Monday, December 31, 2012

Prepare Him Room

I've been wondering how to put into words all that has transpired over this past year. Wondering how to frame the words my heart wants to write but is just not there yet. Wondering about the fear mixed with hope that comes with the calendar page turning to reveal an entire new year tomorrow and praying that it will be different in a very big way. And then I have to remind myself all that we have overcome as a family this past year. Along with all that I have walked through and had to overcome personally as well.

If I could sum up my world this past year in one word it would be this one.


And by courage I don't mean just attempting something new or facing our fears or the usual definitions that follow that word.

But the places and spaces of courage that cause our flesh to be pressed like never before and our hearts to offer all the room that the Father needs to work and move and operate and orchestrate in our lives,  no matter what we may be walking through.

I'm referring to this.

Preparing Him room. No matter what.

Even in spite of and in the midst of, difficulties and adversity and unanswered prayers.

This type of courage.

We can accept our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but never prepare Him room in our daily lives.

We can attend church or worship every Sunday but never prepare Him room the rest of the week.

We can go on a mission trip, serve the homeless and give in the offering every week 
but still hold a death grip on our own life and never offer it up fully to the One who authored it in the first place.

We can hold that grip on life until our knuckles turn blue and our hearts are like stone and our spirits are so bitter with the mountains of disappointment that have come our way and never even realize it.

We serve Him with our lives but we hold our own hearts captive.

We offer Him pieces. But not everything.

We offer Him Sunday morning, but not Monday through Saturday.

We offer Him small places of our pain, but cannot bring ourselves to offer the worst of it.

But God.

He still whispers to us, even in our worst state of being.

Give it to me. Trust me. Allow me. Prepare Me room......

It is easy to love God and trust God and praise God when everything is wonderful. When everything is good.  Really good. When there are positions and profits and income and increase. And jobs and paychecks and bills are paid in full. And there is success in business. It is so easy to tell the world how good God is when we are kissing a husband who loves us and the checking account is full to overflowing. It is easy to write a blog post about the absolute goodness of God from our new laptop inside the comfort of our very own home. It is easy to talk about the faithfulness of God when our days are spent shopping and cooking and baking and decorating. It is easy to overcome hardship or trials when you can pick up the phone and call an amazing set of loving parents. It is easy to tell another person that they "just need to trust God"  or "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" along with a million other little phrases, when you are not in the middle of the fight of your life.

And as well meaning and as wonderful as some of that may be ~ that can't help me.

I know how they made it.

I know how they walked in love and kindness and courage and prepared Him room in their life.

I know how they get to sleep every night.

I know how they keep their marriage full of love and joy and happiness.

This post is for the other folks.

This post is for those who still trust God when none of the aforementioned is happening.

This post is for those who will tell me how good God is when they have lost everything and borrowed a computer to send an email to tell me so.

This post is for those who are staring at the calendar page of the very last day of the year and it didn't work out.  Their prayers weren't answered and despair and depression are trying to strike along with midnight on New Year's Eve.

This post is for those who can celebrate and rejoice in others success and prosperity and accomplishments when that hasn't happened in their own life.

This post is for those who can share out of a place of genuine happiness and joy for friends who are having a baby when they cannot seem to get pregnant at all or who have miscarried or lost a baby. 

This post is for those who rejoice and celebrate when others find a wonderful spouse in life, even though they may be walking through divorce or have yet to even meet someone worthy of marriage.

This post is for those who can tell others how good God is while they are feeding their children from a food pantry every week.

This post is for those who tell others in one breath that they have cancer and the very next breath tell them this. "I still trust Him."

This post is for those who have walked through a level of betrayal in friendships they never imagined, walked through slander, malicious gossip and judgement, but still long to be a loyal and faithful friend to others in spite of that.

These things and so much more take a special type of courage.

I call it "midnight hour courage."

A depth of courage that can only come when we release our life and say those famous words in the midnight hour ....

Be it unto me Lord. I trust you Lord. I praise you Father.

When we praise Him in advance and trust Him in the midst.

Courage to keep going when the bottom drops out and friends walk away and people slander your family.

Courage to tell your children about the goodness of God when there isn't a shred of security or provision.

Courage to open your heart again after tremendous loss or divorce or a broken heart.

Courage to believe that God heals, when your body still needs healing.

Courage to trust again. Courage to love again. Courage to start again. To begin again.

Courage to refuse not to believe that God is who He says He is in the midst of unanswered prayers, fiery trials and persecution.

Courage to prepare Him room in our lives, while walking through setback after setback.

Courage to believe the best, hope the best, offer our best during the fight of our lives.

And maybe this is you. 

Maybe this is the ground on which you stand today, this last day of 2012.

Take off your shoes sweet friend. (Exodus 3:5) 

This place where you stand, of sacrifice and persecution and fiery trials is Holy Ground.


I'm writing to you with bare feet from my own Holy Ground today.

I want to encourage you with one thing before the very first day of the new year begins...

Prepare Him room.

Maybe life has been unkind to you this last year. Maybe your heart has been hardened or turned bitter and cold. Maybe you feel that it seems to work out for everyone else and God- but not you.

Would you open your heart to Him today anyway?

Even if you've done this before and then walked away from Him and feel like there is no point in this whole God thing?

Would you open your hands, your heart, your mind, your spirit and soul and give every single heartache, disappointment, unanswered prayer, unmet need and unhealed hurt to Jesus?

He's calling you unto Himself right now....

All you have to do is answer. 

There isn't a fancy prayer. You don't have to know all the right words.

