A Year of Yes

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

I recently watched the movie “Yes Day” with my kids. I was hesitant to watch it because I didn’t want them getting any ideas! The premise of the movie is that for one day the parents agree to say yes to everything their children ask. The parents set a few rules about how much money could be spent and a distance they could travel, but other than that the answer had to be yes.

The morning of the Yes Day, the kids enter the room with a poster board containing their 5 Big Asks that were to be revealed later. And the movie continues with a lot of foolishness and falls and family fun ending with a good lesson and maybe a tear or two shed. As I was watching this movie, I began to wonder if this is how we sometimes approach God.

We want a YES DAY from Him. And not just a YES DAY, but a YES LIFE. We want every request answered the way we want it and within our timeframe. I have a very active imagination so I imagine myself entering heaven with a bright green poster board, approaching God’s throne: “Here are my Big Asks for you, Lord. I want more money than I know what to do with. I want my kids to be smart and talented and get into a good college. I want my business to be booming! I want my marriage to be picture perfect. And can you please keep me healthy despite the trash I continue to consume everyday? Oh and I ask this in Jesus’ name, so now you have to do it.”

I don’t think any of us would really approach God like this. At least I hope not! But I wonder if he ever feels like we do? As a parent, there are times when I do. I have actually told my kids “Do not ask me for anything for the rest of the night!”. I don’t think God would say that; he’s far more patient than I am!

But as I thought more about this, I began to wonder what would happen if we gave a YES DAY to God? What if whatever Big Asks God had for us, we did them. What if when we saw the homeless person and felt the pull to buy them dinner, we did it? What if we prayed for the cashier at Walmart that is clearly having a bad day?

In September 2015, I was at a conference hosted by my church called “Say Yes”. If you haven’t been to a Women’s Conference, I highly recommend you try one out. It’s on my to do list for this year. But during the praise and worship, I clearly heard the voice of God tell me, specifically, He needed me to say yes. I can’t explain it but I could feel that whatever I would be saying yes to was going to be big.

Three months later, my husband asked if I would be interested in moving across the country to his hometown. I already knew the answer. I knew this was what God was telling me to say yes to. A few months after moving, my father in law/pastor asked me to start a Women’s Ministry at the church. I was terrified but I said yes.

I’m reminded of another woman in the Bible who knew what it was like to say yes. Mary, the mother of our Savior, was approached by an angel of the Lord at a very inconvenient time. She was preparing for her wedding to a carpenter and I’m sure she wasn’t expecting this interruption. But what began as an interruption became a life changing invitation.

Mary had questions. Oftentimes when we’re asked to do something for God we will have questions. Google has spoiled us! We can get the answer to any question in a matter of seconds. How tall is Jennifer Aniston? (She’s 5’5″, I know you wanted to know!) Thankfully, God is gracious and doesn’t want us in the dark. We don’t always get the full details but there are times when God tells us exactly what to do.

In the first chapter of Luke, Mary asks the angel how could she become the mother of the Messiah since she is a virgin. The angel tells her “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35).

Then Mary gave the answer I believe God desires from all of his children. “I am the Lord’s servant” (Luke 1:38). Now I don’t know anyone with a servant nor have I met a servant, but I do know that servants serve. Servants respond to the call of their master with yes.

One of our greatest examples in scriptures, the apostle Paul, who wrote almost half of the New Testament, opened many of his letters introducing himself as a “servant of Jesus Christ” (See Romans, Philippians, and Titus). And Paul was next level! He started churches, taught people how to live a God-centered life, proclaimed the gospel to the Gentiles, all this while being imprisoned, shipwrecked and victim to an occasional beating for doing these things to further the kingdom!

But like Mary, Paul knew the benefit of being a servant of God. They both knew that obedience was better than sacrifice. Servants say yes. Servants seek to please their master. Jesus himself came to serve. Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We don’t even have to give our lives for many, only to one. But I won’t lie to you. It’s becoming increasingly harder to say yes to the things of God. There are so many distractions that even 25 years ago weren’t an issue. We have to be even more deliberate about how we spend our time so we can give God our best yes.

Next week, I’ll continue this line of thinking with “Being Distracted from a Year of Yes”. There are things that the enemy uses, and not all of them are bad, that can cause us to miss out on the opportunity to give God a Year of Yes.

