Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful?? That's an understatment!

I am so thankful for everything that I have and everyone who cares for me and loves me. It wasn't until this morning that I realized how much I do have. I think I have felt this in the past, you know that guilt of having too much. If you are on Facebook, you have seen my status say things like "I'm cleaning out, and giving everything away!!!" or "I can't stand the clutter, everything has to go!!!". I even started a group on Facebook called the "Recycle Flee Market". I thought that would be a great place for people to post things that they wanted to sell or get rid of, or exchange things, or buy things.... like Craigslist.

So I have been cleaning out and piling up the stuff that we don't need. It's all on my screened in porch, which measures 20' x 10', which is filled with stuff and you can barely walk out there. The sad thing is, the "Recycle Flee Market" hasn't worked like I thought it would, and I've mentioned it to some friends, but the stuff is still sitting there... on my porch.

I woke up this morning and realized that the stuff out there is a sore reminder of all the things I have. It actually sickens me to see the stuff. What a waste! Here I have all this crap that I don't need (nor want), and it sits there... on my porch!

And what's even sadder and more sickening is that I don't know anyone who needs anything! Wow, isn't that crazy???

Yesterday I talked about love. When Jesus was asked which of the commands in God's law was most important, his response was "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”" (Matthew 22:37-40).

I really like how "The Message" says it:

Jesus said, "'Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' These two commands are pegs; everything in God's Law and the Prophets hangs from them."

"Love others as well as you love yourself"

So, how does a girl do that? I want to give things away, I want to give more of what I earn, more of my time to help people in need, but I don't know anyone who needs anything. And I just let things sit there! And believe me when I say, I am struggling with this. I feel paralyzed. I've thought about getting in my car and driving around Powhatan looking for "people in need". I'm sure my church knows "people in need", and other churches in the area know of "people in need". My big question to churches is: Why is everything so secretive? I know that things have to be done in discretion at times, not everyone wants everyone to know they need stuff. Or maybe I should be embarrassed that I have been blind to the needs of my community, and there is all kinds of stuff happening that I am clueless to. Well, please let me know if that's the case, I want to be part of something like that.

But for now, here I sit with my stuff, my money, my time. Asking myself these questions " How am I loving others like I love myself? Is where I live or the things I acquire loving others and in loving others, loving my God? Is what I say and what I do loving others?"

Tough questions, aren't they?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is love?

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7

I've come to realize that love is the most important thing. Those of us who know the bible, know that Jesus said to love one another, and that the most important thing, in addition to loving God, is to love each other. I think if we asked most people, they would say "Yes, I do that, I love people like God says to." But what did Jesus really mean when he said that? And why is love so important? It seems like a natural thing... to love.

So , try this....

Put your name where the word "love" is in this passage from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. Here's what it looks like for me......

Angie is patient and kind. Angie is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Angie does not demand her own way. Angie is not irritable, and she keeps no record of being wronged. Angie does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Angie never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

That's hard to read. Because it doesn't seem genuine. Because I'm not those things. Because the people in my life that are hard to love irritate me, and I do have a long list of the things they have done to me. And I often give up on them, and lose faith and throw my hands in the air and say "I'm DONE!". But that's not love.

Big light bulb for me. I have wrestled with this verse since I was about 20 years old and heard it read at a wedding. It has become a cliche for many people. "Love is patient and kind, blah, blah, blah." What an insult that is to God! I am sickened by the casual way we use this scripture. I am embarrassed that I have used this verse in careless ways myself.

My challenge is to live this verse out in my life. I challenge you to do the same... starting now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Luke Warm keeps us from Crazy Love

"Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God's kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world?

Lukewarm people:
Don't want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin....

Lukewarm People:
Love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return.......

Lukewarm people:
Will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.

Lukewarm people:
Think about life on earth much more than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today's to-do list, this week's schedule, and next month's vacation.....

Lukewarm people:
Do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens--they have their savings account--their retirement plan in place--they have life figured and mapped out."

Francis Chan, excerpt from "Crazy Love"

I'm currently reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. Someone mentioned the book to me a couple of weeks ago, then another person brought it up last week and then during a blog reading internet session, the book was mentioned not just once, but three times!!! So, that's what I call a sign from God saying "Helloooo, Angie, you need to read this!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are you living in the sweet spot?

When I think of sweet spot , I think of a racket or a bat. You know that place, when you hit the ball and it just feels right. The ball goes exactly where you want it to go. Everything comes together: timing, skill and movement. You typically win the point, and if you don't, it gives you the mental boost you need for the next one. It keeps you going, and when it's over, it doesn't matter if you win or lose. You walk away feeling good, like you played your best, you gave it your all. That's what hitting the sweet spot does. It gives you confidence, it lets you know you did something right.

