Friday, September 12, 2014

Sharing my article in today's paper

Hello, friends!

I hope you have a great weekend planned. I'm slowly mustering the motivation to tackle the linen closet (and maybe even work a little in the garage???). The closet has become a scramble of sheets and pillow cases of various shapes and sizes and I can't stand it anymore. So wish me luck - I'm goin' in! If I come out alive, I might post some "before and after" pics...we'll see.

I just wanted to share my article from today's paper. Be safe, well and blessed!

God is good...ALL the time :)


Read it here

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Coffee Break with Deb (9/10/14)

It’s a warm day, but my afternoon coffee still tastes just as wonderful. A few stolen moments in between the rush and the hurry to relax and stare out the window does wonders for a mind spinning with thoughts and concerns.
It’s hurt, confusion and frustration that keeps jabbing at my joy these past weeks; a sharp reminder of things unsettled, questions left unanswered.
But my sweet and very wise friend told me something recently and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. She said, “You are not defined by what others think of you! You are who God says you are!”
I hope you find comfort in those words as I have.
God knows your whole story down to every last detail. He’s walked beside you down the path that’s led you to your “now.” It’s His judgment that matters – not the judgment of those whose vision of you is blurred.
God sees you with clarity right through to your soul; from the smile you throw on to get you through the hard days clear down to your hurting heart.
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
He alone has been with you from the very beginning and He’ll be with you to the end…and every tear in between.

Be blessed, my friend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hold On!

I always seem to be about a season ahead of the calendar. Maybe it’s because I’m always thinking ahead for the magazine; always mentally planning out the next issue (CW Voice).
But really, I’ve always been this way; breaking out the apple and cinnamon candles in late August and decorating for Christmas as soon as I put the Halloween candy away. Maybe that’s why I can still find joy in baking and cooking even when it’s 85 degrees outside and I’ve got windows open and fans spinning. Because in my mind, I can still “feel” fall coming on. I smile at the leaves shedding their green coats and stepping into brighter, more festive attire. As soon as there’s a hint of glorious autumn on the breeze, I welcome it with a gracious heart.

I made pumpkin scones with berry butter a few days ago. They’re wonderful! (I just followed a Taste of Home recipe). I especially love the kneading part of bread and scone making. The dough is soft and pliable in my hands and all the while I’m anticipating the final product; pulling them hot from the oven and adding a dollop of berry butter (made with re-hydrated dried cranberries, butter and a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar). It takes patience and time to work through the process. Every step is necessary. The final, delicious result doesn’t fully satisfy until all the ingredients, all the elements are in place.
Hold on, I tell myself. It’s not done yet – give it a little more time.
I feel like God has spoken these same words directly to my heart quite a lot lately.
Hold on, Deb. This storm won’t last.
Hold on. I’m putting all the elements together but it takes time.
Hold on, child – you’re going to love the finished product!
Oh, my friend, incredible things happen when we hold on to God’s Word through the tough times. When hurt and grief rain down hard and the rough seas threaten to overpower us, God is there with His mighty hand outstretched encouraging us to simply hold on!

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

- 1 Thess. 5:21 NASB

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coffee Break with Deb (8/22/14)

Hi there – so glad you could join me for a little break in the day.
I just wanted to share a few things from my frazzled brain.

*First, I just want to say that real “family” aren’t necessarily bound by blood – they’re bound by the heart. They’re the ones who pray you through the tough times. They call, they write, they offer hugs, words of encouragement and support, comments on Facebook, maybe even flowers or  little tokens to remind us that we’re not alone in our grief and that we have a whole army of believers cheering us on. I’m oh, so thankful for real family J

**Next, did you know that if you run out of oatmeal when making cookies, you can improvise by smashing up a few granola bars? Works great and adds both flavor and texture.

***I have a big ol’ family size pkg of chicken thighs thawed out for dinner. I’m going to split them up, fry half of the thighs and use this recipe for the other half. I LOVE watching Pioneer Woman each week day during lunch – she shares so many wonderful recipes and inspires new ones!

****My heart is heavy for several friends who are going through monster-sized storms right now. It has a way of getting our minds off our own storms when we can be “family” to others, doesn’t it? I’m sure we all have someone we can pray for, pray with, offer words of encouragement and support, maybe send a little note or card or a hug. It's easy to feel helpless when we see those we love hurting and desperate for answers. But truly, offering them up to God in prayer IS giving them our best. 

