Choosing Courage.: You Never Knew Me


Good evening everyone! Welcome to post #12 in the Choosing Courage project. I hope you have had a great week! I have a very interesting question for you tonight! Have you ever invested time into someone- given them all of your heart (I’m not talking about a spouse necessarily), just to be all of a sudden accused of being a horrible person in some shape or form.? You are left standing there with the pieces of your shattered relationship laying at your feet and the overwhelming sense of “You never really knew me”?

If we are honest we all have (especially if you were a girl in middle school. We also have the tendency to either take offense far too easily or project our own problems on other people (more on this in a future blog post).

Grace upon Grace, Mercy upon Mercy

No matter which side you are on it’s important to remember that our ultimate goal as believers in Jesus is to be Christ emulators. And Jesus was full of GRACE and MERCY. I know some people aren’t naturally bent towards these traits. We need to work very hard to be like Christ. It takes practice and sometimes blowing it and then being able to learn from those mistakes.

It also takes a great measure of humility to admit that we don’t know everything. The only person who really knows our Hearts is God himself. Even we ourselves don’t know our own hearts because emotions can be severely deceptive. We can convince ourselves of lies both about ourselves and our closest of friends and when we let those lies and emotions take over and we lose sight of who Jesus really is and how we are supposed to love! UNCONDITIONALLY!


This is the ultimate act of Christ like behavior , especially if you forgive before you are asked to forgive. Jesus provided the ultimate gift of forgiveness before anyone ever knew they needed forgiving..

Forgiveness is HARD. Especially when we have been hurt whether intentionally and unintentionally! But it is a choice we must make.


When we assume that we know someone’s heart , we are playing God. I know that’s hard to hear. But we all do it. And it’s so important to admit that flaw and move forward to understanding. That’s what we need to strive for understanding and love rather that assumptions and gossip. It’s our job to extend Grace and mercy so we can become the picture of true Christ-like love.

But how ado we do that? It Comes to to CHOOSING…..

It starts with some Courageous choices that goes against the world’s perspective.

  1. Choose to acknowledge that you don’t have all the understanding of peoples motives. When we assume we know their motives we are saying we know them better than God. And in doing that we show that we don’t really know them,
  2. Choose to Die to self. Put others before yourself and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around you. Value other people and their insights I had a history teacher who had a phrase he used to say “There is a world outside of Hetlerville. Yes that’s a real place. But the point is we get so stuck with seeing what is in our immediate location that we lose sight that the world is a much bigger place. The same is true fore us as individuals. When we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds and all the drama in our lives we fail to see what other people are going through. and even sometimes we take the struggles we are having and project them onto those around us.
  3. Choose Grace and mercy. It doesn’t matter of you are good at these things or not. we need to actively choose these! When we do so we will grow and we get better and better. But remember you can’t give what you don’t have.

These three choices are just the beginning! There is a part two of this coming soon…..So what will you be choosing to do? For me it’s forgiveness but more on that in the next post.

But while you wait you can check out the other CHOOSING COURAGE posts here

Letting Go Of Plan A


PLAN. That is what I do. That is what God has created me tone good at. I own a few planners. I keep a detailed planner for our family’s everyday adventures. Even in 2020 when the world was planning NOTHING I still kept a planner and turned it into a journal of sorts, to remember what we cam through together as a family.

Planning is a good thing BUT we cannot let our plans control us. We Must be FLEXIBLE! Hubby made some statements about that in his sermon this past Sunday! There is a part two of this blog post coming soon so I don’t want to get to ahead of myself.

The Back Story- The Root of Plan A

For a few years now I have been holding onto this Printable from Life Action Ministries (You can find the printable by clicking the Link above) called Put Off Put On. Each Day has a habit / attitude or action that is unbiblical that you put off and a Biblical one you put on. And for a number of years I have thought that when I did the study that I would s make it into a blog post series. It really was set up perfectly for that.

Putting Plan A into Action

Well fast forward to December of 2020- I found myself in a state of confinement to a couch and small spare bedroom in our house. I could barely move I was in so much pain but it gave me a lot of time to think and pray. As I did that plans began to form for the year 2021. and Put Off Put On found itself top on the priority list! It even made it’s way into the blog planner for each week and on January 1st it became apart of my morning devotional time. I finished the first week and I sat down to write the blog post- nothing- not one single thing.

All the while my other parts of my study and reading were fitting together and I was making some neat connections there just wasn’t words for my plan. I said ok Lord I’m going to keep going and just study and read these verses and contemplate the contrasting actions and virtues.

Two Days Left- I let go of plan A a Month ago.

So here I am, two days left in what I thought was going to be a need series of blog and posts and I am writing about how I have had to let go of my plan to make it so. By Wednesday I will have completed 55 days of Putting off and Putting On. I have grown through them but no words to share with you but these.