Could you point out on your bat or racket exactly where this so called "spot" is? I don't think I could. I know it when I feel it, so I keep trying to hit it every time. It's somewhat of a goal or a compulsion.

What's it like to live life in the sweet spot?
Is that a life fully devoted to living out God's purpose in you?

When you let God use you,
not use you in the way you think he should use you,
not in the way your friends,
or your church,
or your Mom,
or your Dad,
thinks he should use you,
but really be open to how God wants to use you....

That's living in the sweet spot!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Letter to a Friend....

So, a person I know has an addiction, many people have addictions. We can be addicted to drugs, alcohol, shopping, food, sex, money, etc., the list goes on and on. This is my letter to my friend...

Dear Friend,
I have some hard things to tell you. This might be painful at times, and seem unloving. I just can't sit here and watch you continue to ruin your life and the life of those around you. I know you have that pit in your stomach, the one that you feel when people bring up your addiction. And I'm sorry you feel that way. Maybe that feeling is a nudge from God. He really wants to help you, but you have to let him. Not on a surface level, not by telling people that you have been healed and then secretly continuing your addiction. You really have to let him help you if you want out.

What makes something an addiction? An inability to stop, an absolute helplessness. An addiction is something that is so much bigger than you, it becomes the number one focus of your life, you can't stop doing it. That is sin. Addiction is living as a slave to Satan, and your sinful flesh. The deception is in the fact that you are helpless to it, you can't free yourself, so you just give in to the addiction and give up. And in giving up, you continue to be a slave to your addiction, you don't want to change, you just don't want to get caught. You believe the lie.

That's exactly what Satan wants. He wants to ruin your life, your marriage, your kids, your health, he wants you in hell with him.

But there is a way out... and it's a hard road. But God is bigger than any horrible thing you can imagine. But you have to turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ. God sent him to save you from your sin. It is the only way that you can be released from your addiction. And you know who Jesus is, you claimed to have let him into your heart years ago. But sin and God can not dwell in the same heart. I urge you to ask for forgiveness and rededicate your life to God. Ask Jesus back into your heart so the Holy Spirit can indwell in you. It's the only way out.

Romans 6:6-14 says "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace."

I'm praying for you, my friend. I'm praying that you will consider these words carefully, and make a decision. I'm praying that God will surround you with loving friends to help you and hold you accountable so you can finally conquer your addiction.

In God's Love and Grace,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Something to Ponder..

"Bedside Blessings" by Charles Swindoll is sitting on my nightstand. I sometimes read the devotion for the day before I go to sleep. So last night I open the book to November 9......

"The simple fact is this: If we sow a lifestyle that is in direct disobedience to God's revealed Word, we ultimately reap disaster.
The consequences of sin may not come immediately... but they will come eventually. And when they do, there will be no excuse, no rationalization, no accommodation. God doesn't compromise with consequences. When the bill comes due, the wages of willful sin must be paid in full.
'Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Romans 6:15'"

Well, that made for a good nights sleep.... NOT!

So does that mean if you make your bed, you have to lie in it? Even if you ask forgiveness? Do you just need to come to a place of peace with your circumstances? This is something that I am really struggling with. Maybe God keeps you in a place of uncomfortableness to help refine your character, not make your life miserable as a form of punishment. Or maybe this is just part of living in a fallen world.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Scars and Tattoos

I'm taking some time right now to really contemplate life and decisions made. As I look back over my life, I realize that for many years, I acted out of a self serving nature, a place of pain. Yes, I knew God then, I had given my life over to him when I was child, and re-dedicated my life to him many, many times. Yes, when I asked Jesus into my heart, I was "born again", made new, "a new creation in Christ". But, I have fallen off the wagon so, so many times.

For me, falling off the wagon is when I let the aching, empty, wounded part of my heart take control.

And yeah, we all have an empty, aching, wounded place in our heart. That's the place where the hurts gather, they start as fresh wounds, and then as they heal, they scar. God doesn't want to erase the hurts from our lives, that's why they stay there as scars. And then are tattoos, these are the good things, the ones that make our hearts happy and well over with joy. Scars and tattoos, they are both reminders of who we are and where we have been.

If I were to open up my heart and show you the scars, wounds, and tattoos, it would look like this.......
The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the various stages of healing......

So many times, I have lived my life out of the hurt. I have forgotten who my Healer is.

