Wow!  A lot can happen in a year!  I just read over my post from April 8, 2016 – the last post I wrote.  First off, I can’t believe I haven’t written in over a year!!  Second, A LOT happened in the last year – a lot of crappy stuff, but A LOT of GREAT stuff, too!  And, all the while I have had amazingly supportive loved one’s and an even more amazing God pushing me, encouraging me, and cheering me on!  So, here I am…today’s my 51st birthday!!  I haven’t written here in over a year, but I have been writing in my journal and being very intentional about taking care of myself.  Actually, I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last year!  The word INTENTIONAL has been kind of my “word” for the last several years and while I have been “intentional” about many things, it hasn’t been until the last few months that I have fully embraced the word.  If you are reading this and feeling the least bit inadequate I want to encourage you to get intentional!  For me, setting my course required five steps and here they are:

  1.  FIX YOUR EYES ON JESUS! Now, that may sound a bit “odd” from a woman who has been a Christian since she was 10, but I believe we all have levels of connectivity with Jesus.  I now fully “get” what “spiritual maturity” is!  Spiritual maturity is NOT about having all the answers or about not experiencing difficulty, it’s about having peace in the mess….and, yes, I AM A MESS most of the time!  However, beginning my day immersed in devotion, prayer, and preparation for my day, along with pausing throughout the day to pray and refocus has improved my level of peace immeasurably!
  2. GET REAL – AND GET A COACH!  Getting real about my mess and getting a coach, for me, was like opening a huge can of vulnerability!  And, who likes to be vulnerable?!  I surely don’t, but I’m beginning to get more comfortable with it.  In my opinion (for what it’s worth), having a professional coach is KEY to success!  It’s like having a very authentic cheerleader!  And, by that I mean, someone who is going to “rah-rah”, but be honest (even when it may hurt) and help brainstorm so that authentic goal setting may take place.  It’s a great way to stay on track professionally, as well as personally.  I have two coaches….I told you I’m a mess….it takes two for all my crap! I am so thankful for both!
  3. FORGIVE!  This is HUGE!  Forgiving is sooooo freeing!!  I have lots to share about this for in future posts, but for now I’m just going to share that the statement about not forgiving hurts you more than the person who “wronged” you is so, so, so, accurate!  I’m so thankful Jesus has forgiven me and encouraged me to break the chain and forgive others.
  4. Say “NO”!  I thought that I had learned that a lot of years ago, but I hadn’t.  Oh, I’ve said no, but hadn’t really ever perfected saying it with either attitude or guilt.  I can’t say that I never have guilt anymore when saying no, but I’ve gotten a ton better at it.  It’s another vice to having true freedom…..I now often respond, “I can’t commit right now, but will get back to you”.  That gives me the freedom of evaluating and offering my best “yes” and/or a “no” without attitude!
  5. INVEST!  This has nothing to do with money!, but everything to do with investing in others.  Finally, I have grasped and embraced my gift of hospitality.  For a very long time, I’ve hated that gift!  Why?  Well, because it very often leads to hard work.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not shy of hard work, but I get burned out on “doing”!  Hospitality doesn’t always mean, though, hard work….I may be hospitable by sending an encouraging text or note, I don’t have to host a full-blown party or fix a four-course meal for someone!!  Just sharing an uplifting word or a simple quart of soup is just as appreciated.  Investing in others enables me to shine the light of Christ and it makes me feel good!

So, here’s why I outlined the prior five….it’s my way to be intentional about posting.  Over the course of the coming months, I’ll go more in depth and authentically share how each of the five have brought me peace and enriched my life.  So, come back please…and I pray that each reader gets a little deposit of God’s light!

Happy Easter! 🙂


Renew ~ Resuscitate ~ Revive

I’m back!  I had a great Easter weekend!  Did you?  We went to church on Saturday evening with our family, followed by a nice dinner out.  On Sunday morning I woke feeling excited and grateful for a day planned with family and eagerly prepared my food and drink to share at our family gathering.  I had hoped that I would continue to feel renewed following that day, but I didn’t.  And, here’s your warning, this is gonna get really “real”!  In fact, so real, that I considered changing the settings on this blog back to private, but I’m stepping out to be real, authentic, and transparent; and I’m leaving it public.  I am not ashamed to say that I have been struggling – big time!  I am thankful for other bloggers, authors, friends, and my Lord and Savior for sharing words of wisdom, encouragement, truth – Biblical truth, that is, and just some really authentic and genuine love; so I’m going to be brave, I’m going to leave this public, in an effort to bring glory and honor to God (first and foremost) and so that if what I share can be of a little encouragement to someone else, then the entire goal of starting this blog long ago will be accomplished!  So, here goes:

I have been in such a pit of despair, hurt, inner-turmoil, and sadness!  I do not know when it began – maybe my whole life?!, but I hit rock bottom last Saturday!  And, it was over the mere suggestion of going out for breakfast to my favorite breakfast spot!  ok…so maybe I’m just a goofy girl trapped in an overweight, old woman’s body!  Don’t know.  Don’t care. It is what it is!  It’s me.  It happened.  And, I’m not gonna be ashamed.  And, let me just give another disclaimer here.  This is not gonna be a fairy tale story of miraculous fixing and I’m all joyful.  I’m not out of my pit, but I’m climbing out and I do intend to reach the top and set my feet on firm foundation very soon!  So, back to last Saturday. Who knew one could completely “lose it” over going out for breakfast!?!  Aren’t emotions just WEIRD!?!  To make a long story short – I collected myself, got a shower and went to breakfast, but not before texting my very best girlfriend with a “please pray, I’ve hit bottom, and I’m a hot mess”.  Thankfully she’s not an over reactionary person, so she prayed, checked on me throughout the day, and kept praying.  And, I made it through the day!!  So, here it is, nearly a week later and where am on this journey?

Well, I’m writing!  I’ve taken a much needed day off from work!  And, I’ve spent the week trying to heal.  I’ve had a bladder infection and migraine all week from all of this emotional turmoil, but I’m determined to get my feet on solid ground and I’m working on a plan to just heal!  Thankfully, my friend’s care and my husband’s never-ending love was my life line – RESUSCITATION!  Today, I am physically feeling better and mentally stronger.  So now, I need to for my plan to RENEW!  One week from today, I will turn ….. 50….. yikes, that nifty number of 50….. ugh…. I’ve been dreading it….actually haven’t even been able to say it for months, but I’ve decided I might as well embrace it – ignoring something never makes it go away!  It’s not a vanity thing….I really don’t care about getting wrinkles and gray hair, nor am I afraid to die…. I’m looking forward to going to my eternal home whenever God calls me.  However, I do fear becoming a widow and with me turning 50, my husband will turn 70 (yes, he robbed the cradle!)!  I realize turning 70 isn’t a death sentence, so don’t start making comments about me being silly!, but my hubby has had some health issues that has made me consider what will the future hold.  And, then, thankfully at the bottom of my pit last weekend it finally soaked in that I need to STOP the madness and quite worrying about the future…. God knows what the future holds, He will take care of the details, and I just need to STOP and TRUST!  Logically I know all of this, but then I allow Satan to get a hold of my thoughts and emotions and, well, I get what I’m in….. despair, sadness, anxiety, and no good…..plain. and. simple. So, what’s my plan to RENEW?  Well, last Friday, April 1, I began my birthday-palooza-month!  A group of friends celebrated my and another friends birthdays.  We had lots of good food, good wine, laughter, and the time was not missing love – isn’t it amazing how God has woven our hearts to really care for one another? And, gifts!  Oh, there were cool party favors, and I know while these are smart ladies they didn’t plan their gifts to have a theme, but in looking back on the day God was speaking through all of them to me.  I got a beautiful plant – an orange Klavanox, or something like that!, and a beautiful planter of crocus, tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.  I can’t wait for them to bloom and I have a spot picked out to transplant the bulbs so that I have a special spring bloom area under my very favorite tree in our yard.  And, then, I received a dahlia bulb, too!  I can’t wait to plant it in my garden and enjoy the blooms this summer.  Of course, I got chocolate, books, and lovely cards, too!  It was perfect!  God was breathing RENEWAL through each of those ladies and I’m so grateful to have each of them in my life!

Tomorrow I’ll continue my “palooza” when I travel with some of my family out-of-state to attend a symphony performance – I love all kinds of music, so I’m very excited!  Then, next week on my birthday I plan to begin my day with a light breakfast with my husband (without a pre-breakfast meltdown!), followed by a massage, coffee with a friend, and end the evening with dinner with my best friends, parents, and hubby!  Next Saturday, I’ll celebrate with my family – my sister always bakes my favorite cake – white with cream cheese icing!  I can’t wait for that deliciousness!  And, of course on Sunday, I’ll go to church and then celebrate with more family. And, I have other celebrations that will continue through the month right through April 27….and, then….. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and I’m gonna be brave and begin a 30 day detox!  Yikes!  Yep….I’m gonna do it!  No meat. No coffee. No microwave. No sugar. But lots of:  whole foods, juices, smoothies, green tea, water, epsom salt baths, and 9 hours of sleep each night!  And, at the end I hope to be completed REVIVED!  This cleanse is a body, mind, and spirit.  I know I need the body cleanse….I mean after 50 years of toxins, I’m fairly certain it can’t hurt!  I desperately need to renew my mind and spirit….the entire reason I’m delving into this…I seek to deepen my faith so that I may come out shining my light even brighter for Christ.  I am not ashamed to say I need this.  I’ve burned my candle so many ways that there is absolutely no wick left….but the good news – the truth – is that getting back to THE TRUTH will fix it all.  God uses ALL things for GOOD.  He is calling me to be who HE designed me to be.  I am not identified by my job, by my earthly father, by my marriage…my identity is in JESUS and He is the author of this girls story.  I choose to quit bossing Him around and give him back the pen to continue this story.  Come along with me, if you wish.  I plan to journal this journey.  All for His glory and honor, and to help someone.