Building the Temple: Pt 3 Take Care to Prepare

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

My mom just flew in to visit the kids after Christmas. I had to buy some new sheets for the room she sleeps in because the old ones were well, old. Aside from this, I didn’t do much to prepare for her visit. Now, if I’m honest, I don’t ever take a lot of time preparing for her to come. She visits sooo much! And I’m glad.. she’s my kids’ best friend. She comes so much that she has a library card here!

But typically when someone comes to visit my home, I take some time preparing for them. Washing sheets and towels and probably doing extra cleaning that I don’t normally do, as if they’re going to under the shelf in my pantry! I stock up on groceries and coffee and try to have an idea of what to do for entertainment. If you’re like me, you make a list of everything that needs to get done before guests arrive. It becomes a part time job!

If we do all of this preparing for guests to stay in our homes for 3 or 4 days, how much more preparation should we make for the 365 days that each year brings? Now that the holiday season is winding down, we have a great opportunity to prepare our lives for the new year. Whether you have gigantic, almost impossible goals or smaller, more practical ones, I guarantee you will be more likely to succeed if you take some time to prepare.

It’s easy to make a list of what you’d like to see in your life, but the preparation comes in when you figure out HOW you will accomplish this list. “I want to read the Bible more” is a great goal for the new year, but it’s not enough? What time of day do you want to read? What books of the Bible will you read? How many verses will you read? How many chapters? I know it seems like a lot but if you don’t prepare for how you will carry out your plans, you are leaving your success up for chance.

When Solomon started building the temple, he not only followed the plans given to him by his father, David, he made other preparations. He gathered the people of Israel to seek God and gathered horses and chariots and all of the supplies necessary to complete the temple (2 Chronicles 1).

He wasn’t leaving the building of the temple of God up to chance. Look at what he said in 2 Chronicles 2:5. “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods.”

The temple that God has given us (our bodies) should be great. Our families should be great. Our finances should be great. Our relationships should be great. Our churches should be great. Why? Because our God is great! You don’t have to have all of the answers, because you can seek the God who has them. But you can take some time to prepare as best as you can and leave the rest to Him.

Happy New Year!

Building the Temple: Pt 2 Plan to Prosper

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

“Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s here! It’s finally here. My Christmas gift from my husband just came in the mail. Most people wouldn’t be excited to get the same gift every year but I like consistency!

For the past few years, I’ve been using the Christian Planner. This isn’t sponsored but people at the Christian Planner, feel free to hit me up! I use this planner because it allowed me to go from carrying around a to do journal, sermon note journal, budget journal and planner to having one place to keep all of these things.

So every year, this is what I ask my husband to get me for Christmas. There is nothing more sas tidying than opening a new, fresh, empty planner. I mean, there are but I just really love this planner!

Like the New Year, my new planner is a chance to start fresh. For many of us, the next few weeks are either going to be the groundwork for a great new future or the continuation of a stagnant, unproductive, mediocre life.

I know that sounds rough but it’s true. One of my favorite quotes says, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Some people take this to the extreme and try to plan out every detail of their day and life, making them a slave to their plans. You also have the person who makes no plan at all and proudly, albeit mistakenly, labels it as spontaneity.

Either side of the extreme is not beneficial and will have you further away from your goals than you would hope.

Did you know God was a planner? He told Jeremiah “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬)‬‬

And we are supposed to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1). If God has taken time to make plans for us, we should take time to make plans for our lives to steer them in the direction that gives him glory in every area of our lives.

Make sure you check out the podcast where we go a bit deeper into how you can plan for your best year!

Next week, we’ll talk about the next step: Take Care to Prepare.

Building the Temple: Pt 1 Pray Before You Plan

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. – 1 Chronicles 22:5

Once David was informed that he would not be the king to build the temple of the Lord, he did the next best thing: he began making preparations for it. The Bible says he gathered wood, gold, silver and gems so that when Solomon was old enough to take over, everything would be ready.

When the day comes for Solomon to take his position as king, it was time for to begin building. But he does something else first. HE PRAYS. He has the right job, the right supplies, the right crew and yet he still stops to inquire of the Lord.