I make lots of “great” plans but rarely do they turn out the way I think they should. I could just throw up my hands and say I quit. I will NEVER do or try tat again. There are many times I could have quit blogging because things didn’t go as I have planned. But we are commanded to persevere- to not give up so easily.

Some of the greatest moments in my life came as a Plan B- I had a mentor in college who so wisely taught me to invite God into my plan A, Give it to Him and be Ready for Plan B- God’s Plan. When I am flexible with my plans God forms them into his and amazing things happen.

Plan B Christmas

Every year for Christmas I try to make it as fun and creative as possible because as a full time ministry family the holidays aren’t “normal” (And I can hear all of my sweet friends chanting “Normal just a setting on the dryer”) Well this Christmas I knew I had the greatest gift ever- Quarantined Life! so I planned all these cool things. I actually made the advent calendar that has been sitting in my closet for YEARS and painted it and filled it with all these amazing family activities. And then I woke up on December 8th and was rushed off to the ER for what would be 4 hospital visits in 3 weeks.

I cried all the way to the hospital on a couple of this trips feeling like I had ruined Christmas for the whole family. This was a different sort of Plan B than some silly set of blog posts not being written This affected our entire family. And Hubby and the kids were scared- I massacred because nasty words were being thrown around at the hospital like “tumors” and “cancer”. I can tell you right now as of this moment there aren’t any tumors and there never was any cancer- but things didn’t “look” right and some nurses spoke out of turn. My kids had to see me the sickest and I the most pain I had ever been in ….Including 4 births and a gall bladder issue. THAT was NOT my Plan A!

Hindsight into God’s Plan

God’s plan B had been put into full swing- And I had t sit back and let hubby do most of it and he did awesome. I was so proud of him. And my friends- the ones who really knew me and really cared spoke words of truth into my life and my heart. They were superficial words. They weren’t pat answers- they could do that because they knew me and my heart. Through God’s plan B they had an opportunity to minister to my heart.

And our kids-wow! Our kids are so ministry minded to begin with my their acts of service to me was beyond what 10 to 15 years olds should do and yet they were amazing and we watched them grow so much through all of this.

Getting Mixed up

I think sometimes we get confused about the difference between perseverance and stubbornness is . Perseverance is being faithful even when things don’t go our way and being stubborn is doing our own way even if God is saying no, not yet- or just plain no.

He doesn’t want us to like that little boy with his trucks or that little girl with her dolls who don’t get their own way….we’ve seen it play out many times on TV or in our backyards….they are my______ and if we don’t do it my way I’m gonna pack up my_________ and go home. He wants us to trust him that HIS ways are better than our ways. He wants us o be a part of his amazing plan not just have hime be a part of our mediochre plans.

I want to challenge you just Like Ma Parker did for me to take God all of your plans and ask him to make them his plans and to help you to be aware and flexible for the changes he WILL make! Being willing to surrender your plans allows for great opportunity!

I will promise you that Plan B is always a bigger blessing thanPlan A- it may take a while to see it but with faith and trust God works miracles!

What about you…..What has been a Plan A that God has turned into an Amazing Plan B?

Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series.

Book Review:Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins


All about Traditions of  Christmas

What Christmas Traditions are your favorite?  Have you ever wondered where on earth we get the traditions we use when we celebrate Christmas?  You know, things like Christmas Cards. Advent, and Christmas trees just to name a few.  Well, Ace takes us back in time to the times and places that these traditions became an indelible mark on our holiday celebrations.  26 chapters you will learn about the history and heart behind each of these traditions!.  Ace definitely did a lot of in-depth research that left us with some very interesting facts.  The chapters are short and could easily be read each night leading up to Christmas.

Some of the interesting facts learned in reading this book :

  • Many of our Christmas traditions were started or carried on through the Vikings.   Especially since the Vikings had the reputation of being a brutal people group. But after the Vikings became Christians it became very important that they made remembrances of their faith.
  • Christmas Seals.  They have been talked about and I never knew what they were-Stamp like stickers used on Christmas envelopes and I most certainly had no idea what they were used for.  Well, they were used for raising money in helping people beat the disease Tuberculosis.
  • Boxing Day and Epiphany- As Americans we don’t usually celebrate these but it was fascinating to earn about these traditions and I must confess I have mentioned to my husband that celebrating and teaching on Epiphany would be neat for our family!

My Thoughts-

Well, I enjoyed this book immensely.  Though I didn’t get it finished in my timeline I will say that it really doesn’t matter when you read this book.  I do think it would be cool to read a chapter a night with our family in the days leading up to Christmas.

It’s so amazing just how much of our Christmas traditions are tied back to the Birth of Baby Jesus too.  It’s a great teaching tool for kids, and it’s easy to understand.  And it would also be very simple to turn into a teaching tool for even younger kids!  ANYONE can enjoy this book.  It is a delight to read for sure.

I also appreciated the few times throughout this book when the author admitted that he just didn’t have the answers to when exactly a tradition started.  Sometimes details like a specific person, place or time are not available and I thought it was neat that he admitted to not knowing.