See the tattoos of my children? My marriage, my divorce? The sun? The rain? Not all of those things are hurt, some are joy.

See the wound that is stitched up in the center? My Healer did that, he stitched up the large slice in my heart that not having a father left behind, it used to hurt so bad, now it's just a little sore.

See the scar to the left? That's one of the scars that divorce left. That's pretty much healed, it hurts every now and then, mainly when I bump it.

See the black mess to the right? That's the place where I let my current situation get the best of me. I handed that one over this morning, my Healer's taking care of that one too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why A Tree???

At Powhatan Community Church, we are always doing new and different things. A few Sundays ago we did a live painting on stage as part of the worship experience. It not something that many people have seen, using painting as a form of worship.

What does it mean to worship God through painting?

Think of it like you think of worshiping God through music. Whether on stage leading, or in your seat singing and clapping your hands, you are showing God your love and that pleases Him immensely! Worshiping God through visual arts is the same thing, whether on stage, to the side of the stage, in your seat, or in your own home, .... it's just an Artist bearing their heart to show God how much they love Him.

And really, anyone can worship Him this way. If you're passionate about creating.....try worship God through visual arts.... painting, sculpting, drawing, or any kind of visual expression. It's a very powerful way to worship our Creator.

So, why a tree??? Colossians 3:1-17
Listen to this:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heart Full of Green

I am not a liberal environmentalist.
I am concerned that we are not taking care of the resources (our environment) that God gave us, and our neglect is now coming back to bite us in the butt.
Everyone is on this whole "green" kick. I know some people think that the Treehuggers are somehow making a revival, and the liberal Democrats are gaining ground, and really who can afford to eat organic food anyway?? And does this mean that all need to start recycling and what exactly is sustainable living??
Let's look at how the average person can make a difference....
Buy Local. Support your local independently owned businesses.
Check out the 3 / 50 Project. Did you know that "for every $100 spent in independently owned store, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it on line and NOTHING comes home."

Now that makes you re-think things... hmmmm

Most of the time when I tell people that I buy local organic foods, I get this response "I'm poor, I can't afford to buy organic." I often ask, "Can you afford the long term affects of eating food that is bad for you?" Or "The cost to ship food here from half way around the world?"

Buying grass fed and free range. I know that's expensive too, how about buying from the local co-op? No one can afford that either.

My question is How can we afford NOT to??

So those grapes you bought at Walmart for $1.89/ lb. are way cheaper than the $2.50/lb. you pay at the local healthfood store or co-op. But the Walmart grapes came from Chile or New Zealand. How much did it cost to get them to you? Gas, freight, man power? You're only kidding yourself if you think that the cost is not somehow deferred back to you. Buy your grapes from a local co-op or farmer and that money will directly affect our local economy.

Most of us can't afford to buy everything organic. There are certain things that I always buy organic and certain things that I rotate from organic to non-organic in order to cut down on the expense. If you can only afford a few things organic, Milk would be number one on my list. The hormones given to cows and the pesticides that the cows ingest go directly into their milk supply. There is also a list of fruits and vegetables that are lowest and highest in pesticides at I also shop though a local co-op called Fall Line Farms. Yes, they are more expensive than Foodlion or Walmart, but all of the food is from local farmers and growers.

I think if we all do our part in supporting local businesses & farmers, and we try our best to take care of the earth that God gave us, it will eventually turn our economy around and we will also live healthier lives.

Here are a few links:

Fall Line Farms


Trader Joes

Bill Nye (remember him? The Science Guy)

Food News

The 3 / 50 Project

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are You Tired? Worn Out?

Yesterday was a normal Tuesday for me. Woke up early, immediately pored myself a cup of coffee, and headed out the door to an early morning meeting. I'm part of The Production Team for Powhatan Community Church, and each Tuesday morning we meet to discuss, brainstorm and plan our services.

Later that morning I ended up talking to two wise people that God has deliberately brought into my life. I say deliberately because I didn't seek a relationship with them, but it has happened as I have opened myself up to what God's will is for my life. God has put both of them in my life as an answer to prayer. 

So, my wise friend said,".... What are you doing to take care of yourself? What can we do to help take care of you?"

Well, I do have a tendency to over-extend myself... hmmmm.

But, I also know
that about myself and try to stay very conscious of that. And then I thought about the fact that what I do creatively for God is not energy draining at all, as long as I stay strong in my purpose.

I used to serve at my old church in what I thought was God's will. See, I knew that my gifting was from God and that I needed to use those gifts to serve Him (that's in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 12). So, I used my gifts in the way that I thought God wanted, I started ministries, and did all kinds of work... but with the wrong focus. The focus was on the ministry, not on God. GOD HAS TO BE NUMBER ONE! No wonder I got burned out. 