~In His Love~

Happy Easter!

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been over a year since making a post!  I really have no explanation for not writing, but one thing is certain – I’ve missed writing!  So, I’m back!!  Today’s post is going to be short, as I’ve got many tasks that need to be finished so that I have time to prepare for church tonight.  I love that we can attend church tonight to celebrate Easter and then have a morning of quiet celebration tomorrow.  For some, it seems odd, but for me it’s a blessing.  It’s rare that I have a morning that may be spent with extra quiet time, so I look forward to preparing some food for our family dinner, listen to praise music, and having time to just read, worship, and savor some quiet time.

Last evening (Good Friday!), we commemorated Christ’s death by attending our church’s communion service.  I love having communion in our church family.  While we attend a large church, it seems small to me because we know so many there.  This time we sat with our small group family, folks that have become so near and dear to our hearts.  If you aren’t a member of a small group, and that’s something that your church offers, I highly encourage you to try it.  In our church the theme for small groups is:  “life is better together”.  That is so true!  We text one another with encouragement and share prayer requests.  And while we may not even see one another in between our scheduled meetings, it’s nice to know we have a circle of friends who regularly prays for us.  Both my husband and I appreciate the friendship and closeness of our group – it certainly makes the hard times lighter and the good times greater – all because we care for one another and “do” life together!  I firmly believe that God places people in our path for purpose, and I treasure being a part of their lives.  Not to mention, I am very thankful for the part they play in mine!

So, I’m going to sign off, for now!  I’ve got a list and I need to get to it!!  Happy Easter, friends!  Stay tuned….I’ll be back soon!




…is the cutting off of unwanted parts, which is usually referred to an action with a tree or bush, but I am in serious need of a good pruning!  No, I’m not having a mid-life and thinking of having an augmentation or face lift, though I realize my body could use a transformation, but my heart needs a transformation in the way of priorities….BIG time!!!

So, I was signed up to attend this women’s “thing” at my church this past weekend and to be very honest, I really didn’t want to go, and while it wasn’t the best conference/retreat that I’ve ever been to, God used a wise woman to capture what the unsettled feelings I have been feeling for the last month in one small, but insightful conversation.  In my last post, I mentioned that I was keeping my “word” from 2014 to 2015 ~ INTENTIONAL!  Well, I’m changing that….oh, being intentional WILL remain a goal, but I’ve been lead to a much better and much more reflective word…..TRUST!  Oh, make no mistake, I DO trust God and, oh, I DO BELIEVE, but what I’ve discovered is that my TRUST in Him has not been very confident lately, actually to be very honest, my trust has been way more on the “controlling” side, which is exactly why my heart has been restless and I have been emotional and over-reactionary and, well, just not a very nice Jesus girl!  I’ve even had more “potty mouth” then I usually do…and, that is NOT good!  Not good at all!!!  And, to be even more honest, my attitude…well, my attitude has just sucked!

To TRUST is to have confident hope, depend upon, to do something or believe in something without fear, to rely on the truth of, (my paraphrasing from many dictionaries)….. key words here just leap off the pages at me:  WITHOUT FEAR, BELIEVE, CONFIDENT HOPE, TRUTH….as in THE TRUTH (the word of God)…!  Them there are some powerful words!!!! 😉

So, what’s gotten me so stirred up about this and how did I land in this chaotic, restless mess….I stayed home for 2 1/2 weeks to care for my husband and I liked it!  I know, I know….I should have liked it, but no…..I REALLY liked it… I think I could just stay home for good! eeekkkkk….but I LOVE my job!  And, it’s kinda difficult to stay home and do the job I love, so what the heck is going on with me….maybe I have multiple personalities or I’m just plain crazy?!  Or, maybe I need to get a heart check….. what I do know is that it took my friend to say it for me, because I was so caught up in being restless and overwhelmed and in the drama of being behind (because one just can be off work for over two weeks without being behind!)…. and, yes, there is no maybe about it….I did need a heart check.