You don't have to stand up and declare a specific scripture.

You can just simply say this...

I need you Lord. I repent of my sins. I ask You to come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. I believe You are the Way and the Truth and the Life and I give my life to You now.

He is near the brokenhearted.

He is hovering over you and calling you and wooing you unto Himself.

He's waiting for you to offer up the year that was 2012 and every year before that where you may have had to fight for your life and fight for it alone.

He wants you to know that you were never alone. 

He wants you to know that when we prepare Him room in our lives, He will come in like a flood and begin to shift and organize and remove and straighten and adjust for our good and His glory. And it may be painful at first. And it may be difficult and it may not be what we had envisioned.

The Refiners fire is no easy thing. 

But eventually, we will see His hand at work in our lives. We will see that He had our best interest at heart the whole time. We will see when we prepare Him room that He becomes our focus and everything else pales in comparison.

And it will be worth it.

I am praying for those of you who have walked through a difficult year this year. I am praying that a double portion recompense would be yours in 2013. That there would not be room enough to receive all that He has set aside for you and your family.

I know that He is well able.

I would love for you to share how you are planning to prepare Him room in the coming new year. I know it will encourage the hearts of others here as well.

Happy New Year to you beautiful friends. Don't give up. It is not over....

It's just the beginning.

photo source

Thursday, December 20, 2012

26 Acts

Merry Christmas blog friends,

Have you all heard about this beautiful demonstration going on around the country called 26 Acts?

Folks everywhere are beginning to do 26 random acts of kindness to honor the precious lives lost

in the horrific Newtown tragedy. One random act of kindness for each life.

I cannot imagine the depth of heartbreak those mothers and fathers and families are walking through right now.

There are no words big enough to heal the grief, loss and sorrow.

Only prayers and beautiful acts of kindness can offer some light and hope in a time of such darkness.

Only Jesus can comfort their empty arms.

We send our love and prayers to the Newtown community and to the Mothers and Fathers and families who have lost their beautiful babies and family members.

I wanted to share the links to the websites for anyone who would like to participate.

We are blessed to be a blessing.....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Five Years

Today is an extraordinary day for me beautiful friends.

November 15th marks the five year anniversary of this blog.

Five years of writing and sharing and encouraging in whatever
way the Father has prompted me to.

Five years of meeting the most incredible bloggers and forming friendships
with amazing women. I have never in my life met so many inspiring, creative, talented
and truly brilliant women until I discovered the blog world.

You all have blessed me so much.

I want to thank you for the years you have encouraged me with the kindest and most beautiful words, emails, prayers and comments.

I have cherished this space here with you.

And today my heart is overflowing with gratitude.

I am so thankful that five years ago, I took a leap of faith and wrote a post about my faith
and my hope and desire to encourage others.

From day one, this space has been about Him.

It's not about me, although I am grateful He uses pieces of my story.

It's not about numbers, because I've never wanted that to be my reason to write.

It's not about the praises of man, because I long for His praise alone.

It's not about trying to be a big blogger, because I only want to be big in the eyes of my children.

This space has always been a place to share my heart as a mother and a platform to encourage and a way to minister the gospel and point others to Him.

I remember attending my one and only blogging conference a few years ago.

I was a nervous wreck. Didn't know a soul. Went by myself and spent much of the day
trying to figure out which track or group I belonged to. I was overwhelmed at how much I didn't know and how I was doing everything wrong if I wanted success.

I was also terribly starstruck. Everybody and their Mama was in attendance and I'm pretty sure I spent much of the day in awe over all of the pro bloggers there that day.

I also remember walking out of one ballroom and into another because I was so confused about
which category I was supposed to be following.

I'm still not sure I would know today.

I don't know that I fit into any category. But I know that I always fit with Him.

I left the conference completely overwhelmed by all that I didn't know and by what a big business this can be and most of all just feeling very small.

I am so grateful that I just kept writing even though I felt small then and still feel small today.

Because I would discover that words are my love language.

Words can bring life.

Words have power.

Words can change lives and heal hearts and speak light into darkness.

Words in the blog world can confirm to someone else miles and miles away the powerful truth that they are not alone, they are not the only one and it is not over.

What an opportunity.

I don't think much has changed here as far as stats and such. And I don't think any professional blogger would look here and see success of any kind.

But when love is your motivation and encouraging the hearts of others is your mission statement, I don't think you can ask for a greater platform.

I thank you for five very special years beautiful friends.

I count this space shared here with you one as one of my greatest blessings in life...

What a gift it all has been.

Love you so,


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I sorted and loaded and pressed all the right buttons.

Just 58 minutes later and it would all come out clean.

And just like all of those piles of laundry,  I was wishing for my own life ~ sorted and freshly laundered.

Titled and sorted into piles and waiting for the spin cycle.

I needed a friendship pile. A family pile. A dream pile. A finances pile. A please let me do this over pile. A needs more grace pile. A please Lord help me pile. A mercy pile. A needs God's attention stat pile. A broken heart pile. A mommy do over pile. A wish I could change it pile. And a God I do not understand these things in my life pile.

All of it.

And one by one I've wanted to take my own spiritual spray-n-wash- called, I can fix it myself and I've wanted to load and pour and spritz and spray and push all the right buttons.

And then watch it spin.

58 minutes later.

It would all come out clean. Every, single thing.

Every wrong thing. Every hurt and heartache. Every offense and wound and every unmet need...

All of it.

I'll be the first to admit. I want life on spin.

