Heart Check for Our Journey


Heart Check-Up

Hello, Friends! It’s been a couple of weeks since I visited my little place here on the Internet. Life has been crazy busy and well I got sick. The sickest I have been in about a year and a half. Actually, I was even sicker than I was with COVID a year ago. Since that sickness, I have been battling weariness. Not just body weariness but mind and soul weariness. Why? I have no idea. I could speculate but I just don’t know- and this morning pulling my head from my pillow I felt a heaviness that was once familiar but hasn’t been around in some time.

I got up and headed to church as is the routine. I had no idea what today would hold. I grabbed my pre-packed bags and was off. I got to church, made my breakfast and coffee, and plopped into the chair. I had spread out before me my planner, my journal, and my phone. I chose to not open the journal but the phone. I scrolled through YouTube, Facebook, and a game (or two). and yet nothing held my attention.

I took the last bite of my bagel took a deep breath and cracked open my journal to the first blank page after the last well-inked page. I began my prayer: Good Morning Lord… and for two pages I poured my heart full of the struggle of my heavy heart. I ended by asking for wisdom for all the things. I closed my prayer, turned the page, and wrote James 3:1-12 across the top. As I wrote the words of that passage across the pages God did something in my heart. A heart check-up of sorts.

The Journey

We are all on a journey. Every day is a journey. Each week is a Journey. Those days and weeks combine together to create an even longer journey. The same with months, years, and decades. My journey (as does yours) has many twists and turns and characters to join us on our way.

My journey, thankfully, has God sometimes carrying me through the dark shadowy mucky woods where an ROUS is surely going to pop out at any time, and other times walking hand in hand through sunny meadows, never leaving me or turning his back on me. Sometimes I forget God because I have become so busy, too task-oriented, or just plain self-centered to see that God has turned down a different path. I’m so busy checking off my to-do list and making sure my ideals are being upheld.

On my journey, I have friends and family. We will walk together for a time. Soon my children will start taking their own journeys. I will be with them in their hearts. Hubby and I are lifelong traveling buddies. There have been times when God has had to carry us both at the same time, and he can because he is all-powerful! Our journey leads us to places of ministry and away from places of ministry. Our journey will have homes and workplaces. They may be for a lifetime or it may be an actual physical journey as well.

Our journey has had pits of illness, disability, learning struggles, abuse, and trauma. It has also had mountains of joy, gratitude, and blessing.

My Heart Check on My Journey this morning (and where it’s going to take us here on the blog)

James 3:1-12 is all about the tongue. As I wrote each word it sent arrows right to my heart. It answered the struggles I’m having with Shepherding a Child’s Heart (a book). I won’t go into the struggles with the actual book because that’s not important at this time. Instead, I had an AHA moment…Here’s what I wrote in my journal this morning.

I’m still a child. At 43 years old I’m still a child- God’s child and he is in a constant state of shepherding my heart. On this journey, I still need to do heart checks because I have not arrived. I am not perfect. I will need to do heart checks until my dying day.

So what is a great heart check? My speech. Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45 tell us that the condition of our hearts is revealed through our speech! That James passage says that both good and bad water cannot come from the same spring (vs 10-12).

I have so many thoughts and comments on James 3:1-12 so we are going to journey through this passage together. So welcome to the Heart Check series. A lot of what we are going to talk about comes out of the James 3 passage because our speech is our biggest heart revealer.

What’s Next? James 3 in light of our kids! Hubby and I have been teasing out some interesting thoughts over the last few days and I cannot wait to share them with you.

Let me ask you this…

Does God publicly humiliate anyone in Scripture?

Does God call people out. for their sins in a public setting?

Does Jesus ever say “suck it up and deal with it?”

Did Jesus talk badly about people to others?

Then why as Christian parents do we choose to do these things to our kids? As we look at James 3 in light of our children we will also look at the passages we are called to be to them! Don’t get me wrong sometimes we need help, goodness knows we certainly have. Thats where our hearts come in. What is driving what we say about our kids and better yet HOW ARE WE SAYING IT?

I will see you here for our next Heart Check!

