Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Devine Christmas Blessing - 1965

As the season of Christmas is upon us, I've been asked several times to share my Christmas story about an amazing miracle of blessings that happened to my family in 1965. This story appeared Christmas morning 2006 on the front page of The Montana Standard and Anaconda Leader newspapers.

I share it with you today to inspire you to celebrate the gift of giving this Christmas! I've changed the format to match the devotional style that appears in my book Caregivers' Devotions to Go. This book of 30 stories of caring for others is available as an e-book and soon to be in print at www.edmbookstores.com

The people of my home town were definitely caregivers during the Christmas of 1965.

A Devine Christmas Blessing
Copyright 2006 By Gigi Devine Murfitt

Luke 10: 27 He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Thanks to the loving community the harsh reality of cancer was forgotten for our family during Christmas 1965. Over Thanksgiving weekend, lung cancer stole away our beloved dad. He was 48 years old and left behind ten precious children and a beautiful wife. Devastated by her loss, Mom’s first words were “Now what are we going to do?”

With medical bills exceeding $10,000 and a bank account wiped out, she feared the worst. Mom had no idea how to deal with the reality of her life as a widow with ten children. Although she had overcome many challenges, she was not sure how she would handle life without Dad. The situation looked grim as Christmas day closed in.

My teenage siblings pitched in to make the season feel somewhat normal. They cut down a fresh pine tree and dragged the boxes of decorations from the basement. Jim and Jack, the fifteen year old twins, lifted four year old Patti on their shoulders to place the angel on top of the ten foot pine, something Dad used to do. Christmas would be different without him, but this one would be remembered for the rest of our lives.

Imagine the mystery and surprise in the weeks after dad died when Christmas angels emptied their pocketbooks to fill a deep void left in our hearts. They filled our front and back porches with Christmas love. There were sacks of potatoes, bags of flour and sugar, apples and oranges, boxes of cereal, turkeys, hams and roasts. One egg carton arrived with a hundred dollar bill tucked neatly inside. Wrapped gift boxes arrived daily.

Although she claimed not to believe in Santa, thirteen year old Kathy was forced to say “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, as she watched us trip over the packages on Christmas morning. Yet, Santa was not a singular noun, like our English teacher mom had taught us. Santa was an entire community, dear sweet Anaconda, Montana.

We were overwhelmed by clothes and coats; a train, a race car set; Monopoly and Mouse trap games, dolls with beautiful dresses, ice skates, sleds and skis. The most overwhelming thing was the look on mom’s face as she watched us squeal with delight at the surprises. I remember her tear streaked face as she tried on a new wool coat neatly wrapped in a beautiful package with her name on it.

Mom would not have been able to buy any toys or clothes this year, just a month after losing Dad. Her English teacher salary was barely enough to pay the living expenses of such a large family. At a time when her future was uncertain and worry caused sleepless nights, loving friends and strangers gave her something to smile about.

To this day, we do not know the names of the Christmas angels who blessed us in 1965. No one ever came forward to take credit for the food and gifts that kept coming. Each Christmas we pray that these angels will receive a special blessing of their own.

Lord, show me someone in need this season. Give me a heart to help those in less fortunate. I thank you for allowing me to love my neighbor because you have loved me.

Pick an individual or a family to bring blessing to this year. Wrap some gifts and leave them on their door step. Or bake some cookies and bring them to an elderly neighbor. Make the time to share your love with someone in need.

Gigi Devine Murfitt writes and speaks about many topics. Raised in a single parent home with nine siblings, her life has been dotted with stories of courage and hope. She and her husband Steve founded Gabriel’s Foundation of HOPE to help families living with disabilities. They have two adult sons, Zane and Gabe and a daughter-in-law, Kelsey.

Inspired Faith at Christmas

I’ve always been a big fan of the Simple Truth books. These are wonderfully colorful books packed with inspirational stories and photos. They often come with a Movie/DVD with beautifully orchestrated music and story.

Recently Simple Truth started a new division called Inspired Faith. The books in this program are about faith issues using the same quality composition as Simple Truth books. I'm excited to share this program with my friends.