When things go wrong in life, I want to press all the right buttons, open the door, smell the fragrance and see that I can get my life laundry clean.
So many times I think, If I can just get this load to the spin cycle in life...

It will all be okay.

And then He whispers.

Somewhere in the midst of the sorting of, I kid you not, twenty loads of laundry and the 58 minute wash cycle.

I've already washed it all clean daughter.

These loads you are hanging on to.


This heap of guilt and shame and condemnation.


This sorrow and suffering. This lack in the very pieces of your soul.


This mountain of a heartache the size of Texas.


I've already sorted and sprayed and washed and spun and dried and laundered and paid for....

All of it.

In full.

You are carrying loads that were never meant for you to carry.

Maybe you've forgotten., in all of your worrying with trying to sort it all yourself...

I've got this.

You need not worry or fear.

I am in control.

I will provide.

I will sort.

I will spin.

I will orchestrate things on your behalf.

I will bring things into divine order.

I will command a blessing and joy will come in the morning...

And when you feel the need to sort your life into piles called circumstances and situations and attempt to get it clean all on your own....

Look to me.

Seek me.

Cling to me.

And remember this...

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."  Luke 12:27

I've got this.

You can empty your baskets, and pick up My promises.

They are stacked in your favor. Every, single one.

photo source

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Sacrifice Of Praise

There is a scripture that has been weighing heavy in my spirit, over and over again this last year.

It's the one that reads like this:

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name. - Hebrews 13:15

The sacrifice of praise has been my praise this past year and especially lately.

It's when we praise Him and thank Him and honor Him even in the midst....

In the midst of really painful things.

In the midst of hurtful words and hurtful people.

In the midst of those who rejoice in someone else's suffering.

In the midst of things we don't understand and when we can't see the light of dawn.

In the midst of friends who betray us and who say unkind things.

In the midst of unfortunate circumstances and situations.

In the midst of sorrow so great there are no words to define it properly.

Offer Him the highest praise beautiful friends...

Through your heartache and suffering and grief.

Praise Him in the midst of it all.

Because soon ..

Everything is going to turn in your favor.

Doors are going to open and open wide.

Beautiful friendships will unfold.

Divine connections are coming to your family.

Provision and prosperity and purpose are going to fall upon your household.

Healing will be your portion.

Soon your heart will sing and your spirit will soar as the Father reveals every good and
perfect gift He has in store for you.

He promises us that He will work all things together for our good and His glory.

All things.

Even those things we may not understand right now.

Soon, once the Father has His way and at the appointed time, He is going to work all things in your life and mine, for our good and for His glory.

And His word does not return to Him void.

So over the weekend while you are busy blessing your family, offer it up to Him.

Don't hold back...

Beautiful things are in store for you and your family.

Our job is to praise Him in the midst and to simply trust.....

The Day The Cups Change { A Repost}

I once had a friend whom I would call every year on one specific day to say one specific thing.

"The cups changed today."

She knew what that meant. Don't you just love a girlfriend who knows you so well that you don't have to explain every little thing? Who just gets it? I love that about a friend and a razor sharp quick wit as well. Two of my favorite things in a girlfriend.

We would laugh and listen to one another and then she would say something along the lines of "Now don't do this to yourself again this year! "

The "cup changing" that I am referring to is the day every year that Starbucks changes their cups from white to red. It's one of the many changes that mark the start of the season. And it happened this week.

On Tuesday in fact.

It puts a pep in my step and a panic in my heart all at the same time. The store displays change. The music changes. The weather cools. Wardrobes change. Everything. It's coming. And nothing is going to stop it.


And I love Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the softness in hearts and the gift of forgiveness people will offer this time of year. I love the fragrance. The sights. The sounds. I love picking out and wrapping gifts. I love Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my children. My husband and I just sit and watch with our coffee and experience every, single thing through their eyes.

It is pure wonderment.

Most of all I love to celebrate Him.

And in all of the celebrating of Him and all of the merriment and all of the sentimental pieces of the season. There is a place in my heart that longs for what I've never had outside of that with my own children. There is a place in my heart that longs so deeply for Christmas with family. And not just any family but family who loves like Him and who loves us like He loves us. Family who loves unconditionally. Who gives. Loves. Forgives. Sows. Pours. Prays. And loves to decorate, cook, bake and trim the tree too if you must know.

I want a Holy Spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas.

Every. Single. Year.

And every year when those cups change I am reminded that it is coming and again, for the umpteenth year, it's not going to happen. I can trust Him for it, and have in big ways in years past. Some years there has been a glimmer of hope and some big trying on our parts that just end in complete and total disaster.

And I vow to never, ever try again.

But then the cups change.

And my heart quickens. And my thoughts race. And I "what if" myself to death.

What if they will love us this year?

What if they want a relationship with their children and grandchildren?

What if they have allowed God to do heart surgery?

Maybe things are different. Maybe they will be different.

And I sip from my new red cup a holiday latte while four very small and very precious children hang on my coat tail and one adorable twenty year old chats to me over the cell phone and one very sweet, bouncing baby stirs inside my womb that ......

He has already given it to me.

And He has given me the opportunity to give it to them.

I can wish away the season every time I see a mother and daughter shopping together. Every time I see them having a Christmas lunch together. I can allow my heart "to go there" and magnify the fact that my children do not have grandparents every time a grandmother approaches me and asks all about my children- and Heaven knows, I am like a magnet to grandmothers. I love them.

