Friday, February 29, 2008

I Am Beautiful

Hello there sweet fellow friends! I pray this message finds you in great spirits. I know I am.

If you are visiting here today, indulge me and visit today. It's one of my other blogs and it is devoted to the one major stronghold and struggle of my life....weightloss and body image. If you've ever had this struggle or have any advice or encouragement, I'd really appreciate your input. We need each other to remind us that we are indeed beautiful. Too often the world makes us feel like we need to be a certain shape or size to be beautiful. It really differs from person to you feel your best may be totally different from how I feel my best...and that's okay as long as we are honoring God with our lives. So, click on the link and visit me at my "I Am Beautiful" blog.



Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Back at work and loving it!

As previously mentioned in my blogs last week, I had surgery. Nothing major. A bunion removed off of my left foot. No big deal. The doctor just broke my big toe, inserted a screw between two bones, and sawed and shaved my bone on the outside of my foot. OMGsh!!!!!!!!!!!!! The pain and recovery has been worse than I expected. I was a great patient last week. I stayed off my feet, kept my surgery foot on ice and elevated, and took my medication on time. I was well taken care of. Friends brought meals daily, my mother and mother in law stayed over and took care of me, my husband and kids have worked overtime to serve me since I couldn't do much for myself, and one of my friends (bless Denise's heart) even bathed me. Yes, you know you are bad off when you allow yourself to be stark naked---20 pounds overweight and winter white, with a shower cap on---allowing a friend...even if she is one of your best friends, to help you take a shower. I had to keep my hurt foot dry and out of the shower, I was afraid I'd fall. And she just kept laughing at me. (I think it was the shower cap that caused the laughter....I hope it wasn't my fat beeeehind!)

1. Here I am ready to go. Only I can't walk down the steps. I'll just scoot on me bum!

Well, needless to say, I was going stir crazy. Finally, Monday morning, I decided it was time to go back to work. I work at the front desk for Proverbs 31 Ministries. If you walked in the front door of our office, mine would be the first face you would see. If you call the office, usually my voice is the first voice you hear.
I could drive to work okay because it's not my driving foot that is healing. Walking gracefully is different story! As I pulled up to the office, I called ahead and asked for some help getting in. Teri and LeAnn met me at my car (Teri stepped on my foot as she gave me a hug---ouch), carried in my stuff, and

2. laughed at the way I scooted up the steps backwards on my backside.

3.See the smiling faces I get to be with every day? This is Barb and Holly.

4. Wendy and I sit, chat, and get caught up on everything that's been going on since I've been gone. Lovely position I'm in...but my foot's up!

5. Look at the beautiful view from my desk: Wendy, LeAnn, Samantha, Barb, and Teri.

6. Look at the not so beautiful view from my desk. My foot and my computer.

7. Sweet Teri and Samantha (taking the picture) help me get back to my car. The cooler is not holding beer's holding ice which was pumped to my foot to keep it cool and icy during the day.

It's so great to be back. I missed it. I've been back 3 days now. I was on my feet probably too much today. I'm on the couch now with my foot up and I feel like my foot is ripping open. But I'm not complaining. I'm thankful.

Thankful for my family. Thankful for my friends. Thankful for my surgeon. Thankful for my job and the incredible staff I work with. Thankful for my health. And thankful for all my bloggy friends who have been praying for me and checking up on me.

Much Love,


***I'm going to begin posting again on "I am Beautiful" tomorrow. I just couldn't keep up with both. I need some beautiful encouragement...I've been feeling so frumpy lately!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Answers to Your Questions:)

If you are here looking for answers to your questions from Lysa's blog, WELCOME!!! I'm so happy to meet you and share a little of my journey in speaking, writing, and the She Speaks Conference with you. Please please feel free to share and post your own thoughts about the topics I address. And if you have any more questions, ask ask ask. I am thrilled to answer any questions you might have. I wish I had all this help when I was first getting started:)

I will be answering your questions dealing with Fear, Transparency, and Balance. I'll also tell you about my 1st She Speaks Conference and how attending this conference changed my life.

Questions are in black, answers are in red.


I have just begun teaching and speaking to women(something I never would have imagined I would do) and I really feel a passion for it. However, I am soooo lacking in confidence and skills. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first? How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"? How do you deal with rejection?

Great questions! I can relate to every fear you listed. I think most speakers and writers can. I am going to break your questions up so I can answer them all:

1. Lacking in Confidence and Skills....That's okay:) If you were super confident and highly skilled then you may not realize how much you need the Lord. Based on your confidence and skills you may not be ready, but God will equip those He calls. Have no doubt about it, if God has called you into speaking, He will equip and qualify you for each and every step. If this is your passion, do not let fear be what stops you. The enemy will use those fears to try and convince you that you are not good enough. That's not true. Pray daily and arm yourself for protection. Once you get started, your confidence will build and you will learn as you go along changes and improvements you may need to make. Just don't compare yourself to ANYONE else. Be yourself, don't try to be someone you are not. God made you. He called you. Allow Him to use you and trust Him. You probably are not as "lacking" as you think anyway. I still get nervous. I still question if I'm good enough. That's when I need to seek God the most and tune out everything else. As long as I keep it about Him and not me, then there is no way that I can fail.

