Thursday, May 30, 2013

Learning to Dance in the Rain

It’s raining. It’s pouring…

I look outside the window, and the weather seems to match my mood. It is gray and dreary. Rain is pouring down. Lightning is flashing. Thunder is booming. And I just stand there wishing that the sun would come out.

How often do I do that? How often do I wish away what is right in front of me?

I look at the past and see nothing but the heartbreaks and struggles or look at the future and wish and hope instead of living in the present.

Living in the present…being present in the now…

So as I am looking out at the rain pouring down, I think about how as a child I used to love to dance in the rain. I started wondering when I forgot the good things that the rain brings with it…the flowers, the crops in the field, the vegetables and herbs growing in the garden…

As I think about these things, I start feeling grateful…

My mood brightens…

I smile…

And then I go outside and I dance in the rain.

It is all a matter of perspective. Are you looking at the negative or the positive? Do you feel grateful for what you have, for those little gifts that God has given? Or are you taking it all for granted?

The key to learning to dance in the rain is learning to be grateful for what you have in the now.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

10 Inspiring Craft Rooms

This post is a little late today. I have been suffering from a migraine so I decided to make it easy on myself. I just moved and in the house I have room for a craft room. As I am working on the craft room I have been looking for some inspiration. Here are 10 of my favorite craft rooms from around the web.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Procrastination: The Thief of Time

Well, I did it again. I had three months to finish the class.  I started well and intended to have it done within the first month, but it is the week before I have to have it finished and I am barely half way through the class. The ladies’ retreat at church is this weekend, and I’m rushing to get the class finished so that I can enjoy the retreat.

I kept putting it off. Someone would ask me to do something and instead of saying “no” like I knew I should I would say “yes” thinking that I had plenty of time to get the class over with. Or I would be sick and looking at the computer screen for a long period of time gives me headaches. Or… Or… Or…

There was always some excuse that I used to procrastinate. I was simply putting off what I knew I had to do and it was stealing time from me…

Time that I could have used to get done what I needed to do…

 Time that I could have used to do something for the Lord…

Time that I could have used to live my life…

One of my biggest downfalls lately is time management…I am constantly putting off until tomorrow what I should be doing today. Then I spend precious time anxious and cranky as I rush to catch up.

But…we are not promised tomorrow… and what I do today is important. It is my life, and I need to live it. I can’t keep putting it off until tomorrow because as we have been shown a lot lately there might not be a tomorrow.

So what can I do? How can I change? How do I take control of my life and manage my time so that I don’t waste another minute?

Here is my plan for overcoming the procrastination disorder that fills my life:

1)     Focus on my relationship with Christ

Focusing on my relationship with Christ is important to my time management skills because I have found that when I am focused on Him then everything else seems to just fall into place. I know that it sounds simplistic, but it is true. When I make Him my priority, I find that I am more peaceful and that I handle things better. I know what He is bringing into my life and what I need to say “no” to. 

2)    The Pomodoro Technique for Productivity (

Ann Voskamp ( has blogged about the Pomodoro Technique, and it seems so simple to use. You divide your day into 25 minute segments with a 5 minute break between each segment and a 15 to 30 minute break every 4 segments.  You create a list at the beginning of the day of things you want to accomplish that day. Start with the activities that have highest priority and work your way down the list. Anyway visit their website for more details. 

3)    Use Evernote

Okay. In order to keep track of my activities for the Pomodoro Technique, I have started using Evernote. What I love about Evernote is that I have the program on my computer and an app for my phone. I can sync them so whatever I type up on my computer will end up on my phone and whatever I type on my phone will end up on my computer.  I did find one drawback. If I do a complete overhaul of my notes on either it shows up on the other as a conflict instead an edit.

Do you all struggle with managing your time and procrastinating? If not, what is your favorite tip for managing your time?

God Bless You,


Monday, May 27, 2013


I want to say thank you all the men and women who have served our country in the military and fought for our freedoms. I found this video on YouTube and thought it  a fitting tribute. Thank you and God bless you!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book of the Week: Five Day in Skye by Carla Laureano

Book of the Week: Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano

James MacDonald is a world famous chef with several restaurants throughout England, a TV cooking show, and several cookbooks. Now he wants to focus on rebuilding his father’s hotel in Scotland. When his brother calls in Andrea Sullivan’s company which specializes in hospitality consulting, James is reluctant until he meets Andrea.