So, to make a long story short, I’m so very thankful that I have a loving father who knows my heart, even when I don’t know my own heart, and that He is not only loving, but forgiving, and even expects me to mess up.  And, the bottom line here is that I simply need to get my priorities re-aligned and back in check….as my friend articulated it so well:

“stepping away from the fray is harder than staying in the fray!!! but eventually the fray wears you down and you can no longer be nearly as effective…all about balance….”  wow!  all about balance…..and balance for me is keeping my priorities and TRUSTING….giving my burdens to Jesus and, then, quit taking them back….leaving them at the cross and let Him do His work….His beautiful, miraculous work!!!

I heard some other very key phrases this weekend, some in the retreat, some from friends, and some from Jesus speaking directly to my heart.  Following are some of the phrases:

“Embrace where God has placed you!”

“God gives Love, POWER of mind, and COURAGE!”

“You do not have to have self-confidence, just have confidence in God!!”

“you don’t always need to be doing!”

“stop talking”!

The last phrase “stop talking” is a direct message to me from God…I need to stop talking and focus, I need to stop talking and reflect, I need to stop talking and TRUST!

I’m fairly certain this is one of my most random blogs that I have written.  It’s certainly not a beautifully written piece…it’s just where I am right now, and I felt lead to share….so, maybe something I have just written will be a light bulb moment for you …. just like my moment this past weekend.  Whatever….whomever….just know if some of this speaks to you….you are not alone….we all get into the fray and, then, well, we need a little pruning and get rid of the unwanted and just….well, just TRUST!!

Happy New New!

No, that is NOT a typ-o….I meant to type Happy New New!  Why?  Well, there once was a very special little girl that said that when she was a tiny tot and ever since I think of that on New Year’s Eve; and fondly smile at the memories created with that special someone.  That special someone is now grown and has her own family, and is creating more memories with her own little special someone.  And, so it goes….today we close the chapter of 2014 in our life book and begin a new chapter of 2015.  Today always seems to be a day of reflection for many ~ and me, in particular.  I reflect on what I did, what I didn’t, what I hoped for, and what I didn’t achieve.  So, today is a day I can choose to either be at peace with all of those things and look forward to the opportunity of the “new new”, or I can dwell on the negative of what I didn’t achieve, what didn’t go my way, etc….  I choose the “new new”!  I look forward to seeing what God has planned for 2015!  And, I am looking forward to my WORD for 2015….which I might add became my word for 2014 several months into the year……so…….. INTENTIONAL is what my I will be for 2015.  Yep, I’m going to be INTENTIONALLY intent!  ha, ha!  Pun intended!  I’m going to be INTENTIONAL at study God’s word and dig deep into it more INTENTLY!  I’m going to be INTENTIONAL about shining God’s light, while striving to be a Proverbs 31 Woman! I’m going to be INTENTIONAL about blogging more….because blogging makes me accountable.  I’ve got plans.  I’ve got goals.  I’ve got dreams for 2015, but I’m going to be INTENTIONALLY flexible and open to allowing God to direct the year ~ permit Him to be in control of the wheel and stay true to His direction.  I look forward to sharing my progress (and my failures, I’m open to doing that, too, as that is where true learning comes from!).  So, I’m off to go be INTENTIONAL with my preparation for ringing in the New Year with my family ~ I have a house to tidy and food to prepare!

Happy New New Everyone ~ may you delight in creating some memories! 🙂

Beauty Lies Within ~ a message for my niece…

I’ve had the statement “beauty lies within” said to me multiple times throughout my life and have read the following scripture more times than I can count:

“It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.  No, your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God. “  ~ 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NCV)

But, until yesterday neither of those statements have touched me so deep to the core.  You see what began as a gorgeous sunny day turned “gloomy” very quickly while shopping with my niece, Maggie.

