All posts by Celeste Barnard

Broken Dreams

Broken Dreams

What do you do when your dreams are broken?

When we are starting out in life, we have dreams- dreams for us and dreams for those we love. We dream about how we ‘think’ life will turn out. We have our dream college, while in college we ponder about our dream job, once out in the workforce (with sometimes our less than dream job) we have more dreams. We dream about our future spouse and what our future will hold. Once married with kids, we have dreams for our kids. We see them thriving and loving God and following a certain path.

None of us would ever dream about the loss of a marriage or the adult-child that has made decisions that were definitely not part of our dreams. None of us would have imagined our broken financial situation or perhaps that loved one with their addictions.

But no matter how perfectly we try to set these dreams up or do all the right things, man has free will. And something I always have to remind myself of, I am not in control.

So many questions….

What do we do with our broken dreams? How can we not only cope, but still choose to thrive in the midst of our broken places? How did we get here? How did God allow this to happen? Can our broken places be used for anything? Did we make a mistake?

When dreams for us or our loved ones feel broken and shattered, fear creeps in. Fear tries to tell us what we could have done differently or looking back, what we should have done. This fear will try to get you to question everything, racking your brain, losing sleep, and asking all the whys. And it will rob you of your peace and joy.

Sometimes we think of worst-case scenarios and honestly, sometimes we just need to go there. What’s the worst-case scenario in your situation? I promise you that even if that fear came to pass, that God would give you what you needed to get through.

I don’t know why you’re walking through what you’re walking through, but I do know this- He redeems everything, in His perfect timing He restores, and He uses these things that cause us our greatest pain to draw us closer to Him.

What Can God Give us in the Midst of our Broken Dreams?:

  • He gives perspective: What if God is wanting to take these broken places and instead of giving you all the answers, He wants to give you perspective? What if instead of asking “Why?” or “How did we get here?”, you ask, “Lord, what do you want to do through this?” Every trial, every battle, and every situation has the ability to make us stronger and prepare us for the next battle. “Use it Lord…”
  • He gives peace: It’s easy to have peace when everything is going our way. But the real challenge is to trust Him to give you supernatural peace when our biggest fears are a reality. My friend recently walked through something where her adult son was in the hospital for over a week. I can tell you that her peace during those times of uncertainty was nothing short of supernatural. God’s peace carried her. I know it did. And it can carry you too.
  • He gives purpose: Even though it’s hard to see how a bad situation can ever have purpose, it can. That’s what God does. He gives us purpose in our pain. He uses that thing that the enemy tried to use for our downfall, and turns it around and does something beautiful through it.

When Joseph was thrown into a pit and sold as a slave, one could never have imagined how God could use that situation for good. In the natural, it looked hopeless. That is God’s specialty!  Because of what happened to him, God was able to set him up in a place of leadership and he was not only able to save his family, but he saved many. Only God.

Genesis 50:20 (NIV)- You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Growing up, I used to wonder why I had to suffer so much pain. I look back now and see how God is using those things I had to walk through to help other people. And perhaps that will be the story of your pain as well. Although you would have never wished for this situation in a million years, God can use it. He can send people your way that are walking through similar pain so that you can minister and bring comfort to them. Nothing is wasted. Nothing.

In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good. –Max Lucado

  • He gives His presence: Here’s the truth- you might never get the answers to all of your questions. Sigh. I know. But what I also know is that if you choose to lean in to Him during this time, He will show up and make His presence known. He’s good like that. Some of my hardest battles made for some of my most intimate times with God.

Psalms 34:18 (NLT)- The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Sometimes, out of our desperation and pain, we feel like God owes us answers. He owes us nothing- and yet chooses to give us everything. In my own life, as I’ve walked through various trials and battles, I’ve had to make peace with the simple fact that I can ask God anything I want- but that doesn’t mean I’ll get all the answers I want. I still choose to praise Him regardless. In the good and the bad, He is still worthy to be praised and I surrender to Him control over my life…. Not because I understand everything, but ultimately, because I trust Him.

When Job lost everything, this was his response in Job 13:15– “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.”

When King Nebuchadnezzar was about to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace, this was their response in Daniel 3:17-18- 17 “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

We know He is able, but even if not, I will praise Him.

I’m not sure what you’re walking through today, but I can tell you this- He can give you perspective, peace, purpose, and most comforting of all, His presence.

Lord, You are able to use anything! You can take the darkest situation and turn it around and shine powerfully through it. We surrender this to You. Show us what You want us to do through it. What is our part? Lord, we choose to worship You regardless of our situation… You are still good, even when we don’t understand or have all the answers. We ask that You would show up and show off and that we would see miracles! With men, it might look impossible, but with You, ALL things are possible! Thank-You Lord, that You give us the strength to walk through any situation. There is NOTHING that is too difficult for You… nothing. You are faithful to complete the work that You have started in our lives and in the lives of those we love. Not my will, but Your will be done. In Jesus name, amen.

Are You Under Attack?

We need to discuss those attacks on your life. We need to discuss those attacks on my life. The enemy has come out of the gates and strong in January. I mean strong. Ugh.

Let’s talk.