In this season of Christmas, I’m sharing a link to one of their inspirational movies an gift books. I hope you will check it out and be inspired. It would also make a wonderful Christmas gift. I’ll be sending some other links for their products as well. I also post these links at my website which is www.GigiMurfitt.com

The Simple Blessings of Christmas Movie

Check out the Inspired Faith movie called The Blessings of Christmas.
I hope your Christmas is truly blessed. I pray you feel His presence every day of the year!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Choose LIFE

I have been enjoying my morning quiet time using the One Year Book of HOPE by Nancy Guthrie. I discovered this devotional after reading Nancy's incredible book titled: "Holding on to HOPE - A pathway through suffering to the heart of God." This book tells the story of Nancy's journey of suffering as she loved and cared for her daughter Hope and her son Gabriel who were both born with a rare birth defect allowing them to live only about six months.

I was overwhelmed by the names Nancy chose for her babies since our nonprofit organization is Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE. I read the book with tears as I related to some of the struggles Nancy and her husband David and older son Matt went through as they walked the path of suffering.
When I finished the book I immediately picked up The One Year Book of HOPE devotional. I have loved it and although I may not complete a devotional every day, my journal is filling up fast!

I relate so much to each daily devotional and it sets me on a journey into Scripture that starts my day with a refreshing spirit of peace. I've been amazed at the providence of God for the timing of the particular daily study compared to what I am going through at the time.

This week I've been overwhelmed by the goodness of God in how he meets me right where I need Him to be. He gives me tools to keep me going on the path He designed for my life. Oh believe me, I've strayed from that path too many times to count and sometimes the result is disastrous. I get up out of the ditch with scars to show from my detour and God always gets me back on the path headed in the right direction.
Today's devotional reminded me to choose life. Guthrie states "Every life is valuable because God gives life and breath to everything. God is also the source of satisfaction and meaning in life."

I love this scripture referenced in the devotion for the subject of LIFE.

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.

27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Here is another Scripture I'm chewing on today:
19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Oh that those I love would CHOOSE life! Oh that our nation would choose GOD! That is my prayer today as I venture out into the world.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Him!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Every Monday Matters

Every Monday Matters
I hope you will check out this amazing inspirational video from one of my favorite inspirational gift companies. Simple Truths has wonderful ideas for Christmas gifts or gifts for your corporate accounts. Every Monday Matters is just one of the stories I enjoyed. Check it out and make every Monday matter. It's the little things that count!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jelly Belly Shop - Belly Flops - The Less Than Perfect Candy

No body's perfect right? Ever wonder what happens to a Jelly Belly that doesn't make the cut? Now you can buy them as a Belly Flop! I kinda like that idea of being used when you are less than perfect! Sounds just like a few of the disciples doesn't it?

I found a link for where you can buy these yummy treats!

Jelly Belly Shop - Belly Flops 2 lb. Bag

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My First Book "Caregivers' Devotions to Go" is Now Available for Pre-Sale!

My first book is scheduled to release in late fall 2009 but it is available for PRE-SALE at a 30% discount at my Extreme Diva Media's book store! Caregivers' Devotions to Go is the title! Order it at my publisher's website www.edmbookstore.com

It is expected to be available sometime in the late fall. Hurry so you can take advantage of the pre-sale discount! If you want it now you can order it as an E-Book. Check out my website links on the right portion of my blog and read about all of the amazing books in the Devotions to Go series!

Beautiful Prayer

My friend Violet Skiles posted this on her blog. I want to share it with you.

Enjoy! Oh what a beautiful young voice. Thanks for letting me share.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I Learned it all at Dog Training!

The past week has been spent learning the basic commands a canine companion needs to do his or her job. I've witnessed amazing intelligence and strength in these big lovable labs. I'm in Santa Rosa, CA at Canine Companions for Independence. This organization has placed over 3,000 teams of dogs and their skilled leaders.

My son Gabe has been given a beautiful dog. We can't share the details quite yet until the match is confirmed and the puppy raiser is notified. That should happen on Monday. But I will say the match was made in heaven and Gabe is delighted.