After defending herself from a client, Andrea Sullivan gives up her Tahiti vacation and goes to Scotland to meet the famous chef James MacDonald to assess his hotel and get his signature on a contract for her company. But she is not prepared for James MacDonald. As James introduces her to his beloved Scotland, she is not prepared for the feelings, desires, and attraction she feels toward him. She is still struggling with past hurts, and the feelings that James evokes scares her.

I don’t know if it is the slight trace of Scottish blood that runs through me, but I have yet to read a story based in Scotland that I haven’t enjoyed. Yet it was more than the Scottish setting though that drew me in. Carla Laureano’s debut novel transported me to a new world. Her writing drew me in with vivid detail about her characters and settings so that I felt like I was there. I couldn’t put it down after I started reading. It is definitely a must read and I look forward to reading other books by Carla Laureano.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Single Girl Summer Bucket List

My Single Girl Summer Bucket List

I have been seeing a lot of summer bucket lists for families and children, and so of course I had to come up with one for myself.
1)       Go to the zoo
2)    Go camping
3)     Take a roadtrip
4)     Make plans to go on a short term mission trip in the fall
5)     Throw a 4th of July party
6)     Make ice cream
7)     Do a random act of kindness once a week
8)      Attend a workshop at Home Depot or Lowe’s
9)     Go hiking
10)     Go fishing
11)      Go horseback riding
12)    Create my own melted crayon artwork
13)     Try a new recipe every week
14)     Upcycle one piece of found furniture
15)     Build an indoor fort with my niece & nephew
16)     Paint a picture
17)     Restyle some of my clothes
18)     Get a new hairstyle
19)     Have a spa day at home
20)   Learn more about photography
21)    Go to a free outdoor concert
22)  Make something out of pallets
23)   Volunteer at the local crisis pregnancy center or with a local charitable organization
24)  Bake cookies for the neighbors
25)  Milk a cow
26)   Buy a nice camera
27)   Take a sign language class
28)   Brush up on my Spanish
29)   Watch the sunset
30)    Watch the sunrise
31)     Have coffee or lunch with a friend every week
32)   Go to a Royal’s ballgame
33)    Go to the Chiefs’ training camp
34)   Dance in the rain
35)   Memorize Psalm 119
36)    Go for photo walks every week
37)    Read 2 new books every week
38)    Make plans to build a tiny house and start building
39)    Learn more about herbs, healing & beauty
40)   Get a tattoo
41)     Have an outdoor movie night with family and friends
42)  Make something out of barnwood
43)   Learn about metal embossing/stamping
44)   Make something out of old windows
45)   Make a dress out of bandanas

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Replacing Thoughts of Comparison

There was a time a few years ago when I was teaching infants that I was struggling and I was comparing myself with the other teacher in the classroom. In order to replace the negative thoughts that I was having…

“I can’t do this.”

“I told my boss I wasn’t cut for teaching infants full time.”

…I started saying things (out loud) like “I’m just as good as so-and-so” or “I’m better at this than…” Well, my conversations with myself  were overheard by one of my co-workers and these comments were relayed back to my other co-workers. Even though my comments were positive about me I was still comparing myself to others…only I was trying to convince myself that I was just as good if not better than they were.

I learned the lesson the hard way that there are right and wrong ways to replace thoughts of negativity and comparison. I came across to my co-workers as arrogant and superior when the truth was that I was feeling inferior.

At one time or another most of us (if not all of us) struggle with negative thinking and comparing ourselves to other people,  and in my last blog, I shared with you what can be done to change the tendency to be negative and compare ourselves to others. (The 4 R’s: Recognize, Repent, Replace, & Repair) The one of these steps that I find the hardest is replacing the thoughts of comparison.

How do you take the thoughts that seem to just randomly pop into your head and block them or stop them altogether?  Well, here is what I have been doing when I need to replace negative thoughts.