I used to not be much of a dog person. True story. That is until I met a Pug named Latte, and my hardened-towards-dogs-heart quickly turned to mush from the moment I held him. Over the past 11 ½ years, Latte has taught me, us, what it means to forgive quickly and how to love unconditionally, no matter what. He has been a faithful companion and was with our little family through some very hard things. And we will be forever grateful for the honor to have loved him well. Last Friday night was just a normal night. I was pulling out of my driveway like I had for the past 2 and ½ years when I felt a ‘thump-thump’. I thought I ran over some bricks, as we have many bricks in this particular area. When I got out to check my tire, I saw my precious Pug. (I will spare you the details, as I’ve already shared them on my personal Facebook page and I don’t want to get distracted from the point of this post.) We lost Latte that night and our lives are forever changed because of that accident.

I realized right away that the enemy was trying to use this accident to distract me. He wanted me to stay in the pain of sadness and regret. I started hearing, “If you hadn’t….” “If only you…..” then your precious fur baby would still be here. And I had to fight the images that were scrolling through my head about how he died. Even though I knew it was an accident, the enemy was having a field day with this, hoping to fully throw me off course. Because if he could get me down and keep me down, he wins.

I not only recognized this as an attack, I also had a few friends message me with confirmation that the enemy was trying to detour and distract me.

One friend wrote, “I felt like the Holy Spirit was showing me the strategy of the enemy in this. That he was using the image and “replaying” of the way the accident happened- to try to guilt and distract you from the call on your life right now. He can’t get you to give it up so he is just trying to distract you from it. I will continue to pray that you tell him to shut up!” (Thank you Karla).

God has put some things on my heart and has been renewing my passion for ministering to women. And as many of you know, my husband and I have a non-profit, Big Red’s Ranch. We are so blessed to be able to minister to kids and families throughout the year. The enemy has already been trying to distract us in regards to some changes in the ministry, but we know we must keep pressing on- not for us, but for all of the people that will be impacted through our ministry.

Sunday morning- one week after my Pug passed away, I went out to feed the animals like I do every morning at 7am. I heard a very loud barking noise, it sounded like a big dog and it sounded very close. I peered around the corner and saw a large German Shepherd frantically barking. Again, I will spare the details, but it was a long morning. He was in the area with our 4 goats. We think he was someone’s dog, got loose, and swam through the water up to our property. He killed 3 out of our 4 goats. One of those goats was Chester, my first goat ever. For over 2 years I have worked very hard to take care of these goats, feed and care for them, and get them to trust me. And within a couple of hours, they were gone. We’ve lived on this ranch for 2 ½ years and this was just a freak thing- nothing like this has ever happened. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve dealt with our share of loss living here. Raccoons, bobcats, and vultures. We’ve lost more chickens and bunnies than I care to recount. But this is different. I know it is in my spirit.

The enemy is trying to distract.

BE ON ALERT//DON’T GET DISTRACTED

Now let’s talk about you. That attack on your life has little to do with what is happening (what is seen) and much more to do with the future. And not just your future, but others as well. The enemy knows that if he can bring out his best weapons against us, the things that hit closest to home, we might easily become distracted and paralyzed. Be on alert to those areas that are closest to your heart. Family, marriage, close relationships, hurts and pain- the enemy is on the lookout, seeking to distract and destroy our lives. John 10:10a says the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. We need to be alert because we are in a spiritual battle. 1 Peter 5:8 says Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

But we don’t need to walk in fear. In Isaiah 54:17 the Bible says that no weapon formed against us will prosper and in 1 Corinthians 15:57 & Romans 8:37 we learn that we have the victory!

After our goats had been attacked, our staff member Bianca wrote on Facebook: “What the enemy can’t destroy, he’ll distract.”

He knows if he can get you distracted, he wins. It doesn’t just affect you.

There are people in your life that you are called to cross paths with. God has people for you to minister to, to love on, reach out to, and to encourage. If you stay down and get distracted, you will miss it. Please don’t misunderstand me- we all have things that make us sad or break our heart, all of us. John 6:33 tells us that in this world we will have trouble. And we all need to allow ourselves however much time to heal. And we know healing is a process. But here’s the good news: The second half of John 6:33 tells us to take heart because He has overcome the world.

There is a spiritual battle going on. The enemy would love to keep you down. Don’t stay there!

  • Stay alert
  • Don’t get distracted
  • Recognize the enemy’s attacks
  • Use God’s Word to fight the enemy
  • Don’t stay down
  • Know that you are stronger than you think

Fight with God’s Word: Ephesians 6:12-13  12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Submit your will to God: James 4:7- Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

(Prayer from Philippians 3:13-14) Lord God, help me to focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which You, through Christ Jesus, is calling each of us to. Amen.

Some additional Resources for you:

Havilah Cunnington wrote an incredible book that I highly recommend. It’s called Stronger Than the Struggle, Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle. (<—Click here)

Here’s a powerful talk (youtube) Havilah Cinnington did on Stronger than the Struggle. (<—–Click here)

My friend Amy Martinez wrote a book called Becoming a Victory Girl (<——-Click here)

 

Bye 2017, Hello 2018

Do you feel that? It’s a New Year bursting on the scene. I feel it. I smell it. Everything within wants to follow it. New found hope is about to bust out and I think i like it!