Ok, back to my story.....
At first I didn't know how to answer that question (Hmmm... what can you do to help take care... Hawaii is out of the picture.... hmmmmm... maybe a closer beach.... hmmmmm...). 

Oh, yeah, I'm not tired or burned out. I sat in my seat here at Powhatan Community Church for 4 years, just sat there, feeling guilty at times that I wasn't doing something. So last Fall, I asked God what he wanted from me, where did he want me to serve? As doors opened and doors closed, I made my way to what has been the best use of my creative gifts and also the use of gifts that I didn't even know were gifts!! All of this has happened in what has been one of the most emotionally and physically draining years of my life. 

Through my brokenness, I have learned to trust God. 

Through my brokenness, I have discovered His incredible power.
It's not about me.....

One of my favorite verses, that I often meditate on, is from Matthew 11:28-30, it says:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."(The Message)

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Leadership Summit

I just attended this awesome conference called "The Leadership Summit". I have told many people about it over the past few days. One thing I have noticed is, as soon as I say I went with people from my church, I see their eyes shift and something inside of them turns off, and they start to half listen because they are now filing this information into the "church" area of their brain which doesn't connect with the other areas.

I'm gonna have to get up on my soapbox now....

The Leadership Summit was not about CHURCH! It was a gathering of Leaders throughout the world. They shared their experience, expertise, failures, and advise on how they lead people. If you are a person who really wants to help change the world we live in, you should check this out..
The Leadership Summit 2009

Ok, I'm done.....

Just one question: What does "church" mean to you?
To Be Continued.......

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Community

This is what I call community. Several months ago I became in charge of "Set Design" at my church (Powhatan Community Church). How, you may ask, does a Nurse/Artist become in charge of "Set Design"?? I ask the same thing. I have NO "Set Design" experience, but that's the incredible thing about God. When you open yourself up to what His will is for your life, he just might show you. And in the mean time bring some incredible people into your life.

After spending over 3 years sitting in my seat, I finally got up again. I wanted to use my creativity somehow for God's kingdom. He led me to The Production Team and a bunch of awesome people that I now call friends. The creativity we bring to the table is amazing. I love how we spar each others ideas, and our creativity builds as we each say "what if we.... ". And the comfort level and trust we have to really express ourselves. I love that we're all so different and we can laugh at ourselves and when we have a crazy idea we all make this hand motion we call "The Squash".

Thank you, Production Team, for letting this new girl come in and find her place.

So, I sat on the floor of this warehouse last Saturday with 5 other creative people. For a while, I created the set mainly on my own. Sometimes I had help from other members of our Production Team, and for that I am so grateful! I tried so hard to develop my own team of "Set Designers", but it just wasn't happening, so I stopped trying.

So, on Saturday, as we cut and sanded and painted and made the set, I realized that I don't need a team.

What I have is a community.

These five people are also trying to find their way. We all shared our desires to use our art to reach the lost and the hurting, to show people Jesus, to be more like him and less like the people of this world. As I sat there I realized that God is doing something incredible for his Kingdom, and I can't wait to see what he plans to do next!

Won't you come along for the ride?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Some of you may know that I am an artist. I am also a registered nurse. If there were one word to describe me, I think Artist is the word. My creativity carries over into every arena of my life, even nursing.

Until recently, I thought that my artistic abilities were just a bonus, it allowed me to express myself and make the world a more beautiful place. Artists make the world more beautiful visually, just like musicians make the world more beautiful with sound. And if you didn't have any of those beautifying gifts, then your gift was to enjoy them :)

And a lot of artists are tormented by their pasts. A very high percentage of creative people come from dysfunctional backgrounds. Maybe creativity is a release from the pains of the past. I think some of my dysfunctional past is exposed in my art. It also provides a release when things aren't going so well in my life. It's like therapy. When I bottled it up (my art) and I don't spend time creating, I get depressed.

In the past, when I painted, I didn't have purpose. Well, my purpose was to paint a painting of something. And it got boring sometimes. Like should I paint a flower or a frog? Or a house or a landscape, or an abstract? Oils, acrylic, watercolor? Sometimes just thinking about what to paint sucked the creativity out of the whole project. And that too is depressing.

The kind of artist that paints like I used to paint feels empty. I've had this nagging feeling for a while that there had to be more to this gift that God gave me. So much more......

As I have spent a lot of time lately really contemplating my gifts, I've come to this conclusion...

