God gives a vision and a desire for something to be a certain way and then you don't make it happen you just pray for it to happen. And it turns out beautifully. Well that's just awesome. And I don't mean the word awesome flipantly.

God's provision for this thing was also very touching for me to watch happen. There are two many stories to tell. I walked away knowing that God had provided people, places, food, material, His presence, His help... The goodness of God to all of us was evident to me. Does it get better?

When I think back on all the conversations with people... "Why are you going to seminary?" I have no idea. That question often left me a little empty. Then I would turn to the Lord and say surely this will all make sense someday. Well three of those days arrived last weekend. It would be impossible for me to overstate how grateful I am. All the waiting was worth it! I see God's purposes in it now. Wow! What I want to say about this is that it was a journey that took faith. And God provided the faith I needed to keep moving forward.

Once again, I am very grateful to all who have encouraged me along the way!

I will trust the Lord with my whole heart. I will not depend on my limited finite understanding. In every way I will do the best I can to acknowledge Him. Because of Him and who He is I will enjoy where the path leads next.

Which happens to be prayer meeting at 7:45am. Gotta go! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I should be going to bed right now. I've had a full day. I have an even more full tomorrow.

But I'm preparing for a retreat with my co-leader Liz. I have a lengthy to do list between now and next Friday. And I couldn't be more delighted about that.

I am so excited about all that God has done and is doing to bring this retreat together. Instead of being nervous and worried I wont get everything done, I wish it would hurry up and get here. I want to hear what the women who come are learning/hearing from God about.

Please pray that Liz and I will serve the ladies well. That we'll be great listeners and responsive to the Holy Spirit when we speak. Pray that the Lord will move and have His way in the midst of us.

Good Night

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Talking with My Father: Jesus Teaches on Prayer

This is the title of a book by Ray Stedman.

In chapter one he makes these statments:

"One sign of losing communication (with God) is that we become obsessed with talk about God. When people only talk about God instead of talking with God, they demonstrate a deteriorated faith. The purpose of all faith is to bring us into a direct, personal touch with God. The mark of a decadent religions is that people become deeply engrossed in discussions about God, spending hours in lengthy, theological debate about the nature and character of God. As Martin Luther, aptly put it, "You that manifest a concern about religion, why don't you pray?""

I agree.

Why do I agree?

When you think about God and then you talk about what you think. God can be reduced in that person's life to an idea.

When you talk to God, He is a person. When you listen to/for God then you are in a relationship.

I don't believe God desires to be an idea in our lives. I believe He wants to be the most important and treasured relationship in our lives.

Prayer - conversation with God - has helped me to be in relationship with God. It is the place where I discover my doubts and I am persuaded to walk by faith instead. It is the place where I choose to not be "smart about it" and instead trust God sees better and thinks even more clearly than me. In conversation with God insights come that make me realize how uninformed I can be when left to my own "smarts". He is the Dad who sits down with me and teaches me something new.

Why do I bring this up? Because I long for people who know a lot about God to turn their attention towards wanting to be with God. I'm under the impression from the words I read in the Bible and being around people I love and respect: that being with God is a better choice than knowing as much as possible about God.

Is God drawing you to be with Him? If your honest answer to that is no, please ask Him why you believe that. If the honest answer to that is yes, please ask Him to help you respond to His invitation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Grieving is normal.

Do you know that its okay to be sad?

Do you know that its okay to take time to heal?

Grieving is normal. Life cycles.

Birth, growth, then death and then rebirth... This can happen in any part of our lives. In any relationship. In any circumstance. In any responsibility. It can be a small thing. It can be so big you think you wont survive it.

We avoid death. We avoid grieving through the death of roles and relationships. We try to ignore death. We try to skip death. But its only after death that new life comes.

So when a part of your life is dying. It's okay to grieve. It's okay to say this makes me sad. It's okay to ask God all your questions about it. It's okay to be in a place where the only way out is to walk through it by faith in God. It's not okay to lie to yourself and say everything is alive when it isn't yet. What is good is to trust in and place your hope in God and to move you through the grieving with Him. Based on my experience, we don't get to tell God how long that should take. In all of His wisdom and goodness, He decides.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Independence is overrated.

Dependence on God is underrated.

Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in all your ways (not just a few) acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take."