Many of you are so incredibly over the hard-fought battles of 2017. You are ready for your fresh start. Before we sweep 2017 under the rug, can we stop for a moment and allow it to be our teacher first? It would be a mistake to not allow our struggles to teach us a lesson or two that we can bring into 2018- like a trophy of grace. My personal challenge to you as we close this chapter would be to ask God what He wants to teach you from 2017. We lift up our sleeves and see the scars that no one else sees, but we know they’re there. Let’s carry with us the truths from them- that God has brought us through another year. Some of us feel weary from battle- we drag our war-torn bodies over the finish line, thirsty for a fresh start. If that’s you, my bruised friend, my hope for you is that God will whisper ever so gently… that His mercies are new… fresh. That He alone can speak into those places that feel weary and battered, and that He will remind you and I once again, that He has fresh living water, ready to pour it out on all who come to Him. And that we can enter a place of rest when we enter His presence.

Matthew 11:28 (NLT)- Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)- “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

I have encountered many skeptical hearts on social media lately- they call themselves the rebels. I hear them chant, “No new words for the new year, forget the resolutions, no goal-setting.” And I get it. I understand their disillusioned hearts- the heart that has been burned and discouraged from all the many years of goal-setting and broken dreams. But I still hear His call… His call to dream, His call to new beginnings, His call to fresh vision…. And it whispers into my tired heart, Come away with Me and dream for my mercies are new every morning.. and I am not only intrigued by His whispers, I am hungry for more.

Call them whatever you want- dreams, visions, goals, resolutions- I call it a hope for a new year with some direction to spur me on to more with Him. But in order to not become disenfranchised, I need to make peace with 2017.

My Mantra: Let it go and shake it off

Dear 2017,

I write this to make peace with you so I can move forward and dream in 2018. I cannot carry into my new year any baggage of the previous year. As the popular Frozen song shouts, I’m letting go. I forgive those who have hurt me. I forgive those who either willingly or perhaps unknowingly have offended or hurt me. I let it go and shake it off. I will allow 2017 to be my greatest of teachers. Those things that are unfinished from 2017, I shake it off. I did would I could and whatever I didn’t do, I didn’t do. Instead of beating myself over the head about it, I make peace with it because I am not perfect, and my plan in moving forward is to not carry it with me into the new year. It’s time for a fresh start. I will dream new dreams and have new visions for the New Year. I also carry with me all of the incredible memories I did make in 2017. I will not forget all the things that God did in my life, my family, and our ministry… so many testimonies of God’s faithfulness! So good-bye 2017. Thank you for it all. Now, let’s get to this business of a New Year! 2018- I’m ready for you! Let’s do this!!

Sincerely, forever hopeful, always a dreamer…. Celeste

NEW YEAR, NEW WORD:

Every year I pray about my word for the new year. It’s a word that helps guide me and gives me vision and focus throughout the year. Some people ask me how to get their word. I just start praying about it sometime in December, I see what my previous year looked like, and I ask the Lord to stir something in me for the new year. This was probably the quickest I’ve ever received my word. I wasn’t even in a time of prayer, but was sitting at my desk, working on Christmas cards, and in my spirit I heard RESET. I’m not even joking- I quickly scribbled it down on the back of my address labels and said to myself, “Hmmm… that was strange.” And it stayed with me like scented perfume. I couldn’t shake it. I just knew it, that it was lingering for a reason. And there you have it- my word. I am ready for a reset in my prayer life (Spiritual disciplines), a reset in my physical body (hello treadmill and weights and healthier eating), a reset in my writing goals (already printed my editorial calendar so I can have some focus), a reset in my priorities, and finally, a reset in my home (January will be purge month and I couldn’t be more excited).  #reset #oneword2018

Praying for you, that God will show you a word or words that will help guide and direct you in the new year! If you already have your word, I would love to hear it!!

END OF THE YEAR RESOURCES!!!

Finally, I have found some wonderful resources to help you reflect on the year and start getting excited about the new year. I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I did!

Kristin Bonin’s Dream It, Do it Printables

Lara Casey’s Power Sheets

Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide

Amy Stockstill’s Year in Review

ibloom 10 End of the Year Reflection Questions

My Review of Lara Casey’s PowerSheets-

Just wanted to end this year saying THANK-YOU so much for sticking with me and being an incredible support and encouragement as I have wanted this space to be a place of growth and encouragement for YOU!!! I am looking forward to growing together in 2018!! Happy New Year friends!! Be Blessed!!

 

Keep First Things First, Choose Peace

“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” –Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I could feel it starting. The season of shopping and crowds and parties and crowded stores and more traffic was upon me. I woke up after Thanksgiving break and felt anxious as I wrote out my to-do list. It was a mixture of emotions really. All day prior I had allowed myself to soak in the Christmas season as I played Christmas music I don’t want to just get through each day. I want to truly enjoy this Christmas season. I so desire to feel God’s peace regardless of my circumstances. I want to be all in- present and accounted for! I want to savor these memories- even in the hustle and the busy- because let’s be real, there are just things we need to do. I believe we can have peace even in the midst of busy. It’s easy to have peace when everything is going well and you aren’t feeling overwhelmed. But to carry a peace in the midst of the hustle- that can only come from God. You can’t order it or will it to happen or pretend to have peace until you do- it can only happen if you spend time with Him. No shortcuts.

First things first. Waking up, lighting that candle, brewing that coffee, putting the phone in a drawer to avoid distractions, and sitting in that favorite chair and picking a book in the bible you want to go through this month (and perhaps a little journaling too)…….