2. How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"?

When you figure this one out, would you let me know! Seriously, I still ask myself this because I just can't believe that something that I could say could be so interesting or important. But is. It is because I'm not just up there talking. I'm sharing life. I'm sharing the Lord. He has given me my message and He has been with me on my journey of life. It is His Word that I want my audiences to believe. I always tell them, "Don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself." If your passion and reason for speaking is because of what God has placed on your heart, then don't you worry one bit if anyone cares what you have to say. He cares. And almost always when I speak there is at least one woman who comes up to me and says, "this message was for me". I praise God right then and there. Even if everyone else was falling asleep, that's okay. God used it for His purpose for that person. Everytime before I speak I pray and ask God to determine every word that comes out of mouth. I pray that my audience would see and hear Him, not me.

3. How do you deal with rejection?

I pray and ask God what He thinks of me. Then I call my best girlfriend and cry and she sets me straight! Rejection and criticsm unfortunately come with the territory. It's just the way it is. Honestly some rejection and criticsm hurts more than others. It never feels good, but I've learned to keep it in perspective and try to learn from it. I keep reminding myself that my identity is in Christ. Most of the time when a church is considering me for an event, they are also considering others. From the moment I find out that I am being considered, I give it to God. I trust if He wants me there and if it is in His plan then He will work it out. I would never want to mess up God's plan, so if I'm not selected, then that's a good thing. On the other hand, if it's been months and months that I have not been invited to speak even though I've been sending out my bio and CD, then I have to ask myself some questions to determine if there are some changes I could make to be a more effective speaker and communicator. She Speaks addresses a lot of this.

4. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first?

Yes, you are ready for this type of conference. You do not need any skills or "local training" to come to She Speaks. You need the desire to please God with your life. That's it. She Speaks is educational, professional, fun, encouraging, and God's Hand is all over it. Some have even said it was like a revival, a renewal of the heart. You are equipped with the tools needed to get started, but you are also given encouragement and feedback. We've all been there and so we have a heart for our attendees. Whether you want to be a better leader, teacher, speaker, writer, or just build your confidence to share your story, She Speaks is for you, no matter how much experience or training you've had.


1. How do you open your heart? I have so much baggage do people really want to hear my story? Can they really learn from it? If I thought one person could I would shout it from the roof top!!! or would I? I think my past could help alot of young people! No! I know my past could help alot of young people but where do I get started!

You better climb on that roof top and start shouting! Many people can learn from your story! If God took you through it then He can use it. How much you share is really up to you. I have found that for me, sharing my baggage has been a blessing to me and to others. I just make sure that my story is not about all the baggage, but what God did with and through the baggage, how I was transformed by Him. I share those parts of my life because I have hopes of showing that if God could use me, He could use anyone. I want them to find the freedom in their lives that I have found. People don't need all of the details to get the impact of the story and I don't share every detail. I try to use discretion in how much I share depending on the audience and the purpose of the event. I devote a lot of prayer in determining what I share and when.

I have found that my transparency is one thing my audiences really like about me. They are glad that the speaker isn't perfect. They don't want to hear from someone who appears perfect and has it all together. I not only share my baggage from the past, but I share the tough stuff in life right now if it is appropriate and could help someone. The most important gift you can give your audience is to be yourself. That's who God made you. Allow Him to shine through you...not you trying to be all put together. Open up your heart. Something I found helpful was to write out my entire testimony. It helped to see it in writing. As I experience more and add to it, I write some more. When I read over it I can easily decide what I want to leave out, if I've shared too many details, and how long it's going to take me. I hope this helps you a little bit.


I'm just going to jump right in on this topic. Isn't it every woman's stuggle? I am married and have 4 children ages 6-14. Our household is very busy. We have many appointments and after school activities weekly. I do not have a housekeeper, but if I could afford one, I would! Last October I went to work in the Proverbs 31 office as an Administrative Assistant. I work 5 days a week. Up until then I basically had been a stay at home mom for 12 years. It was hard to find balance when I was a stay at home mom and it's hard to find balance now that I work. Speaking began slowly for me. I taught classes and led Bible studies at church for years. When God called me to begin speaking, the first thing I did was talk to my husband about it. He was very supportive. I don't know how I'd do it if my family wasn't a part of it. It's not "my" ministry, it's "our" ministry. I couldn't do what I do without them. We have to work together so I can have time to plan and prepare for a message or an event. We have to work together so I can travel and be away without the family falling apart. Their support is key to keep a balance.