1)   Pray

Our first line of defense against negative thinking should always be prayer. Ask the Lord to remove these thoughts and pray out loud. The Lord will remove these thoughts when asked. I was sitting at home one evening, and I felt like I was under attack. I had negative thoughts about myself just flooding my mind and I was struggling to find any reason to move forward. I had opened my Bible and was trying to read, but nothing was getting through the thoughts. I started praying out loud, pleading with God to take away these thoughts, when I just felt flooded with His peace and I suddenly couldn’t remember what I was thinking about, at least not the exact thoughts that were attacking me. I recommend praying out loud because Satan and his minions do not read thoughts.

2)   Read Scripture

Spending time everyday reading the Bible is important, but when you feel down on yourself or are comparing yourself to others you need to saturate yourself in the Word. Look up verses that remind you that how much God loves you. One of my favorite books in the Bible to read is the Song of Solomon. (Yes, I know how racy it is.) To me, it is a reminder of how passionately we are loved by God. Some of my other favorite places to read when I find myself comparing to others are Psalms 139; Proverbs 31; Psalm 103; and Matthew 5:13-16. d by God. Some of my other favorite places to read when I find myself com

3)   Memorize Scripture

What if you are out shopping or at work and you don’t have your Bible with you? (Which if you are like me, isn’t very likely because I have a copy on my phone.) Then start quoting Scripture out loud or in your head. Memorization is one way that you can make sure that you always have your Bible with you. Here are some great articles I have found on Scripture memorization:

4)   My Love Letters from Jesus Journal

As I have shared in a previous blog, I keep a journal where I write down “Love Letters” from Jesus. They are usually Bible verses that I paraphrase and make them personal. For more information on how to make one of your own, click here

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

Okay! I admit it!

I have been suffering from envy! In the past two months, two of my cousins have gotten married (for the second time). One of them, well, his new wife is going to have a baby. A baby! Do you know how long I have longed for a baby?

Marriage… A baby… Both of these are things that I have desired for as long as I can remember.

Now the comparison starts…Well, they both have managed to find someone to marry, not once, but twice. I’m 37 years old, and I can’t find anyone who wants to spend their life with me. What’s wrong with me? Why am I still alone?  Well, why would anyone want to marry me?

Then all the imperfections… all of my faults start flooding my mind…
·         I have terrible allergies and it seems like I’m always sick.
·         I’m a terrible housekeeper.
·         I’m impatient.
·         I’m overweight.
·         And so on and so on.
The list continues and before you know it…all I can see are the imperfections…all I can see is what is wrong with me and my life.

There is no joy and the light is overshadowed…all because I started comparing my worst to someone else’s best.

I don’t want to live like this…so what can I do to change it? What can I do to get the joy back?

1)      Recognize
The first thing that I need to do is RECOGNIZE that what I am doing is a sin. It goes back to the Ten Commandments… “Do not covet.” (Deuteronomy 6: ) When I am envious of someone else, it is because I am looking at what they have and saying that I want that for myself and that is coveting. Pure and simple! It is wrong, and I need to recognize it for what it is…SIN!

2)      Repent
The second thing that I need to do is REPENT. Repentance simply means agreeing with God that what I am doing is wrong, asking for His forgiveness (because when I am coveting I am saying to God that what He has given me is not enough), and then turning away from the sin.

3)      Replace
The third step in all of this is REPLACING the negative thoughts or behavior with something else...God’s Word. By reading through His promises and drawing closer to God, you can replace those feelings of envy with joy. By making Him the focus instead of what you don’t have, you stop the comparisons. By reading what He has to say about you and who you are in Him, you realize that your life may not be perfect, but you are where He wants you to be.

4)      Repair
The fourth thing that you can do is REPAIR any of the damage that you might have done to the relationship that you have with the person (or people) who you feel envious of. In my case, well, I haven’t actually seen or talked to either of my cousins in a few months (long before I knew that either of them were getting married) so there is really very little damage to repair, but I might consider sending them a gift or a card to let them know that I am happy for them.

I am going to be honest. This isn’t an easy process…First off, no one wants to recognize that they are in the wrong. Secondly, it is easy to tell someone you are sorry, but it is more difficult to make it right and in many cases you can’t make it right. The relationship will never be the same. At times, the relationships could become stronger, but at other times the relationships could be severely damaged by what was done. Thirdly, it takes work and self-discipline to replace that wrong behavior or thoughts. It is not something that is just going to disappear overnight. It takes time and commitment and staying close to the Lord.