I can allow that lump to stay in my throat every time I hear about friends' parents coming to stay with their children so that they can "get away" and have a little vacation as husband and wife for the hundreth time when my husband and I can't imagine getting away or having a break for even 3 or 4 hours- much less a trip of any sort. I'm pretty sure it's been 6 or 7 years .....I've lost count.

I can allow bitterness and resentment to overtake me when I see rows of family members and grandparents filling the seats at the opening night of The Nutcracker this year and my sweet Bella Grace tip toes onto the stage for the first time ever to be cheered on by her parents alone.

I can ask God to "guard my heart" again this year when I listen to friends go on and on about the incredible gifts and generosity poured out at Christmas by their parents.

I can allow my heart to go there.

I can allow the enemy to magnify my circumstances......

Or I can focus on the fact that we can be that kind of amazing parental love and support to our own children, now and in the years to come. These precious ones who fill our hearts with so much love and joy.

So this year, I have decided that I am not going to long for what has never been and I'm not going to mourn that we will spend another Thanksgiving and Christmas alone with our children.

That is big for me. I want the fairytale extended family.

I am chosing to just be thankful that we have each other and we have the five (almost six) babies and I am going to turn the music up a little louder, put more lights on the tree than ever before, cut the ribbon a little longer, bake even more cookies, forgive on another level, love more deeply, read more stories, wrap gifts even more beautifully, take even more pictures, send even more holiday cards and rock my precious babies even longer while I praise the One who has given me the desire of my heart that goes beyond what happens inside my heart every year when the cups change at Starbucks......

Image: Google

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Good morning sweet friends,

I am trying to type a quick post from my phone this morning.

I am sorry to say that my laptop was destroyed about a month ago by the tiniest
hands and a small cup of water.  I am always so careful with closing it and putting it away.

Lesson learned the hard way.

So needless to say, I have not had a way to write posts or host the radio show!

I have also had a tough time responding to emails from the tiny keyboard on my phone- so please know I will respond when I can.  I'm so sorry!

The good news is that I have no less than 100 posts to write whenever I get the chance:)

This last month has been extremely difficult to say the least and the way I process and heal is by writing. So here's hoping.

Thank you to those of you who have reached out, prayed and sent your beautiful words.

It has been a source of encouragement for me during a time of walking through really painful things.

God is so good and I am so grateful for His loving kindness in the midst of the storm.

If you are walking through a season of storms too, stay close to the Father. Cling to Him. Read His living word. Don't give up. Joy is coming. It's not over. Even if it looks like it's over - it's not. God is the author of a new thing. He is an ever present help. He is close to the broken hearted. He gives grace to the humble. Pray for those who have hurt you or wronged you. Bless your enemies. Forgive again and again and  again.  Don't hold on to people, places or things- hold on to God. He alone is all you need.....


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Que The Nutmeg {Weekend Inspiration}

Good morning beautiful friends!

I wanted to share a little weekend inspiration with you.

Que the nutmeg!

The first day of Autumn is September 22 and I can hardly wait for the start of my favorite season!

I wanted to share a favorite fall recipe with you again. I know there are at least a hundred different pumpkin muffin recipes floating around the blog world.  I share this one here every year, given to me years ago by a dear friend. My family never gets tired of these wonderful pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

Kellie's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 and 2/3 cup of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
mix all of the above into one bowl
2 large eggs
1 cup of Libby's plain pumpkin
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 cup of milk chocolate chips
mix this part in another bowl
Then combine both bowls together and spoon into a muffin pan
Bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Makes one dozen of the most delicious muffins you have ever tasted!

It is also time to start cooking my favorite family meal!

Your entire home will smell like you have been transformed into a gourmet cook and everyone you make this for will beg you for the recipe.

Chicken Marbella {From the Silver Palate Cookbook}

I serve this with cous cous and crispy french bread. It is divine. (I also use chicken breasts or tenders)

Servings: Serves 10 or more
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives
1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice
6 bay leaves
1 head garlic , peeled and finely puréed
1/4 cup dried oregano
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), quartered
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley or fresh cilantro , finely chopped
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers and juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. 

Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them. Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, until the thigh pieces yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice when pricked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of the pan juices and sprinkle generously with the parsley or cilantro. Pass the remaining pan juices in a sauceboat.

Note: To serve Chicken Marbella cold, cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring the pieces to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerated, reheat it in the juices, then allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Spoon some of the reserved juice over the chicken.

I also wanted to share one of my favorite christian artists, Chris McClarney.

Chris is a brilliant, gifted artist by every definition. Every song on his album is amazing, but lately, I have clung to the words in this song- Defender.

I also think it's time to create a station on Pandora entitled Autumn in New York.

It does not disappoint!

Turn up the volume and get to cooking this weekend!

I wanted to thank Kim from Three Peanuts for sharing her wisdom and expertise on Blog Talk Radio this week. She did an incredible job and I am so proud of her for taking a leap of faith with me!
Kim is also about to launch her new website entitled The Nurtured Home.

 You can like her page on Facebook here.

If you missed the show you can listen here:

Listen to internet radio with The Pearl on Blog Talk Radio

Also, Kim will be joining us again, this coming Monday night as she shares her expertise in the area of parenting.  I am so looking forward to it! The show is every Monday night at 9:00 central time and I would love to have you join us! Thank you to all of you for your encouragement, prayers and support. It has meant so much to me!

I also wanted to share about a wonderful blogger I recently found.

Her name is Beka Watts and she is an absolute doll! Her passion is football!


She teaches women how to understand the game!

She has an online class that is called Football 101- A girls guide to the game.