To finish reading this article, please click here at Peacefully Imperfect where I was honored to share this piece! ——> Peacefully Imperfect, Celeste Barnard

The Christmas Story- Week 1

Greetings December! I decided to do something a little different this year on my blog for the Christmas month of December. Each Monday I will read the Christmas Story and discuss via video. I will also post other pertinent information regarding the passage and maybe something to go along with the reading like a music video or perhaps a poem.

Journey with me, as we read together the details surrounding the birth of our Savior and pull out nuggets for our every day lives! (**Please note: this is in no way an exhaustive study!)

Here’s our reading schedule:

December 4th- Matthew 1:18-25

December 11th- Matthew 2:1-12

December 18th- Luke 1:26-38

December 25th- Luke 2:1-20

Here’s the video for Week 1

Don’t be afraid… God is with you!

The reading today is focused more on Joseph’s point of view. Today we’ll close this segment with a song from Michael Card called Joseph’s Song.

Fearless Women

I’d like to start by saying welcome to my new friends on here from Northwood Church!! Last week I was honored to speak for their Women’s Retreat and then on Sunday morning. The theme for the retreat was Fearless. I was reminded afresh of God’s faithfulness to his people. I met so many fearless women- women that spend their days caring for loved ones, making quilts for those in need, baking cookies to raise money to give coats for those in need, giving out journals that others might be blessed, and living to be a blessing to others with their time and resources. I went there to serve, as all speakers should, and left feeling overwhelmed by God’s great love and faithfulness.

When I was riding in the elevator, God spoke to me. He reminded me of how He restores all things. When I was living in Palm Springs, CA. I was broken, hurting, and lost. I was working at the Westin Mission Hills Resort at the time. Then, after I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I moved to Dallas, Texas and went to Bible College at Christ for the Nations, where I also got a job at the Westin Galleria. And here I was, some 22 years later, speaking, sharing my stories…. and they booked me a room at the Westin. It was no coincidence.

It was God sweetly reminding me, “Dear child, I use everything, in my Kingdom nothing is wasted. I redeem and restore. I make all things new. Surrender to me all those places and spaces, and watch Me do what only I can do.” Thank you Lord.

Although you really need to hear the talk in full to get the full message, here’s some notes from my talk.

6 Practical ways we can fight our fears and go from being fearful to faithful (Friday Night):

1) Fight your fears by praying.

2) Fight your fears by doing it afraid.

3) Fight your fears by meditating on God’s Word.

4) Fight your fears by worshiping God.

5) Fight your fears by surrendering to God.

6) Fight your fears by journaling.

Fearless Women (Saturday):

1) Fearless Women embrace their season.

2) Fearless Women don’t compare.

3) Fearless Women get their strength from Him.

4) Fearless Women are okay with saying no.

5) Fearless Women trust that God will get them through.

6) Fearless Women don’t dread.

Obviously there’s WAY more to my talks than this! This is just a sample. To hear more, you can either come to one of my talks or feel free to book me! I am starting to take bookings for 2018! I love to speak to women’s groups, whether that be brunches or lunches, or dinners, or moms groups, or retreats! {See Speaking tab on website}.

Thank you Northwood Church for your hospitality, your outpouring of love to one another (and to me), and your detail to excellence! It was in incredible weekend and God was and is faithful!!

Here’s a link to the Sunday Morning message on discipleship. I share a little bit of my testimony towards the end.

Discipleship Message

Here’s a link to all of the pictures I posted on facebook! 

New Book- Brave Dreams

 

 

I am super excited to announce that my new book, Brave Dreams, is out! I am so blessed by everyone’s support as I’ve launched this book. If you’re on Facebook, or you’ve heard me speak the past couple of weeks, you’ve probably already heard me talk about my new book. But I wanted to make sure I let my email friends know about it just in case you’re not on Facebook or you missed my Facebook posts! Also, a little fun fact about my book- my daughter, who is a senior in high school, designed the cover (front & back). It was so fun to work with her on this!

Here’s an excerpt from the back cover:

For the woman who wonders if dreams are just for other people. Do you ever feel like dreams are for other people? Do you ever wonder if it’s selfish to dream? Does God really want us to pursue our dreams? Shouldn’t we just be happy with what we have and where we’re at? This book answers those questions with my own personal stories as well as biblical examples. If you’ve been hiding dreams in your heart- know that these dreams are not only okay, but they are necessary! Dreams are for us, but they’re not ‘just’ for us. When God puts a dream on our heart, you can be sure that there’s a Kingdom purpose behind it.

John 10:10b- I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

The more we begin to believe that God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do, the more encouragement and hope we can bring to those around us through our dreams. Discouragement is running rampant. We need to believe again that God wants to use His people to do great and mighty acts. No competition, just a mighty group of women taking their place and helping others to do the same.

Psalm 20:4-5 4 May He grant your hearts desires and make all your plans succeed. 5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory and raise a victory banner in the name of our God. May the Lord answer all your prayers.

Brave Dreams… because it takes bravery to tell others about your dreams and even more bravery to pursue them.

Here’s the video of my announcement:

https://www.facebook.com/celeste.barnard/videos/10156920767779569/?l=2426422212586196480

Here’s the video of the drawing for a free book:

https://www.facebook.com/celeste.barnard/videos/10156992534804569/?l=194826542537505053

If you would like a copy, it is now available on Amazon!

Click here —–> Brave Dreams!!