It has been so fun to watch this dog do things Gabe has difficulty doing. Like turning on lights or retrieving dropped items. But more than that she is a companion - a friend who will love and snuggle him for the next ten years.

Check out the facility at CCI on their website at http://www.cci.org/ During this training session we have experienced what this organization is all about - changing lives one dog at a time. I've been taking notes on the whole process and hope to write a story or blog about the amazing process of correction and praise that successfully gets an animal to do what you want.

It's so human like! What I've been most intrigued by is the fact that most of the trainees are having a harder time praising the dog than they are correcting it. Aren't we all like that? Isn't it easier to tell someone or something (a dog) that they are doing something wrong vs praising them for getting it right?

The instructors are constantly reminding us to motivate with praise. I think we need to take this rule home with each of us every day. I know I'm much more motivated by praise than I am by correction.

So tomorrow I'm going to take more time to praise than I do to correct. Oh yes, I will probably need to correct to teach but I'll definitely follow it up with a "Good Girl!"

Check back on Monday and I'll post a few photos of this beautiful dog who is Gabe's new best friend. (Well - Jesus is Gabe's best friend but this dog will stick closer than a brother just like Jesus).

I can't wait for you to meet our new friend.....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hope in Hard Times!

I don't know about you, but I need hope in these hard times. All of us are going through our own definition of hard times. In my current season of transition it's been hard. But I'm not going to lose hope!

I'm finalizing a book proposal entitled Hope in Hard Times. I am excited to share my stories with you as I help you build the foundation of hope in your life.

Today I had to follow my own advice. I needed some hope. So I remembered that the foundation of hope in my life is strong. God has been faithful. He has put his fingerprints on every story in my life and brought me hope.

He's even brought me hope when I've been in despair. In the times when I've really messed up and acted against His will for my life, He still gives me hope for tomorrow. God is a hope-giver. I needed to remember that today. I pray you'll hang on to God's hope too.

Some days I wonder if I am I really called to write life changing books. Yes! I'm sure. For so many years I've sensed that call from the Lord. But doubt crept into my heart today as I edited the chapters of this book. Am I good enough? Will anyone want to read my book? Will I change lives? Yes! and Amen! Because God will be at my side.

I have hope in my heart that God will really make a way for the things I desire to happen in my life. He has been faithful in my past. He will be faithful in my future.

So tonight I'm hanging on to the hope in hard times. I'm excited to get this proposal sent off to an agent who requested it. Please pray with me that we'll be able to find a publisher to help me change the lives of my readers.

God Bless Your Heart. Stay cool in our 100 degree Seattle weather! HOT! I'd better go get my writing done!

Friday, July 17, 2009

As The Deer

The other day my friend Violet sent an email with one of her amazing works of art attached. It was a beautiful picture of a deer drinking from a brook. Some of the words to Marty Nystrom's popular song "As the Deer" were included on the painting. I loved it.

Psalm 42 is one of my favorite Psalms and this song was written as a result of how God touched Marty with this Psalm. I love to tell the story of how this song then touched my life. Little did I know that a few years after this happened, Marty and his wife Jeanne would become our best friends. I'm so thankful for the way God brings us friends.

In April of 1995, I was on the song team at a Walk to Emmaus retreat, playing my guitar and singing with the group. I am definitely NOT a soloist so I was perfectly happy to sing melody and occasionally add some harmony. Our song team leader (also named Marty) asked if I'd be willing to sing a solo since all the other song team members were sharing a song.

I told her "Absolutely not. I can't sing like any of you. I'm fine simply singing background vocals and playing my guitar." During one of our rehearsals she suggested I learn the song "As the Deer". Although it was a very popular song sung in churches all over the world, I had never memorized the words or really even paid attention to them.

I found the melody to be right in my vocal pitch range and I felt I could pull it off. I made the other song team members promise they would coach me and help me do my best at the retreat. So they marked the music with places for me to breathe and helped tap out a good rhythm so I didn't sing too fast.

On the day I was to sing the solo we rehearsed in the huge sanctuary of the Methodist church where the retreat was held. I sounded so much better than I had when I practiced in my home. The piano echoed and bounced off the stained glass windows and the soft strum of our guitars added a beautiful sound. It truly felt like we were in heaven in the atmosphere of this beautiful place. Our plan was that I would sing this song later in the afternoon during our healing service.