Our day began by visiting over coffee and a light breakfast before going to the salon for Maggie to get some highlights in her hair for spring.  Her highlights turned out really pretty and she was so thrilled with her hair.  After the hair appointment we bolted to town to see about getting Maggie a new outfit for Easter.  The first store we went to was a very “hip” store that many young ladies obtain clothing from.  We were only in this particular store for about 3 minutes and Maggie said, “Aunt Jackie, I really don’t see anything just jumping out at me and the clothing here just doesn’t look like me.”  My reply was, “no problem, let’s keep going!”.  So, on we went.  This time choosing a large department store thinking that surely there would be good “deals” – and – something lovely for her to wear.  Forty minutes later and easily twenty or more outfits tried on we left the store with a great pair of black dress pants and a top that Maggie was “settling” for that needed altered.  When walking out of the store the sun was still shining, but Maggie’s disappointment, frustration, and emotions quickly took over as she burst into tears as the weather in my car quickly became very gloomy.  Maggie is a beautiful young lady with a very nice shape.  She is average height and slender.  She is, also, very practical.  She knew that she didn’t want to purchase a skirt or dress because she plays cello, so she was looking for a nice pants outfit so that she would get the most use out of her purchase.  Finding the pants wasn’t too difficult, though I have a hard time wrapping my head around her size ONE pair of pants, as I was born a “butterball” and doubt I ever wore a size one in a shoe, let alone in pants!  But finding a top was challenging – to say the least!  The tops were either too low cut, too short in the midriff, or were sleeveless with arm holes that a size small shirt had arms holes for a size XL – and that is NO exaggeration!  Maggie and I have been to events where they taught modesty by wearing cami’s to help with this issue, but the styles we found needed to be re-sewn and were beyond the assistance of the “layering” effect!  While drying up her tears Maggie said, why can’t designers just make clothes nice for those of us who want to dress modestly?  “Good question”, was my reply, as I went on to tell her I knew how she felt because we “thick” girls often times leave stores in tears too, but usually because the clothing isn’t big enough!  Not much comfort for her, though.

I felt so bad for Maggie as we drove to her appointment for a pedicure ~ my Easter treat to her.  Thankfully, she got a technician that was very sweet and kind and had a smile back on Maggie’s face within minutes.  The tech had been in the band at school, so they began talking marching band.  At one point, Maggie told the tech that the reason she was so disappointed about not finding an outfit for Easter was because she is being confirmed into the Catholic church and she wants to look really pretty on such a special day.  Feeling near tears, I excused myself to the car to obtain Maggie’s flip flops and prayed that God would send me to the right store when her appointment ended.   Now, some would say praying for the “right” clothing store is a little shallow, but it wasn’t about the clothing ~ I wanted Maggie to feel happy and good about herself.  On the way to the next store Maggie said, “I love the color of my toes!”, and as I explained that we only had time to check one more store Maggie added, “it’s o.k. if we don’t find something”.  Thankfully, a prayer was answered and we immediately found something that Maggie looked good in and, more importantly, she felt good in.  I said a little prayer, “thanks God”!

Isn’t it sad that image is so important?  I fall into the trap myself.  If I have a bad hair day my entire day is less than optimal!  But the bottom line is that to a teen aged girl image ~ looking good ~ is very important.  I think about Maggie and how she isn’t one of those teenager’s who is caught up in appearance ~ meaning she doesn’t wear a lot of make up, she doesn’t do fancy things with her hair, but she does take pride in what she wears.  She is proud of the fact that she wears dress clothes to school and that what she wears is part of her life “statement”.  I have contributed to that.  From before her birth, I have always searched for the cutest clothes I could find to adorn her in and now I feel some guilt for having contributed to that.  Though I tell her how pretty she is, I now wonder if I have made her feel “less than” when I don’t point out other things to her….. like, how awesomely talented she is in music, how bright she is in school, how wonderfully amazing she is for her kindness and consideration of others, and how attractive it is that she shines for Christ.  If I haven’t made her aware of these things….shame on me!  And, while I do believe I have tried, it’s obviously not been frequent enough…. so, beginning today this Auntie is going to make it her mission to help her niece always feels intelligent, kind, warm, friendly, unique, etc…. and point out her niece’s beauty from within.  And, to get that started I have the following message for her:

Maggie, you are beautiful!  Both inside and out!  No matter what clothing you have on!  Remember, your clothing does not make you!  What makes you special is your witty sense of humor; your love for Jesus; your unique way of seeing life at it’s fullest; your chatterbox way of life!; your warm, genuine, and caring heart; your amazing musical gift; and for being just, simply YOU!  As actress Audrey Hepburn said, “The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.”   May you always remember that your beauty lies within you.  I commit to praying 1 Peter 3: 3-4 for you.  And, the next time we go shopping we will remember the following scripture:

Ephesians 6:11~ “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (NIV)


Proverbs 3:15 ~ “Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you could want is equal to it.” (NCV)


Proverbs 31:25 ~ “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (NIV)

I can’t wait to celebrate Easter with you, Maggie, and I look forward to sharing more time together!  Love, Auntie J xo

Happy Easter, Friends!  And, remember, your beauty lies within you! 🙂

…and, the NEW word is…

INTENTIONAL!  huh, not what you were thinking?  It’s not a very “powerful” word…or, is it?  Let’s look at some synonyms for “intentional”:

~ voluntary ~ intended ~ considered ~ premeditated ~ studied

So, if we look further at the word “intended” a word that pops up is “engaged”.  Or, if we look at “intent” we get “having one’s mind, or attention, deeply fixed” ~ as in absorbed. 

So, why this word and where am I coming from?

