Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful List

I am thankful for family.
Contact lenses
Sunny vacation places--the beach, palm trees and sand.
A faithful man who still makes me laugh--the love of my life.
Getting to see a glimpse of hard work in baseball finally pay off for Taylor, who is one of the finest men I know.
When I find totally cool clothes on a huge sale.
Italian food in general.
That I have a heritage of family that knows Christ--awesome parents, sisters and bro.
That Brian takes his day off and we have FUN.
That we found the tiny country of Burkina Faso where we plan to invest for the rest of our lives.
For the amazing people of West Ridge Church!!
That we have never walked alone because God is faithful and will never leave us.
For pre-lit trees.
For my sensitive and wildly passionate Zach whom I adore--my favorite wrestler!!
For prescription strength Secret.
For church planting families.
That heaven is free, not by our goodness but because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.
Retin A face cream
Changing seasons warm and cool.
People who know more than I do and humbly allow me to learn from them.
Our awesome staff at West Ridge.
True friends who have stuck beside us through thick and thin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

381 spoons on their way to Africa!

381 spoons are on their way to Burkina Faso, Africa through The Burkina Kitchen Project!! Some amazing elementary school students in Georgia helped to donate spoons to a school in Burkina! We started The Kitchen Project as a part of Engage Burkina, a non-profit organization that helps the people of Burkina Faso. In this tiny west African country, 1 in 3.4 children die before the age of 10 because they do not have food or clean water. Engage Burkina is helping to dig wells, plant churches, provide sanitary conditions and education for the amazing people who live in these villages. If you are interested in donating to the Kitchen Project, you can easily give online through PayPal at 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

influence is a gift

Do you have influence? I bet you do. We influence the people that we are with. Maybe you influence your fellow employees at work or your neighbors in the culdesac. If you are on a sports team or a committee, you most likely have influence. If people come to you and tell you their story, you have influence. If you have been voted or elected to a certain position, you most certainly have influenced others. Recently, people are influencing through social media. Sometimes, however, we do not even recognize that we have been given the gift of influencing others. Recognize it and use your influence to help other people.

Don't use it to manipulate people.
Don't be harsh or narrow-minded. You will lose it.

Jesus had influence, yet he did not promote himself. He served others. He pointed people to his Father.

Leadership for the sake of leadership is futile if we are promoting ourselves or our cause. Our influence must be used to serve and to lovingly point people to truth.

And possibly our greatest area of influence--our homes. May we influence that priceless environment through peace, unconditional love, trust, joy and rest.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

picture: early days of west ridge :)

These were the early days of West Ridge Church. Wow, God has done amazing things, and we love to give him the credit for all of that, seeing as we could have never pulled off the life change he has orchestrated in so many, including ourselves!! What a joy it was to celebrate 15 years with all the wonderful people of West Ridge! And can you tailgate?! Dogs with cool shirts, the Big Egg grill, groups watching the games on TV, vendors, people just connecting, kids playing, No program! Fans wearing their team jerseys, cars decorated, cooking sausages, families, friends, lots of corn hole, and unbelievable fire works!

And fifteen years ago? The conversation before we ever moved here that we would never ever compromise integrity. That we wanted to be a part of something that only God could do. God coming through when we were desperate, almost always at the last minute. God drawing people to himself.  4 pioneering families. 47 people in a core group. A little elementary school. A move to a high school. A godly woman who wanted her property to go to a church. Volunteers that exceed expectations. Blessings and heartaches. Loving people. A tiny country in Africa. Water saving lives. Helping other people start churches.  Risk. Growing older with my best friend. Watching God develop my boys into men. God answering prayer. Still desperate for him to come through. Believing he always will.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Books I Don't Read

I typically read books to learn something or to become a better person.  I am not really a pleasure reader. I usually wait for the movie! But...I just read two books I MUST write about because they were awesome. Quite similar, in fact, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, and Savannah To Sweetwater by Doris English both were riveting.

Being historical fiction, Savannah To Sweetwater is the story of loss and love in a pre-civil war setting. Political conflict and unrest coupled with spiritual enlightenment make the mysteries of Sweetwater a Georgia plantation favorite!

Redeeming Love is an early American novel of the less modern Biblical character Hosea and his wayward wife. It is a true picture of grace, and the challenge of learning to identify and accept real love.

I'm glad I stepped out of my comfort zone! As novel readers would say, "The books were better than a movie."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

trials or temptations?

What is the difference between trials and temptations?