Pray for me on this journey…As I will be praying for you on your journey.

God Bless You!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Thieves of Life

Reading some of the books that I have been reading in the last few weeks have got me to thinking about living an abundant life and what stops us from living an abundant life. I have identified a few "thieves" of life in my own life that stop me from enjoying the life that I have and I want to share them with you. Maybe you will recognize some of these in your own life. I will also be expanding on them in the coming weeks.

Comparison: The thief of joy
Procrastination: The thief of time
Greed: The thief of generosity
Fear: The thief of faith
Worry: The thief of trust
Pride: The thief of humility
Legalism: The thief of grace

Do you long for an abundant life? The life that God has planned for you? Do you feel like something is holding you back? Maybe you are like me and know that something is holding you back and wonder what it is that is keeping you from living your God-sized dream.

Friday, May 17, 2013

WEEK OF BOOKS: Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits

In her usual forthright style, Joyce Meyer addresses this issue of habits in her book Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits. Starting with what habits are she addresses the benefits and challenges of both making new habits and breaking bad habits. She gives seven points that you need to do in order to create new habits. Then she goes on to address 14 new behaviors that need to be created in order to change any other habits. The habits include spending time with God, being decisive, taking care of your health, having faith, being excellent, being responsible, being generous, slowing down, being confident, adding value to others, and being self-controlled or disciplined.

One of the things that I love about Joyce Meyer’s books is that she is clear and forthright about the topics she discusses. She offers practical advice and does it in a way that is relatable and Biblical, and this book is no exception. Her writing is well-structured and precise. She motivates you to change your habits and shows you a clear path to working on it. I think the best piece of advice that I read though was to focus on one habit I want to change at a time because I am one of those people who decides to change several things at once and then gets burned out and quits. So if you are ready to start changing your habits and are unsure where to start, read this book.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WEEK OF BOOKS: Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer

In the midst of WWII, two unlikely friends reunite and discover the plans that the Lord has for their lives. When Dr. Micah Hatcher receives a letter from Lydia Eldredge’s father, his world is turned upside down. Lydia had been a nurse with Micah at Schofield Station Hospital in Oahu. Now Micah is providing medical services to immigrants in New York, and Lydia is raising a son in Boston. When the sanctuary that she is trying to provide for her son is threatened, her father takes matters into his own hands and brings Micah back into Lydia’s life. When they are reunited, they become wrapped up in each other’s lives. With the two of them living separate lives so far apart and in a time of war, will their time together ever come? Or will secrets and lies keep them apart?

 I really enjoyed the book. It gave me a glimpse into what life was like in a time when the world was turned upside down by war. It was a time when the future was uncertain for everyone. The characters were full of compassion for the lost and even worked to help them when it meant the possibility of great loss to their own lives. You see the cares and challenges of the times. It is a well written story with a strong message of God's love.

Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of nineteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at for more information.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Week of Books: You're Made for a God-Sized Dream

Do you have a dream in your heart? Do you feel like giving up on that dream? Then this book is for you. In You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream, Holley becomes your guide in discovering that dream and then taking the first steps to making that dream come true. She discusses how we all have a dream(s) that is given to us by God and how those dreams change and grow through the years when we walk closely with the Lord. She defines success as being obedient to the Lord and discusses the obstacles that you are going to face while on the journey of your dream. She offers encouragement and examples of the dreams of others as well as her own dreams. She takes you through questions and exercises to get you thinking and discovering things about yourself and your God-sized dream.

Once I started reading I had a hard time stopping. Holley uses humor and hospitality to guide you in this book. As you are reading it you feel like you are sitting down with a friend or mentor and discussing the dreams in your heart. She uses examples from her own life which made me feel like I was friend of hers and that we were sitting down together and drinking tea. (She uses coffee a lot in the book, but I’m not a coffee drinker.) I read through the entire book once and I can’t wait to read through it again at a slower pace and taking the time to really answer the questions.

