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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Before and After

I’m a dog lover and I’m very thankful God created precious little fur-friends to enjoy and love who love us right back. It’s my pleasure to share articles from National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR ) in each issue of Christian Women’s Voice Magazine. But it sure tugs at my heart to see the “before” photos on Facebook taken of the dogs at the puppy mills; proof of precious animals suffering deplorable conditions.

I always look for the “After” pics to quickly follow – that Hallelujah moment after they’ve been rescued, fed, bathed, loved and in the arms of their “forever families.”

I can relate.

Maybe you can, too.

I often consider the state of my heart before Jesus took hold of it. Before He rescued me I looked and felt like those sad and bedraggled “before” pics. I was definitely a soul in need of cleansing and belonging, to be spiritually fed and held in the arms of my Savior. I was ragged on the inside. Closed in, stifled and miserable in my conditions with little to no vision of the future or what life might be like outside the bars that caged my soul. In my vanity and selfishness, I relied fully on my own strength, my own desires, never giving thought to a plan larger than my own.

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." - Matthew 19:25-26

I’m so thankful for the contrast of before and after. It’s quite a journey getting from one to the other, but the rewards are unexplainable. Having the peace of Jesus in my heart and knowing that He loved me first makes each and every day a precious gift to be lived with gratitude.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's All Come to This...Once Again

'Trumpet Macro' photo (c) 2010, Jamesongravity - license:

I promised him I wouldn't cry.
I lied.
What’s a mom to do when it’s her boy now a man heading out to fulfill a dream?
All the years of school band concerts and me straining to see the little spiky-haired boy behind the music stand; the shortest but loudest trumpet of all and never missing a note…it’s all come down to this.
Cody in high school marching band 2009

All the solos, the starched white shirts and black pants, the Christmas concerts, spring concerts, jazz concerts, playing Sundays in church, for parades, funerals, rest  homes and Veteran’s Day…all right next to his dad, the best teacher of all; the one who’s nurtured the love of music that now burns a passion all its own.
It’s come to this.

Cody and his Louis Armstrong Award, 2010

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) ESV
His bags are packed. The air is thick with anticipation.
The tarnished yard-sale trumpet will remain in its case for now, though it’s served him well over the years – the years that mattered most when all the learning, growing, building and becoming quietly occurred.

It will be a newer, shinier horn that accompanies him for the summer tour; one that will better reflect the stadium lights when he takes the field….one that will reflect the tears of joy and love from the proudest parents in the stands.

We love you, Cody and we're so proud of you!
Woo-Hoo!!!! Look out, drum corps! Here comes another Dillon!!!

Cody front and center marching with Pacific Crest, 2013

It's a whole new season, a whole new show and whole new excitement!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sharing a Few Random Thoughts...

'Frog Pond' photo (c) 2011, liz west - license:
 I’m working hard to clear up the murky water in my little fish pond out in the back garden. I pulled out the old pump, purchased a new pump/UV light combo unit a few days ago, installed it and now I’m just waiting for the magic to happen. I can’t wait to actually be able to see the 9 fish I've been feeding.
I love the thought of adding light to a dark and murky situation to bring clarity. And I love how both light and dark cannot reside together. It may take lots of time and patience, but in the end, the strength of the light is the stronger of the two…and always wins.


I’ve noticed that all my watering has encouraged the weeds to grow as well as my roses. I've developed quite the weedy mess out there that’s going to take a few days of back-breaking work with the hula-hoe, lots of iced tea breaks and many hours on my knees.
Funny how when we’re looking for real results in life, it takes dedicated effort and some time spent on our knees….


'Hebden Suspension Bridge' photo (c) 2010, Andrew Bowden - license:
I can’t get that picture out of my head, the one I believe God put there a few weeks ago. It’s a calm, serene body of water with several stepping stones leading from one side to the other. They’re randomly spaced; some jagged, some smooth and slick. Surely, the trek from one side to the other would be an unsure, treacherous journey.
Yet, not far away from those stepping stones is a stable and secure bridge.
It brings to mind how I often hop across the stepping stones in life; unsure about my footing or which to take next…and all the while…God offers the bridge. His way is secure. His way is safe. He is faithful to bridge the waters from my hopes and dreams to His purpose for me.
The bridge or the stepping stones.
It’s a daily choice.

Be blessed and have an awesome day!


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