God had a different plan. The next event after our rehearsal was a talk given by one of the pastors and it was held in the "talk room". This was where all the retreat attendees sat in groups at round tables and listened to most of the talks. Before each talk the song team always played the songs requested by the speaker.

As we tuned our guitars we realized the requested song was "As the Deer". Our song team leader looked at me and said "Gigi, you're on!"

Panic struck. My music sheet with breathing and cadence notes scribbled all over it were in the sanctuary on my music stand. That room made me sound like a song bird. This stuffy room with poor acoustics made me sound like the rookie singer that I was. My heart was pounding so hard it was all I could hear in my ears.

I turned and said, "Please, I can't do this." She smiled and said "God will help you, just sing." Marty began playing and there was nothing else I could do but sing. My voice cracked and I was very nervous. I got through the first verse.

"As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship you."

Everyone joined in at this part and it sounded like a hundred angel choir. There were harmonies coming from the other women that blended together in a beautiful melody.
You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone will my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship You
At this point I was overwhelmed with the presence of God. I looked at the banner representing this particular retreat. It had a cross with a beautiful jeweled crown laying on the arm of the cross. It read "Our God is an Awesome God".

As we started to sing the next verse I looked at the cross and the crown and I was overwhelmed with tears of understanding.

You're my friend, and You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything."

I realized that Jesus was the King of Kings and his Crown of Glory was laid down for me on that cross. You are my brother.....even though you are a king. I love you more than any other. So much more than anything.

By then I was crying so hard I couldn't sing any more. The other women carried on to complete the song.

Then as our song leader Marty played the piano, we all praised and worshipped the King. All of us were overwhelmed by the sense of God's presence. We were thirsty for His presence and Marty Nystrom's song escorted us to that place. After about fifteen minutes we prayed and the pastor began his talk.

Marty - Thank you! God has gifted you with song writing and book writing and we are all forever thankful. Check out Marty's book at http://www.amazon.com/ It's called "Don't Mess with Moses." Marty has written hundreds of songs too. Check out his music at www.worshipmusic.com/martynystrom.html

Violet - Thank you for the reminder of the fact that Jesus is as close as a brother - even though He is a King. Check out Violet's blog at http://www.violetskiles.blogspot.com/ There you'll find her using the amazing gifts God has given her.

I am ever so thankful for the friends God has graced into my life.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Summer Fun

Today is July 11th. I can't believe it. Someone told me that if you walk in to a 7-11 Store at 7-11 on July 11th you get a free Slurpee. I don't really like Slurpee so I'm not even sure I care. But maybe you could try it?

Kanale and Megan Rhoden will remember this day for the rest of their lives. They got married today in a beautiful ceremony at St. Catherine's Church in Seattle. Megan looked beautiful in her beaded flowing gown. Her hair was pulled up behind a crown with a veil tucked under her curls. The beautiful red roses in her bouquet created a nice contrast. Kana wore a black tux and looked very handsome. Liam was adorable in his little vest. Congratulations Kana and Megan!

It was nice to see Zane and Kelsey today. They zipped in for the wedding. They are spending the evening sailing with Tom and Dana and then they'll leave early tomorrow morning. They have been married one month tomorrow. This summer is flying by already!

Our 4th of July was lots of fun at Georgetown Lake where we participated in the annual 4th of July parade. This year my family created a theme "You can take the kid out of Anaconda but you'll never take Anaconda out of the kid". My sister Kathy and brother-in-law Denny created a big stack and had it smoking by using dry ice. Kathy dressed as Sister "Can't StandYa". Denny came as Bill Hill - former Parks and Rec director. Denny was the hit of the parade. Judy came as The Kennedy Commons. Marilyn was an Anaconda bar fly.

Since my family headed to Montana as a last minute decision, we were not prepared for the parade so Steve and I wore signs that read. "P-burg guy looking for Anaconda girl." Mine of course read "Anaconda girl looking for P-burg guy." Our son Gabe wore a sign on his wheelchair that read "P-burg guy found Anaconda girl." Not very creative but it worked.