You can also follow Beka on twitter here.

Hope your weekend is filled with family, faith, wonderful food, inspiring music and a little football!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

On Falling Short

Maybe you've uttered the same words too. Cried them. Shouted them from the roof tops even.

Those few words that can feel like defeat staring you right in the face.

What a mess.

When everything seems to be all tangled up in a this is overwhelming-I can't fix this kind of way.

Difficult things happen.

Bad things happen.

Unfortunate circumstances are not always the result of disobedience, as some Christians believe.

I try to remind myself and others, when they are feeling defeated and walking through a "what a mess" situation and wondering what they have done wrong-if anything... of a beautiful chapter in scripture.

The book of Job.

Job was blameless. Blameless. He was all kinds of amazing in the sight of the Father.

But have you read the book of Job?

He did nothing wrong. The Father allowed circumstances. And plenty of them.

He uses situations and obstacles to shape and grow and mold us into becoming more like Him.

And then there are the times when quite simply...we just fall short.

Over and over again . Each and every one of us will fall short.

We all fall short of the glory...

He set it up like that. So we would need Him.

I fall short every, single day. My family will tell you.

And although I am learning and growing and doing my best to become more like Him,

I am thankful for the shortcomings.

And it is not because I want to live a life of mediocrity.

I want to live a life completely surrendered and dependent upon Him.

My shortcomings keep me close to Him. 

I am thankful that I don't have to be the perfect mother and the perfect wife.

That I don't need to shine up the gold medal award for good housekeeping for everyone to see.

I'm thankful that I don't feel the need to impress anyone and that the Father stripped me of all pretense years ago.

I'm thankful that when I lose my patience some days and my children have lost theirs, we recognize it, forgive, love and start again.

We begin again.

I'm thankful that I no longer feel the need to display my splendor any more.  

I want Him to display His.

Less of me and more of Him.

And in allowing more of Him...He teaches me how to love myself more, even when I fall short.

Looking back and thinking about days where I did life with less of Him...

I have fallen short in the category of relationships more times than I can count.

I have never been the daughter or daughter -n-law or sister or sister-n-law of any one's dreams.

I've had expectations in those relationships that no one could meet, coupled with mountains of hurt and years of unforgiveness.

I fell short. Again and again and again. Years of falling short.

I've recognized this in recent years and I am so thankful that even in spite of it all - in spite of the mess.

The One who knows and who is well able to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him can redeem and renew and restore and help us forgive ourselves...

He is faithful.

He makes Himself available. He longs to pour out His love, mercy, goodness and grace.

He can take our pride and arrogance and shortcomings and lack of patience and mistakes and in offering it up to Him with a heart of repentance and humility- He can use it.

To teach us. Grow us. Change us. Mold us into becoming more like Him if we allow the process.

And out of the process He gifts us with a deep well to draw from within.

A deep well filled with Him and the gifts of His sweet spirit and the ability to do life out of a place that overflows with becoming more like Him and loving ourselves more- in spite of it all.

Love yourself more today beautiful friends....

Source for photo

Monday, September 10, 2012

An Intentional Marriage ~ Radio Show

There are very few things in life that are better for a blogger than when a blog friend turns into a real life friend. So much is true with my very special friend Kim from Three Peanuts. 

For years I have read Kim's heart as she has openly shared about her faith and her life as a mother of three beautiful children and wife to incredible Dave. I have so admired the way in which she loves her family, her gift for creating a beautiful Christ centered home, as well as her amazing photography!

I recently invited my beautiful friend to join me on a couple of upcoming segments for Blog Talk Radio and was humbled that she would partner with me.

Kim practices as a marriage, parenting, relationship and life coach in Houston, Texas. She is also in the midst of launching her new marriage and parenting website entitled The Nurtured Home- where she will offer her expertise and passion on the topics of marriage, family and parenting.

Here is a little about Kim's background...

Kim Swales earned an M.A and a Ph.D in Marriage and Family Communication by the age of 25 and became an assistant professor at the University of Houston.  Her focus in research and teaching has been gender differences, family communication and marital maintenance throughout the life cycle.  However, she has also taught public speaking and business communication.

Kim’s research has been published in professional journals and books and she has presented her research all over the United States.  Specifically, her research on communication between men and women has won a prestigious national award.

In the community, Kim has started a support group for families going through divorce.  She also counsels engaged couples in her church and speaks at various churches, synagogues and schools on parenting and marriage.

When Kim started her family, she took some time off from teaching but she has remained professionally active in other ways. Currently, Kim sees clients privately for marriage and parenting coaching.  She is also in the process of launching a parenting and marriage website.

I feel incredibly blessed to have Kim joining us tonight for a segment on Marriage. She is an absolute wealth of wisdom and expertise. One of the things she shared with me about her heart behind her career is that it is a passion that was developed out of something painful that she walked through as a child. Kim is passionate about helping families as well as individuals in their relationships.

Tonight we will discuss how to move from autopilot to a place of being intentional, as well as search out the hope and encouragement in God's word on the subject.

She will also be joining us next Monday as well, for a segment on Motherhood and Parenting!

Kim will be answering questions tonight and responding to comments at the bottom of the show page.

You can follow the Facebook page for The Nurtured Home here and Follow Kim on Twitter here.

We ask you for your prayers tonight as we give the Father space to minister to hearts and offer encouragement and hope to many marriages.

So appreciate your support and many prayers beautiful friends...thank you.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You


You all are a bunch of amazing encouragers and I cannot tell you how much your reaching out has meant to me this week...

