Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What I do...does it really matter?

I first met her in 2011 at a blogging conference. She was warm and welcoming and gave me a big hug in the hotel lobby as soon as Michelle introduced us.

Michelle DeRusha, Deidra Riggs and me - in 2011

I saw her at couple of conferences and then in June of 2014, John and I had breakfast with her and Michelle in their hometown. We were passing through on vacation.

I knew Deidra was under contract to write a book and as we left the restaurant that morning I told her that I would like to be on her launch team when it was time to launch her book.
in June 2014

Well, her book launches today and I got the opportunity to be part of that team!!

Since I first met Deidra back in 2011, I have followed her blog and her writing. She always writes with an open heart and an open mind. She is not afraid to write about the hard stuff and at the same time she encourages you to recognize the fact that you matter. No matter how small your life may seem to you, you matter.  No matter how small or insignificant what I am doing seems to me, it matters.

The idea behind her book is this...if you are wondering who the next Mother Theresa is or who the next Ghandi is, then maybe it is you.   

We all have a tendency to look around and 
see things that need done and think:

"Someone really should get to work on that." pg 23  

Maybe God is calling you and me to be brave and get to work on that. 


But I am just a mom or just a dad. I'm just a secretary or a plumber. I'm just a teacher or a janitor.

It doesn't matter WHAT we are. It matters THAT we are and that we remember

"No life is so small that God doesn't notice it." page 21

Using Bibilical examples, Deidra took me on a journey. She convinced me that my life DOES matter. What I do DOES make a difference. 

"God sees something in us that doesn't reflect in a mirror. 
It's the person God knows we can be when we surrender our lives to him." pg 23

That is what she writes about in this book


I believe there are many of us in this world that not only think what we do doesn't matter, we think no one notices, so why bother. 

We believe that waiting in carpool lines, doing laundry, preparing dinner, being a greeter at church, gathering the carts from the parking lot at the grocery store....whatever our job, we believe it doesn't really matter in the big scheme of things.  These "I don't matter thoughts" are not of God, they are of the devil. And we know that he is the father of lies John 8:44. One of my favorite quotes from the book is:

"Lying, for the devil, is not a second language he's trying to master. Lying never gets old to him. He is not bilingual. He knows no other language. When he speaks, he speaks his native tongue, and while it may look like linen and silk on the outside, on the inside it has been eaten away - decimated..." page 54

It is important to remember that no matter how small we feel, we have an impact on this world. And no one can make the impact God designed YOU to make. And no one can make the impact God designed ME to make.


Near the end of the book, beginning on page 159 Deidra writes "Is it only a miracle when Jesus spits in the dirt and then smears mud on a blind man's eyes and restores the blind man's sight? Why can't it also be a miracle when you press through the doubt and fear and step from the dark recesses of the cave and into the light of God's invitation to you? Why can't it also be a miracle when we put away our tape measures and our calculators and stop comparing our purpose with someone else's purpose? Why can't it also be a miracle to stand up on our two feet and celebrate the gift of every little thing God calls us to? Even if no one notices but him? Wouldn't that be a miracle too?..." (emphasis mine)

God did not call me to do your work.

God did not call you to do mine.

But God did call each of us to do a unique job. And we have to ask ourselves...


I was so moved and challenged by this book, that I am giving away not one, but two copies of it. To enter, please leave a blog comment. You may get extra entries for tweeting about the giveaway and/or sharing on Facebook or Pinterest. Please leave an extra comment for each share, letting me know. The giveaway is open until midnight Monday, October 12th.  The winner will be chosen by using random.org.


I was given an electronic copy of this book, but I preordered my own copy months ago. This post does contain affiliate links. All that means is that if you click and order the book through one of my links, it costs you nothing extra, but I make a few cents.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Leaning into fall and waiting for winter

Soon the leaves will begin to fall. They will gather where the winds sends them. They will have their own conference. They will stay there until they are sent somewhere else...or until they get blown away by the leaf blower or sucked up by the leaf sucker thingy or mulched by the lawnmower.

They will have served their purpose in the cycle of nature and with the falling of leaves comes the fall. Time for boots and jeans and sweaters. Time for pumpkins and apples and sitting outside by the firepit. Which I don't have, but would sit by if I had one! 

After fall, it will be time for winter.

There will be cold weather. And snow. And ice. And while it isn't my favorite time of year, it is a necessary time of year. It is a time of hibernation. A time of re-thinking the way I have done things in the past and look forward to the spring when things will emerge a new.

This past year has been an interesting one for me. My meningitis diagnosis was just a year ago. I spent time in the hospital. It took a long time to recover. And like the seasons of the year, my life goes through seasons too.

I am no longer at the job I loved because when the job changed, it was no longer a good fit for me.

Finding our "fit" is sometimes a difficult thing to do. I've written several times recently about the book Girl Meets Change and how that helped me through this process of change. In the process of leaving a job I loved, I found myself exploring other opportunities. Some I sought out. Others came my way through referrals, but these opportunities have made me realize that I don't want to stay in the comfortable place I have been in the past.

I want to try new things. Explore new avenues. Leave the fall, walk through the winter and come out next spring a different person.

By the way, I gave away a copy of Girl Meets Change last week. Glenda from Fondly Glenda is the winner. Glenda, I sent you an e-mail requesting your address. If you don't get it, please let me know. 

I'll write more on how I have dealt with the change and 
the other opportunities in the weeks and months to come. 
For now, I'd love to know what you love about fall...
and if you don't like fall, then what is your favorite season?


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Girl Meets Change...a book review

"But this I know: one of the key times 
God is closest is during and after change." 
Kristen Strong

The idea that change could be a good thing is a strange concept to me. Oh, I know it is part of my story. That it is a very REAL part of life. But a good thing? I'm not sure I buy into that theory.