Psalm 107:28-30 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven

God bless you, friend. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Choose Grace!

The tears come easy these days. My stomach knots and I shake my head to wish it all away.
I twist and fight within myself; the thoughts and words with rough, jagged edges. They cut deep but beg for voice - to spill out raw and vile. To fling the pain and hurt right back to the source…but why?
How the memories sting and the heart breaks over and over, again and again. Like fine China once treasured and preserved now left to shatter and crumble around me.
Sometimes the anger and the pain are too much. Sometimes they blind me to the Word, make me deaf to His voice.
Yet, in the midst He stands…waiting.
Waiting for every last piece of my heart to fall. For every last tear to drop.
And He whispers,
“The choice is yours.”

The claim of my God living in me and I in Him is only words until put into action.
If God fills my heart, then His grace fills me, as well.

Yet it’s a conscious decision: are MY pain, MY rage, MY anger, MY frustration greater to me than HIS mercy and grace?
Which is bigger? Which bares more weight? Which has more power over me?
It’s grace, grace, God’s infinite, matchless grace!
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within!

For the times when I’ve needed grace and forgiveness and mercy and the weight lifted from my heavy heart…
            I praise God for His saving grace.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

God IS in ALL the Details

Yes, I look like I'd been through a hard day's ride to get there -
oh, just look at that flat hair, LOL. That's what 3 hours on
the freeway in LA traffic will do to you!

It’s been such a busy few weeks. God has been faithful in numerous ways and I’ve sensed His presence in every situation.

He brought about an opportunity for me to meet my sweet and wonderful friend, Nancy Sullivan (who is also a regular contributor to CW Voice Magazine). She is a Certified Health Coach with Take Shape for Life and she came all the way out to California from Oklahoma to attend the National Convention in Anaheim. She, her beautiful daughter, son-in-law and 2 grandsons made a long road trip out of it and it was certainly a highlight of my summer to finally meet them all.

It was also a great surprise to see another CW Voice contributor, Pamela Johnson, who is also a TSFL Health Coach!

God also gave me one huge WOW moment the other day – I’ve made about 3 attempts to share this in a blog post but wasn’t happy with the way the words came out (or didn’t), so I’m just going to spill it, LOL.

Let me explain: we released the new issue of the magazine July 1st and, for some reason, even though I think this is our best issue EVER, I was feeling very frustrated and uneasy about it. I was in the middle of what you might call a rant – OK, truth be told, it was one big teary-eyed pity party complete with running mascara an' all. There I stood venting my frustrations and feelings of “this is completely hopeless” to my amazing, attentive husband who sat on the back patio “cooling off” from a 6-mile jog (a.k.a. drinking water and trying to breathe while our dogs below him busied themselves dodging the many sweat beads as they dropped).

Anyway, I’d just finished my soap-box moment, turned back into the house and the phone rang. The caller ID indicated it was my mother-in-law. How I adore her, but my forehead wrinkled with confusion. “She knows I’m getting ready for work at this hour – why would she call my cell phone at 8am?” I puzzled.

“Hello, my dear,” she started in her beautiful accent.
“Hi there!” I shot back with a bit of ‘hurry up’ in my voice.
In the next 5 minutes that wonderful woman, whom I’ve had the privilege of calling ‘mother-in-law’ for the past 25 years, spoke as a vessel for the Lord. It was as though she’d been there in the conversation on the patio just moments before. She brought encouragement and hope and a "you'd better keep on keepin' on" talk.

She hit on absolutely EVERY SINGLE thing I’d just shared with my husband. Every frustration, every fear, every concern…God used her in a miraculous way as though He were reaching through the clouds with His mighty hand straight for my heart.

Within moments, she had me in tears and I instantly knew I was in the middle of a God moment.

That’s when the peace came.

That’s when I remembered who’s REALLY in control of all my efforts, dreams and goals. My family, my marriage, my home, my ministry; all that I am belongs to God.

Like yesterday at the grocery store. A man put his shopping cart away and left a bag of briquettes in the bottom. He started to walk away, and I called to him, “Sir, I think you left something.”

“Oh, thank you! Well, you’ve done your good deed for the day. I’m sure something wonderful is bound to happen to you today,” he smiled.

I smiled back and answered, “It already has!”

Indeed! I’ve been given one more glorious day to be used by God!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


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