Sunday, October 20, 2013

Thank you God, for the awe of autumn.

Thank you, God, for the awe of autumn.
For the golden, crinkling leaves, prancing and flittering as the sunlight peeks about crisscrosses of nearly barren branches.
For the warm and hearty scent of pine, as it is glinting, charring, in the smoky woodstove.
And for the soaring of geese in shifting constructions and a scattering cacophony of voracious blackbirds, pecking about, the drifting in of snow birds, preparing for the cold to come.
Thank you for the rustle and then silence of the wind; first blustering and then not, around and through and under and over the jumbling, tumbling, jostling leaves.
Who could conjure up a crisp new day?
With a chill that can take your breath away or a dewy dawn softness that slickens the earth.
What creature here could ever illuminate the deepening afternoon with a burning, burnt orange sun?
Who would dream up the quick dash of a squirrel? The moseying meandering gait of a groundhog?
The flicking chipmunk’s tail as it snatches up seeds, darting this way and then, that?
A sunken in squash, baring its savory seeds, or a crispy, crunchy head of kale or a left-over ear of corn, drying in the faintest hint of almost-gone summer sun?
Who could imagine such gifts, these? The passing of time, as one season blurs on, becoming the next.  The slow changes that surprise; the subtleties of earth that never disappoint if one pauses to see.
And breathe.
And think.
And be blessed.
Who sends the warming sun and the frigid chilling breeze?  Who tells the robins to go, and the chickadees to stay, and the graceful deer to search for their mate?
Who calls the heart ever to Himself? There is but One.

Thank you God, for the spectacles of fall. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beauty Review: Peter Lamas Beauty Products

                The Beauty Industry would have us believe that all things beautiful fit into a neatly packaged, perfectly skinny, coiffed, coutured, and cultured package. But Peter Lamas, beauty expert, has a different take on beauty. His passion is for all women to feel beautiful and know that they are special and created by God.  Peter has a long history of working with beauty greats such as Vidal Sassoon, Kenneth, Vogue and Glamour magazine, and doing runway work.  After branching out on his own, he discovered a great need for beauty products that were both effective and safe.  And the Peter Lamas brand was born.
                Peter’s passion turned into a dream which became the start of something truly beautiful in its own right: Project Beautiful. Project Beautiful stems from the Genesis 1:31: And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very God. Project Beautiful is a place where women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and walks of life can come together and celebrate the inherit beauty that God gave them.  It’s a place to learn and share tips to stay beautiful both inside and out, and to recognize that God made each one special.  Connect with Project Beautiful, read the blog, and see beauty videos at or visit their Facebook page for giveaways, inspiration and more, at  You’ll be inspired by the tips, advice, and encouragement on both of these sites.
                The Peter Lamas brand is all about looking and feeling beautiful while using products that are luxurious and free of dangerous chemicals.  I had the distinct privilege of testing out a few of these amazing products.  While I received the products for free, I was not paid for my opinion, nor was I expected to create a favorable review.  As a cosmetologist and hair professional, I am always careful about what I put on my fine hair and my sensitive skin.  The Peter Lamas brand, with its dedication to safe, natural products and helping women recognize that God made them special, inspired me to take the plunge and give these products a try. 
                I am so glad that I did. My hair is both very fine and heavily chemically treated.  I take my medium brown hair to platinum blonde – a process that is very harsh and drying on my locks.  Because my hair is very fine, I find that most conditioners weigh it down to heavily.  So I was completely thrilled when I tried out the Soy & Baobob Hydrating shampoo and conditioner.  It had a light, pleasant scent but did not smell heavily fragranced.  It’s free of parabens, sulfates, and petrochemicals.  It’s 100% Vegan.  And it left my hair feeling soft, moisturized, but not greasy or weighed down.  Better yet, the shampoo and conditioner were very soothing on my scalp, which takes a lot of abuse from hair products and blow dryers.  I was able to achieve volume and lift in my hairstyle even after using this gentle conditioner.
                I also had the privilege of trying the Exfoliating Pumpkin Facial Scrub. It contains Pumpkin Enzymes, Apple and Almond Acid, Apricot Grains, Pumpkin Oil, and Vitamin E. It cleans deeply to remove blemish causing dirt and bacteria, creates a more luminous complexion, and fights free radicals.  My skin felt softer, and looked brighter and healthier.
                Sheer Zinc Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is another breakthrough Peter Lamas product. Sheer Zinc provides a natural layer of protection against sun damage, while the Grape Stem Cells repair and rejuvenate skin.  The moisturizer is light, protects the skin, and has no heavy scents, which is perfect for my sensitive skin.
                Best of all, these products are reasonably priced, especially compared to typical salon products.  The value is unbeatable when you see the amazing results, feel the luxury of botanicals, and avoid harsh chemicals.  These products truly are a thing of beauty.  Find these and more great Peter Lamas products at
                I am honored to support a beauty professional who sees women as God sees them, with the dedication to help women feel beautiful using luxurious, safe, and natural products. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hebrews 11:6, NIV: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Praying for real. 