Lastly, if you’ve read the book, it would mean so much if you could leave an Amazon Review!! When you leave a review, it actually makes the book more seen by others. I would love for anyone who needs to read this book to be able to easily find it. And of course the more good reviews, the more likely someone will be to buy it!

Leave your review here ——-> Brave Dreams Amazon Review

It is my hearts desire that we would begin to dream again, realizing that God has so much more for us! And know that He will use our dreams to be a blessing to others. May this book be the beginning of many Brave Dreams and may God begin to speak to those areas that have laid dormant.

Isaiah 43:19- For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
 

Words for Your Weekend #2

 

Video Part 1

Video part 2

Take Courage by Kristene DiMarco

From Video:

 

 

 

Pit Card Game

Fun at Estate Sale!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Baggie home-made Ice-Cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIP Quill- We miss you so much already!!

Psalms 31:24- Be strong and let your heart take courage all you who wait for the Lord.

Psalms 10:17- Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their hearts. You will listen carefully.

…..Courage dear heart….. – C.S. Lewis

Words for Your Weekend #1

No, I didn’t make a mistake- you’re seeing correctly! I meant to get this out last weekend! I am starting something brand new!! For everyone that has stuck with me this far when I have been pretty inconsistent with my blog, I just want to say a HUGE thank-you!!! You have been so very patient and kind.

Words for Your Weekend will come out every Saturday. It’s just like a newsletter but in video format. I will update you with all the things, give announcements, and share a word of encouragement! I will also put the links under the videos for you to find stuff! Oh, and normally videos will not be this long! It’s just my first one so I had much to say!!

Hope you are encouraged!!

Video Part 1

In this video below, I have a special announcement at the end!

Video Part 2

Also…. how can I pray for YOU? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Fearless Retreat in Houston

MOPS Brownsville

ChannelMom Interview

Lone Star Pacesetters Duathlon 2017

Music: Kim Walker By My Side // Jesus Culture Love Has a Name // Hillsong Wonder

If you decide to order your groceries from Wal-Mart, use this code for a $10- coupon! $10.00 Coupon

Bible Study- Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

My new Instagram series started this week! To follow, go to Instagram-spiritualpassion

Thank you again for following along on this crazy journey!! Have a blessed week! I’ll see you back here Saturday!!

2 Cor. 12:9- Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

Do something that scares you a little- Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

 

Live Interview on ChannelMom

channelmom ksm interview

So excited to announce I’ll be on ChannelMom TODAY for a live interview with my beautiful friend at Karla Swanigan Ministries! I’m especially excited about the topics- Mommy Fears and Dreams!!

I’ll also be giving away 1 Reflections Devotional and 1 Brave Journal!!

Click the link below and make sure to tune in today!!

CLICK HERE: Overcoming mommy Fears & Dreams

Live Interview with guest host Karla Swanigan!

Believing in Other People’s Dreams

“God will put you in a community of dreamers: people who support the dream even if it takes a while for it to happen. He will surround you with a unique tribe of God-following, dream-chasing, stargazing, Promised Land dwellers.”
Havilah Cunnington, Eat Pray Hustle; Dream Chasing God’s Way.

I was speaking at a women’s conference in Colorado. We had stepped down from our position as Children’s Pastors almost a year prior at that point. We were trusting God for the impossible. We had a dream- a big dream. I remember not wanting to write part 3 of my talk until right before the women’s retreat because I didn’t want to share my story on dreams until I could wrap it up with a pretty bow- you know, the answered dream part.

But I waited…. And God didn’t answer our prayers….

To read the rest of this article, go to God-Sized Dreams!

You Should Read Me

You Should Read Me

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott

Confession: I used to be a terrible reader. It would take me forever to read a book. I was a great book ‘buyer’, almost a collector of sorts. I was even pretty good at starting books. That was my strong suit. But my attention span was limited, and if it didn’t really pull me in, well then, I was out.

Times have changed. I still feel like I take longer than most to read a book. But the good news is that I actually make myself finish a book before I will reward myself with reading another (unless it’s just completely boring or horrible and then I give myself permission to be out). I’ve noticed the more I read, the better of a reader I become. And the more I read, the more I enjoy the process and journey of learning, growing, and getting lost in a good story. My writing also benefits from reading a lot of books.

Something else I’ve learned is that I can NOT read in bed at night. This is a big no-no for me. I will be asleep in 4 minutes flat. True story. Over the past couple of years I’ve been blessed to be on multiple book launch teams. Sometimes the publishers house will send you the book and other times they send it through a pdf. It’s been so fun reading some incredible books lately, I just had to share a few of my favorites!

Some of my favorite reads from the past year:


Memoir-

All the Pretty Things by Edie Wadsworth

All the Pretty Things“I don’t know how old I was the night the trailer burned down, or if the rumor was true that Daddy was the one who set it on fire.”

For a long time, Edie thought she had escaped. It started in an Appalachian trailer park, where a young girl dreamed of becoming a doctor. But every day, Edie woke up to her reality:a poverty-stricken world full of alcohol and violence, where getting out seemed impossible. She taught herself to drive a stick shift truck at twelve years oldso she could get her drunk daddy home from the bar.  She spent Saturdays at Brushy Mountain prison visiting her incarcerated cousin.  She watched adults eat while her stomach gnawed and then there was torching of the family trailer, where she dug through the ashes to try to salvage her most prized possession–her Tammy Wynette album.