Thank you beautiful friends.

Many times I have started to share a piece or two. And thought to myself....
Don't be a burden. Don't talk about the negative. Don't share the attacks. That doesn't help anyone.
Doesn't glorify God in the least. It won't help anyone out of their mess. People have their own stuff. Their own heartaches. They do not need anything else to pray about or anyone else to pray for.

So I have remained radio silent about it all- for years.

And so I would ask the Father for something encouraging to write and share with you all instead.

Doing my best to shine a light on my difficulties through the sharing of His beautiful words.

Or I have just not posted anything at all.

Many times over the years, I have written an email in response to one of yours and prayed and asked the Father to give me encouraging words and scriptures to share with you all....

But to see that returned and to see my inbox filled with encouragement and scripture and beautiful comments and thoughtfulness, well..... it brought me to my knees.

You all blessed me in the most beautiful ways....

I have spent the week in overwhelming gratitude because of your kindness toward our family.

And I cannot thank you enough.

I thought by holding everything in and keeping everything close to my chest, I was doing what was best. But I can see now, that there is a community full of beautiful, amazing, incredible women who want to stand in the gap for one another during times of trial. Who want to help. Who want to do something. Who want to pray. Who want to reach out. Who just want to be a blessing.

I never dreamed it. Can we talk about how amazing you all are?

What a gift.

I know that you all have jobs and families and housework and soccer practice and bible studies and need to shower for heavens' sake!  I cannot believe the ways in which you have extended yourselves. Thank you.....

I also wanted to thank you all for your support and your prayers for the new radio segment that is about to start it's third week this coming Monday night.

This was a huge leap of faith for me and something I questioned the Father about- especially during such a difficult time for me personally.

But God is close to the broken hearted. 

He can have His way the best when we are fully relented and clinging to Him.

I see that now more than ever.

Here is the link if you would like to listen to it.  Charity did an amazing job and I am so thankful that she was willing to share her pieces and allow the Father to speak through her like this!

I am so looking forward to next Monday night with another very special guest blogger!

Thank you again for being such wonderful friends to me this words big enough tonight.

Listen to internet radio with The Pearl on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Finding Strength

I have shared less and less here about our life as a family over the last year.

I love to write and want to write what He prompts me to share.

I enjoy writing about the children and whatever life lessons I have discovered as a mother and wife too.

But this last year has been-for the lack of better words....

Ayouhavegottobekiddingme- type of year.

I know that many of you may be sitting there with your hand up saying this- Oh yes, me too.

I hear you.

The last three years have been that way for us, but this last year has just tried to literally, take us out as a family. Before we could recover from one thing- three more things would happen.

We knew that a lot of this was warfare because of The Pearl Event. Because we had decided as a family to say "yes" to Him. Whatever that was. Whatever that looked like. There is a price to pay for that. It doesn't come without a cost. 

Still. It didn't make it any easier.

We all have seasons in life that threaten to overtake us.

God is still good. He still has a purpose and a plan. And He promises us that He will use everything in our life for our good and His glory.

I believe that. I believe Him. I do.

I have wanted to write about it ...

Writing is healing for me. Writing breathes life to my soul. But I chose not to share while I was walking through it all. Many, many times I just did not even know how to put words around it. 

I have also wanted to write about it from a place of having overcome it all. I long to share pieces of it out of a place that would bring hope and encouragement to someone else. Out of a place that would speak life and bring glory to God. Out of a place that would maybe help point someone to the Father during their time of suffering.

But I haven't overcome it all. We are still walking through so much right now.

So I have posted less and less here because of that.

In saying all of that I will share this- we have been grieving as a family, as a couple and as individuals.

Layers upon layers of grief and sorrow.

I have learned that grief isn't just something that comes with the tragic loss of a child or a spouse or a loved one.

Grief is the result of any loss.

And the last three years for our family have been marked by loss.

With the exception of our priceless gift in baby Preston.....thank you God for our precious son.

We have done our best to manage loss and grief and sorrow by the truckloads and hold babies and love babies and do our best to be the parents they need in the midst of it all.  Many days we have failed miserably and failed in a lot of areas.

Many days have been spent with hands covering our faces and fighting back tears and searching out God's word for answers and wisdom or just spent weeping over the the sorrow of it all.

Many days over the last year especially, have been spent just trying to figure out what to do next. How to manage. How to get through. How to help the children. How to love them the best through all of this. How to move forward. On and on and on.

It has unraveled us.

We have tried to cling to one another and to the Father the best that we know how.

We cannot compare pain or loss. It all hurts just the same.

And you do your best to believe God, trust and move forward without trying to minimize or dismiss anything- but just to try and process it and grieve and ask for His guidance.

I have struggled a lot over the last year because of the testimony I already have. I have felt to add anything else- just seemed like too much for one person or one family...

But His ways are not our ways....

At church on Sunday, our incredible Pastor asked those to stand who have been walking through and carrying overwhelming burdens.

We stood.

He began to pray and make declarations over all of the families standing- there were many.

He fought for each one of us like a Father would war for his own children-

He fought for each one of us through prayer.

We wept.

We were grateful.

We were thankful.

We stood for a long time during the service and prayed that this would mark the end of this difficult season for our family.

We would be grateful for your prayers too....

Please pray for breakthrough for our family. Please pray for courage and strength and provision. Please pray that we would be able to move forward into all that He is asking of us - even in the midst of so much that we do not understand. Please pray that we would have joy and peace while we are waiting for the breakthrough. We have moments of this- but I am praying for a constant stream and that we would be unmoved by circumstances.

