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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Beauty Breakthrough

Have you ever picked up a book and knew right then it would change your world?

Well... I've picked up tons of books over the years and many have added depth and richness to my life. Some have even drawn me closer to Jesus and made me love Him more.

But until a few weeks ago, I couldn't say a book changed my world.

I'll share the title in a minute. But first, the big deal...

I have three beautiful daughters who I love with all my heart. Princesses I spend almost every waking moment with being both mom and teacher.

And I love it.

But my oldest and I have always looked at the world through different glasses and never quite found a way to meet in the middle.

That dissonance has reared its ugly head lately and left both of us hurting. And I’ve been unable to just walk away and hope it gets better this time.

Please tell me I'm not the only parent who tried to tuck something under the rug because you had no idea what to do with it!

Enter my best friend. Jen loves my girls dearly and me too. She's also the one to listen to me rant and then tell me I need to go have a talk with Jesus. Kind of a "you need a come to Jesus moment right now" sort of thing.

But last week, she didn't tell me to go talk with Jesus. Instead, she poured out His words until they overflowed my heart.

They stung at first. REALLY stung as she pointed to my aching heart and said I had a big part to play in that pain. As in you need to stop living with guilt and using it as a smoke screen to the real problem.


After about an hour, I was in tears. Something I'm not given to do where anyone can hear me. But Jen was right. And I needed a long stay in my heavenly Father's arms to see the past through His eyes, repent, and see my sins and my children's nailed to the cross.

Nailed there paid in full.

I got up from the floor of my bedroom and couldn't wait to see what God would do next, how He was going to answer my prayers for healing in my relationship with my oldest daughter.

Then I woke up the next morning and felt like a teen on my first date. Shy. Awkward. Wondering what in the world I was supposed to do.

God kept flashing the cover of a book in my brain and started walking my feet down to my oldest princess's room. There I stood in the doorway and asked if she'd like join me in a new beauty routine I'd started from this amazing book: Beauty Secrets of the Bible.

She said yes. And we had a totally normal, girly spa session that opened the door to another long talk. A talk that ended with lots of tears and true repentance.

And my daughter's assurance that I'd not lost her heart, but gained it.

Now there's so much more to this story that a blog couldn't contain. But I'll let my wise daughter's words sum it up....

After we read the ninth day of beauty devotions in Beauty Secrets of the Bible, my oldest looked me in the eye and smiled, saying, "I'm glad you got that book. It's helping me stop thinking I'm not beautiful and see that I am beautiful in Jesus."

We would have never had this ah-ha moment and the breakthroughs before if it hadn't been for God speaking through a best friend, a beauty secret, and an amazing book.

Want in on some of the beauty secrets that led to a bonding time with my daughter? Check out Ginger's website and some sneak peeks from her book, Beauty Secrets of the Bible:

It may be that, like me, you need some time in your heavenly Father’s arms to sort out fact from fallacy and see yourself and your children as beautiful.

I pray you’ll make that time. And give yourself a treat that nudges you down that road. (hint: Ginger’s book is awesome!)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Evidences of Grace

Six years ago today I almost died.

So did my youngest daughter. After a complicated delivery, I watched her struggle to breathe and shake from a crashing blood sugar.

Today she never slows down, and the only time she can't breathe is when she's laughing so hard she's making the rest of us gasp for air.

There’s another prevalent memory from six years ago…as the people prepping me for surgery administered too much anesthesia and I watched my heart rate slow to almost nothing, I whispered a desperate prayer to just see my baby.

I now see her every day, and I'll never tire of it.

Because looking in her eyes is a very physical evidence of grace. I almost lost her before I held her. But today we baked her first cake and played princess games.

This is a far better way to spend an October day!

But now I have to go... a little princess still wants to snuggle and play dress up. And eat cake! ;-)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

If you're looking for a great Christmas read or an awesome Christmas gift for the readers in your life, Cindy Woodsmall's newest release, The Sound of Sleigh Bells, is perfect!

Cindy's books took me on a journey into a different world, a journey that cost me a few night's sleep. But it was worth it! The writing is so rich and beautiful and the characters so real, it's like spending the early morning hours with good friends huddled around a cozy fire.

So whether you're knee deep in snow, or water as the case is in Atlanta, snuggle up with a quilt and a yummy beverage and enjoy a taste of Christmas joy with The Sound of Sleigh Bells.

Leave a comment and you could be the winner of an early Christmas present! ;-)

Story Summary:

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?
Cover art:

Author Bio:

Cindy Woodsmall is the author of When the Heart Cries, When the Morning Comes, and The New York Times Best-Seller When the Soul Mends. Her ability to authentically capture the heart of her characters comes from her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families. A mother of three sons and two daughters-in-law, Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband of thirty-one years.

I need to add to be FTC compliant that this book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Lessons From the Dojo

If you haven't already heard, my family and I take martial arts classes and love it! After a grueling class on technique last week, I sat down to write one of the devotionals I've mentioned to you all before.

Since you've seen my broken boards and many of you have seen the ankle braces and finger braces and bruises... I figured you all might like to see one of the many great things we've gained from martial arts.

Oh, you haven't seen the board pic? Well... here it is. ;-) And yes, I broke it all by my self. ;-)

And here's the devotional. Enjoy!

We love Tao Hsieh Wu Shu! I could do without the running before almost every class, but what we learn and how we’ve grown is worth the difficulty of running.

We’ve broken boards~ big, 1 inch thick, oak-like wood. Okay, maybe not oak, but they weren’t balsa either. ;-)

We’ve learned kicks and stances and punches and…most of all we’ve learned discipline, respect, and that technique matters.

And after a very focused class on technique, it dawned on me that technique matters in our walk with the Lord too.

No, not the check-off-boxes-and–feel-good kind of technique. But the basics: praise, confession, all-out honesty before the Lord, and reverence. Forgiving others. Loving well.

Maybe you guys have all that down with a snap. But me? Well, I’ve been a believer for twenty-four years and I’m still learning and growing and realizing how much more I have to learn.

In martial arts, if my technique is wrong when I kick, I break my foot. If it’s wrong when I fall, I go boom on the floor and hurt for a long time.

But with the Lord, if my “technique” is wrong, it might not show up right away. It will show up though. Maybe months later when prayer has grown rote or I hold a grudge or there’s a lot of bickering going on at my house.

That’s when I stop and get down on my knees asking why. The Lord has always been gracious to show me too. And to welcome me back with open arms.

My family adores and highly respects our Soke, our martial arts leader. He’s tough but clear that he’s tough on us to make us better and keep us safe.

Even more, my family and I love Jesus. And He’s tough too because He knows all the amazing things He’s created us for and knows exactly how to prepare us. He’s also loving and compassionate and just and so very much more.

So join me in brushing up on our “techniques” with the Lord. Let’s jump in to cheer each other on too. We can do that a million unique ways: lend a hand when there's a need, offer a kind word or a written prayer, call to say hi…they may seem “little” but they’re not.

They have more power than someone breaking concrete blocks.
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