I’ve mentioned before that I homeschool my kids. As a planner, I usually have their entire month planned out and I review each week on Monday to be sure I have what I need. But one thing I’m learning to never overlook is beginning our days with prayer. Especially if I’m teaching something new! “Lord, help me to teach equivalent fractions with clarity and minimal yelling. Amen.”

I think some of us reserve prayer for major situations or a crisis. But we’ve been instructed to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

God doesn’t place any stipulations on what we can bring to him. Big or small, he cares and wants to help us. As the New Year approaches, I want to face it like Solomon did when it was time to build the temple. I want to start with prayer.

Solomon asked God for wisdom in how to lead the people of Israel. He didn’t just pop up and make a bunch of new rules as king and then ask God to bless it. He asked God what he should do.

When you prepare for the new year (or new week or new day), ask God how you should make your goals and what they should be. Psalm37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Many people think this only means God will give you what you desire. But I also believe he will give you WHAT TO desire.

I’ve started the year with fasting and prayer every year since I became a believer in 2006. It’s a great way to quiet down from the holidays and reset for the new year. It’s a great way to hear from God about your life and to get direction. Like Solomon, it would do us good to take time to inquire of God before we barge into the throne room with a list.

Next week, we’ll talk about step to: Plan to Prosper.

Building the Temple

Listen to this blog post on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

David said, “My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the Lord should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it.” So David made extensive preparations before his death. – 1 Chronicles 22:5

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And yes, I sang that as I typed it! I really love Christmas time. For me, it’s the point in my year that signals it’s time to relax. I would say I go against the grain at this time of year that is usually spent bustling around to parties, stores and shows. A study in 2019 showed that 88% of respondents believed the holidays are the most stressful time of the year!

I have my yearly traditions of decorating, gift giving and fellowship just like most people, but I decided a long time go that I would not give into the belief that this time of year would be stressful. I’ve worked to be very intentional about centering our celebration on Jesus and his magnificent arrival into the world. That means saying no sometimes to the busyness that tries to creep in this time of year.

During this time of year, I usually spend some time reflecting on what has happened during the year. Goals I’ve completed and the ones that will carry over. Fun activities or trips with the family. I also spend some time starting to prepare for the next year. What do I want to see happen in my finances? My homeschool? My fitness? My faith?

One of my favorite quotes comes from Chris Voss in his book, Never Split the Difference. “When the pressure is on, you don’t rise to the occasion. You fall to the highest level of preparation.”

Every year, thousands of people write New Year’s Resolutions. I think what many people are writing is actually a wish list. By definition, when you make a resolution or resolve to do something, you are deciding firmly on a course of action. Resolutions should be more than just a cute list at the front of your planner. They should be accompanied by a plan of action. If you want to reach your goals, whatever they are, you have to prepare.

Every year, I prayerfully choose a word to guide my year. For 2021, my word was prepare. I wasn’t sure what this meant but knew from experience that God would show me throughout the year. This year, I committed to improving this blog, started a podcast and ran a marathon. I also have seen our homeschool blossom into a loving, calm, fulfilling environment that my kids are thriving in. But none of this happened accidentally. I began preparing for the change I wanted to see.

We are given a great example of this in the Bible. King David wanted to build a temple for the Lord but was told that his son, Solomon would be the one who would build the temple. Instead of being upset about what he couldn’t do, David began to pour himself into something he could do: make preparations for the building of the temple.

Over these last few weeks of 2021, I want to help you begin to think about where you’d like to see yourself this time next year by looking at the building of the temple in Jerusalem. The Bible tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Let 2022 be the year that you prepare your temple inside and out for what God wants to do through you.

Trust in the Lord

“I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.””
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬


In today’s world, it’s hard to know who to trust. One day, coffee is good for you. The next day, it causes cancer. One channel says it’s the end of the world. The other channel says everything is great.

I don’t know about you but this can get exhausting. I decided a long time ago that no matter what was going on, in the world, in politics, in my personal life, I was going to trust God. When our faith and trust is in God, it will put your mind at ease. You won’t be easily shaken by what you see or hear because you know God is in control and he is who you trust.

