Monthly Archives: December 2008

It’s that time of year again!  Time for fresh starts and new beginnings.  It’s important to take time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how you have grown.  However, more than that, it’s time to decide who you want to be in the future.  What decisions can you make to be a better person a year from now?

Here is a few challenges to think about committing to in 2009:

  • Forgive someone.  Spend a minute to think about a bruised relationship and how you can work towards peace.  Make the phone call. 
  • Get a better financial plan.  Make a budget and stick to it.  Pay off debts!  Give to charity!  Change your perspective of money!
  • Get rid of clutter.  Set a goal on how many things you need to get rid of this year.  I did 400 items in one month a few years back.  It was very freeing!
  • Read your Bible.  Commit to a chapter a day.  Get a Bible reading plan.  They are all over the internet.  Find one you like and DO IT!
  • Lose weight.  Clean out the pantry of all the junk and don’t buy more.  Only buy what is good for your body this year.  You’ll get enough junk food other places than your home!
  • Attend church regularily.  Make it a priority for your family.  Make it non-negotiable.  It will change your kids lives…and your own.
  • Choose to rejoice.  Be excited about the fact that God has a plan for your life.  If you can’t see it, that’s OK.  Joy will bring you plenty of opportunities!
  • Set some goals.  Take a minute to write out a few things you will do in 2009.  Put it in plain sight so you don’t forget and do as much as you can!

We serve a big God!  He can help you to change!  Renew your thinking and change the way that you speak.  Become a little more like Him in the year to come!


I was born a twin…OK, I wasn’t, but it seemed like it.  Just nine days after I was born, my next door neighbor gave birth to a little girl.  Robin and I became friends just like our mothers were.  We spent everyday together growing up.  All of my childhood memories include her.  We laughed, fought, and forgave quickly, just like sisters, for the first eight years of our lives.

It was Robin who convinced me to play doctor and put super glue eyedrops in her eyes.  Oops.  It was Robin who hit me over the head with a toy that left a dent in my forehead.  It was Robin who made me “marry” Jake from down the street.  It was always Robin in every story…

But when we were eight her parents divorced and her dad kept the house.  Robin moved around the block with her mom.  It was devasting for all of us, but thankfully we were able to walk back and forth to continue our friendship.

However, 24 years ago on December 28, is a day that changed our friendship and our lives forever.  Robin’s mother, suffering from depression, committed suicide.  My memories of that day are horrific.  In the midst of the chaos going on around us, we were left pretty much unattended.  Nobody really worried about us because we were together.  I remember my house being packed with people and it being very cold as the door was opened and shut many times over.    The cold Montana air poured in with the people.  Next door there was commotion going on and ambulances being called.  I vividly remember going into my bathroom with Robin and watching out the window towards her old house.  I remember watching her mother’s body, under a white sheet, being wheeled out.

As an eight year old, all of this was etched into my brain in this very surreal way.  I am not sure what is reality and what is made up.  What I know is that my best friend lost the future that she had intended on having that day.  Nothing would ever be the same again.

The reason that I am taking the time to tell this story is because it shaped me in a way that nothing else has.  I may have went through a tragedy of immense proportions, but Robin’s experience was inconceivable.  And nearly a quarter of a century later, I can tell you that what I take from that day is a deep respect for the little girl who lost her mother.  Although she went through the worst thing imaginable, she is a survivor.  Today she is married, happy, healthy, and has four beautiful kids.  She recently left this comment on my blog…

You don’t realize how gratetful I am to have your encouraging words each week. As for many this time of year is a difficult time.  For us it is remembering love ones that have been lost, finances, health, and life in general. It is so important to let yourself take time to remember each and everyday that God has a HEART and He will guide us. Struggles are a stepping stone in our lives, but it also makes us strong spiritually and faithfully. It is not a time of year to questions ones faith, but to live for it.

Robin, every year on this day, I remember you, and am encouraged once again.  You made your own choices regardless of the foundation that you were given.  You had every opportunity to let that day destroy you, but you didn’t.  You are a shining example of what perseverance and determination can do in a person.  Thank you for not questioning your faith, but living for it.  I counsel people all of the time that are not sure they will make it through their situation.  Your story gives me the confidence to know that God will always help those who call out to Him.  I am thankful for our 32 year friendship and want you to know that I am very proud of the woman that you became.  You are an inspiration to me and I love you very much.

And I’m really sorry about the super glue.

I have been called stubborn my whole life.  Stubbornness has a few negative connotations. defines stubborn like this:

1. unreasonably obstinate; obstinately unmoving: a stubborn child.
2. fixed or set in purpose or opinion; resolute: a stubborn opponent of foreign aid.
3. obstinately maintained, as a course of action: a stubborn resistance.
4. difficult to manage or suppress: a stubborn horse; a stubborn pain.
5. hard, tough, or stiff, as stone or wood; difficult to shape or work.

Lucky for me, I do not consider being stubborn such a bad thing.  I think being stubborn is the only way to make it in this tough world.  However, you must decide to be stubborn about the right things.  I got stubborn very early on about drugs and decided never to use them…never means never once the decision is made.  That’s how stubborn people work! 🙂  I also got stubborn about remaining a virgin until my wedding day.  Along with that commitment, I got stubborn about marrying a virgin.  And yes, to every teenager out there, it is possible and you can do it.  And it’s worth every sacrifice.

As many of you know, I got stubborn about reading my Bible everyday.  Every day means every day.  I have read my Bible when I had the flu, I read my Bible when I’ve been tired, I even read my Bible in labor.  I just simply decided that I needed to hear from Jesus everyday.  And I will tell you that over 4000 days later, I was clearly right.  Over those days I have had two children, youth pastored hundreds of teenagers, moved three times, gotten fired, maintained my happy marriage, started a church, counseled countless numbers of hurting people, and been under a lot of stress.  I needed God in the midst of all of that and without His Word tucked into my heart…daily…I would not have handled some of those circumstances the way He would have liked me to.

So, hail all of you stubborn people out there who are determined for God’s agenda!  Thanks for standing firm in a wish-washy world.  Backbones are a glorious thing and I’m impressed by Christians who maintain integrity in the midst of it all.


When Delaney woke up she ran over to our nativity set and screamed, “Where’s Jesus?”  I glanced over, noticed that the baby was once again missing, and said, “Oh, I’m sure he’ll turn up.  One of you just forgot to put him back.”  I left the moment and began getting breakfast ready.  Just as I was finishing getting a warm plate of food for everyone and a couple of hot lattes, Delaney dragged out her Barbie house.  I lightly scolded her and said, “Delaney, it’s not time to play, it’s time to have breakfast and open our gifts.”  She disobeyed me and continued to open all of the nooks and crannies in her little house.  Just as I was about to go in for the second rebuke, she raised up her hands in the air above her head, with baby Jesus clenched in her fist, and yelled, “YES!  I FOUND HIM!”  We were able to continue with our Christmas morning as planned, now that Jesus was tucked safely back in His little manger.

I hope that this holiday season, you search the nooks and crannies of your heart and remember the joy you had the day that you found Jesus.  Today, find a quiet moment and shout for joy, “YES! I FOUND HIM!”  And embrace the wonder of Christmas all over again with the same enthusiasm as my sweet four year old girl.

I hope that your day is filled with the beauty of the love of Jesus.  Every day of our lives is richer because of this day over 2000 years ago!