I also had to let a lot of other things go. I used to feel guilty for this, but I'm over it now. This is just me. I'm not saying everyone has to quit what I quit, but in order for me to keep my priorities straight and for balance to occur I had to make some changes. Some of them were very hard for me to make. I do not volunteer for PTA or committies at my kid's schools. I attend school functions, go to their parties, eat lunch with them occasionally, and attend all of their activities and events, but I don't volunteer anymore. I do not volunteer at the same level I used to at church anymore. It no longer works for me to lead Bible studies and teach classes. I'm very selective about the activities I choose to do. I don't volunteer to be Team Mom, Classroom Mom, or anything else that I would have to be in charge of. I don't volunteer to do class projects or help the teacher. I'll meet the teacher for coffee or visit her at school, but I just can't do all those other things. Oh, I felt so guilty about that. The PTA President has been asking me for years why I don't serve on a committee. I try to answer honestly. Some people just don't get it. They may think I'm not doing my part, but I know I am. God knows I am. My family knows I am. For me speaking and writing is my thing now. It is my way of serving God using His purpose for my life. If I thought for one second that my not doing any of things was hurtful in any way to my relationship with the Lord or hurt my family, I would do different, but I had to let these things go. Hear this: I'm not saying that you have to quit it all to be a speaker/writer. I can't handle a lot going on at one time. I get anxious. Chaos sends me over the edge when it is occurring daily. This is what has worked for me. You have the find the balance that works for you and your family:)


I cannot say enough good things about this conference. The women's ministry director at my church sent me to my first She Speaks Conference six years ago. I was blown away by the friendliness of the speakers and staff. I expected to gain insight and tools needed to improve as a leader, but what I didn't expect was all that God gave me that weekend. I thought I wanted to be a speaker, but I wasn't really sure. I was very insecure and like many of you thought, "why would anyone want to come and hear me speak?" I compared myself to Beth Moore and Lysa TerKeurst and that scared me because I knew I'd NEVER be that good. And I probably never will, but who cares? God didn't need another Beth or Lysa. He needed me. And He confirmed my calling to speak at the conference. She Speaks helped me to gain the confidence I needed not to believe in myself but to rely on God.

A year later I joined the Speaker Team at Proverbs. A short time after that, I began writing devotions. The Lord has used me and taken me places I never would have dreamed of. The one event I look forward to more than any other every year is She Speaks. When I see someone on the fence about going, I just want to say, "You have to go! It's awesome! It's amazing!" But really nothing I say can express how great it really is. You just have to experience for yourself. The conference is 100% about God and what He can do through you. It's just icing on the cake that you happen to walk away with some valuable information.

As if this is not enough, you also make many good new friends.

So, if you are one who is on the fence...pray about it first of course and if God gives you the go ahead...JUST DO IT! GO TO SHE SPEAKS!

I really hope that this information has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about what I've written, let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog and please come back again soon!

Blessings to you as you seek God's will in ministry. I look forward to meeting many of you face to face at She Speaks!



No Longer Waiting (and a recovery update)

For the past 2 days, I took a little break from blogging and instead devoted my time to writing devotions. It has been a while since I wrote one. I have been writing devotions for Proverbs 31 Ministries for 5 years. I truly believe that during the last year God just wanted me to soak in lessons from other devo writers, friends, and Him instead of sharing my own. The past 6 months have been a season of rebuilding and reflecting for me. So, I did just that. Instead of pouring out to teach and share with others, I sat still, listened, and learned. God was working on me and He needed my undivided attention.

I felt the Lord prompting me to start writing again in January, 2008. That's when I set up this blog, my "I Am Beautiful" blog ( and our family blog. I used these 3 as healthy outlets to begin sharing the different life changing lessons God had been showing me throughout 2007. I also used these blogs to reach out to others. 2007 was an extrememly difficult year. I pray God will use the hard times to help someone else. So I am sharing. A few have mentioned that there is no need for me to share the "dark places" in my life. I know better. God's Word says in Isaiah 45:3, "I will bring treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." Yes, that's right. There are treasures even in the darkest of places. Last year it was my marriage. It was in a deep pit. But my husband and I got through it, went to counseling, recommitted to each other, and now we are stronger than ever. Our marriage did not go back to how it used to be, it bumped up a level. Not only are Jeff and I rock solid today, but we want to help others and encourage people who feel hopeless. We know that with God, hopelessness does not exist. If we weren't willing to share the dark places of our lives, then God really can't bring purpose and treasures out of them. God call us by name. And I can hear Him calling me to #1 a radical commitment to Him, #2 a radical commitment to my husband and family, and #3 to write, speak, and share the work that He has done throughout my life....even in the darkest of times. He is calling me to write again. I started with blogging and now I'm ready to writed devotions again.