In early December, I attended a retreat ~ it was for business purposes, but had a lot of tips on “self-care”.  This retreat was called “She Shows Up” and was about learning to be authentic, engaged, and intentional in not only one’s professional life, but in one’s personal life, as well.  For several year’s I have struggled with trying to find balance between my professional and personal life, and have been making great strides in doing so – especially within the past year, but I was feeling like some sort of battle was going on inside of me thinking I needed to keep my professional and personal life so separate that it was like my “world’s” were colliding!  And, to be honest, there were days when I truly felt like I had physically been in some type of collision because of the emotional turmoil I was creating within myself for getting over committed, which led me to feel like I was losing a battle of not leading an exemplary life.  Yes, I said exemplary life!  You know that saying that goes something life, “live your life so that those who do not know God, come to know Him because of knowing you”….meaning that those who don’t know God want to know Him because of how awesome your life looks.  Well, sister, many days that was driving me crazy because I was so focused on what I LOOKED like, that I was losing my focus on being authentic ~ being real!  So, in my reflection time during the retreat and for weeks after, I was feeling compelled to be “intentional”.  And, before I go any further, let’s visit the other two words from the retreat:

“authentic” = being “real”…..I’ve worked for a lot of years with a very dear therapist, mixed with a lot of conversations with a great mentor (my mom!), and a lot of prayer to be authentic.  Oh, there are days when I fall back into the “image trap”, especially when every piece of my life seems to be falling apart and I don’t want to be vulnerable or emotional and I really don’t want anyone to see that I’m really falling apart at the seams, so I work like crazy at keeping a firm upper lip, straighten up my spine, allow the chip on my shoulder to rise up, and get an a-t-t-i-t-u-d-e, which all ends up causing me to become even more emotional and more vulnerable by the end of the day because I’ve been abrasive, shallow, stuffed my emotions (which usually means I’ve made bad food choices, too!), and I end up in a fetal position in my bed with tears flowing and a lot of regret from not just allowing myself the grace of having a bad day and being r-e-a-l = authentic.  Why do I do that?  God already knows I’m not perfect – He made me!  And, He already forgives me for my clumsiness.  That “image trap” is so NOT God, but IS so SATAN!  Satan loves it when he can be a thief and rob us of joy, from being focused on God, or being honestly transparent and vulnerable – of being real!  So, not that I have won this battle, but I’m getting better at it and on these days I now say out loud, “Satan go away”!  Yes, people have probably heard me, but oh, well….there are worse things!  And, I follow that up with reciting to myself “If God is for me, than who can be against me”!  It’s a great chant….try it!

“engaged” = committed …. this one is the easiest for me!  I’ve come to learn that one of the reasons I love dogs so much, especially German Shepherd’s is because of their loyalty.  I’m very loyal and I’m very passionate.  When I am engaged in something, I’m “all in”!  Several year’s ago I made a commitment to myself that anytime I encounter a person in my life I want them to feel engaged, like I am completely focused on what they are saying or doing.  I want others to feel like they matter.  I want to live, and love, out loud!  I am intentional about saying “I love you” to my family and friends.  I am intentional about praying for others.  I engage others and I engage myself!  No, I’m not being conceited.  But, engaging in myself is helping me to live out loud – shine for Christ – and is helping me to accept myself.  In order to take care of my emotional, spiritual, and physical health, I have had to make a commitment – to become engaged – in intentionally choosing what is best. 

So, back to “intentional” and how that fits in with how I’m celebrating the Lenten season.  To be intentional is to be purposeful and I’ve been so inspired that my 15 year old niece purposefully chose to give up social media for Lent to have more time to focus on being in devotion.  In today’s society and the importance of social media and “image”, giving that up is huge!  Maybe I’m shallow, but giving up social media wasn’t at the top of my list of things to give up because it’s not all that important to me to begin with, and I really couldn’t come up with something that would make me spend more time in devotion by giving it up.  So, as I was reading some of my morning devotional blogs I ran across this “reverse” lent thing in which it is recommended that you “DO” something INTENTIONAL for lent.  Now, let me side bar here for a few minutes….

so, as I mentioned in December the word “intentional” graced my brain.  I can not begin to tell you how many times since then the word “intentional” has been read or heard by me since then.  It’s like God is trying to tell me something!  At the retreat in December all attendees were asked to write three goals and an action plan.  One of my goals was to become more healthy by losing weight and exercising more.  At the end of the retreat each participant was recorded saying their goal while stepping across a line….so, mine went something like “I commit to becoming more healthy, by stepping into exercising more and making better food choices”.  Now if you know me personally, you are probably thinking well, that’s not much of a big deal for Jackie, she’s always saying that…and, believe me, I had some serious conversation with myself to that fact, as well.  But, this time it is different.  It’s like God said to me, “Jackie, please be intentional to choose your health over anything”.  And, for me, that’s not only with food and exercise – it’s also for stress management, self-acceptance, balancing my time so I have more focus on Christ, etc….