Book Review: On Getting Out Of Bed


On Getting Out of Bed by Alan Noble is a book very simply about mental health. The author shares his journey with mental health struggles. He’s very open about his struggles and I was very impressed with his practical suggestions for helping those who struggle.

Who is this book for?

I started this book and quickly realized that this book was written more for those struggling with mental health issues. As a person who has struggled with extreme anxiety brought on by medication and other physiological/ health issues, I am currently not struggling. HOWEVER, though it is intended to help those struggling this book would also be incredibly helpful for those who LOVE those with mental health struggles.

So often we don’t understand how to help those we love who are struggling in these hard places. This book answers a lot of the questions we have. Another area I really appreciated that this author dealt with is the misuse of mental health to manipulate situations. He speaks directly to those who are prone to do so and does so in a very candid way.

This book was really very helpful. I will be going back to this book again and again and I will also be buying a hard copy of this book so we can easily reference this book! I highly recommend this book!

You can purchase your own copy of On Getting Out of Bed here.

I received a free Kindle edition of this book for reviewing purposes from NETGalley. I am in no way expected to give a positive review and these are my own personal opinions.

You can check out more of my book reviews here.

Book Review: Christmas Changes Everything


The book Christmas Changes Everything By Elisa Morgan is a wonderful devotional that takes various characters and accounts of Christmas and weaves them into the moments of Elisa’s life. The first Christmas wasn’t perfect and ideal and yet we sometimes expect that our Christmases should be.

I really appreciated how Elisa shared messy Christmas experiences and how in spite of all of the messiness we can have hope. Hope because the very reason we even have a Christmas is Jesus. He is our hope!

I read this book in the middle of living in our camper. It wasn’t going to be an ideal Christmas. (Actually, I’m not quite sure we have ever had an ideal Christmas.). Yet, I found myself resonating with her stories chapter after chapter. , and Character after Character. It was a much-needed shot in the arm I needed to take the bull by the horns and embrace our rather unconventional Christmas!

I highly recommend this book.

I received a free Kindle edition of this book for reviewing purposes from NETGalley. I am in no way expected to give a positive review and these are my own personal opinions.

You can purchase o copy of this book here.

Have you ever read Christmas Changes Every? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

What has been one of your favorite Christmas devotionals and why?

You can Check out more of my book reviews here.

Practice Makes…Progress


“Practice makes perfect.” I’m pretty sure we have all been told this at one time or the other.

It’s a lie.

No matter how hard we practice, we can’t ever be perfect at it….because in short, we are human! Humans make mistakes!

Last week I was working with a bunch of 3rd and 4th graders..learning to read music. Yep let’s all have a good chuckle that Mary is helping in a music class and a recorder class at that. The last time I read Music? Let’s just say I was almost 20 years younger than I currently am..and yes I was an adult! We won’t even TALK about the last time I played recorder, and I digress.

I was playing “note Bingo” with about 5 students and one of them was getting frustrated with the fact that they couldn’t remeber the note names on the staff. ILooking at the poor kiddo and I said “practice makes…..?” In their dejected look mumbled “perfect”. I jumped in and said, “No, Practice makes progress.” They promptly looked at me as if I had two heads. I explained we are humans. We can’t ever be perfect only Jesus was perfect. These kiddos looked so confused.

No one’s to blame. However, as an adult who struggles every day with the battle of perfectionism, I have had to learn a new way of thinking.

Progress over Perfection.

I want to live a life of Excellence, doing my absolute best to serve Jesus with all that I am and with all that I have BUT I know that at the end of the day all I am and all that I have is far from perfect.

What I want is t to move forward, make progress. and grow.

I don’t know if what I shared with that frustrated student that day made any difference, but I hope it did.

Perfectionism is hard to overcome, but ti can be done. Choose excellence in your life, not perfectionism, because no matter how hard you strive for perfection, it will be just out of reach…always.

What can be done to cange your mindset of perfectionism to a mindset of progress?

Oe of the ways I have chosen to do this is to place reminders around my home Progress Over Perfection signs simply reminds me my end goal is to move forward…to grow wherever I am planted!

Patient Endurance: 2023 Word of the Year

Since learning this ab

Patient Endurance, it’s been on my mind for the last 2 months. As I look back on the last 8 1/2 months it is what I think I needed the most specifically the last 4 months. As I have neared the end of reading the New Testament it’s the phrase that seemed to jump off the page the most.