I have too often made the mistake of using prayer as a last resort.  If I couldn’t fix the problem, if my husband, or my friends, or family, or even the professionals couldn’t fix the problem, I would pray.  If I can’t do it, well, then maybe God can.  If it interests Him.  If He has the time.  The funny thing is, I never set out to believe this way.  I learned in Sunday School, just like the rest of my church going friends, that God hears all our prayers, that He listens, and that He answers every single one.  And I believed it.  But I did not prove that belief by completely and intentionally acting upon it, by putting prayer before any act of self-sufficiency on my part.  And so, my faith in prayer began to erode into short bits of prayer throughout the day, a pleading for help, a cry for safety, a blessing for my children. Yes, those are appropriate and good prayers,and I believe God answers them, but they shouldn't be my only prayers. And here is where God is working on my attitude, chipping away at those old bad habits, revealing a softer, more faithful, me – one who not just believes the Bible, but believes it enough to actually do it and use it in every area of my life.  If I truly believe that God answers my prayers, if I truly put my trust and faith and hope in Him to come through.  If I believe it, not just on the surface or in the shallowness of self-sufficiency, I will reorder my day, my week, my year, to show just how important praying to our Creator really is. If I trust Him to be in control more-so than myself,  if I trust His will, His ways, and His ability to work in my life, then my prayer life will reveal it by being the most important work that I do.

This is where God is working on me today.  To make a change in my priorities, my schedule, my day, to put Him first and foremost and to trust Him with the rest.  Will you join me in praying? Not just here or there, but will you seriously, fervently, and regularly set aside a time to be alone with the Lord?  Your life will never be the same.  This is no easy task, elsewise I wouldn’t be having this conversation.  I struggle to find time to be alone, I struggle to stay awake when I am alone with God. I struggle to pray consistently, I struggle with knowing what to pray.  But I am working towards a better prayer life, wrestling to live out with the Bible says is true about God and about prayer. 

The Prayer of Faith James 5:13-20, NIV.
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Need some inspiration?  Check out Prayer:  The Timeless Secret of High-Impact Leaders by Dave Earley.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

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Receive 10% off of business cards at Moo by using this link.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is good.