God gave me my gift so I could represent him in this world. When I paint now, I become part of the painting. I am part of the movement of the brush, the colors on the canvas, the breath of God is in my painting. God is speaking through my art.

How is God speaking through you??

Friday, July 31, 2009


I've been contemplating my role as a mother lately. I feel as though I have done a huge backslide in my life. That perhaps my children deserve better or more. They didn't choose me as their mother. They didn't choose the life that I have provided them. 

Then I think about my life as it was 5 - 6 years ago. I was living in the West End with my ex-husband and my then three children (now there's one more). We had worked so hard for the things we had, a fairly large house in a nice neighborhood, nice cars,nice clothes, nice toys and we tried to sacrifice some things so I didn't have to work. We were members of a nice church made up of young families, just like us, who did good things for those less fortunate. We decided to move to our Dream House, the one that had EVERYTHING we wanted (not needed), especially space, 4000 square feet and an attic to finish, decorated perfectly by me. It was more than enough for us. After moving into that house, things came crashing down. 

Fast forward: All of those things are gone. I have spent the better part of the last 5 years mourning those things, hating myself for many decisions that I made and how they have affected me and my children. And sometimes accepting the consequences that have come with those decisions, but mostly not.

I want to stop right now to say that this does not come out of unhappiness with the people in my life. This comes out of an expectation of what my life should have been like and what I thought was important. And there is a long list of those things. 

Ok, so what I have learned as I watched my kids moving their furniture and building a small fort in their tiny little bedroom today was that it's not about what I have provided them with physically. It's not about how their father can provide so much more for them (and he frequently strives to do so, and I frequently clench my stomach when he does), or where they live, or how big our house is...... 

It's about their character. It's about them watching me in my struggles and seeing how I handle them. 

If we were comfortable, we would never be broken. 

If we're never broken, we never look for more, we stay comfortable.

It's from my brokeness that my children see my strength. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Warrior Chick

I was asked to be part of a small group of women that are getting together to read a book called "Warrior Chicks".

"All of the women in the group are strong leader types, and you're the one that the extra book in my car was meant for!" my friend said.

I was pretty excited about it. I have been in a number of Women's Bible Studies that have left me feeling empty. And well, my track record is not so great as far as small groups are concerned. My husband and I have tried a bunch, we're your basic small group whores, we try one once and never go back (for various reasons like, they're too far away or we have to work that night for the next 6 months, or whatever). So I had high expectations for this group,
and I did wonder how all of us strong personality leader types were going to get along.

A few questions I had as I anticipated our first meeting, and the answers I found after our first meeting:

1. Who would lead?? We all seem to naturally gravitate toward leadership, and when you are a born leader, you can't help but lead. I found myself making a conscious effort to let Karen guide us through the questions. It was a relief to have the shoe on the other foot, and just let someone else take responsibility for something. Phewwwwwww.

2. Who would talk? Or should I say who would listen? I have to admit, I like to talk, and when I am around others who like to talk, I talk even more! So, again I made a conscious effort to listen, really listen to these women.

3. Why are we really here? I know that God puts us in different situations and we don't always know why, and we sometimes think we are there to help others, when really they are helping us. I look forward to seeing how this group evolves, and how we each grow personally.

I was a little guarded at first, not sure where this thing was gonna go, but I left there feeling like I was somehow meant to be there. Like we are an underground secret sisterhood of real women, with real struggles and issues.

And week two was even crazier! I never realized that there were other women that are so much like me. What an adventure it is! I can't wait to see what happens next!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Woke up this morning with a dull headache. Thinking about the fact that my week is coming to an end, which means I start my "work week" in a day or so. I work two 12 hour shifts each weekend. So, what I realized was how fast each week goes by. Same routine, same focus: work each weekend, Monday "put the house back together day", Tuesday - Friday is damage control, pool, kid activities, laundry, clean, church stuff, kid stuff, husband passing at the door............. kinda feel stuck.

So, I'm realigning my thinking. All of the things I've placed importance on like having new things, cleaning my house, keeping up with all of my peers, those things don't matter in the long run.

This week I have NOT done dishes everyday or vacuumed.

I've played with my kids more, I've taken them on new experiences. I went to the mall and DIDN'T BUY ANYTHING!!!!

With my oldest daughter in Macedonia on a mission trip, it's made me realize a few things. Yes, the house is a little bit quieter, and I keep thinking she's gonna come out of her room to ask me something. But...

What I've learned from seeing pictures of them and watching videos ( is that life is not about the stuff. It's about the EXPERIENCE.