We would also be grateful for your prayers for our sweet Bella Grace.

She has experienced a decrease in her vision over the last several years and just recently we were told that her vision has decreased by another 70 percent just in the last year.

She is in contacts now and we will be putting her in a hard contact lens to wear at night in hopes of stabilizing her vision.

God is good. We are trusting Him on a new level. We are grateful for each day with our children. We are grateful for it all and we thank you for your beautiful prayers sweet friends...

Thank you....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Beauty and Worth

On occasion in life we are blessed to meet a heart who lives and breathes the beauty and goodness of the Father. Please allow me to introduce that very person in my own life, my blog friend turned real life friend Charity from The Heartfelt Home.

Charity is a prayer warrior. She is authentic and genuine and true. She is a woman of her word. She is beautiful in both inner and outer beauty. Her spirit soars. She is a gifted and blessed wife and mother of two. She is an amazing homeschooler. She also leads the social media ministry for her church and teaches a bible study to young girls as well.

Cha-Cha recently wrote a powerful post titled "Am I Beautiful?" 

I loved her transparent heart and how honestly she shared about this subject and thought it would be a great conversation to break down together on an upcoming Blog Talk Radio Show.

It seems we've all struggled in this area at one time or another.

I was so thankful she agreed to my little invitation and we are already praying for the Father to move however He would like to during this time, as well as for anyone who will be listening.

We are planning on sharing some scriptures about what the Father has to say about beauty and worth, as well as a few personal experiences and what may have helped us along the way.

I also have another wonderful book to share that was instrumental for me in this area!

The time has been changed from 10:00 to 9:00 central time! We are hoping to move the time slot up to 8:00 eventually. Also, that 30 minute segment flew by last week, so we are taking a leap of faith and expanding the time slot to 1 hour.

Here is the link if you would like to join us Monday night:

I wanted to thank all of you who prayed for this new thing the Lord is doing. It was a risk and I'm running empty on courage now, but I loved that time with all of you. Thank you so very much for your prayers and encouragement! It looked like we had 44 live listeners, and then 73 archived listens. I could not believe it! God is so good. You girls are a bunch of night owls!

So we will try again tomorrow night with our very special guest and lots of space for the Father to have His way. I ask you for your prayers again and we would love to have you join us!

Thank you beautiful friends....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Total Forgiveness

Good morning beautiful friends!

I wanted to post about the book I mentioned last night and offer a link to R.T. Kendall's ministry.

My copy of Total Forgiveness is much older and I have not read this new and updated version yet!

God used this amazing book to help me while I was stuck underneath mountains of offense and pain.

R.T. says this:

"What God did for me he will do for you. All of us have a story to tell. Chances are you have a story, if told, far outweighs mine in terms of unfairness and hurt. I reply: the greater the suffering the greater the anointing and blessing – if you truly totally forgive them. Your life will change and make you a great blessing – and, most of all; you will be blessed with extraordinary grace and freedom."

I shared a little last night that my struggle was wrapped around my wrong thinking.

I truly felt that if I forgave - that it meant that I was in agreement with it or that it was "okay."

I also believed that if I forgave them that I was actually giving them permission to do it all over again.

And so I remained stuck in that thinking for years and years.

R.T. so beautifully breaks down everything forgiveness is and everything forgiveness is not - using sound biblical teaching.  

It set me free.

I have had the honor of listening to R.T. teach in person on this subject and it was life changing for me.

If there is any way your church can extend an invitation for R.T. to come and speak- you will be blessed!

I do not know him personally at all- but God's ministry through him changed my life in such a way for the better that I just wanted to share it with you all.

Here are two more books that he has written on this subject. Totally Forgiving God and How To Forgive Ourselves- Totally. I have not read either one, but I am sure they will bless you tremendously!

I know that forgiveness is a sensitive subject for many. It is something that is tied to pain and suffering and sometimes extremely unfortunate events. I mentioned last night that we can't always forgive and forget. We can choose to forgive and God can bring us to such a place of healing that the turn of events do not hurt anymore- even though we still remember.  God can use the places that the enemy meant for harm, for our good and for His glory.

God can take our places of pain and make it our platform once He has brought healing. Truly.

I want to encourage you that God will meet you right where you are with this. He is such a loving Father and wants to set us free in every possible way.

One of the scriptures I shared was from 1Peter 3:9 

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." 

When we bless those who have hurt us or who have caused the sorrow, we inherit a blessing.

God is so good.

I also shared Mark 11:24-26

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and your will have them. And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Romans 12: 14
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse"

Romans 12: 17
"Do not repay evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody."

Romans 12:19
"Beloved, do you avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."

Luke 6:28
Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and support during this new thing the Father has asked me to do. It took every ounce of courage I had! We will try again next Monday night with a new topic and hopefully it will get a little easier each time. I am so incredibly grateful this morning for what He is doing. To God be the glory...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blog Talk Radio Show

Well. There are days where I feel a sudden burst of courage and I am guessing this is one of those days.

Several times over the years I have looked into the wonder that is Blog Talk Radio.

It is nothing short of amazing and I have always been absolutely fascinated by it.

Especially given the fact that all you need is a phone, a computer and a passion and you can create a radio show.

You can give a voice to whatever is nearest and dearest to your heart,  much like the blog world. There are thousands and thousands of shows. All manner of topics and subjects and they all have listeners.

Fascinating I tell you.

But as awe inspired as I was, I did not feel His leading to move in that direction until more recently.