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

My First Marathon

Listen to this week’s blog on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

It is the day after my first marathon. I hobbled down the stairs, made a cup of coffee and grabbed my laptop. While I doubt I will ever forget the events that transpired yesterday, I decided I wanted to get them down while they were fresh.

They say finishing a marathon will change your and they, whoever they are, were not wrong. While I am not even a full day removed from the marathon, the experience definitely changed me.

I got to the race at about 6:15am and found the team I was running with, Team World Vision. It was nice to not be alone and I got to meet all of the online people I’d been interacting with for the past several months.

After a quick prayer and gathering, we headed to the start line. Oddly, I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was ready to run and pretty excited.

The gun went off and we ran. I felt fresh and ready. My training went ok considering all of the interruptions I had during it. Three funerals, an injury, and three colds (one of which I was still shaking). But I felt good!

The first few miles were quite pleasant. The weather seemed to be holding up well and the expected snow seemed to be a possible wrong prediction. But around mile 8, the heavens opened.

Despite the snow/sleet and the brutal winds, I was still feeling ok and was on pace. Miles 1-13 flew by and before I knew it I was at mile 18, which was the longest run I’d done in training. With a wet face and feet, I kept pushing forward.

I could tell that these 18 miles were much more difficult than my training run of the same distance. The snow lasted from about mile 8-17 and was accompanied by some very intense wind gusts. By 18 miles, I felt physically drained. The snow and wind beat at my body for almost 10 miles and I was feeling it.

Luckily, a wonderful man named Mohammed, whom I will NEVER EVER forget was running close by and we began talking and encouraging each other.

I stopped at about 18.5 miles to take some pebbles out of my shoe, but when I slid my ankle back into my shoe, my left calf seized up as tight as a rock! I had never gotten a cramp during running so this was new territory.

With tears forming in my eyes, I began to message my calf and told it “Loosen up, right now!”. I used my mom voice to tell it who was in charge. I stood up and continued to remind my leg of its responsibility to keep me moving.

The cramp left, but the exhaustion stayed. My legs felt decent but my feet felt like lead. I knew as long as I could keep my mind strong, I’d be ok.

My family called to find me and as I approached about 19 miles, they drove by. I smiled and yelled at the kids from the road and it really brightened up the atmosphere. It’s amazing what being around the right people can do! (Another blog for another time!)

I pressed on and a bit before the 20 mile mark, my family had parked and were waiting for me. I stopped to hug my kids and to tell my husband that I was struggling. To this point I was still on my target pace, but I could see the crew removing the 20 mile tracking strip that’s used to update spectators of where there runner is. I literally had to run around the person removing it!

When I got to mile 21, the proverbial wheels fell off. I stopped to use the bathroom, hoping the change would bring on a second wind. It did not.

At this point, it crossed my mind to quit. I’d seen a lot of people drop out back when the weather got rough. It would be understandable. These running conditions were not ideal. I’d like to say that I fought hard the whole way through. I was mentally tough and nothing was going to break me down. But truthfully, I considered it.

As I sat in the port-a-potty, I had a decision to make. I can keep going or I can give up. But truthfully, I had already decided I was going to finish. I decided when I signed up for the marathon. I decided when I did the training. I decided when I pre-purchased the 26.2 sticker for my car!

I came out of the bathroom and kept going. I was doing ok, walking/running with my new friend. We talked about our running, families and got excited as we could see the capitol building in the near distance, which was the finish.

Feeling confident, I kept moving. Around mile 23, disaster knocked on my door again. And I let it in. The race crew was beginning to pick up the cones. One of the guys came to us to let us know that they needed to pick up the cones and mile markers so we needed to stay on the sidewalk to finish.

I’d been using the cones to guide me to the finish, and as a directionally challenged person, I knew if I had to read a map to get pack, I was toast. I burst into tears. Like, my dog just died tears.

Mohammed immediately checked on me. He thought I was hurt or something bad had happened. through my sobs I explained that I was scared I wouldn’t know the way to finish. He reassured me that we would follow the map and finish the last few miles together.

I wiped my tears and thanked God for sending me someone to help me when I was struggling. I apologized to Mohammed for falling apart and let him know I was ok!

My family called me at around 25 miles because the race was no longer tracking me since I would not make the cut off. I assured them I was doing fine and was on my way. The race crew had radioed in that we were coming so they left the finish line up.