I honestly cannot wait till next Christmas season when we will delve into this book as a family!

I give this book 5 Christmas lights! Check out this book on Amazon. 

And a super Big THANK YOU to BookLook Bloggers for giving me a free copy of this book to review!  I always give my honest review and am expected to do so!


When Life Gets Overwhelming……

When Life Gets Overwhelming.....TAKE A NAP! (I did that this afternoon–hubby and I chose a nap over date night–SERIOUSLY)  I know it’ s been a few weeks since I’ve written. In all reality I’ve been SWAMPED.  It’s been overwhelming to say the least. My kids are ready for spiring break and quite frankly SO AM I!

Since before Easter we have been moving at the speed of light!

I find myself in a really WEIRD place too.

I have all of this great and wonderful ministry stuff going on….

  1.  A super cool writing project I’m working on
  2. Mentoring clients at our local Pregnancy center
  3. 4 amazing kids who stretch me beyond  my abilities….
  4. A women’s ministry beyond anything I ever dreamed of  taking off…and I get a front row seat
  5. a Growing thriving drama ministry
  6. Bible studies
  7. Titus 2 being lived out in my life as I mentor a teen in our church.
  8. and for the first time in a long time I can actually step away from   the insanity that can be the life with an autistic child and find peace in Silence…silence with my hubby….OR  Silence  as I am hiding in my craft room typing this 🙂

God and I are taking a journey together this year like never before.  I have learned about myself far more in the last 4 months that I think I have in my whole life.

I am an introvert as I have shared before but I am an introvert-Relater.

I can be with people…I like to be with people.  I love to serve people.  and yet I hit moments where I literally can’t pour out another drop.    This last year held some pretty big AMAZING FIRSTS…and this coming year i know will hold the same.   But as I move forward, I have realized a few things……

  1. The enemy doesn’t eat me to move forward.
  2. the enemy wants me to fail.
  3. FEAR has crept backing my life…..more on that FEAR in a later post.
  4. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes
  5. I have a whole lot of questions for God…some that may never be answered. and I am okay with that.
  6. I have some to realize the need to breathe and step away…..I need to practice this…and own it.

In those moments of solitude and silence I learn about God…and myself.  and through these moments I have begun to relate to God in a whole new way.  As I strive to soak up what it means to ABIDE in Christ, I become less overwhelmed and more aware of what Christ wants to do, both in me and through me.  Is it easy?  No!  Can it be stressful?  YES  Bt I have to be willing to get off the merry-go -round before I dos my cookies! (LOL—Or lose my cool )

So  as i sit here tonight in solitude and silence I pray that God will grant peace in the midst of all the amazing things God has for us.   Peace that passes all understanding.   AsThe fiery darts fly our way I pray that God will protect us,  and  work in us., Changing our hearts to look more like his.   That we could  still shine as servants even in the stressful times and remember to take moments of solitude and silence as Christ did.  Because even the really neat things can be overwhelming.



Let’s face it some women are like barracudas…snapping at everything that glitters or shines.  they want lots of jewelry (and high end stuff to boot) and they are not satisfied until they get it.   Well I’m here to make a confession….I am NOT one of those girls.  I am comfortable, not too fancy and i like simplicity!.  i don’t like loud colors though I do like color!! though at one point you may have thought otherwise if you saw my wardrobe of black, white,gray and navy Blue:)


But i must confess that there is one time of the year that my heart leaps for joy and that is the SPARKLE of Christmas.  That’s right SPARKLY STARS, TWINKLING LIGHTS, GLITTERY GARLAND AND TINSEL, AND SHINY ORNAMENTS!  All just make my heart smile.

But, when i speak of all these things I am not referring to the commercializingof chrstmas.  Sparkly stars remind me of the brightest star that shone that first Christmas leading shepards and eventually about 3 years later the wise men.  The twinkling Lights remind me of the awe struck shepards as they stood on the fieldsas the angels announced the arrival of baby Jesus, the glittery garland and tinsel remind me of the gifts of the kings (though it was not that  first Christmas)  Christ is worthy of everything we have.  And lastly the Shiny ornaments- the gifts and blessing that God has given to us.  we all have those ornaments that are well loved, they may be chipped and faded but they mean somehting to is, something special.  i have such an ornament hanging my my tre right now I can see it from where I sit.

It is a small felt stocking with a piece of hite yarn whip stiched around the edge.  it has a piece of snow white fake fur accoss the top and the initials MLS is sparles across the front.  i remember making that stocking.  i was in Kindergarten and my brothers each have one too. Those sparkles don’t “sparkle”anymore BUT as long as I can i will never consiously get rid of that stocking.

And as we each have different ornaments and some may signify different things in our lives God has ornamented our lives with blessings.   So now you know why i get giddy and hy I smile when I see sparkle this time of year.