So many of us have been blinded by the distraction of THINGS.

Are you one of them?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Why YOU Should Go To My Church...hear me out on this one.

Well, I could give you a list of things that make my church better than others, but most of those reasons would be very subjective.

I first want to share a quote:
"All too often what passes for Christianity is not true Christianity at all. It is an impostor. And the sad thing is that most people don't know the difference."J. David Hoke

What comes to mind when you hear these words?
How do they make you feel?
Born Again,
Sunday School,
..... you get the picture.

My church takes you away from stereotypes.
Come as you are.
God meets you there.
If you're not sure about God, it's ok, no one will force you to do anything you don't feel comfortable doing.
If you have questions, we're here to guide you to your answer.
If you're seeking to fulfill an emptiness, you just might find it.
If you want to remain anonymous and just take it all in, that's ok too. Many of us have been in your shoes.
If you have baggage and don't think anyone could possibly understand...come, you just might be surprised.
Been to church before?
Had a bad experience? It's not like that here.
Like great music? Ours is great and always something new.
Like creativity, drama, art, dance? We do that.
Want to hear someone talk about a topic that's relevant to your life? You'll get that too.

It's REAL here,
REAL people,
facing REAL issues,

in a REAL way.

So this is my invitation to you....
Come as you are.... no dress code, no fake smiles, no pretenses.
Powhatan Community Church
meeting at Powhatan High School on Judes Ferry Rd.
Services at 9:30am and 11am

See you there?????

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There's something that God has really pressed upon my heart this week. Something that until recently, never occurred to me.

For many years, I served in a number of capacities at my former church. I'm a self starter, I like to start new things, lead teams in places they have never gone before, or places they feared to go.

I was drawn to new ideas, new ministries that I thought God would LOVE to see in my former church. There was a need, there seemed to be interest.

I started a Parish Nurse Ministry... "God please bless this ministry"

Women's Bible Study... "God please bless this ministry"

Visual Arts Ministry... "God please bless this ministry"

Coffee House Ministry... "God please bless this ministry"

Mercy Ministry... "God please bless this ministry"

Blah, Blah, Blah................

So you may ask, "Were they successful?"
The answer would be, "Sometimes".
Yes, we did reach people, we held a successful Healthfair that reach the many refugees that lived in the neighborhood next to our church. The Women's bible study started with 15 women and last I heard there were 50 or more that come to it each week. Coffee House, Visual Arts, I'm not sure ..... BUT, did I feel fulfilled? like I was doing the work of God, was the Holy Spirit ALIVE in what I was doing? I'm not sure.

When I left there and came to Powhatan Community Church, I started to think of things that God would want... for 3 years I thought about it.

Then God spoke to me:

"Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can't believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I'm doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I've been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I'll do it. That's how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I'll do. (John 14:11-14 The Message)

DUHHHHH. When I started to pray like this:
"God, please show me where you want me to use the gifts that you gave me. Show me how I can glorify YOUR name. I'm wide open to anything. Here I am God, here I am..."
AMAZING things started to happen. God became ALIVE in me. He led me down a path that I continue to take each day. I don't always know where we are going, he often takes me to places that are somewhat uncomfortable. Doing things that I never thought I could do, places where I HAVE TO trust him, and that's not easy for a former control freak like me.

I just have to say, what an awesome ride it's been... I highly recommend it!

I challenge you to ask yourself these questions:

Is there something that I'm asking God to bless in my life?
Have I asked God to show me what He is already blessing?
Have I said, "Here I am, God, use me in what you are doing right now!"

Friday, May 1, 2009

Reaching Hearts of People Far Away

This summer, a group of youth along with adult leaders will be going to Macedonia on a mission trip. My daughter Jessi is one of the people going. For a very long time, Jessi had talked about helping other people, especially people that live in less fortunate environments who are far from Christ. As I have watched her grow into a young adult, it is evident to me where God has gifted her... the gift of mercy, kindness and encouragement. Her gifts along with the gifts that each member of the Macedonia Team has, will definitely impact this country. What a great package God is preparing for the Roma people!!

Jessi wrote a letter describing her passion for what God is doing through her, here it is:

Dear Friends and Family,

Just recently, and after much prayer, I have finally figured out where I want to go and what I want to do with my life. That is missionary work.  I want to reach the lonely, the heart broken, and the unwanted and tell them the unfailing love of Jesus Christ.