so, back to Lent….so one of the suggestions for this “reverse Lent-thing” is to select one person for each day of Lent – 40 – and write them a personal message to say I am thankful they are in my life and what I love about them.  So, let the journey begin….I’m on day 5 and so far I have written to my mom (she kinda’ needed to be #1…after all she did give birth to me!), my niece, one of my best friends, my husband, and I can’t say who #5 is because I just wrote them today and I don’t want to blow the surprise if they read this before they receive their note!  I can say that, so far, I’m loving this journey.  I’m loving thinking back over the year’s how my “person of the day” has impacted my life – been intentional about caring for me! – and how this journey is giving me the opportunity to “intentionally be intentional” about that person!  More so, I believe that being INTENTIONAL about other things in my life is truly what God is calling me to be for 2014.  I am being intentional and participating with an organized Bible study group.  I am being intentional about my schedule and intentionally keeping some margin in each week for my husband. 

So, sweet sister, have you been inspired?  I hope so – after all, that’s the whole reason I write this!  This writing thing isn’t about me – it’s about inspiring women to feel more authentic, engaged, hear the word of Christ, feel the power of Christ, and for me to be ….. intentional for Him! 

So, what are you going to be intentional about?  Please let me know by commenting and I will pray for you and you becoming “intentionally intentional”! 🙂

be blessed, sisters! 🙂

New Year’s Resolution?

Yep, it’s the second day of Lent and I’m talking about new year’s resolutions!  Did you make one?  If so, how’s it going???  Not so good, well, it’s Lent and we now have an opportunity to (1) give something up or (2) do something to help develop a habit for the next 38 days…..remember, we are now on day 2 in Lent (40 – 2 = 38!)…..see, mom, I can do math!  ha, ha!

So, today’s blog is just a little tease of what I will write about in a few days!  It’s a “tease” to get you to think about what you may want to do (or not!) from now until Easter – and – it’s to keep me accountable!  I have struggled with routinely writing, so throwing this “tease” out there today will make me have to following through with telling you about what I am DOING for Lent – not giving up something – I am doing and it has prompted me to change my word!  Remember, a few months ago I wrote that I don’t “do” resolutions, but I select a word for the year….well, I’ve changed my word.  So, stay tuned….in a few days I will tell you what my new word is and why I have selected it.

In the meantime, think about what you will DO or NOT DO from now until Easter!  Comment and let me know what your plan is so that I may pray for you! Have a blessed day! 🙂

God + Love = Security!

Good Morning Friends!  Got your coffee or tea?  ok, great, let’s settle in for a nice little chat…

Have you ever felt so happy for someone that it just kinda feels like your heart is smiling?!  Or, have you ever felt so sad for someone that your heart feels like it’s crying?  Recently I have had both of those circumstances.  Normally, I’m the kind of person that likes to hear something bad or sad first, but today let’s visit the happy stuff first. 

So, the other day I was visiting with a friend who recently got engaged.  Happy can’t get much “happier” than with THAT kind of news, right?!  I nearly leaped out of my chair with a cheer (I didn’t, but I’m pretty sure everyone within a few hundred feet heard me squeal with sheer excitement and happiness for her!).   My friend has always been a very “happy” person, but the last several months her smile has just had this radiating beauty that said HAPPY all over her!  She has had this little “gleam” in her eyes that expressed how happy she is.  As I drove away from my visit with my friend, with my very happy heart!, I thought about how God must feel every time we have something good, positive and “happy”.  Have you ever thought about God being your cheerleader?  He is!  The next time you get an “A” on a test or a great evaluation at work try to imagine God in Heaven saying, “YES!” and jumping for joy because He loves us so much that He celebrates ALL the good things! 

Now let’s consider the opposite of happy and visit sadness.  Let’s say you have a loved one diagnosed with cancer or alzheimer’s, or your child is having great difficulty in school.  You know, the kind of stuff that makes your heart feel like it’s breaking or crying ~ a “heavy heart”.  We all can list example after example here of sad situations, right?  Let’s consider for a moment how God must feel when something bad happens.  If He celebrates when something great happens then He must weep when something sad happens, right?  Right!  God’s heart is heavy when our’s is, and He weeps with us because of His immense LOVE for us.  Does that erase our pain and heavy heart?  No, but for me, it sure makes the sadness more bearable.  How about for you? 