Trials are for the purpose of making us better, developing character, making us more like Christ. Sometimes God allows trials to come our way to strengthen our faith. Trials may come in the form of challenges. A difficult day, a sickness, injustice, long lines at the DMV, financial or relational trouble. Yet all of the challenges in life can grow us up and make us stronger. James chapter 1 explains,  "when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."

Temptations, on the other hand, are never from God. Temptations are meant to destroy us, to make us ineffective and to ruin our lives. James continues to explain, "remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, 'God is tempting me.' God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away."

We all go through trials in life, and certainly we are all tempted to do wrong. What about you? Are you going through a rough time, a trial that seems to last forever. Hang in there! Or maybe you are being tempted to make decisions that will destroy your future or hurt those who love you the most. Either way, we find in James 4:8, "Come close to God, and God will come close to you." He is there when you need him. He will come close and help you through your trial or give you the strength to resist temptation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zach is 14 today, and here are some things I love about him :)
He is funny every single day!!
He is intense and passionate about almost everything he does.
He is sensitive and cares about hurting people and loves animals.
He loves justice and will fight for it.
A couple weeks ago, I was upstairs and looked out the window, and Zach was on the roof--he's crazy!
He works hard to do things right. He will stay up late and study and get good grades. He is very smart. He takes advanced classes and gets almost all A's all the time but he is goofy and humble enough that people do not know that his iq testing is extremely high.
He talks about the future and has big goals and dreams and prays for wisdom to make good choices.
He is confident and does not care about what people think about him.
He does not want anyone to be hurt or left out.
I love to watch Zach play baseball and wrestle! He does Insanity workouts and drinks protein shakes.
He loves NY city, he loves family and has a deep faith in God.
He is one of the most loyal people I know.
He does not give up when people say it cannot be done.
He is a huge giver! He gave money for a child to have cleft surgery, and now he is saving for another missions project.
He is a visionary. He can see what things should be like and can tell what will make something successful. He is a networker. He makes things happen and is never bored.
When he was a baby, he would smile before he ever even opened his eyes in the morning!
He is a pleasure. A hugger! A gift from God. An amazing man!
I love you Zach! Happy birthday!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Dad!

Dad, I am so proud of you! If I could think of a word that describes you, it would be "faithful." You have always been fun, encouraging and smart! You have always taught us truth. Thanks for loving us so well. Happy Fathers Day!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Why Did We Write It's Personal?

As we talk with church planters and their wives, there are many topics of conversation that commonly come up. They share their excitement and concerns about launching a church, dealing with growth and change, friendships, balancing family and ministry, leading a staff and being authentic.

When Exponential, Leadership Network and Zondervan approached us about writing a book as a couple for church planting couples, we were certainly humbled and overwhelmed with the task, yet our passion to see healthy people launch healthy churches is what drove us to write this book.

When we planted West Ridge Church, we did not know other church planting couples, so now, we wanted to not only share our story to encourage church planters, but include honest interviews with twenty- two other church planting couples as well.

So the question, "Can you survive AND thrive on the journey of church planting?" We think it can be done. We think it is definitely personal and, at the same time, it is not about us, but rather about the One who has called us and equipped us. May He be the one we always seek to make famous!

Monday, April 30, 2012

today i ran

I ran with Brian today. I like to walk the neighborhood and occasionally do tae bo. Sometimes I go to the gym, but today I ran. I just needed to. We ran for 20 minutes when I had to take a break. I told Brian to keep going. I would walk. So I walked a little and ran a little until, at last I saw Brian at the top of the hill!  "Brian!!" I yelled. But he was listening to his Ipod. If I could run up the hill, maybe I could catch him! The hill was too much, but at the top of the hill, was the downhill slope. I know I can catch him on the downhill run! I ran fast; I was out of breath. "Brian!" I yelled, but he still could not hear me. Now I had to prove to myself that I could catch him! I HAD to catch him! As I panted unattractively, I passed an old lady with beehive hair. At least I was faster than she was! There was Brian, on the other side of the soccer field. I cut across the field, not caring what I looked like. It occurred to me that I might throw up, but I had to catch him! So I yelled once more, this time more loudly than before, "Brian!!" And he heard me! He turned around and there I was. I had caught him!

On my way back to the car, it occurred to me, what if we chased that hard after God? What if we didn't care what we looked like or who heard us? How might our week look differently if we pursued him with such intensity!  What if we forgot about all the things we had to do and sought after him because we were thirsty for him, rather than for what he might do for us? Fortunately, God is not listening to an Ipod. He will always hear.  James 4:8 says "Come close to God, and God will come close to you." And Jeremiah 33:3 says,  "Call to me and I will answer you and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known."