Yesterday I wrote and submitted two devotions to Proverbs 31. I think before the weekend is up, I may write two more. It's as if God is oozing out of my pores and I have to write about it. I can't just sit here anymore. I hear Him saying, "The wait is over. No longer do I want you to sit still. Do what I have called you to do."
Do you hear God calling you to do anything? To maybe step out of your comfort zone? Are you willing to share the dark places if God can use them for good? Listen closely to what He says. And if you can't hear Him, slow down for a while and spend some time in His Word. Too often the busyness of our lives can drown out the Lord's voice. Ever heard the verse in Psalms that says, "BE STILL and know that I AM GOD."?
Well, I must get moving. I'm actually going to bathe today:) Check in later because I'll be sharing some information for those of you interested in Speaking or Writing and possibly considering attending the She Speaks Conference.
Happy Weekend!

******About my recovery. The past 3 days have been tough. I'm sick of sitting still in the same position. My body hurts. I'm having weird dreams. I'm still in a lot of pain. I want to go outside! I don't want to complain though. This surgery was a good thing and this is a very minor thing to go through considering the rewards will be great. I've been living with the pain of this bunion for a few years now. It's really selfish of me to complain when I have so many blessings, but I am down in the dumps. My friend Amy Woods brought me a great meal on Thursday and visited with me for a little while. I so enjoyed that. My friends and family have taken really good care of me and they have gone out of their way to care for me, Jeff, and the kids. I don't have any pictures to post today because I haven't taken any in the past few days.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Recovery, Day 3

Finally! Sleep. Yes, I slept last night for the first time in days. Thank you Jesus! I haven't been this tired since I had my last baby 6 yrs ago. Melissa in pain, sleepy, and grumpy is not a good combo! And as if being in pain, sleepy, and grumpy isn't enough...I have a new zit too!!! Just look at it!

Today I am still keeping my foot elevated. No real change from yesterday. Still hurts. Still hangin' out on the couch. I have a new caregiver today however. My mom is here. I'm thrilled to be able to spend so much time with her. She doesn't live that far away, but we rarely get to spend time together...especially this much time. She is staying here for 2 days. I may be 41 years old, but having my mommy here to take care of me takes me back. It's like I'm a little girl again. There is nothing quite like a mother's touch. I've already mentioned in a previous blog what a big baby I am, so having my mom here is just what I need! I'm her baby after all. The kids were so excited to have their Mamaw spend the night. She had the honor this afternoon of helping Hayley Grace with her homework. Aren't they so cute (in the picture)? I love my mama!

My good friend Angie stopped by this morning. She brought Lunchables. Yes, you know, Lunchables. She knew that many people brought us meals so she brought lunch for the kids. My kids do not buy school lunch, so this is a huge help! And they are going to be so excited when they find out that they get Lunchables for the next 2 days. She also stayed for a little while so we could visit. It lifted my spirits way up. I'm social and I miss being around people. Bless your sweet heart Angie! I needed some girlfriend time.

Girlfriends. I need them and I love them. My work girlfriends have called me 3 times today. Just to talk and be sweet. They knew I was sad, so they called. They heard I was in pain, so they prayed. They were having fun opening the mail at the office, so they called to share the fun. Oh I miss them!!!!!

As I reflect on Day 3, once again, I am reminded of my blessings. God's goodness has been so evident and clear. The physical pain is dull in comparison to the great blessings I have in my friends and family. Love really is the greatest gift of all. I pray that a day never passes that I don't realize just that.
Well, look who just walked in? He worked hard all day long. Welcome Home Honey!
Feeling the Love,


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Recovery, Day 2

Well, this time yesterday all was great! My foot was numb and I was thinking, "Wow, this bunion surgery really wasn't that bad at all." I couldn't walk very well with my crutches and I was kind of groggy, but there was no pain after the surgery. I was relieved to say the least. (Look at my best recovery pal right here...ain't she so cute???? Ooh, I love my Princess!)

So much for no pain. Today plenty made up for yesterday's pain free bliss. OMGsh WOWZEE ZOWEE WHOOPA YOW YOW!!!!! (That's whatcha say when you are hurtin' like I was today.) Boo Hoo Sniff Sniff, I didn't feel so good. I didn't sleep at all last night and my foot was in pain. The pain meds make my head feel loopy but my foot still hurts.