            This summer I have the opportunity to go on my first mission trip. I, along with other members from my church, will be heading to the Republic of Macedonia. While there we will be working with the Roma people.  The Roma live in poverty and many collect plastic and trash for their only source of income.  Women in Macedonia have no rights. Once engaged a Roma woman is at the mercy of her in-laws and she is basically made a slave. She is forced to do housework and other various things until her in-laws find it fit to let her go.  I have had the opportunity to see pictures of the beautiful Roma children. We will also be reaching out to them during our trip; playing with them and also teaching them simple Christian values.  During our time we will also spread the name of Jesus Christ.

            God has impressed this trip upon my heart. I want to go and spread the life of Christ because it is the good news of Jesus that has greatly changed my own life.  I want to tell the Roma women that they have worth in Christ, tell the Roma children that they are forgiven through Christ, and tell the Roma men that they have been created in the image of a loving Savior.

            I am in the process of raising money through various fundraising activities. I am also continuing to ask for donations. It really isn’t about the money; I believe truly that God will provide for me. Any support whether it is through prayer or donations is a true blessing.

                                    All For His Glory,


In the next 4 weeks, this team is avidly trying to raise money. If you find it in your heart to support this team, please contact me via email: 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Awaken My Heart

My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.I will thank you, Lord, among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.
Psalm 57: 7-11

It's been an awakening...I suddenly can see clearly. It's not about me. Never has been, never will be. If only everyone could experience that and live it out in their lives. Marriages would be better, friendships would be better, children's lives would be better, the world would be better. But, it's not that simple, it's not something that you just wake up and choose one day. Yes, everything is a choice we make. But this choice comes out of rock bottom. Finally dying to yourself.

Five years ago, my life was turned upside down. Choices I made and choices others made help put me there. Being the optimist, thinking the grass had to be greener. I've since realized that divorce is never a way out. It's never a solution to problems that each person brings into a marriage. That was the beginning of dying.

I found myself in Powhatan, Virginia. I started going to a church that met in a High School, Powhatan Community Church. I had been going to church since I was a child. Raised Baptist, very involved in a Presbyterian Church in the west end of Richmond before the divorce. Not sure of what God was doing in my life, he seemed so far away.

I loved the fact that I could just slip into my seat at this new church, no one bothered me, asked me to raise my hand, or forced me to speak to them. I slipped in each Sunday, something kept me coming back. I cried, I laughed, I started to put my guard down. After being there for a few months, I figured God needed me to serve there like I had at my other church.... women's ministry, art ministry, parish nurse ministry. I'm sure all of these needed to be started here, and I was certainly the one God sent to do it!! I had done those things in my last church. I met with the creative arts director, and tried to get involved, but for some overwhelming reason, I just couldn't do it. So, I sat in the seat each Sunday and cried, laughed and continue to let God move in me.

Three years later, I felt it was time. God was nudging me in all of my brokenness, pain and tiredness. I started serving on the Production Team, where I've somehow become in charge of the set for our Sunday morning services. And I'm leading a bible study for young girls called Rise Above the Reflection, teaching them to focus on their inward beauty. I'm occasionally singing again, and helping the youth raise money for their mission trip to Macedonia.

The thing is, I didn't have to figure out where God wanted me, all I had to do was say "here I am, Lord, send me.." And HE put me exactly where HE wanted me, using my gifts the way HE planned. That's the incredible thing about God, that's the incredible thing about Powhatan Community Church. It's so alive and breathing with the spirit of God. It's hard to not get sucked in.

At the PCC production meetings on Tuesday morning, people say that lives are changed by what we do.. and they are. I am one of those lives.... changed.

God has continuously put me in uncomfortable places, areas where I felt I just couldn't do the things that He asked me to do. As I have focused on Him, he has given me the power to do what HE wants me to do for him. This is the first time in my walk with God that he feels so alive.

C.S. Lewis once said that we can not fully experience a relationship with God until we totally die to ourselves. For the first time in my life, I have done this. How incredible is that?? It is at the very bottom of brokenness that God is using me to do incredible things for His kingdom!!! It is only thorough him that I am strong.

During my quiet time last week, I read this verse, and then, God brought it back to me when I opened my iGoogle page, the same verse was right there in front of me. I am living this verse everyday!!

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinth. 12:8-10

Monday, March 9, 2009

Snow, Spring and Mice

So, we have 16 inches of snow one day. No electricity, trees down everywhere, four wheel drive needed to get in and out of my driveway. AND THEN, five days later, it's 85 degrees outside!! I have to say, the snow was pretty, but I prefer the 85 degrees. And I can see the signs of spring around my house and yard. My trees are budding, and my tulips are coming up. Beautiful things we associate with spring.