The full moon over Georgetown Lake was amazing as dark clouds hid it for awhile during our fireworks show. Then it slowly poked out and sent light across the water. The rockets red glare of the fireworks sparkled in the sky. As the smoke cleared the big dipper was shining brightly above our heads. Everyone was snuggled around the camp fire because the Montana summer evening air was cool. I love Montana in the summer!

This will be a very busy summer. I hope to get much writing done. In early August Gabe and I will be in Santa Rosa California at Canine Companions to pick up his guide dog. We are very excited. We are looking for a new van for the trip. I'm still in sticker shock as we contemplate the cost of this vehicle. Why does wheelchair accessible equipment have to cost so much? And it isn't covered by insurance! We're looking at over $130,000 if Gabe wants to be able to drive this van. We'll have to wait for that. In the mean time we'll get the standard wheelchair access van and that alone will cost over $50,000. Yikers. Donations anyone?

I know God will provide. I trust it will all work out. It always has. We are blessed. We are privileged to live in America where they make vans like this so we can easily transport Gabe's chair. We are blessed to be able to provide him with a wheelchair. So many are not so fortunate.

This is why we started Gabriel's Foundation of HOPE. Check out our website at http://www.gabeshope.org/ We are not able to use these funds to buy Gabe a van because he is our son, but the donations we receive are used to by OTHERS what they need because of their disability. You can donate on line so that we can help others. I think it's a great cause.

Enough said on this 7-11 day. Have a fun summer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mobile blog post. Gabe needs me! I knew it. Although he is moved out he just called and needs help with grocery shopping. So over to UW I gladly go! I love it

Sunday, June 28, 2009

God's Help in Transition--Learn to Trust

Steve, Gigi, Gabe, Zane and Kelsey Murfitt

Here is a photo we took a few days after Zane and Kelsey returned from their honeymoon to Maui. We're now a family of five! Welcome to the family Kelsey Murfitt!

I love God's sense of humor. Just as I'm writing a Bible study about transition, I find myself in a major life transition. In the same month I've married off my oldest son, my youngest is moving to his own apartment. Talk about transition! But the cool thing is I've found others - Bible characters - who also went through major transitions and I'm learning from each one of them.

In preparing my book proposal for this study, I've been reviewing the lives of several Bible characters. Like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Ruth, Mary and Paul. I've found some common characteristics of these biblical characters that have helped me through my own transitions.

One common characteristic is trust. These individuals trusted in the God they faithfully served. They spent time with Him and they listened as He gave them direction. Then they obeyed what they were asked to do! What a concept. So simple yet we make it difficult. Usually because we try to go our own way.

So I'm learning to trust God even more today as I work through the transitions of my life. It helps to spend quality time studying God's Word where I receive direction from the Lord. It warms my heart as I learn that I'm not alone in transition. I know I can stand on the promise that He never leaves me or forsakes me. I also know He has a plan and it is good. I just need to sit close to Him and listen for directions.

My favorite part of this transition is that I now have a daughter. I was not blessed with a natural born daughter so God gave me an amazing daughter-in-law in Kelsey Murfitt. She loves Jesus. She loves my son Zane. She studies God's Word. She trusts. Life will be fun as we move forward to the place God directs us. I know I'll learn a lot from Kelsey too.

Zane and Kelsey have transitions of their own. Graduation, weddings, moving, starting new jobs. Wow. Transition with a capital "T".

I am thankful. I know these transition will be an amazing ride. (And they'll make some good material to put in my Bible study too!) :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transition Sure Ain't Easy - His Room is Empty

My English teacher Mom is probably in heaven shaking her finger at me for using the word "ain't" but it's true. Transition AIN'T fun. Yesterday our son Zane packed up all of his earthly belongings and loaded them into a U-Haul. He's moving with his new bride to Eastern Washington. I'm excited for them to start their new life together. At the same time, it's difficult to let go of my first born son.