I was stuck on the couch all day. I can't put any weight on my left foot. I need help getting to and from the bathroom. I'm a little off balance. But.....oh I am feeling sooooooo blessed. (Book end prayers as Micca said in her blog post today Why bookend prayers? Bookend prayers are prayers where you remember to thank God for answered prayer. I prayed and so did many of my friends that my surgery would be successful and that I would be protected and feel God's presence through this trial. I was scared and nervous. Well, God answered. He did protect me. Although I am in pain, the blessings and His presence were all around. Thank You Jesus...You did not leave me and You loved me through people today (and fried chicken:) Just like no book is complete without an end, our prayers aren't complete withouth an answer and then thanking God for that answer, no matter what that answer is (yes, no, maybe, wait, etc.)

Pat Taylor, my beautiful mother in law, gave up her day to care for me. She served me in so many almost makes me cry. She cleaned my house, did laundry, spent time with me, cleaned my refrigerator (if you only, kept coolant on my foot, kept me medicated, picked up the kids from school, served me breakfast, lunch and supper, went to the store for me, and tried her best to keep my mind off my pain. She is such a treasure. I felt like I was in a 5 star hotel in my own home! I don't know what I would've done today without her. Can you believe she's my mother in law? Looks more like my sister! She puts her love in action. I am so grateful for her. Jesus with skin on...she's a lovely example of just that.

And another thing I'm grateful for. Chicken with skin on....that's right I said chicken. My sweet friend, LaGena, brought me a meal I will not soon forget. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni/cheese, biscuits, cheese grits(from Cajun Yard Dog).....thank You Lord for comfort food. A funny side note here. When LaGena told another friend of mine, Denise, that she was bringing all that soul food, Denise (well meaning and all) said, "ooh LaGena, Melissa is trying to watch what she eats, maybe you should bring something else." Well, thank you Denise for looking out for my health....but I'm thankful LaGena was looking out for my comfort! It was heavenly and worth every calorie! Yummy! (I have a lot of explaining to do over on my "I Am Beautiful" blog:) Really though, in all seriousness, what a blessing. My mind was off the pain as I thoroughly enjoyed my meal. She also brought me a few other goodies, as I have never known LaGena to show up without a gift. She is so thoughtful. Again, I am brought to tears when I think about it. I am truly thankful. She's another "Jesus with skin on". I wish I had a picture of LaGena here, but I have the next best thing...the food she brought!

Family and friends. When times are tough and I'm down and out, they are the ones who remind me that I'm valued and actually worth something...I forget that sometimes. As I lie here on my den couch and write, I realize that although the pain is great, my God is greater. And His gifts come in many different packages. Day 2 of my recovery is a gift.

Thank You my Lord for placing people in my life who take the time to care for me and show me so much love. You give me way more than I deserve. It gives purpose to the pain. Please give me opportunities to do the same for others and I pray I don't miss them when they arise. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bye Bye Bunion!

Goodbye Bunion.......>>>>>>>>>>>> (Notice the big bump below my big toe..that's my beautiful bunion, which is gone. You may also notice my beautiful twin day I'll write about them too.)

The surgery itself went real good. It was pre-surgery when I was so anxious. I knew everything would be okay, in fact, I surprised myself with my nerves. I just wanted to get on with it and have it done! Here is pretty much the steps which made up my day:

1. Lab work. Needle in the arm.

2. I wrote the word, "yes" on my left foot. (so the surgeon wouldn't get mixed up and operate on the wrong foot. (that's a scary thought!)

3. Change into a lovely hospital gown. Hooked up to I.V.

4. Antibiotic injected into I.V. + sleepy feel good stuff begins to take effect which is a good thing because.....

5. Dr comes in and injects my foot 10 times with a 6 inch needle to numb it (a block they called it).....OUCH!!!!!! Foot goes totally numb.

6. Kiss my husband and tell him how much I love him and am so grateful to have him as my husband. I tell him how incredible he is and that he is the most amazing man I've ever known. And take good care of the children. (in case I die on the table)

7. Surgery begins without me....or at least I don't remember it! I woke up in the operating room and couldn't believe it was over!

8. Phase 1 Recovery I finally can drink for the first time in 13 hours! "Diet Coke, come to Mama!"

9. Phase 2 Recovery. My husband and sweet mom in law come back. I get a quick "crutches" lesson, instructions for the week, and the doctor informs me that he broke my big toe, shaved and sliced my bone, and inserted a screw to pull the separated bones together. Lovely. I just want you to fix it doctor, I don't need the details. I knew about the screw, but I did not know about the broken toe....something else to feel sorry for me about:(

10. Arrive home to assume my place on the couch with my "toes above my nose".

My thoughtful husband knows me well. He goes to Red Robin and picks me up onion rings, Whiskey BBQ Burger, and a regular Pepsi!!!! Maybe I did die, because this is heaven to me! I wish I had thought to photograph this meal. It was sooooooo delish!

Right now, my foot is still numb and there is no pain. I'm taking my meds and keeping hooked up to my cooler...really a cooler. It's filled with ice and water and pumps coolant to my foot to reduce swelling!