I know sometimes change is good. When I plan the change, that is good. Those changes are fine.

But change I don't plan, change that happens and I am not consulted, well, I'm really not interested in those changes.
And to completely and totally embrace change. Whether it is my idea or not? Ugh. No thank you. That is for someone else.  

I've endured a lot of change in the last year.

And I have decided that change is not for me.  

Then I read Kristen's book. I have mentioned it a couple of times on this blog in the last few weeks because it is so good.

I'll tell you right now that Kristen's publisher sent me an Advance Reader Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review of the book. I can tell you that I honestly LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I have loved Kristen, the blogger, for several years. Kristen, the author, commands a whole new level of respect.

Having experienced many changes in her own life, in this book Kristen shares how she has lived through, learned to adapt to and even embrace change. She has gifted the readers with beautiful, sometimes painful lessons that will help us believe that change can be a good thing.

On page 148 she writes "Bravery is not the absence of fear but following God through the fear as you believe God’s promises. It’s holding on to the facts of our faith more tightly than to the fears for the future…It’s believing change is not in the way of God’s plans for us but on the way."

If I can begin to embrace the idea of letting go of the fear of change in exchange for the believing God's promises, then I can begin to move forward in realizing that change is something to embrace. 

Some of my favorite quotes...

"God doesn't want us to worry about the tomorrows of change because he wants us to see all the ways he's taking care of us today." pg. 83

"This is a God-reality for all in his creation: God pays attention." pg. 83

"I look to the horizon and pray, "I trust you, God. I will trade my what is for what will be because you know what's best for me." also from pg. 83!

And from page 130 "when change comes, why wring our hands when we can cling to grace?" Yeah. That.

This book is rich in wisdom and insights about learning to not just live through change, but live WITH change, in a way that reflects our belief in and of a sovereign God.

Kristen Strong is a tall, lovely brunette that hails from Oklahoma, lives in Colorado but has lived in a lot of different places. When she meets you she will give you a smile as big as Texas and a hug to go with it. I know. I've had the honor of meeting her in person!

You can read more of Kristen's writing on her blog Chasing Blue Skies.  
You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

I was so moved by this book that I am giving away 
one copy that I am purchasing and will have shipped directly to the winner.
To enter, leave a comment on this post
 sharing why you would like to read this book or answer
one of the questions below.
The giveaway will be open until midnight Sunday, September 20, 2015.
I will use random.org to choose the winner.
Additional entries may be earned by tweeting 
about this post and sharing on Facebook. If you tweet or share on FB, 
please leave a separate comment letting me know.

Giveaway is only open to those living in the United States.

How do you deal with change?
Do you think reading this book might change your view about change?

Learning to embrace change...


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The new thing....

Change. It happens everyday. Sometimes big changes. Sometimes little changes.

But changes happens.  Kristen Strong was quoted on the in(Courage) perpetual calendar on August 17th.
"The old thing may be familiar, 
but the new thing may be fantastic."

The new thing may be fantastic...hmmm.  Could be.

I hope so.

My new thing is no "regular" job. I was uncertain how I would feel about this and I'm still not sure, but the new thing COULD be fantastic...whatever the "new" thing is.

I'll continue waiting to see what happens.

Kristen has a new book coming out. It's called Girl Meets Change and you should seriously check it out! It is full of wisdom on dealing with change. Whatever change you are dealing with...kids back to school, empty nest, kids getting married, job change, moving, whatever...it might seem uncomfortable now, but the new might really be better than the old!

Kristen writes, "I trust you, God. I will trade my what is for what will be because you know what’s best for me.”

What change are you dealing with these days?
Do you trust him to know what is best for you?

You can preorder Kristen's book here. It releases next week. 

affiliate link included

Monday, August 31, 2015

Suck it up, Cupcake!

Fr. K had been so busy. With one priest gone for the weekend and another on vacation, he'd picked up extra duties. Said extra masses, attended extra church functions and was tired. He felt like he hadn't stopped all week. As Fr. K spoke on the phone with his older priest friend and related all he'd done the previous week his friend told him "suck it up, cupcake!"

The whole church laughed as he said that. 

Then Fr. K said his friend asked him, 
"did you pray?"

Fr. K replied, "Of course I prayed. I said morning, noon and evening prayers, I said my prayers at mass..."

His friend interrupted him and said, 

"I didn't ask if you said your prayers

I asked if you prayed."

Fr. K told those of in church, "I realize I didn't remember if I prayed. I'd said my prayers, but I'm not sure I took the time to pray."

It happens to all of us. We get so busy we forget to pray. We say our prayers...but we don't pray. We don't put ourselves quietly in the presence of God. Sometimes, praying means quietly sitting and listening. Without talking.

Fr. K went on to say how most of us would agree that we are too busy these days. The point he was making was this...

If we are too busy to pray,
too busy to spend time in the Lord's house,
too busy to spend quiet time in the Word and in prayer, 
then we are TOO busy.

I go through phases.  Oh, I always find time for attending church, but my quiet time seems cyclical. I have really good days, weeks and even months. But I always seem to hit a bump. Something that throws me off track.

I've been in a one of those slump where I can't seem to stay focused. I get up, make my coffee, start to have my quiet time and BAM! Something else gets in the way...like e-mail. Or some card I need to write. Or some piece of mail I didn't deal with the previous afternoon.

Or anything else that I decide to do rather than sit quietly and meditate or pray or read my Bible or all three.

I've been working on making this more of a habit. Forcing myself to stay focused. Some days are better than others. 

I've tried various methods. Here is one I have found that is working, at least for now. If:Equip is an easy way to have some focused time in God's word and the short videos jump start the thought process for me.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Or share you favorite quiet time/Bible study methods with me in the comments.

Have a great day!