I sat at my computer last night writing a devotional assignment for the Christian Writer's Guild. I thought the subject of trusting God in this life transition would be the perfect thing to write. But after I said good bye to Zane I couldn't see the screen through my tears. I sobbed and sobbed with my son Gabe sitting by watching with those beautiful eyes filling with his own tears. Even our big yellow labrador Donovan knew I needed a hug. He came over and licked the tears off my hand. Steve was up in our room having a good cry of his own. Our son is officially moved out. Why Lord, does it have to be so hard? I'm thankful that You will never leave me or forsake me. That comforts my heart.

My writing area is covered with photos. I have one collage of our boys from the time Gabe was a tiny baby until just last year at his graduation from high school. I looked at those photos and asked myself, where has the time gone? He was a little boy just yesterday wasn't he? Now Zane is married and has left our home.

Oh Lord, comfort me as I move to this new phase of my life. Next week I have to prepare my heart again for another transition because Gabe is moving to his own apartment. We will truly be empty nesters. Thankfully he is only across the lake at the University of Washington so I can grab a hug often. I'm sure I'll get a phone call once in awhile telling me he needs me for something and I like that idea.

I wondered how my mom did this so many different times? She had to let go of each of her ten children as they left the nest. I can't even imagine her broken heart. I can barely breath today because I'm grieving the changes in the feel of our home with my first born moving on to his new life with Kelsey. My mom had to repeat this process ten times. She didn't have my dad to hold her close and tell her it's going to be okay. She was widowed when we were all young. She handled it alone.

I'm thankful that Steve and I can stand arm in arm and get through these transitional times. We are seeking God's Word and praying together as we move to this new phase of life. I know it will be fun. We look forward to more time for just the two of us. Together we'll make it through the transition.

Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to have Kelsey Lynn Ryan as our daughter-in-law. I could not have asked for a better young woman for Zane to spend the rest of his life with. But at one point I was the most important woman in his life. Now it's Kelsey. And as a mom, that transition is almost as difficult as the transition during the birthing process. But I know from experience that the pain of transition is worth it because afterward we get a beautiful new life added to our family.

So my advice to you today is to hug any woman in your life who has just married off their oldest son. I can assure you, they need the hug because transition sure ain't easy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

He's Married!

Our son Zane is married! We are delighted.

There's another Mrs. Murfitt in the house. I have a new daughter-in-law. It's official. Kelsey Lynn Ryan became a Murfitt last evening in the most beautiful wedding I've ever seen. I know I sound biased because I'm the mother of the groom. But I kid you not. This wedding was phenominal. The weather was picture perfect with tiny clouds floating on a blue sky. The air was warm. The grass was a beautiful rich green. The setting magnificent. Like a fairy tale wedding. Kelsey looked like a real princess bride. She was stunning in a perfectly fitted beaded gown. Her raspberry colored bouquet was a bright contrast to the pure white color of her dress. Her hair and makeup were perfect. Zane looked so handsome in his dark tan suit with a white shirt and green tie. The cala lily boutinere was gorgeous. The smiles on their face were the best part. The anticipation and excitement filled the air. Pastor Chris Peppler did a superb job of sharing the story of Kelsey and Zane before they exchanged vows and rings. They shared communion together and then we commissioned them as Mr. and Mrs. Zane Murfitt. I share a few photos with you today. More will follow. This could not have been a more perfect weekend. Thank you Jesus for answering our prayers. I have so much more to write but I need to go rest my tired feet. I danced so much they hurt!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Least Likely Candidate

I love to read stories of people who have been used by God. Many of the saints were not likely candidates but God used them mightily. These people give me hope that God can use me because I'm certainly not a likely candidate but I do have a willing heart. My story isn't pretty, but I know God can use it anyway. He can use your story too.

Last night I was blessed by the prayers of my friends in our home group at Marlene and Bill Brubaker's house. One of the ways we encourage each other is a birthday blessing time. The birthday celebrant sits in a chair in the middle of the group and everyone speaks a prayer of encouragement over their life. My birthday is a week from today so I'm going to cherish these words and celebrate all week.