Those passages talk about trials, persecution, and struggles. As much as I don’t necessarily experience persecution as the early church did, I do think that time is coming.

We have been living an adventure. Honestly, it’s not always been an easy one! Living in a camper for 7 months and a few weeks is the longest we have ever “camped”. Homeschooling 4 kids while doing that presented a whole other side to the adventure and over time this introverted mama got bogged down! It’s not that I was angry or upset or sad about my circumstances because we LOVE where we are

What does getting bogged down look like?

Well for me it looks like a whole lot f impatience….with myself. I’m not….and I can fill that blank with all sorts of things like-

  • strong enough
  • smart enough
  • influential enough
  • I’m failing at…
  • balanced enough
  • in God’s word enough
  • I’m too distracted.

The list can go on and on and on.

When I come to the place where I am impatient with myself I find that I stop enduring. I quit. I GIVE UP.

When I give up… I become more impatient with myself. It’s quite a nasty cycle. A nasty cycle that I spent the last 4 months battling. Distraction became my everyday fight. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t write, and I had lost purpose in my everyday. I just kinda felt lost because there were some things that were a normal part of my everyday life that I had intentionally let go of for a season. Sometimes we have to do that and for a number of months That is exactly what needed to happen BUT if it’s a part of who I am, part f the gifts God has given me Then I need to fight for them. HOWEVER, I DIDN’T.

I just didn’t understand!

It’s ok to let go of something for a time BUT when it’s time we need to bring it back to the best of our ability. I had convinced myself that I didn’t have time for writing and art. It’s my happy place. It’s how I process my life. I was ok letting go of those things because space was limited. Time was limited.

I would sit and stare at a blank computer screen and no words would come. I would sit and look at my journal for my Bible study and I couldn’t focus on what needed to be read. Matter of fact I couldn’t read much of anything.

So what Changed?

One day I sat out at our picnic table FIGHTING my way through prayer and I asked God “how can I get back to my normal self?” I sat there staring out at the fog rolling in across the hills and a memory came to mind. It was of a 21-year-old me sitting in a booth at our college’s student center before it became ” the Cafe” I was sitting in a booth and no one was there. I had a notebook in front of me and a LARGE stack of schoolwork off to the side of the notebook. I was bent over the notebook furiously scribbling words as they poured into my mind. All of a sudden I sat up, closed the notebook and reached for the first book on my stack of schoolwork.

I was transported to those moments that had become a habit. The habit? Creative writing. I am able to quiet my mind through the written word, specifically through pen and paper. That’s how I was able to focus my brain in order to focus on school work.

At that moment I knew what I had to do! I started writing for the purpose of quieting my mind. It worked.

When that happened I began to see the words patient endurance starting to pop off the pages of the bible journals I was using. I was astonished. I was able to focus and get stuff accomplished. What was I writing? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE! No joke, one day I wrote about Poop because that’s what a smarty pants friend wrote on my Facebook post asking for one-word journal prompts.

A Few other things I changed

I simplified my devotions for a time (not that what I was doing was overcomplicated). I picked up my sketchbook and I began the process of starting a women’s ministry. It didn’t all come back immediately. I needed to be patient with the process. I’m still working through the process of being patient with the process because goodness knows it’s not a perfect process. I’m also working on building my endurance. When I get impatient with myself or the process (or God-because yeah that happens too) not giving up but fighting through even if it means doing a simplified devotion for that day compared to what I’m used to. I don’t want to get worn down by starting out in a sprint but I want to run a steady race, enduring patiently whatever lies ahead of me on my walk with Jesus.

Here are the verses I picked to go along with my word (phrase) of Patient Endurance for the year.

2 Thessalonians 3:5New Living Translation

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

Hebrews 6:12New Living Translation

12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

I can’t have patient endurance without Jesus, I just can’t. I also know that I do NOT want to become spiritually dull and indifferent. We all know that there’s a whole lot of indifference going around. I want to be different. So will you join me this year as I embrace Patient Endurance?

Have you chosen a word for the year? Of so what is it? Share it in the comments below!