And so, I am stepping out in obedience and trying something new for the first time....

I believe this is something He wants to use as a ministry tool, as well as a way to edify and encourage others and hopefully draw hearts unto Himself.

So with the Father's leading and an ounce of courage, I've signed up to host this little radio show on Monday evenings. It is 30 minutes long for now and I can listen and talk with five callers!


The thought of getting to hear your sweet voices is about to send me right over the edge!

Now please do not laugh when you hear the time slot. But it was the only time that I could get for this here free show and also the only time where I am hopeful that I will have five sleeping babies and no interruptions.

10:00 p.m. (central time)

Hopefully most of you will be sound asleep by then and I can just chat away into the midnight hour and  still feel as though I am being obedient:)

So let's see...

I know that this will come as a great surprise to most of you but the show is called "The Pearl."

I'm branching out. :)

The very first show is scheduled for tomorrow night, August 27.

This has to be quick before I change my mind or talk myself right on out of this!

So here is the link to the show

The first show topic is going to be on forgiveness. It is something I struggled with for years and years and probably the number one thing I hear others openly struggling with-outside of self worth.

Which might be the second show topic!

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas or topics you might like to discuss!

Monday night I will share a piece or two of my testimony in this area and why it was so hard for me to forgive, what biblical truths God has to say about forgiveness and the good things that come along when we do forgive.  I will also share about a special book that changed my life and helped me tremendously on that topic.

And if anyone is listening to the show and wants to call in, I am allowed five callers.


I'm so excited.

Please say some prayers that God would have His way and be glorified in this special time each week.

Thank you!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Like This Lord

If I could trust You like this Lord. With reckless abandon. Without any hesitation. With the knowing that You have this- these many situations and circumstances and You also have me.  You have us.

If I could trust you like this Lord.

Arms up and extended. Hands fully released, face pressed into Yours.

Full throttle trust. Never sitting on doubt, worry or fear.

Knowing that you are nothing like earthly ones who wound and leave us hanging.

You are Abba, Father, Papa. You are Daddy. 

You are the Great I Am.

You are the Healer. Restorer. Redeemer.

You are a Strong Tower. A Mighty Fortress.

You are my Provider.

You are The One who sees the end from the beginning.

You make all things new.

You are the All Knowing One.

You are the One who sings over us. Rejoices over us. Delights in us.

Great are Your Plans and Your Purposes and Your Promises...

You hover over us. Over our circumstances. Over situations. Over the unfair things and the painful things. Over broken hearts and broken dreams and things that didn't go as planned. You are near the broken hearted Father. Every, single one of us.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Bigger Plan

I usually do what He asks. Sometimes with hesitation. Sometimes I wrestle. But most often I jump from
the puddle to the pond and take a leap of faith and I trust Him. I believe Him.

Over the summer the Lord asked me to take The Pearl Event - on a smaller scale
to three specific cities this fall. Greenwich, Houston and Charlotte.
He named it The Mini Pearl- which I absolutely loved- and gave me instructions about what He wanted to do.

I questioned and wrestled for quite some time but in the end I was obedient and full of expectancy.

I called the hotel- the location of the very first event, booked the ballroom and signed the contract.

Still shaking in my boots, but I did it.

Then the hardest part.  

The trusting Him on a new level for something that has never happened before while looking at natural circumstances that suggest that there is absolutely no way that this is going to work.

Day after day. Night after night. Week after week I fought those concerns.

Circumstances caused fear to set in and it seemed that maybe I had misheard Him.

We needed things to work out in the natural in order to move forward. No luck.

So with tears and frustration and feelings of defeat I called and cancelled the first event scheduled for September.

It felt like the death of hope for me.

This was a huge risk that I couldn't take but I had believed that my obedience would bring the blessing
and God would just provide. Someway. Somehow.

I've believed Him before and somehow He has worked things out for the last two events- but I think this time I was feeling a little too battle worn and did not want to add additional stress on my family of trying to figure out finances.

I have to say I'm not sure I've ever felt like such a failure.

Out of those feelings that day I decided to just lay it down. Not just the event- but all of it.

Every dream and desire. Every hope of what is to come. Every bible study idea. Every ministry idea. Every business idea. Every page in every notebook that I had hoped would one day become books of encouragement to others. The future of The Pearl Event. The future of The Mini Pearls. The ministry to the broken hearted....all of it.

I tied it all up with spiritual heart strings and I wept over it.

I placed it at His feet and I gave it to Him.

I asked for forgiveness for messing this up, if I had. For not understanding. For disappointing others. For being of little faith, if that was the case. For anything and everything. All of it.

And I prayed.

I asked Him to pick up whatever piece- if any, and one day, maybe we could begin again....

For those of you who have asked about the possibility of Houston in October and Charlotte in November...right now I do not have a way. The first event was to fund or front the costs for the next event if that makes sense?

The Atlanta event in March of 2013 is still scheduled as a wonderful church is hosting and providing for that event. We are also still planning on hosting The Pearl Event III in April of 2013 with wonderful  guest speakers and bloggers and a live praise and worship team.

I want to apologize to you beautiful friends, for any disappointment I may have caused in any way at all. My heart is to move forward but right now I have to wait for provision.  For all of you who have prayed, commented, emailed and encouraged in words and prayers....thank you is an understatement.

I am so incredibly grateful to all of you.

If anything changes you all will be the first to know.

In the meantime I am trying to trust Him for a bigger plan. Thank you to each one of you who have offered encouragement and for helping me to see, that might just be the case....