Holley Gerth

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already Amazing andYou're Made for a God-Sized Dream. She's also cofounder of (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Holley lives with her husband, Mark, in the South. Hang out with her at


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

WEEK OF BOOKS: Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn

Echoes is the third book in the Glenbrooke series by Robin Jones Gunn. In this third book, Robin first takes us to Nashville where we meet Lauren Phillips. Lauren is one of those delightful characters who seems to be accident prone…from a bad perm to taking a flight to Fairbanks, Alaska instead of Burbank, California…Her life is a series of mishaps which in the end all turn out for the best because through one of her mishaps she begins a correspondence with KC. KC is a journalist who is currently traveling the world and who looks forward to every new email from Lauren…but when he finally gets up the nerve to ask her to meet him, will she?

I loved this book. It is another great read when you just want to relax and retreat for a little while. With each mishap Lauren got into I found myself shaking my head and thinking, “This could only happen to Lauren.” I felt like I was reading a letter from a friend who was always having crazy things happen to them. Robin Jones Gunn is a wonderful storyteller with a great sense of humor. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Monday, May 13, 2013

WEEK OF BOOKS: Learning to Love

Due to a lot of changes in my life recently I have gotten behind on my book reviews so for the next week...possibly two...I will be catching up on my reading.

What does love look like?

That is the question that Heidi and Rolland Baker are attempting to answer in their book Learning to Love. They take you on a journey through all of the amazing things that God has done to show them His love for them and for the people that they serve and love in Mozambique. Heidi and Rolland are in Mozambique to share Christ with the people, and their love for Him and the people shine through this book. They also strive in this book to show us how Christ can move in our own lives in miraculous ways if we are willing to let Him.

I found this book to be an interesting read. As someone who has always had an interest in the field of missions, I enjoyed reading the stories of the Baker’s experiences in Mozambique. To me, they were the best part of the book. They also encompassed most of the book with a few chapters being dedicated only to those stories.

While the stories were wonderful, I found that the book didn’t really show me or teach me more about how I can love others here where I am at. It did cause me to reflect more on my relationships with Christ and others, but it lacked something…I guess what I am getting at is that for me while I loved the stories, I had trouble applying it to my life. 

Thank you to Chosen, a division of Baker Publishing Group for allowing me a chance to read and review this book.

God Bless You!

Friday, May 3, 2013

5 Tips for Great Hospitality

1)   Make sure your heart is prepared.
·         Spend time praying for your guests.
·         Remember: Hospitality is about meeting the needs of your guests, not your own.
·         Don’t make hospitality a duty. Remember: It is about opening your heart. Do it out of love.
·         Schedule in some time before your guests arrive to just relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

2)   Make sure your home is prepared.
  •     Declutter
  • Always have a few toys, coloring books, and children’s movies on hand for young guests.
  •  Light candles! Just check first to make sure that nobody has any sensitivities to scents. I usually stick to using scents like vanilla, cinnamon, or something fruity.
  • Keep a guest book for visitors to sign.
  • Play some soft relaxing music.

3)   Have fun!
  •             Relax! Be yourself!
  •       Take the time to sit and talk with your guests. Don’t be rushing back and forth between them and the kitchen.
  •       Listen to your guests.

4)   Plan ahead!
  •        Decide what you will be serving before the day of the get together.
  •        Go shopping and purchase the food and decorations that you need 1 or 2 days before the event.
  •        Check with your guests to see if they have any special needs such as food allergies, a special diet,  or any sensitivities to flowers and scents. As someone who has food allergies, I know that it can be very frustrating when you go to someone’s and aren’t able to eat what they are serving or have an asthma attack because the candles upset your allergies.
  •       Serve tried-and-true recipes!

5)   Be inventive!
  •        Being hospitable doesn’t necessarily mean inviting people over for dinner, try to be creative in the ways you share God’s love with other people.
  •        If you are like me and don’t feel comfortable inviting people to where you live, invite them to join you for lunch or dinner at a favorite restaurant.
  •       Plan a picnic and have your friends meet you at the park on a nice day.
  •       Sit down and write a card to send to a friend when they come to mind, or send them a text to let them know you are praying for them.
  •       Host  a block party! Invite your neighbors, pull the grill and tables out onto the front lawn.
  •       Have a progressive dinner! During a progressive dinner, guests move from one house to another for different courses. For example, drinks and appetizers at your house, soup at someone else’s house, salad, entrĂ©e, dessert, etc.