Monday, April 16, 2012

truth and lies

Sometimes we believe lies. Sometimes people tell us things that simply are not true and we believe them. We believe we cannot do something because someone tells us we can't. We may believe that God is mad at us. We may believe that we lack the ability to do what we were created to do. Do you ever talk yourself into the lie that says that you can dabble in sin and not reap the heartache and consequences? Do you look in the mirror and believe that God made an unfair mistake? Have you been somehow conditioned to believe that the God who created the whole universe and keeps it spinning is too busy or does not have the ability to hear your every prayer and meet your every need? Has someone told you that you are inadequate? Do believe that you can never forgive or receive forgiveness?

How can we discern between truth and lies? Hebrews 4:12 is a powerful verse. "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires." In God's word, we find the wisdom to discern between truth and lies. God's truth exposes the lies that we believe and gives us the power to grab hold of life-changing truths. Fill your mind with it! Grab hold of it! And be wise.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

connecting church planting wives online

I am not very technological, so when God uses technology to reach people and I get to be a part of it, I think that is pretty cool! Through the LAUNCH network, we are connecting women online from all over the country. These women are the wives of church planters, who are going through our church planting school. They instantly have so much in common, so many similar challenges and basically, the same heart to reach people with the truth of Jesus Christ. They are risk takers on a very uncertain journey. They have the same questions and many of the same needs and similar victories! We have girls with toddlers in the background. Two weeks ago, one precious pregnant girl excused herself to go throw up and then returned to the conversation :) We laugh and sometimes we get choked up because we are so humbled to be a part of something that only God can do.

It is amazing to see God work in the lives of people! I love connecting with these women, and helping connect them to each other. These hour long conversations are often emotional as we talk about what is really important. What is our calling as wives and as individuals? How can we minister to hurting people and put our families first? How do we remain healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually while planting a church?

I wish you could be a fly on my computer screen with all the squares of faces of women from all over the US, talking on a conference call about God doing amazing things. Many of these women have never met each other in person, but there is a connection, a bond because God is doing a work in church planting! I love it!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

eating the Bible

I read an article yesterday about a man in a country where the Bible is illegal. The man hid in a room and memorized Scripture to keep it in his heart and mind. Then he ate the pages so they could not be found. The article mentioned that in American we are spiritually "malnourished." The picture of someone longing for the nourishment of God's Word in his heart can be compared with the picture we have of ourselves, fully nourished and yet longing for the junk food of our society. May we eat God's Word till we are full, sustained and nourished by it's truth and life changing power!!

Romans 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation..."

last of the signs i like :)

"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." John Wayne

"Thou shall not weigh more than thy refrigerator."

"Both of us can't look good at the same time. It's either me or the house."

Monday, February 13, 2012

My favorite wrestler!!

I am so proud of my son, Zach! He finished his wrestling season with a silver medal in yesterday's tournament. Zach has lost eleven pounds, by his own choosing, to drop into a lower weight class for wrestling. I have been amazed at his determination and his self-discipline! It has been so much fun watching him on the mat, and I have seen just how challenging and how very much individual wrestling is. What a fun and difficult sport! Congratulations, Zach!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

signs i like 2

Thursday, February 2, 2012

signs i like

This sign says, "Drink coffee. Do stupid things faster with more energy."

Monday, January 23, 2012

spoutin' off

Recently, Brian asked my opinion about something and I told him what I thought. Later, he told me that he had taken my advice and was in the process of implementing some sort of change. What?!

I was just spouting off! I didn't know that change was hinging on my thoughts or suggestions! Our words can be so powerful, and our suggestions more influential than we realize. I am challenged to be prayed up before I "spout off" my thoughts. I want to give advice that comes from something higher than my emotion. I want God's wisdom in my life and my words, don't you? God tells us in James chapter one that when we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us!

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness." Proverbs 31:26

Thursday, January 12, 2012

turning our hearts outward

We have been talking a lot lately about turning our hearts outward. What exactly does that mean? It means focusing on other people and their needs. It means loving people and leading them to a relationship with Jesus Christ. The opposite of outward focus, is obviously inward focus. Strangely enough, inward focus is often disguised as maturity. Inward focus emphasizes one's self, where as outward focus gives one's self away.

Jesus is the perfect example of focusing outward. He loved people. He loved more than just their souls. He loved them for them, and he gives us the ability through the Holy Spirit to do the same thing.

Take a chance. Get out of our comfort zones. Live intentionally. Love people. Go on a mission trip. Serve. Share. Be friends with people who are different from us. Make yourself uncomfortable. Give until it costs you something. Focus outward!!