At this point, I knew it was a good time to open the letter my daughter gave me days before the race. “See you at the finish line!”

I picked up my pace a bit and as I turned the corner onto the street where the finish line was, I could see my family. Tears welled up in my eyes. I knew I was almost done.

The workers who were still there cheered me on like I was running for gold! As my feet crossed the finish line, the floodgates opened and I couldn’t contain my emotions. I’d finished a marathon!

It was harder than I thought and I’d ran slower than I’d hoped, but I finished. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give up.

At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t run a mile and a when I finally could, it took me 15 minutes. I’d come so far and felt so proud. Since I didn’t finish the course by the cutoff time, I got a DQ by my name in the results. It stands for Disqualified. But for me, it means Didn’t Quit.

I felt like the psalmist in Psalm 27. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:13‬)

I learned so much from running 26.2 miles about me, life and what I hope to give in the time I have on this earth. I’m excited to see what’s next!

Joy in the Lord

“Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

‬It’s the Christmas season. I know we haven’t gotten to Thanksgiving yet but ads, commercials and stores are definitely telling us it’s time. The loud, colorful commercials want us to believe that we will find joy this season by getting or giving the right gift.

But we will only truly be joyful when we set our hearts to obey God’s word and seek him. He is the source of our joy and contentment.

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.

Run YOUR Race

Head over to my podcast for 5 ways to RUN YOUR RACE!! Seeking God, Loving Others.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In 48 hours, I’ll be running my first marathon. I can’t believe that after almost 8 months of training it’s time. It’s time to run my race. My training has been interrupted more times than I care to remember but I’ve made it through.

I’ve learned so much over the past few months about both running and life. Many of the blog posts I write were worked out during a run on the trails.

As I’ve been preparing for this race, I’ve come across Hebrews 12:1 quite a bit. In fact, the planner I use has a monthly verse and this month’s verse was Hebrews 12:1! Coincidence? I don’t think so.

This verse is such a powerful reminder that each of us has our own race to run that God has marked out for us. But many of us are too busy looking at other people’s races and envying their results.

I’ve found it so freeing actually running my own race. Both physically and spiritually. I use a running app that is basically like Facebook but for runners. We can our friends’ run and comment and like but I’ve heard many people say they feel bad about their own run after seeing others’ stats.

When we compare ourselves to others, it actually slows us down in our own race. We end up doing too much too soon or losing focus on what God wants us to do.

If I look at and envy the free time my friend has while her kids are at school, I won’t be content in homeschooling my children even though it’s the race God has marked for me.

If I envy the lavish vacation someone on Facebook posts, I won’t be content with sticking to the financial goals God has marked out for my family.

When we run the race that God has marked out for us in our homes, business, career or family, we can trust that he has everything figured out.

I know a few people who have a running coach. If ever I win the lottery, that will be one of my splurges. A running coach can create a plan tailored specific to your goals. You don’t have to think about what workout you need to do or how far you need to run; you just look at your plan. And if something comes up that interferes with your training, your running coaches adjusts things and moves them around.

Now, a running coach is not in my budget (yet) but I do have access to someone who has created a tailored plan for my life. I don’t have to worry about what city to live in or what job to take, I can just look at his plan. I don’t have to know how long it will take for my blog to get noticed or my book to get published. I can look at his plan and know that “he who began a good work will carry it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

When something interferes with my race, he can move things around so that “all things are working together for my good” (Romana 8:28). If you haven’t caught on, I’m talking about God! God has every detail of my life, and yours, mapped out and when we stay in our lane, stay in his word and stay in his presence, we WILL run our race and run it well.

Wisdom for Everyday

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s important to read the Bible. But you can read the Bible in more than one way. It can be read as history, literature, geography, even entertainment! Some of those Old Testament stories had more drama than some reality shows!

But it is when we read the Bible as a living document that is applicable to everyday life that we really gain the benefits God’s word offers. We can apply his grace that is sufficient to everyday problems. We can access his peace that surpasses all understanding when trying times come.

God’s word is meant to come alive as we read it. And in turn, we too come alive with hope, wisdom and direction.

Find more inspiration and hopefully a few laughs on my podcast Seeking God, Loving Others.