We also discussed how we as the church need to ask God how He can use us to touch a world of people who don't want to listen to our "Christianese". We all agreed that LOVE is the answer. We need to touch those around us with unconditional love. He's called us to do this. Even if we don't feel equipped or wise or powerful. He'll use us because of our love. They will know we are Christians by our love. (I can hear my guitar strumming as I led worship with this song at Anaconda Central High School!) We simply need a willing heart and eyes to see others through the lense of love.

I had a big kiss on the cheek from God last night and again this morning when I focused my quiet time on 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. Many of the words prayed over me at home group gave me hope that God would continue to use me in my writing and speaking. I'd been praying about all the things I could write about and my redemptive story has been resonating in my heart. For years I've wanted to write mine and other people's testimony of God's redeeming love and call it "Your Story, God's Glory".

So when my friend Aleta said she sensed that I would be writing a story of redemption my spirit danced. It was confirmation for something I've been asking God about. How do I share my testimony and help other's see that God redeems even someone like me who has made a lot of dumb decisions in my life? I just do it! And I will tell it in many different forms, one little story or article or devotion or Bible study at a time.

Several other prayers encouraged me to keep studying the Word of God and sharing what I've learned with others. This was one more confirmation since I'm working on a Bible study book proposal for two publishers who are interested in such a book. The Word of God truly is a lamp unto my feet and it lights my every path.

I feel called to help others fall more in love with God through the study of His Word. I wake up hungry for more of the Bible every morning. I've fallen head over heals in love with Jesus simply by studying His Word every day. I love his style. He'll use the least likely servant to do amazing things. He roots for the underdog. I like that too. I want to be more and more like Him.

Let me share this Scripture that jumped out at me today in my quiet time. It was like the icing on the cake after our discussion and prayer time last night. As Beth Moore says, it was a "God Stop".

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 (New International Version)
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.

God chose us - simple people who love Jesus and He will use us mightily when we say "yes". To God be the Glory for every life we change with our love. Let the least likely candidate boast not in our own wisdom or power, but let us boast in the Lord.

I pray you will chew on this Word today. Ask God to speak to you through it. May the Lord Bless your heart today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grace for the Journey

It was so nice to have Grandpa Zane, Aunt Nina, the Ryans and the Goodhearts join us to celebrate Zane's graduation.

Proud Mom and Dad with WSU graduate Zane

My life has been extremely busy and blessed this month. Last weekend I watched my oldest son Zane receive his diploma from Washington State University. He graduated with a degree in Communications - Public Relations. I'm very proud of him. He will start a new job in Post Falls, Idaho in June.

We celebrated with friends and family this weekend with a barbecue at our house. We were blessed with incredibly beautiful weather. Our house was full of love and laughter. I love it!

Now that he's finished with college, the next thing on Zane's agenda is a wedding. He is going to marry his sweetheart - Kelsey Ryan. She is a wonderful woman of God. Together I know they will change the world. The wedding is only three and a half weeks away. The time has flown by since their engagement and now we are down to the final details of planning. I need grace for the journey! I am most excited about all of the family who will be here for the special occasion.

Before the wedding, I'll be finishing up the manuscript for my Caregivers Devotions to Go devotional book. It's due to my publisher on June 1st. I'm grateful for the editing help I've been receiving from my friends and family. I'm even more grateful for the uplifting stories I have to tell because of my amazing family.

I had positive news on the publishing front this week. I sold an article to VISTA magazine. I also received a positive reply to a query I submitted to Today's Christian Woman magazine. I'm finalizing another book proposal to send to an agent who requested my materials. I'm so grateful.

In the midst of all of this news I have a health concern which is requiring a biopsy on Thursday. I sense everything will be okay. I've been down this road before. However, two of my sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer in the last year so the road I'm traveling again has a few signs on it that weren't there before.

Once again, I am asking the Lord for grace for the journey. I trust He'll walk me down that road because he has always been faithful to me.

God's blessing on your day. I pray God's grace for your journey too - wherever it may take you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Northwest Christian Writer's Renewal Conference

Tomorrow (May 1, 2009) is the first day of our Northwest Christian Writer's Association Renewal Conference. I'm excited to attend and learn from some great writers, editors and agents. I'm fine tuning my book proposal and one-sheet. I hope to make a good first impression and come home at the end of the weekend encouraged.

