Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Years Eve 2016

As 2016 comes to a close I can honestly say I have never been more thankful that another year has come to an end.

Typically, I am very depressed this time of year because I have always been a fear-er of the future.  Why venture into the unknown New Year when the year that is coming to a close has been a pretty easy ride?  Well not this year....

Last year at this time, I sensed this year would be a hard one.  I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be my mothers last holiday with us here on earth.  I wanted to freeze time and take it all in.  I didn't want to move into the New Year knowing at the end of it we would be without her.  Little did I know this year had more in store that what I bargained for.  We not only lost her but my oldest sister, both our dogs and many nights of sleep.

However,  one thing I did not think about this time last year was that no matter what was going to happen this year....God was already there waiting to meet me.  I fretted and worried about what was to come, forgetting that He would provide and give me a strength I didn't know that I had.  It's funny, that as sit today and think about the last year, He showed me that He was the most gentle, loving Heavenly Father and that I do not give him the credit that He deserves.  While this year was hard and sad- it was also good and we were blessed.

This year there was tears but there was also laughter.  There was forgiveness, there was healing and most importantly there was LOVE and GRACE.  There was a celebration for a baby on the way, there were picnics and dinners with family and friends, long talks with loved ones and as bittersweet as some of these were without the ones we lost -we got through them together, knowing that our loved ones were watching from above.   I am so thankful for that.....

So, bring on 2017 because whatever may lie ahead......HE is already there.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Birthday, A Challenge & All Things Random

Today I turn another year older.  I am not quite sure how 43 arrived at my doorstep so quickly but it did.  It seems like yesterday I had the world by the tail (or so I thought).  Dreaming of what my life would look like by the time I turned this age.  I can tell you it looks nothing like what I thought it would.  I think it turned out better.  Better because it made me who I am today scars and all.

I learned a lot over these last 43 years.  Like how change can be scary and great all at the same timeHow things never buy happiness. 
How time is the most expensive thing you can spend.  So don't waste it- and spend it wisely.
How we are all loved by our Heavenly Father - whether we choose to believe or not.
How love is the only thing that lasts into eternity..... so love BIG!

Today I am excited but not just because it is my birthday....but because its also Random Acts Of Kindness Day (worldwide).  A perfect opportunity to be kind and show love to someone else!  Its a win win!

Lets face it- we should try to do this everyday.  But today because I turn 43 I am going to set out and do 43 Random Acts of Kindness.  Will you join me?  I don't expect everyone to do 43 but can you spare just one?  Instead of wishing me a happy birthday on Facebook or all things social would you please skip the greeting, go do a random act of kindness for someone and then use the hashtag #randomactsofkindness43 instead?  I will know that that is code for Happy 43rd Birthday Julie!  (P.S.  No need to post what you did- just the hashtag so we know you did something!)

If your unsure of where to start check these out:

43 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
  1. Leave quarters at a laundromat.
  2. Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
  3. Take five minutes to send “happy mail” (postal or email) to sick children who are fighting serious illnesses and want to receive mail. Go to  Go to send postcards and choose a child from the current kids list.
  4. Has a friend recently lost a loved one?  Make sure to follow up and let them know you’re thinking about them during the holidays.  Those will be tough days.
  5. Make little gift baskets for the kids in your neighborhood.
  6. Pick up the tab for the person behind you in the drive thru.
  7. If you’re an customer you can donate’s money to your favorite U.S. nonprofit through Amazon Smile. It takes a total of 20 seconds to read how to do this and set it up. Then Amazon will donate to your favorite nonprofit each time you make a purchase.
  8. Collect soda can tabs and magazines to donate to Ronald McDonald House for sick children and their families. The charity gets paid for these. Also find out how you can volunteer and give back in other ways here
  9. When it’s summer and hot, give out cold Gatorades to your mail carrier and garbage men. When it’s freezing outside offer hot chocolate to crossing guards, police officers and others.
  10. Cook an extra portion of dinner (or dessert) for someone who needs it.
  11. After a wedding or party donate all of the flowers to a nursing home. If you want to see the impact of these random acts of kindness, personally deliver a flower to each resident. You could also bring the flowers to a hospital and ask the receptionist to distribute them to patients who could use them.
  12. Take flowers to the nursing station at a hospital — for the nurses.
  13. Send a card to people who dedicate their lives to helping us – soldiers, police officers, fire fighters and teachers to name a few. Write a letter to a deployed or wounded member of the military through Operation Gratitude. Check out for more information.  Soldiers say that’s the most meaningful part of care packages they receive.
  14. Send cards to lonely seniors. Contact area nursing homes and send cards to residents who may no longer have family or visitors to brighten their day. 
  15. Text someone just to tell them something you appreciate about them.
  16. Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
  17. If you’re a business, leverage what you do every day to do good and perform acts of kindness.
  18. Listen. Don’t interrupt. We underestimate how important and comforting it is to be listened to.
  19. Encourage someone to pursue their dreams.
  20. Donate your stuff. Instead of saving things in case you need them in 10 years, consider giving stuff to someone who needs it now.
  21. Give someone the benefit of the doubt.
  22. Everyone is important! Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk, the janitor and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say “hello” to strangers and smile.
  23. November is a perfect month to get involved with Operation Christmas child!  Check out .
  24. Contribute a small sum of money to grant a wish of a foster youth by going to One Simple Wish has an online directory of requests that case workers submit for their foster youth. The wishes are often the simple things – money to go to prom, dance lessons, money to pay for being on the school cheerleading squad, to name a few.
  25. Follow up with people.  Someone you know going through a hard time or received bad test results?  Make sure to follow up to see how they are doing and to let them know you care.
  26. Get an email address for your kids and send them memories, achievements, awards, etc. Give them the email address when they turn 18. Better yet write them handmade letters and put them in a book for them for their graduation day.
  27. Pay for someone’s dinner…
  28. On Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, go to your local memorial or event and pass out mini flags or flowers to Veterans.
  29. When a friend makes a meal that you love, ask for the recipe.
  30. Teach someone. We can all teach something, and sometimes the small things make the biggest difference.
  31. See a mother who is seems frazzled in a store because their kids are screaming at the top of their lungs?  Instead of judging- offer a smile and just say “hang in there”.  It could mean the world and give that mother the strength and courage to keep going.
  32. If you’re upset, take a deep breath and count to 10 (or perhaps 15) before you say anything. Ask yourself if what you’re going to say will be helpful.
  33. Call your parents if you’re still blessed to have them around!  
  34. Don’t ignore the next homeless person you see. Buy him food. Enjoy his smile when you give it to him. Carry around a care package of food or toiletries that you can give to a homeless person.
  35. Let another car merge in front of you, or stop to let a pedestrian cross the street.
  36. Hold the elevator for someone who is running behind.
  37. If you print an Internet coupon before going to a store, print a few extras to give to other customers.
  38. If you see someone who looks lost and might need help with directions, don’t wait for him to ask you for help.
  39. Photograph a stranger (but not in a creepy way-lol). See a person or a couple trying to take a photo of themselves? Offer to take it for them.
  40. Returning a movie to Redbox?  Hide $5.00 and a note saying “Have a great movie night!  Here is some money towards popcorn or candy” 
  41. Leave a big tip.
  42. Call someone you love. Tell them you love them!
  43. Carry around a $5 gift card so you can give it to someone who does something awesome. Or, create and carry “thanks for making my day” cards that you can give to people.

Have fun and love big!  And thanks for making it my Best Day Ever!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What Thanksgiving Has Taught Me

I still remember it like it was yesterday.  

I woke up and knew in my heart something was not right.  A frantic call to a phone number left me numb when I was told someone would call me back as to what I should do.

After waiting for what seemed like eternity I got dressed and told my husband to drive me to the hospital.  I knew what was happening but I didn’t want to believe it. After a few tests the doctors confirmed what I feared the most.  There was no detectable heartbeat.  Just like that.  I could choose to stay in the hospital and have a DNC or I could go home and let my body take care of it naturally.  I chose the latter.  I suppose a part of me thought maybe the doctors were wrong.  Maybe this wasn’t how the story was going to end.  I was wrong…and Black Friday can take on a whole other meaning in times like this.

I have learned a lot since then.  I have learned that sometimes a body remembers all on its own…before you unintentionally think about it.  Before you know it the years have passed by like water running through your hands and sometimes you feel like you don’t have anything tangible to show for it.  It can leave you feeling empty and broken if you’re not careful.  I have learned not to be defined by what others may think of us as we walk this path without children.  I have learned that it doesn’t make me love their children any less or that I am not happy for them.  I am…it just so happens that our life worked out different.  I have learned that I can be happy regardless.

This morning, during my devotions, it all became a little clearer to me.
Christ fills empty vessels.

Beth Moore says, “Nothing destroys life like emptiness.  Hollow places deep inside of us never sit dormant.  They are vacuums attempting to inhale anything within reach. Left unchecked, the clock will tick only so long before the life self-destructs.  Christians are not exempt.  We still battle overwhelming feelings of emptiness.  We can possess eternal life yet never be “filled” with God’s love.”

She then goes onto say “When we allow Christ to fill our hollow places, inevitably others will draw closer to us. Only Christ can fill our empty pitchers.”

For many years I wanted to avoid Thanksgiving altogether.  Skip right to the Christmas season and get it over with.  In doing that I missed out on the gift of right here and right now.  Now that I am older and wiser I know that joy is not the absence of sorrow…it is the presence of God.  If I take my empty, broken pitcher He will fill it until it overflows and that is just one of the many reasons why I am so thankful this Thanksgiving.

John 2:7-8
Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

Sweet Sweet Mercies

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What does Radical Obedience Look Like?

Its been a long long time Bloggy World!  Life is going by fast-goodness its been almost a year since I last posted.  How is that even possible?

Today I am participating in a blog hop for Melissa Taylor's online bible study titled What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. 