But, there are also some not-so-beautiful things I associate with spring. There was a bug crawling across my kitchen floor this morning, I can't identify the species, I call it a Powhatan Bug (we didn't have those kind of bugs when I lived in Midlothian). Another sign of spring I noticed in my car. I saw what looked like chocolate sprinkles on my seat. I typically blame my husband for things like this, he sneaks off to Chubby's (the convenient store/ gas station/restaurant down the street) to get his fix of fast food and ice cream on a daily basis. Well, when I took a closer look, the chocolate sprinkles looked more like they came from a mouse, if you know what I mean...yeah, mouse poop... in my car!! OK, so where is the mouse now?? I envision my self driving down the street with a mouse running around my car, as I swat at it and scream and most likely wreck! But I was late to where I needed to go, so I decided to leave, and pray.

Then I started thinking about the fact that God created mice, AND bugs. Why? Do they somehow support the food chain and more valuable species couldn't survive without eating them? Or is it something about our character that God wants to develop by putting creepy bugs and disgusting rodents in our lives? Will there be mice and bugs in heaven? Maybe they will get new bodies too and be CLEAN (I'm a germ-phobic nurse). Maybe, it's just my percetption, some people like mice and bugs. Or maybe I over analyze things? And it's soooo much deeper than what we can ever understand.

How great is God—beyond our understanding! (Job 36:26)

God is incomprehensible to us, we can never fully understand His ways.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Yeah, I'll just leave it at that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Beating Heart

At 5 weeks of life, an embryos heart begins to beat! At this point, the embryo is only 1/17th of an inch long.....that's the size of the tip of a pencil. It's hard to fathom that something that size is a living human being. God knows this tiny little embryo of life, with it's tiny little beating heart, and it's brain and other organs that are beginning to develop. Wow! God saw our bones being formed in our mother's body. He made us in an amazing and wonderful way. He has planned all of our days and written them in His book before we were born.

When I am at my job, every time I see a baby enter this world, I feel the presence of God. Whether that baby was long awaited by his parents, or maybe he wasn't planned, I still feel God in that room. Whether those parents know who He is or not,....He is there in that room when His child takes its first breath.

Friday, February 6, 2009

More TIme, More TIme,More Time......

I find it increasingly more difficult to find the time to do the things I like to do, need to do, want to do, HAVE to do. How has the world gotten so busy? Why is there never enough time in the day? It's overwhelming.

My struggles:
I have to wait until I get my life organized to really start living.

I have become so busy with the day to day that I no longer have any friends. I don't have time. 

I am so busy taking care of everyone and everything else, that I don't have time to take care of myself.

I hate the house I live in.

I miss my art studio and garage!

I have 50 things on my to-do list today, and I have to work 12 hours tomorrow, how will I ever get it done?

When will men start being men again? Leaders, taking responsibility for themselves and their families? What has happened to Godly men?

Women, when will we stop worrying about the way we look and what people think of us? When will we EVER put our guards down??

Is this what it means to live in a fallen world? Where the roaring lion is prowling around looking to devour us at any moment? I think he already has. I think he already has.

When I get to this point, I often look up, I hear the voice of God, I hear Jesus, he's talking to me........
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (Matt 11:28-30-The Message)

Freely and lightly, freely and lightly, freely and lightly..........COME TO ME.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At The Heart of It All

I have to say I am fascinated by the heart. How it sustains life both physically and emotionally. With each of my children, I remember anticipating the first time I saw that tiny flicker on the sonogram screen. The miracle of life will forever amaze me.

Without the heart, we could not survive. It's a vital organ to our being. It delivers the blood, oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain our lives. It leads our emotions, passions and drive. Sometimes we follow it blindly, as it leads us down the path it chooses.

But, at it's core, it good or bad?

The heart can be many things: evil, pure,hard, soft, humble, fearful, loving, observant, obedient, defiant, committed, tested, crying, rejoicing, responsive, seeking, praying, discerning, changing ....... the list goes on.

Jeremiah 17:9 says "The human heart is the most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" It's as if the heart needs some help. It needs to be controlled, reigned in somehow.

It is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God. Believing adds another element to the heart, we also have to engage our minds. So if we are to have spiritual renewal in Christ, are we not made new in the attitude of our minds? Yes, we are. That would be our new nature, created in God's likeness. (Romans 10:10, Ephesians 4:23-24).

I go back to Jeremiah 17, in verse 10, God answers... "I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind ......."

To follow our hearts, we must first follow our minds. There is a consciousness that we must have with our hearts as it takes us on the wild and exciting journey called life.