Attending a writer's conference is a wonderful way to stay active in this passion of writing. I meet so many other incredibly talented writer's who share secrets and encourage one another. This particular conference is really a good bang for your buck. We kept the costs the same as last year so it's a great bargain.

I'll post my thoughts on the experience next week. Is it really May already? I'll have to get a crown of flowers to wear to the conference in celebration of May day. Not really. But perhaps bringing some flowers is not such a bad idea. Sunshine and flowers make my day.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Disrupted Plans-Interrupted by God

Sometimes our life is disrupted by an event that creates confusion. The Crucifixion was such an event for the followers of Jesus.

Can you imagine what kind of disruption the disciples of Jesus felt as they watched the Messiah beaten, bleeding and hanging on a cross? This was definitely not expected. They had a very different plan. They thought they would be a part of Jesus' rule as King of Israel. Instead they watched him die a violent death. He was buried in a tomb. God interrupted their man-made plan to rule and reign with Jesus so they ran away and hid.

As Easter Sunday draws near, I'm more aware of the disruption that the Cross has had on my life. Today is Good Friday. It is the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It's a day when we try to imagine what it must have been like for the followers of Jesus to have their whole world turned upside down. It is a time when we remember that dark day two-thousand years ago when the future was so uncertain for those who loved Jesus. When the Savior of the world died.

I had my own dark Friday nineteen years ago on April 13th. It was Good Friday. I spent the morning walking with my husband Steve tracking my labor pains as my body prepared to give birth to our second baby. It was a chilly spring day here in Washington state. For several hours I experienced incredible pain but I was excited to see this baby I had carried and loved for nine months.

I'm sure my pain was nothing compared to what Jesus experienced as flesh was ripped from his bones during his scourging. How could I ever compare my own pain to the searing agony when nails were driven into His hands and feet as bones crunched with each blow of the hammer. My pain was nothing like the ache in His body as they lifted the cross in the air. I can't even imagine the pain of his broken heart as he took on all the sins of the world. There is no comparison. Yet Jesus understands my pain.

On that Good Friday in 1990 I experienced some very dark hours as my entire life was disrupted. My best laid plans were about to take a major detour. God had a different idea for where my life was headed.

Our precious son Gabe was born in the early evening. We had no idea about his severe congenital birth defects. Our world tilted when we saw his short arms and crooked legs. Everything about our future changed and we were bombarded with medical terms we had never heard of. We were afraid. We wanted to run and hide.

For the disciples whose lives were disrupted that Good Friday long ago, Easter Sunday came. Light shined on their future. Jesus was alive! It was Resurrection Sunday.

Two days after Gabe was born we found out that his birth defects were not life threatening. His heart and lungs were healthy. We still had concerns about his blood platelet but we knew he was going to be okay. We took him home Easter Sunday morning.

Gabe turns nineteen on Monday, April 13, 2009. The past nineteen years have been a wonderful walk with Jesus through the trials of parenting a child with a disability. Although our lives were disrupted, we are better for the interruption.

Easter Sunday always shines a new light in my heart. I'm so very thankful for what Jesus did on the Cross. And His Resurrection gives us hope for eternity! He is Risen INDEED!

Happy Easter.

My question to you: What does Good Friday and Easter Sunday mean to you?

The idea for this message came to me recently after reading a great story written by Margaret Manning on the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries "A Slice of Infinity" newsletter. You can sign up for this email at http://www.rzim.org/slice/slice.php I want to give her credit for the idea that came to me after reading her article.

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
Reprinted with permission
A Slice of Infinity is a ministry of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries may withdraw or modify this grant of permission at any time http://www.rzim.org/

Friday, April 3, 2009

Moms Weekend

Enjoying the weekend with my oldest son Zane at WSU for my last Moms weekend. The years have flown by. I've talked him into going to the fashion show tonight. It should be a lot of fun. My favorite part of the weekend is the good conversation. He's a great young man and I'm really proud of him. Tomorrow we'll get our traditional Coug portrait taken with my new Mom's weekend sweatshirt. We're going shopping to Spokane to get some interview clothes for him. He graduates in a month! Whew.