Well, that's it. Pray that when this numbness wears off, I'll still feel okay. I'm not much for sitting still. And I'm a big baby when it comes to pain. Thanks for the prayer so far.

Bunionless and Blessed,


Surgery Today!!!!!!

Hey, I'm writing a quick post this morning. It's early and I'm leaving for the hospital soon. I'm having surgery to have a bunion removed. I'm very nervous. If you are reading this, I'd appreciate your prayers. See for the whole story about my "Beautiful Bunion".

I'll be out of it for a few days from what "they" tell me. Take care. I'll post my progress and some pictures in a few days.



Friday, February 15, 2008

Climbing Mt. Laundry

Hello! I'm back from the depths of "Sickville". Yes, 3 of my 4 kids had fevers over the last 2 days and I am ready for a little sunshine and laughter! I had to miss work for 2 days, which I hated to do. I absolutely LOVE my job and I missed my co-workers terribly! But I wouldn't have been anywhere else but home over the past 2 days. My sweet sicklings needed their mommy and I'm so thankful that I could be there. Not only did I take care of my precious ones (who by the way felt totally 100% fine when their fevers went down due to Motrin) but I also took the opportunity to catch up on some MUCH NEEDED house and family duties.

First things first. I had to climb a mountain. Not just any mountain, but one that was almost too big for me to conquer. Maybe you've heard of it. Mt. Laundry is it's name. This week it stood at almost 4 feet tall....I kid you not! We've been joking around Proverbs 31 about how many people think that because we speak, work, or write for Proverbs 31 Ministries that we must have it all together. Seriously, I answer the phones over there and you would not believe the calls I get asking how we keep our homes in order, our children well behaved, our marriages trouble free, and manage our lives so well. It's all I can do to not laugh out loud! Sometimes I do! Wendy Pope is writing about the "Real Proverbs 31 Woman" this week on her blog, Please go over there and check it out. Us Proverbs 31 Women aren't perfect. We are nowhere close. We just strive to be like the Proverbs 31 Woman by loving God, our husbands (those of us who are married), our kids (those of us who have them), and keep our home, work, time, finances, and commitments balanced. Notice I said "strive". The order is the key here. Priorities have to be kept in check. Not easy, but necessary. And we fall short a lot! Who doesn't?So back to Mt. Laundry. I put it off long enough. Those clothes are clean. We've been living out of that clean clothes basket for a few days now. We have a family of 6, so really to keep up I should wash every day.....but I don't. It took me 2 hours to fold all of those clothes. I still haven't put them all up yet. (Now my kids have put their's up...I made them. But mine and Jeff's are folded neatly in stacks on the bedroom floor....still waiting!) Notice Hayley Grace sitting in the basket watching TV once the basket was cleaned out:) I don't think she knew there was a bottom of the basket!

I'm feeling pretty good after Climbing Mt. Laundry...except now it's ready to be loaded with dirty clothes again and start all over. I get to the top of Mt. Laundry, but I never stay there for very long! It's a mountain I'm getting pretty used to climbing regularly! And I don't like it.

I also conquered the downstairs bathroom yesterday:) Wow, 2 big tasks completed in 1 day...I for sure am close to being the "real Proverbs 31 woman" now, huh?

I may not be perfect, but I'm perfectly happy that way!

Keep on Climbing,


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Heart Hurts

My heart is broken today. Yesterday afternoon my son, Dylan, came home from school feeling so down and discouraged. Someone at school hurt his feelings. With just a few words, Dylan's day was ruined.

Dylan's head has a scar on it. It is from a surgery he had as a baby. He usually doesn't think much about it because he can't see it. Yesterday someone reminded him that he wasn't perfect...that he had a visible flaw...that he was different. Words could not console my sweet child. Neither could hugs from his mom. Or homebaked cookies. All Dylan could hear were the lies in his head:

I'm not like everyone else.

What do people think about me? They probably think I look funny.

They don't like me. I'm ugly.

I don't fit in. I'm sad about how I look.

I don't like how I look. I wish I didn't have this stupid scar. What good am I?

Oh how I hate how words can sting even when they aren't really intended to hurt us. It's so easy to let the lying voice inside our head convince us that we are less or inferior. It broke my heart to hear Dylan cry and see his tears. He was broken and so was I. I would give just about anything to make him feel better.

Fortunately it was "Skate Night" last night. I told Dylan to call 2 of his best buds and we'd go skate the sadness away. And that's just what he did. I received loads of joy watching my sweet sensitive son skate, laugh, and play with his friends. His class even won a pizza party for having the most kids there!