 Somehow when I know that someone else feels my pain ~ empathizes with me ~ it makes me feel better – validated.  When I feel God’s love and compassionate understanding I just feel comforted – secure.  It’s like floating in the water in a lot of ways.  You know when you’re swimming and you stop to just float ~ you have to completely relax to be able to float, because if you don’t relax you will sink, right?  That’s the way God’s love and compassion is for us, when we completely relax into Him we float!  Translation ~ He takes it all from us, He is in control, He is holding us, supporting us so that we may float. And, THAT  is complete SECURITY which is God’s complete and unending love.

Maybe you aren’t a swimmer?  Then, think about your favorite blanket.  You know, then one that you like to nap with!  The one that not only makes you feel warm, but the one that makes you feel snuggly!  The next time you wrap yourself in that blanket think of God just hugging you ~ holding you.  That’s what His love does ~ it wraps us in complete security.

Friend, may you feel that love and security as you go throughout your day.  Maybe your day will allow for a swim to float or a nap to snuggle in ~ if not, may I challenge you to take a few minutes to slow down on your busy day for just a few minutes to clear your mind, slow your breathing down, and imagine yourself floating or snuggling and feel God’s security.  And as you leave that short moment remember~ “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8)! 

   (For more inspirational reading on this subject please visit

Join me for coffee?

So, grab a cup of coffee (or tea!), get comfortable, and lean in ~ I want to tell you something very important for this new year ~2014!  Are you listening?  Really listening?  ok…. YOU ARE LOVED!   Yep, that’s it LOVED!  Now, don’t look so disappointed!  Did you think I was going to say that you had won a million dollars or something?!  Come on, sistah!  Get real!  LOVED is even better than a million bucks!  Now don’t go rolling your eyes, it is!  Let me ask you, do you know that you are loved?  And, not that superficial kind of “love” – you know how we kind of throw that sayin’ around at the end of phone conversations, emails, etc….  I mean L-O-V-E-D!  Do you feel L-O-V-E-D?  If you don’t, then listen up… are L-O-V-E-D! 

OK, so you may not have the “love of your life” in your life.  Remember, there really is no human “prince charming”!  You may not have a friend that you feel truly loves you, and maybe you don’t even have a close family relationship.  For that, I am truly sorry, but do you know what?  There is someone who you can count on, who loves you, supports you, and is your “prince charming”!  God, our Father, loves you!  Really L-O-V-E-S you! 

Let’s consider the following scripture from Isaiah 43:1-4 (the Message):

“Don’t be afrid, I’ve redeemed you.  I’ve called your name.  You’re mine.  When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.  When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.  When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end-because I am God, your personal God, the Holy of Israel, your Savior.  I paid a huge price for you…! That’s how much you mean to me!  That’s how much I love you!”  (emphasis mine)

I know that me, or anyone else for that matter, telling you how much God loves you isn’t going to make you feel it!  YOU have to open yourself up to allow yourself to feel it.  Yep, it’s all up to you!  Now, I’m not being bossy here or critical ~ please here me, I’m speaking from experience here! ~ I have been a Christ follower for the majority of my life, but until the past several years I never really FELT love.  Oh, I knew in my head that God loves me and had accepted His love, but that really heart wrenching level of acceptance didn’t come for me until a few years ago and, friend, I have to tell you – it’s AWESOME!  There is a level of self-confidence, security, joy, and contentment that comes with this kind of love that is just, well, AMAZING

I know this is risky to open yourself up like this; especially if you have a wounded heart.  Trust me, I’ve been there, too!  It is risky!  It makes you vulnerable.  (And, if you are anything like me – one of THOSE people who doesn’t like to cry in public – it’s an even bigger risk…..I get it!)!  But, please hear me – it is worth it

So, friend, I encourage you for 2014 to be OPEN to feeling His love

1.  Open your Bible and begin reading His message to you.  Not sure where to start?  Well, try 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter!) and the book of John.  Then, personally, I like Romans….especially Romans 8:31 (“If God is for us, who can be against up?” NIV).  

2.  Pray!  Pray and LISTEN!  Ask God to reveal His love for you and, then, listen and look for His answer.  He will answer you!  And, if you’re like me and have difficulty being comfortable with being vulnerable (isn’t that an oxymoron!?!), when you pray look up, with eyes open and palms up.  I know this seems odd, and in the beginning it’s a little uncomfortable….ok, it’s a whole lot uncomfortable, but it really helps to begin developing a true closeness with our Father.  Yep, OUR Father!  Or, you could address him as Dad!  Or, Papa!  Whatever makes you comfortable and whatever helps you feel closer to Him

I’ll close for now!  Try these things, ok?  And, will you comment and tell me how it’s going, please?  ‘Cuz, remember, the goal here is to completely and entirely feel ~ YOU ARE LOVED

Praying for you! 🙂