And at the center of it all was her charismatic daddy. She never knew when he would show up but when he did he was usually drunk; she learned the hard way that she couldn’t count on him to protect her.  So she told herself it didn’t matter.  All she wanted was to make him proud. Against all odds, Edie “made doctor,” achieving everything that had once seemed beyond her reach. Only, it was too late, because her Daddy died a year before she graduated medical school. She split the cost of his funeral with her sister.

When her past finally caught up with her, it was all too much so she did what her Daddy would have done–she set it all on fire.
It would take her whole life burning down once again for Edie to be finally able to face the truth about herself, her family, and her relationship with God. Readers of The Glass Castle will treasure this refreshing and raw redemption story, a memoir for anyone who has ever hungered for home, forgiveness, and the safe embrace of a father’s love.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna Le Baron (to be released March 21st)

The Polygamist's DaughterMy father had thirteen wives and more than fifty children . . .
This is the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. Ervil’s criminal activity kept Anna and her siblings constantly on the run from the FBI. Often starving, the children lived in a perpetual state of fear―and despite their numbers, Anna always felt alone. Would she ever find a place she truly belonged? Would she ever be anything other than the polygamist’s daughter?

Filled with murder, fear, and betrayal, The Polygamist’s Daughter is the harrowing, heart-wrenching story of a fatherless girl and her unwavering search for love, faith, and a place to call home.

The Con-Man’s Daughter by Candace Curry (to be released May 16th)

The Con Man's DaughterWhen Candice Curry was a little girl, she put her hand in her father’s back pocket so that she wouldn’t get lost in large crowds. Little did she know that as she followed him, he was plying his trade: conning people. Her family drove stolen cars, lived in stolen houses, and shopped with stolen credit cards. Drug use was regular, as were visits from strange people who were trying to track her father down. Though she eventually cut ties with her father, Candice could not ignore the scars that were left from her childhood.

This is her story, one steeped in secrets but one that, ultimately, led her to a place of forgiveness and freedom. As she struggles to understand her criminal father, as well as her own imperfect life, Candice comes to realize that we are not defined by our circumstances but rather by how we react to those circumstances. She’s found peace in the knowledge that God doesn’t love us because we’re perfect–but because he is.

Learning to Ride Again by Amanda Stephens

Learning to RideOn a lazy Saturday in autumn, a vintage bicycle was rescued from the cobwebs and adopted by an eager young couple with plans of romantic, post-restoration rides and life adventures. Mere months later, tragedy took the life of the husband days after their first anniversary, leaving the bike and anticipated future in pieces. The twenty-seven-year-old newlywed faced the harsh reality of a world without her husband, void of dreams yet still with the promise of hope. From debut author, Amanda Stephens, Learning to Ride Again is a powerfully poetic memoir that explores the painful shock and wondrous awe of learning to live beyond unexpected sorrow. From the night of the tragic call in Texas, to the dreamy hills of California for a cathartic goodbye, this deeply heartfelt story records the intensely personal yet universal experience: A portrait of love, loss and faith.

Christian Living-

Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie

We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits

Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.

Love Lives Here by Maria Goff (to be released March 22nd)

Love Lives HereThis is a book about discovering what we really need.

There are a lot of second-best options, but we weren’t made to live a second-best life. Finding what we actually need is different than what we are often offered. There are many books full of opinions, steps and programs. This isn’t one of them. This is about craving the things that matter. Things that don’t just work, but last.

In a life that may seem to be all fun and games with an endless supply of balloons, author Maria Goff shows how this life is also lived with intentionality, passionate purpose, and a little planning—all of which make a life rich in legacy. But she had to figure out the help she needed first in order to live the beautiful life God wanted for her and wants for us.

Love Lives Here is a collection of stories that include the ways Maria and her husband, Bob, navigated family their way, without clear instructions or a road map. It’s about what they learned to make their lives meaningful and whimsical and how they created a space for their family to grow together while they reached outward.

Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

Nothing to ProveNo More Pretending. No More Performing. No More Fighting to Prove Yourself. Are you trying your best to measure up—yet you still feel as if you’re losing ground? You are not alone.

Jennie Allen understands the daily struggle so many of us face with the fear that we are not enough. And she invites us into a different experience, one in which our souls overflow with contentment and joy. In Nothing to Prove she calls us to…

* Find freedom from self-induced pressure by admitting we’re not enough—but Jesus is.
* Admit our greatest needs and watch them be filled by the only One who can meet them.
* Make it our goal to know and love Jesus, then watch what He does in and through us.

As you wade into the refreshing truth of the more-than-enough life Jesus offers, you’ll experience the joyous freedom that comes to those who are determined to discover what God can do through a soul completely in love with Him.

Discover the answer to your soul-deep thirst

Too many of us have bought into the lie that our cravings will be satisfied if we are enough and if we have enough. So we chase image, answers, things, and people—and we wonder all the while, Why am I still thirsty?

My single goal with this book is to lead your thirsty soul to the only source of lasting fulfillment: Jesus. He is the living water, a limitless supply that will not only quench your thirst but will fill you and then come pouring out of you into a thirsty world.

Because of Him, you are loved. You are known. You can take a deep breath.
Because you have nothing to prove.
—Jennie

For Real by Kerrie Oles

For RealIn a culture that values shiny images, and perfect selfies; there’s a whole mess of us that are aching for another way to live: Real.