As I was tucking Dylan in bed last night, we talked about the power of words. Then we talked about the Power of The Word...The Word of God. His Word says that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him(Romans 8:28)...and Dylan does very much. The biggest blessing in Dylan's life is his faith. He believes in the power of God and he believes God. In fact he's had such an impact on others because of his faith that his story is featured in Sharon Jaynes' book Your Scars Are Beautiful to God and he's only ten. That's what I tried to get through to him. What really matters is that he is terrific (from head to toe), in the eyes of the Lord. He is beautifully made (Psalm 139:14). To which he replied, "I know I am Mom, but it still hurts."

I hear ya Dylan...and I completely understand. It hurts me too.

Claiming Romans 8:28,


Monday, February 11, 2008

We Have A Winner....or 2!!!!

Congratulations to Robbie Ross and Darci Salisbury!!!!!

You are the winners of my first blog give away!

Robbie suggested that I give Jeff a Wii. Well, our kids got one for Christmas, but his suggestion made me think of something to go with the Wii. So, I got him "Guitar Hero" for Wii. Jeff plays guitar, although he actually hasn't played in a while. OMGsh! He had a blast playing with it all day! (So did I!) I gave it to him after he feasted on breakfast in bed...served by me and the kids.

Sunday night, Jeff took me to dinner. I had the most fabulous steak I have ever had in my entire kidding! We had such a great time together. When we got home, we retreated to our room. That's when he gave me some DKNY Be Delicious (my fave perfume...drives him wild too) and I gave him Darci's suggestion (also shown below). Her gift idea, with a little help from her man, were certificates for certain things I could do to love him in his #1 love language. I gave him 3 and I'm choosing to keep those private. (I can't tell everything!) I also printed the first paragraph from the blog I wrote last week about him and framed it, surrounded by pictures of us. I then planted 18 kisses on it (one for each year) and signed
it. He loved it. You can kind get an idea of what is turned out like here.

Jeff was amazed at the suggestions and creativity of all who posted. Thank you guys SO MUCH! It really was a very special anniversary. Maybe even our best. Thanks for encouraging me to be creative. There are still lots of ideas left over for Valentine's Day and upcoming special occasions in the future.

Robbie and Darci each won a signed copy of Melanie Chitwood's book, What a Man Needs from His Wife. I'm sure Robbie will gladly pass it on to his beautiful bride, Ginny....especially since he'll benefit from her reading it:) Thank you both for such thoughtful, creative, and loving ideas to make my man feel special. Because that's exactly what he is!

If you didn't win this time, check back soon. I'll be doing another give away before February is over. And if you haven't already, go check out my other blog, There will be some fun give aways coming up over there too.

Blessings! And thanks again!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

What to Give Him? ***Give Away Alert***Read this post for details.

He's the most special man in my life. He is a man of great character. He works very hard for me. He takes good care of me. He serves me. He encourages me. He prays for me. He forgives me. He tells me I'm beautiful. He holds my hand. He grows scruff on the weekends because I like it on his face. He talks to me. He texts me. He supports me. He puts up with me. He gave me beautiful babies....4 of them! He gave me a precious poodle. He is a dynamic father. He is dedicated. He is fun. He is hot...way sexy he is. He looks perfect in old blue jeans, a t-shirt, and bare feet. He loves God. He loves his family. He loves me. He married me almost 18 years ago.....

Yes, this wonderful man is my husband, Jeff. Sunday, February 10th is our 18th wedding anniversary. We are going out to celebrate. He's taking me to Sullivans (I love steak:) for dinner and live music (I love that too!). Then we'll come home, tell the kids to leave us alone or else, and have a little more fun;) (oh, don't act all know you do it too!) There's only one problem....I haven't gotten him a gift yet and I don't know what to get him!!!! Help me!

This anniversary is very special to me. You see, last year was one of the toughest our marriage has had. We never fell out of love, but it was definitely tested. Our communication was at an all time low. We had extreme financial hardships. We were both in a pit and for the first time, it seemed our marriage was in trouble. In fact I just checked out and ignored my husband. It was one of the darkest times in my life ever. Thank the good Lord above He made this marriage to last. Jeff and I entered marriage counseling in the Summer of 2007. It's the best thing we have done for our marriage and ourselves. We reconnected, prayed for restoration, and we redefined our relationship. Neither of us ever wanted a divorce. We just couldn't figure out what had happened to the "us" we once knew. We were not going to give up. We worked hard and it was worth it.

Well, "we" are back and are stronger and more in love than ever! I am so appreciative of my sweet hubby and I want to show him that. That's why his gift is so important to me. He is so important to me. I love him so much.

Any and all suggestions for what to give to my Mr. Incredible would be so appreciated! In fact, if I select a gift that you suggest by posting to this blog, I'll send you a signed copy of my friend, Melanie Chitwood's book, What A Husband Needs From His Wife. It is a must have for every wife! Thanks friends! Hurry, this offer will expire on Saturday, February 9th!