                Don’t tell my kids, but I don’t take them to the zoo and the aquarium just because they like it.  I like it too. Actually, I love it.   Truth be told, I could spend hours gazing at the amazing creatures that God has created, watching their habits, their relationships, their coloring.  There’s the surprisingly peaceful elegance of a school of jellyfish, the imposing presence of a hammerhead shark, and the adorable nature of a loggerhead turtle. There are lackadaisical camels asleep in the mud, ornery goats who my daughter insists are puppies, and an unending variety of fish and turtles and frogs and bugs and bison and ostriches and kangaroos that never cease to capture my attention and amazement. I love the coolness of the aquarium, where the illumination of the fish highlights their every move.  How many ways can a fish swim?  Some dart, some ooze, some seem to hang there in the eerie light, unblinking, waiting.  Waiting for what, I wonder?  Their next meal, perhaps? I love the fresh air of the zoo, where the animals almost seem to pose so I can snap a pic of the fuzzy headed ostrich or quickly catch the shy smile of a lumbering tortoise.
                Of course, with small children in tow, there is rarely time enough for anything
but a quick glimpse of the exhibit and a flash of the camera on the fly.  But I can’t complain in the slightest, because I know we’ll be back in a day or two, or maybe a week at best. And I wonder as I wander through the myriad of plants and animals about all of the studying, collecting, feeding, and animal husbandry that goes into creating these beautiful exhibits.  Men and women have spent years of their lives studying and working so that the rest of us can learn about and enjoy these intricate creatures.  I am amazed at the painstaking care that goes into each exhibit: recreating habitat, ecosystems, symbiotic relationships between particular plants and animals, water type, temperature, lighting, space…. Who can understand the complexities that go into re-creating such beautiful places to see these creatures?
                After our last trip to the aquarium, feeling simultaneously tired and satisfied and refueled by my adoration of all these things, I shambled across the cul-de-sac to get the mail.  I was contemplating the mysteries of the animal kingdom, and how each fish and animal were placed so perfectly in their particular habitat by dedicated scientists and zoo keepers. I gazed mindlessly across the field, and there, just a few feet away, was a beautiful blue heron. It carefully picked and stepped its way through the mud, giving me sideways glances now and then as it went about its business.

                And I paused.

I took a breath

and stopped 

and watched,

 because as amazing as a zoo or an aquarium might be, they all pale in comparison to what God made.  He didn’t just study and recreate habitats to show off his favorite plants and animals. He created each and every plant, bug, and animal, and he also made a place for them to live. He made their habits, their personalities, their relationships, their habitats. He placed each and every one exactly where it needed to be.
As I look across the field, and watch that graceful heron pick and choose its way around the mud, I am amazed.  It gives up its mission, and gives me once backwards glance, spreads its enormous wings, and soars away into the tree line.   And there I stand, in awe of this earth and all of the creatures in it.  Some just a few feet from my own backyard. 
God was right, you know.   He created the earth and He filled it with animals and plants and water and earth and bugs and people.  And then He declared it good.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31, NIV.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A few quotes and a few links for today...

As I'm writing papers or articles or devotional ideas, I'm always searching for the right quote to make my point.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Preach the Gospel always.  Use words if necessary. -attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. - Corrie Ten Boom

Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive that is youer than you. -Dr. Suess

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. -Marilyn Monroe

What Shall We Wear to Worship?

Beauty Guru: How I Save Money on Makeup

Friday, March 1, 2013

I will make better mistakes tomorrow.*

You won't find box elder bugs in my house...
No way! 
Sometimes, it seriously pains me to think of myself as any less than perfect.  I mean, I'm the wife, so I'm always right, right? And I'm the mom, so I make the rules, capiche?  I'm always perfectly put together, polite, and I only play the right notes on the piano at choir practice.  My kids are always well behaved and clean.  You can be sure that they don't fight over who has the biggest cookie, not my kids. My house is free and clear of every speck of dust and there is not a cat hair or box elder bug in sight. There are no piles of  wrinkled laundry waiting to be put away.  I don't ever have stacks of mail and paperwork hidden in my pantry.  I answer every phone call.  I am always prepared, cook every meal from scratch, and I'm never ever tired and grumpy.  
Oh, yeah, and I'm not sarcastic, either.  

I can hear the laughter.  It's kind of deafening.  

I may like thinking of myself as a modern June Cleaver, but the reality is, I am far from it. [I don't vacuum, much less in heels.]  I make the same dumb mistakes over and over again. I'm too busy, too tired, and sometimes, my attitude is just too crummy.  My priorities easily get out of whack, misconstrued by Facebook updates, YouTube tutorials, and Pinterest boards.  I spend too much money on shoes, too much time drinking coffee, and way too much energy beating myself up over all of it. I want to be perfect, but I can't even live up to my own expectations.