In For Real, author and sought-after speaker, Kerrie Oles helps us understand how to navigate through the turbulent seas of this life with great faith, and there was no better story to be the back-drop of her book; than the story of Job. Through her  humorous style, and spiritual wisdom, she will lead you through a journey that offers encouragement, and life-transforming insights to how God will reveal His faithfulness and build our faith through each and every trial.

How do we take an age old story, and make it real to us?

Kerrie Oles, does just that. Job’s story is all of our story. We suffer in this life, but inside each of us is an overcomer, that can grow from hurtful experiences, and be equipped and empowered to help others. And, along the way, to our destination, it will build great faith!

Come with us. Get on board, let’s journey to being-For Real.

Devotional-

I Am by Michele Cushatt

I AmFrom the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:

Am I enough?

The pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?

We fear the answer is “No.”

When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.

With raw personal stories, rock-solid biblical teaching, and radical truths on which to rebuild your life, I Am will help you:

  • End the barrage of negative self-talk with an empowering new narrative.
  • Refuse to ride the roller-coaster of others’ opinions and start believing what God’s says about you.
  • Stop agonizing over past regrets and failures and make peace with God’s sovereign plan for your life.
  • Leave insecurity behind as you exchange temporary fixes for an identity established on God’s unchanging affection.

I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.

Happy Reading!!!

**Disclaimer: There are many good books that I have read. This is by no means a comprehensive and exhaustive list! If you are an author and have a book out, please note that I could not list every single book out there, but just picking a few! Thank you so much for understanding!

To Dream or Not To Dream

 

to dream or not to dream

Allow me to introduce myself. I am originally from Northern California. I was raised in a single-family home with just my brother and myself. The environment around me pretty much crushed any possible dreaming that could have come from a young girl’s heart. I grew up in a toxic home. Perhaps you can relate? My mother was an alcoholic, and although no one ever said dreams are for fools, it was much implied. Life felt heavy, and my goal was to survive and get out of the house. Not sure that classified as a dream.

To read the full article, go to God-Sized Dreams…

Prayer Journal

Spending time with God through prayer and His Word is a prerequisite for having a great life and fulfilling your purpose. -Joyce Meyer
Prayer Journal
 

I’ve had several requests to share my prayer journal. This is my first year to make a prayer journal like this, but I think I’m going to start this at the beginning of each year.  I’ve had many (oh, so many) journals over the past 20 years, and I’ve had a few in those first few years of my young Christian walk that were more organized like this. I love the idea of making a new prayer journal for each year. I’ve included some photos and links of what I’ve done, and at the end I have included a video I made so you can see it! Have a blessed day!

 

Goals, schedule, routine

What you see when you first open prayer journal.

 

table of contents

Prayer for spousePrayer for Spouse

prayer for sons and daughters

Prayer for son

Prayer for son & daughter

prayer pocket 2

back of pocket

soak

Soak- Bible study method <—Click here to find more details about the SOAK method from Good Morning Girls

God SaysYou Say… God Says..

I am prayersI Am

Here’s the video: My prayer Journal    

If you have a prayer journal or want to start one, I would love to hear about it!

Here’s my board on Pinterest for a lot of great ideas for your prayer journal- Pinterest Prayer Journals

Know Your Season

 

Know Your Season

……..I found myself worried. I thought my writing career could possibly be over. I know, I know … dramatic much?! I will never forget the conversation I had with my husband as we were preparing to leave. I shared my fears and how I had searched online and couldn’t find ANY Christian writers where we were moving to, and there definitely weren’t any Christian writers’ conferences. I asked if maybe we were making a mistake. His words have stuck with me to this day…….

To read this blog in its entirety, go to: Pink Gateway Women

Or Gateway Church

 

Favorite Things

Have you ever watched Oprah’s Favorite Things? Well, let me just say, this is NOT Oprah’s Favorite Things…lol. But, I think this is way more beneficial for you! Many of you have expressed the desire to really grow more in this new year. I am here to share with you some of my personal favorites with links to make them easy for you to find! I am a forever student and love to live life growing- in my craft, in my relationships, and more than anything, in my walk with the Lord. Let’s not waste any time, let’s dive right in!

Podcasts

Christian Growth-

Elevation Church (Steven Furtick)

Joyce Meyers

Havilah Cunnington

Celeste Barnard Be Your Best Brave

Karla Swanigan

Writing/Brand/Story-

The Portfolio Life (Jeff Goins)

This is Your Best Life (Michael Hyatt)

Author Audience (Shelley Hitz)

Restory Show (Mary DeMuth)

Hope*Writers

 Building a Story Brand (Donald Miller)

Phone Apps

Joyce Meyer 

SheReadsTruth

Elevation Church

First5

Bethel

Living Proof Ministries (Beth Moore)

Favorite albums to write to:

Bethel Without Words

Without Words: Synesthesia Bethel Music

 Worship Music I Love

(Btw….PLEASE recommend some new worship music in the comments! I’m needing some new stuff!)

 Psalms 91 Shane & Shane

Brave New World Bethel Music

Have it All Bethel Music

Housefires 11

Hillsong United Empires

If these resources have been helpful, please share with your friends and sign-up on the top right corner of this blog to get these emails delivered straight to your email box so you don’t miss a thing! ♥

Coming soon- My favorite Reads!

**Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and that if I have missed your podcast, or music, or app. PLEASE know that these are just a few of my favorites! I could have spent all day listing all of the apps, music, and podcasts I enjoy!! If you have a favorite go-to app, book, podcast, or worship music, please share the love in the comments!

 

My Word- 2017

one-word-2017

Every year I get a word that is ‘my word’ for the year. It’s like having a theme-something specific you know the Lord wants you to focus on. It has helped me over the years to have a specific word because my word serves as a guide when life gets overwhelming and I’m struggling to figure out if this thing I ‘could’ do is lining up with my season and what I feel like God wants me to focus on.

Here’s some I found from the past few years:

2014- Authentic Faith

2015- Digging In & Dreaming

2016- Learn

And as I prayed about this year’s word I thought it was intimacy, but then after further study and prayer, I have my word for 2017….Drum roll please……

Relationships. That’s right, relationships. That’s the direction I feel like the Lord is leading me for 2017. Growing closer to God, with my spouse, and my kids. Growing in relationships with our Big Red family- so that we feel more like a family. Growing in relationships with my friends so that I learn how to walk out what it looks like to get closer- like being okay with no make-up days, when I’m overwhelmed days, and overall just being more true to who I am with others and not worrying about if I look tired (because maybe I am) or if I look put together or whatever it is. Authentic and transparent. I want that. Sometimes I stay safe and hidden because it feels easier and it’s less work (I said it)- but I crave closeness. I know that’s how God has wired us.

Hebrews 10:24-25- 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Here’s 3 ways I hope to put my word into action for 2017:

  1. Invest. I always say people before projects but I don’t always live it. People are the most important thing and I want my life to reflect that. I want to invest in the lives of others around me, because I know the investment is worth it. Investing in others produces a closeness with others, a bond, trust, and it just feels good. Sometimes we get so busy and distracted with ‘life’ we often find that we don’t have time for others… but what if we go into 2017 with the mindset that people are life? Same with my kids- I want to be intentional about investing in them this year, not putting everything else the world deems as important in front of them. And my daughter is going to be a senior next year! I won’t get this time back.
  2. Intentional. I want to be intentional about making the phone calls, stopping by for the visit, inviting others over for the coffee, or sitting down and doing something with my kids. I want to ask the Lord each morning, “How can I be intentional today and put others first?” I want to stop making excuses because I‘ve gotten stuck in my comfort zone and set out to connect with those around me.
  3. Initiate. Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and saw pictures of ladies just having fun together and thought to yourself, “I wish I had a few girlfriends to go see a movie with or have coffee with”? If we want to have better relationships in the new year we need to learn to initiate. We need to stop sitting around waiting for someone to invite us and be the one doing the inviting. Initiate and ask someone to join you for a fun outing. I know it can feel awkward or it might be a stretch outside your comfort zone, but you’ll be so glad you did! You and I need to reach out and initiate that get-together or coffee night, friends game night, family outing, or date night. And if you’ve gotten in a rut at home, initiate a game or movie night or maybe have a night where the kids pick a meal and then they get to cook it. Initiate change!

I know I’m not going to get it right 100% of the time. I’m going to have my days where I just have to follow through on deadlines and get things done. But I also realize that any steps towards bettering the relationships in my life and making them a priority are far better than no steps at all. And I believe that God will honor that and meet me in that place.

I encourage you this year to invest in others, be intentional in putting others first (especially your time with God), and be the one to initiate some things instead of just waiting for things to happen. There will be no greater joy for me than to get to the end of 2017 and know that I have put first things first. When we get to the end of our lives, we don’t get to take any of our things or accolades with us. The most important things that I believe will last for eternity are our relationship with God and our relationships with each other.

Here’s to a brand New Year!

What about you? What’s your word for 2017? I would love to hear it!

At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.” Barbara Bush, Reflections: Life After the White House

 

 

 

The Truth About Mommy Anger

The Truth About Mommy Anger

……..I remember when I had a newborn and a two-year old. I was sleep deprived and my newborn, baby Noah, was colicky for the first 6 months. I didn’t have any family close by to just give me a couple of hours of respite. My husband worked 6 days a week and had many meetings in the evenings. I felt like I was drowning with no life preserver in sight. I found myself losing my temper more and more frequently……..

 

To finish reading the full article, go to: RGV Moms Blog

 

 

Cultivating Gratitude All Year Long

 

cultivating-gratitude-2

As cooler temps are coming, one of my favorite holidays is also right around the corner, Thanksgiving. There’s something warm and familiar as families all over gather together, surrounded by favorite dishes such as turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, warm rolls, pumpkin pie, and many other delicious eats. The highways are crowded, as many travel from afar to visit loved ones on this special day. And many families, full bellies and all, flock to the couches afterwards, and enjoy the football game together. It is truly a day to be thankful, indeed.

Being thankful is something we can practice and teach our kids all year long.

To read the the full article, go to: Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog

When Your Kid Doesn’t Get Picked

copy-of-7-lunchbox-mistakes-300x200

It’s a new school year. For many of our kids, there will be tryouts for either for sports or a certain club: choir, dance, perhaps even the school play. What all of these students have in common is that some will make it in their chosen activity… and some will not.

This is the grueling part of parenting— when our child gets their hopes up about being picked, only to find out they are not one of the “chosen ones.” Talk about learning how to walk your child through heartbreak and rejection!

I remember it like it was yesterday……..

To finish reading the full article, go to: Rio Grande Valley Moms Blog