Much Love,


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

G.N.O. (Girl's Night Out)

Do you know where all the cool chicks are hangin' out this week? Well, if you don't already have tickets, you are out of luck! Thankfully, we had them. Or I should say, thanks to my sweet mother in law we had them. Yes, it was G.N.O.....Girl's Night Out. If you are a Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus fan, then you know already know what G.N.O. means:) And oh, what a great time we had!
Jeff's mom (pictured above) treated Hayley Grace and 2 friends (Sydney and So Won) and me, to the Hannah Montana 3-D Concert Movie. This was such an experience. First of all, Hayley Grace is my first daughter. I have 3 other boys. They do not squeal and sway their arms to the music. I got so much joy just from watching these 3 precious girls. They screamed. They squealed. They giggled. They sang along with every song. And when Hannah's guests, The Jonas Brothers, came on stage, they screamed, "ooh, they're hot!" What did they say????? They were dressed alike and they had the biggest smiles. Oh how it warmed my heart. And Jeff's mom, who we affectionately call "Lacey", has 2 boys. So this girl thing is new to all of us. And how we love it!
A few cool notes here. Sydney, the blonde friend of Hayley Grace, is the daughter of one of my very best friends. Her mom's name is Donna. Donna and I have been friends since 5th grade. How totally cool is it to watch our daughters grow close. It doesn't seem like that long ago since me and Donna were in 5th grade together and now our daughters are going to Hannah Montana and starting a relationship that I can only hope and pray will turn out like their moms'.
So Won, Hayley Grace's cute little Asian friend, is from Korea. She is in HG's class this year and they have become great friends. Her mom and I have become friends too. The coolest thing we have in common is that we are both in love with the same man....Jesus! Now who did you think I was going to say? This is a common bond that has brought us together. There is a big language barrier, but our faith has bridged the gap. It has been a blessing to me and my daughter.
So there you have it. G.N.O. Girl's Night Out. The songs are stuck in my head. The visual images are stuck in my head. Another memory. Time is so precious. God gives us the moments, but we never know how many we'll have. Make your time count. It's the one thing you can't get back. I will treasure this event for years to come. Thanks Lacey for giving us all such a great time...a fantastic awesome G.N.O.
Rock On Sistas,

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm Blue

Yes, I had as extremely blue day today. All because of hormones too! Read my post on Thanks for checking in.

Much Love,


Friday, February 1, 2008

Today is Tomorrow

One of my favorite all time movies is the classic, Gone With The Wind. Scarlet O'Hara is a delightful character if you ask me. That southern accent and charm along with the determination and iron will makes her quite a woman. If you've seen the movie though, you also notice a soft side to Miss Scarlet. She does break down, she does cry, and she learns that she's not invincible. Her philosophy is "I'll think about that tomorrow." I say that a lot myself. Many times I don't want to do or think about what needs to be done today, so I put it off until "tomorrow". I've noticed that often "tomorrow" gets pushed back daily and then when I finally have to do whatever it is I've been putting off, I end up stressed out and horns grow out of my head.

"I'll start my diet....tomorrow."

"I'll start my quiet time....tomorrow."

"I'll clean my house....tomorrow."

"I'll read to my daughter....tomorrow."

"I'll write a devotion....tomorrow." (so guilty here!)

"I'll call my friend....tomorrow."

"I'll go have lunch with my son....tomorrow."

"I'll take brownies to my neighbor....tomorrow."

"I'll spend some quality time with my husband....tomorrow"

"I'll __________________ tomorrow." (you fill in the blank)

A few years ago, we planned a trip to Walt Disney World. At the time Hayley Grace was 3 years old. I made the mistake of telling her when we booked the trip, which was months before we actually went. Each day she would ask, "Are we going to Disney World today?" I would say, "No Hayley Grace, we aren't going for 3 more months." Then "2 more months"...."1 more month"...."3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week". The night before we were leaving
I was tucking my sweet daughter in bed and I told her the news she had been waiting for. "Hayley Grace, we are going to Disney World....TOMORROW!" "Yeah, I get to meet Mickey Mouse and Cinderella!" She was so excited. The next morning she came running into my room before I was out of bed. The first words out of her mouth were, "Mommy, is today tomorrow?" And I proudly replied, "Yes! Today is tomorrow."

Let's make "today" our "tomorrow". Instead of waiting and wasting precious time, I want to look at what I've been putting off until tomorrow and put it in action today.

Is there anything you've been putting off that you know you really need to do or want to do? Are you waiting until you "feel" like doing it? I've learned that day may never come. Take a look at your current "to do" list and make it a "to day" list. Not only will you have a sense of accomplishment, but you'll also be making a difference today. And you will feel so good. It's a great way to not only reduce stress but also to love yourself.

Blessings! Today is Tomorrow,


*****For more on Loving Yourself, check out the I Am Beautiful blog at, February 1, 2008 post.