What does Radical Obedience Look Like?

When I hear the term Radical Obedience- I immediately conjur up images in my mind of selling our house and everything we own and moving to a place far far away.  Or perhaps starting up some type of program for hard to reach youth or at-risk women.  Then I think - I'm not sure I am equipped for such tasks.  Truth is right now- I don't feel called to those things either.  And folks that just took a took a ton of courage to say.  For so long I thought that made me a bad person-that I didn't aspire to do those things at this point in my life.  One thing that has become clear to me this week is:

Sometimes radical obedience starts small.

Yesterday, in Nicki's video she said something that resonated so loudly with me.  "It is not about the task.  Radical obedience is in the mundane, common everyday places"  (that gets an #amen)

I am a time waster.

I am a procrastinator.  Make that a BIG procrastinator.  Although at times I prefer to say that "I work much better under pressure".  Truth be told I really only think of doing the laundry when I am down to my last pair of underwear.  Dinner?  I could go without it.  (Too bad my dear hubby can't). Vacuum?  ( If you see me do that- you know we are getting company. :)

Nicki's words got to me though.  What if I approached these mundane, common, everyday things and turned them into time to thank Jesus that I have laundry to wash (and a washing machine to wash it in)?  What if I put as much time into thinking about dinner and thanking God I have a wonderful husband to cook for?  What if I vacuum the house before the Hubster does (perish the thought-lol) and thank God for a house to vacuum?

These too are glimpses of being radically obedient.  Not taking a single thing for granted.  Time with Jesus in the daily chores of life.  What could be better than that?

**I assure you my house is not messy (I sure make it sound like it here.)

P31 OBS Blog Hop

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Greater Looks Like

I recently began participating in an online Bible Study with Melissa Taylor from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  It is based on the book titled Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick.  This post is to link up to the weekly blog hop.

"God doesn't do greater thinks exclusively through great people. He does them through anyone who is willing to trust Him in greater ways".

I turned 40 two weeks ago.


For the last few months I have been reflecting on many many things.  One of them being that I don't want to live my next 40 years (Lord willing) the same way I lived my last 40.

For the most part I have lived the majority of my life in a constant state of fear.  I suffered panic and anxiety attacks for most of my 20's.  I am not sure why I have been gripped by fear for most of my life.  I have been blessed with a wonderful childhood, a wonderful family to grow up in and I married my soul mate. God has been good to me and still I am bound by the chains of the enemy at times.  I don't want it to be that way in my next 40 years.  I want to be free.  I want to live my life for God, unafraid of what others my think or say about me. 

So what does greater look like for me?

-it means less of me and more of Him
-it means being able to look outside of myself and seeing the needs of others around me
-it means stepping out of my comfort zone and letting Him take the reigns of my life
-being great in the little things so I can do greater things for HIS glory

Trusting Him in greater ways .......that is exactly what greater looks like.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Perfect Storm

The storm outside brewing, they name her. They have been watching her for over a week or more. Out there in the ocean churning, and gathering strength and speed. And I wonder....did she finally find the source of her strength? Has she finally discovered that it goes way beyond weather patterns and cold fronts and warm fronts and wind gusts? That all of this is beyond our control.

There is a different storm brewing inside me, but, one that churns just the same. Life goes by so quickly and sometimes it's as if I can't catch my breath. How do I slow it down? How do I squeeze everything I possibly can out of this one life? How do I live my best life, right here....right now?

"Time's a relentless river, it rages on and its a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: when I fully enter times swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here." ~Ann Voskamp

Be all the moment. We all have just one life and don't we all just want to live it well? To make a difference? To see the bigger picture? To connect to our source and our strength?

"This is where God is. In the present. I AM- His very name. I want to take shoes off. I am, so full of the weight of the present, that time's river slows to a still...and God himself is timeless. This is a supreme gift, time, God Himself framed in the moment. I hardly breathe....and time is only of the essence, because time is the essence of God, I Am. This I need to consecrate: time.

When I am present, I meet I Am, the very presence of a present God. In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and ....holy.

I am a hunter of beauty and I move slow and keep the eyes wide, every fiber of every muscle sensing all wonder and this is the thrill of the hunt.

I hunger to taste life.

To taste God. " Ann Voskamp- One Thousand Gifts

Dayspring provided me with a copy of One Thousand Gift's Photo Gift Book and the God in the Moment Perpetual Calendar for this review. All opinions are my own. If you have had the opportunity to read One Thousand Gift by Ann Voskamp...this would make a wonderful addition to your collection.

Today, as we are stuck inside because of the "perfect storm" that is brewing...I am thankful for times to just sit and be still in the presence of our Almighty God. Praying that all involved stay safe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Love Delusions

Reflecting on the words of David this week:

Psalm 4
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods
3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.

4 Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the LORD.

6 Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
7 Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

8 In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Delusions = things that mislead the mind.

Lord, What are the delusions in my life that you are calling me out on? Help me to be aware of them and to replace them with your word.