The sad truth is, I mess up.  A lot.  Thankfully, I have a lot of gracious, patient, loving friends and family who put up with my not-so hidden imperfections.  Even better, I have a loving, grace-giving God who hasn't finished with me.  He patiently endures my mistakes, my attitude, and my willful ways.  He puts up with my faux-perfections and my forced smile.  He never runs out of forgiveness for an imperfect person like me.

I'm afraid that I still have a lot more mistakes to make today.  I can't get away from it.  I'm a person.  And I'll make some more the next day, and the next, and even the day after that.  I hope that, in the words of that oft-seen Tattoo Pin, "I will make better mistakes tomorrow."  That Jesus will keep on working on me, and I will become a little more like Him each day. I am far from perfect, but I can trust the One that is, to redeem me and all my mistakes.

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (Philippians 1:6, The Voice).

*This is a quote floating around Pinterest, especially on Tattoo boards.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Who are you like? Thoughts on talking vegetables and vocab.

Have you ever found yourself deep in conversation with a friend, only to realize that you are mimicking her body posture?  I find myself doing it a lot, actually, and sometimes I feel silly when I realize that, just like my friend across the table, I am sitting with my chin on my hand, or arms crossed, or even leaning to the left or the right.  But it is actually a good thing - it shows empathy and helps you connect with the person across from you.  I've also noticed that I pick up my friends' vocabulary.  You could probably tell who I've been hanging out with by the slang and cliches permeating my conversations and status updates.  Don't tell him I told you this, but I often hear my husband's words come out of my own mouth, even as he is saying the same thing. It just goes to show that we become like the people we spend time with. Hopefully, I'm spending time with people that rub off on me in a good way!

But seriously, there is One whom I hope to be the most like.  One Person that I hope is reflected in my speech, in my behavior, and in my responses to others.  The only way I'm going to be like Him is to spend a lot of time with Him, allowing the Spirit to work on my heart, and transform my thoughts, words, and actions.     I hate to admit this, but it is hard for me, with three small children, a small business of my own, and hours of grad school homework, to find even a few minutes of quiet time to spend with my Savior. Today, it seems, the most Bible time I've had is listening as the kids watch King George and the Ducky (the Veggie Tales version of David and Bathsheba).  At the risk of becoming more like a talking vegetable than the Savior, I know that I need to find a few minutes to visit my Savior, to sit across the table from Him, in order to make my actions look like His.

How do you find time in your schedule to read your Bible, to pray, and to know your Savior?

1 John 2:4-6, The Message
If someone claims, “I know him well!” but doesn’t keep his commandments, he’s obviously a liar. His life doesn’t match his words. But the one who keeps God’s word is the person in whom we see God’s mature love. This is the only way to be sure we’re in God. Anyone who claims to be intimate with God ought to live the same kind of life Jesus lived.

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Am a Follower by Leonard Sweet

Leonard Sweet turns the world of discipleship and ministry upside-down in his book, I Am a Follower.  His premise is that grasping for leadership is contrary to the heart of God.  Jesus didn't call any of us to be leaders.  He called each and every one of us to be followers - His followers.  Using the example of apostle Paul, Sweet demonstrates this idea.  Paul didn't claim to be a leader; Paul asked others to join him as he follows Christ.  Those in leadership positions should not really think of themselves as leaders, rather, they should see themselves as first-followers: people who follow Christ first, and then point the way so that others can do the same. This counter-culture book is great for anyone wishing to delve deeper into the realm of discipleship and following Christ.

I've always had a respect for Leonard Sweet, for his creativity, for his writing style, for his ability to get to the heart of the matter and simply tell the truth.  I was a little surprised by the nature of this book.  I didn't expect Sweet to dash our leadership hopes on the shores of discipleship.  But he certainly has opened my eyes to a different way of doing discipleship and a different way of seeing the church.  As I work my way through seminary, I am seeing my future in a new way.  I don't have to strive for leadership, respect, or anything else.  My focus needs to be, first and foremost, on following Jesus Christ and inviting others to follow Him along side of me.

This is a great book for anyone heading into ministry, already in ministry, or anyone looking to delve deeper into discipleship and knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.  Sweet does a great job embracing this topic honestly and creatively.

Monday, February 11, 2013

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