Proverbs 16:24

"Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." -Proverbs 16:24

April 26, 2012

getting serious about our hearts...

There are two places in the (NIV) Bible where the phrase 'guard your heart' comes up.

I grew up knowing and hearing that phrase all the time. But I didn't understand what it meant or how to do it until I was pregnant, single, heart-broken, abandoned (feeling) and at rock-bottom.

I gave pieces of my heart to a dozen different boys. I gave pieces of my heart to people whose affections and attentions I desired. I gave my body to different boys and tried unsuccessfully to not let my heart go with that.

Guarding your heart isn't just about boyfriends. And it isn't just about sex.

Guarding your heart is about placing your heavenly Father and wise Creator as a guard in front of all else. A filter, a screen, a bodyguard. It is about forcing out everything until you are certain that your number one (Jesus Christ) is and always will be first. It is about clinging to purity, not as a minimum 'no sex' policy, but as a maximum security lifestyle and state of mind.

It is about keeping the things about you that God made beautiful and protecting them. Holding on to your sweet gift of a heart for whatever gives you drive and passion. It is wearing fuzzy socks and dancing around because no boy matters as much as being yourself. It is about keeping your secrets sometimes and not sharing them just in a desperate attempt to create 'intimacy'.

Proverbs 4:23- Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Wellspring is defined as an original and bountiful source of something. That means that God didn't give us a little is bountiful. It is the original source of God, given to us at creation. It is our temple and home for our Savior.

The second place that 'guard your heart' is used is in Philippians 4:6-8. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This verse gives us a genius practical application lesson. How do I guard my heart? I pray and accept the promise of God's peace - in EVERYTHING. I keep my mind pure by focusing on truth, nobility, and things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

So, let's see. Where did I fail? Let's run the list of things I often thought about against the list of things I should have been thinking about...

1. Staying skinny....not real noble or praiseworthy.
2. Having 'trendy', 'hot' clothes...not pure or lovely.
3. Physical touch, often...not pure and not admirable, and not believing truth about how good waiting is!
4. Drinking, smoking...not pure, not admirable, not right, not noble, not excellent....
5. Ignoring my parents 'nagging' (aka wisdom)...not right, noble or excellent.

That list could go on FORever.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. I want to allow my struggles and my sin to become a testimony of God's grace, His perfect, timely, saving grace. And His unconditional love. UNconditional.

I am especially hopeful that some younger girls will read this and something will click. I never slowed down enough and accepted enough wisdom to let this 'click' and my life spun out of control and my heart was so far from guarded that it got passed around, stepped on, used, abused and mailed back to me covered in filth. I pray that I can pass on enough to help even just one girl learn to guard her heart.

Thanks for listening :)

April 22, 2012

my kind of happy

Psalm 37-
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
7 Be still before the LORD
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.

One of our pastors spoke on this verse today. He was sharing about worry. The Bible says not to worry. Yet we do it. I do it all.the.time.

Worry is a sin. A big, ugly black sin. And we don't treat it as such. We feel justified in worrying. But the root of our worry is usually anger, control issues or fear. And we know that anger, control issues and fear are sins because those are big 'Do Nots'. But worry means that we are trusting God, we are submitting to His control, we are afraid of what may or may not happen, and we are angry about the situation being out of our control.

Verse three of Psalm 37 says " in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." Another translation says " in the Lord and do good; befriend or feed on faithfulness." How powerful, what an image. That I should be "tasting and seeing that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

What a great sermon...just wanted to pass on those nuggets that I was being challenged by!

March 20, 2012

a poem

Sometimes your boots are muddy, and sometimes the grass isn't green...but you are still
exactly in the place you are meant to be at that moment.

(By Beth Moore)
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
I cheat you of your God-given destiny…
because you demand your own way.
('I am wiser than God about my own life' is the lie that I allow myself to believe as I pursue my own silly destiny, my own idea of a good future.)
I cheat you of contentment…
because you “deserve better than this.”
(Expecting that a life with Christ is hard can be difficult, so often times I step out of His plan, hoping to find an easier path.)
I cheat you of knowledge…
because you already know it all.
(My attitude so often reflects this idea that I am "all-knowing". God can't know enough to handle my life, not nearly as much as I do. So, I don't seek his wisdom...cause I already know.)
I cheat you of healing…
because you are too full of you to forgive.
(I have received more grace from God than I could dish out in ten lifetimes, so my refusal to forgive others is in a way, an unwillingness to acknowledge the grace I have already been given so freely.)
I cheat you of holiness…
because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.
(Because I'm never wrong, right? Because even when I feel 100% wrong, that feeling doesn't give me the right to be prideful and arrogant.)
I cheat you of vision…
because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.
(Where is my vision for the lost? My heart is so full of my own worries, my own agenda, and my own life that I often lose sight of a vision for the lost. I am consumed with myself.) 
I cheat you of genuine friendship…
because nobody’s going to know the real you.
(Because she doesn't understand what I'm going through. Because she doesn't have any right to speak into my life. Because I don't have time for friends. Because I'm too important.)
I cheat you of love…
because real romance demands sacrifice.
(After the honeymoon phase, the romance is gone. All that love is replaced with reality when your husband farts in the shower. Why can't he just constantly pursue me and do sweet things and treat me like royalty? It isn't love if it doesn't feel like it, right?)
I cheat you of greatness in heaven…
because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.
(I'm too busy to serve others, because I have a husband and two children of my own to care for. I make myself unavailable and talk myself into being un-useful.)
I cheat you of God’s glory…
because I convinced you to seek your own.
(God's plan for me probably doesn't ever include long vacations to tropical islands, fancy new cars, expensive clothes, financial stability and physical comfort, so is His plan really what I want to seek?)
My name is Pride. I am a cheater.
You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.
I’m looking to make a fool of you.
God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…
If you stick with me you’ll never know.
Everything you read in the poem that was in italics are the lies that Satan places in my heart to lead me away from the life God has in store for me. I allow myself to believe these lies and it keeps me from forgiveness, from serving, from love...
What lies are you believing? What part of God's plan for your life are you refusing?

February 28, 2012

a simple prayer

Dear Lord,

There is a lot on my plate right now. (As a side note, thank you for the food that literally fills my plates at meal times.) You have been teaching me so much. And Lord, two thumbs up from me on creatively planning those lessons. (Not that you need my approval...)

I'm learning that my wants and my plans are often ridiculous and weak. ((Quote here from C.S. Lewis - Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.))

I'm learning to be a submissive teammate in my marriage.

I'm learning that I have so very much to learn.

And Lord, I am holding on so very tight to a few very special things. I am starting to realize (and worry) that I need to loosen my grip around them. But to be honest, my motivation for wanting to loosen my grip is not that it's the right thing to do. I worry that you will take things away from me that I hold too close. I know you are first. I know you are my number one, first love, Creator, King. And my love for husband, my son, my daughter, my horses and that ministry will never EVER compare. But, Lord, they are so good. They are so lovely and perfect and my heart wells up just to think of them. So, Lord, I trust your plan. But please, please, never take them away.

I'm learning that you can get hurt badly by the things you love the most....literally. Adalia has used her razor like fingernails to dig out my skin daily as of late. And, I got bit by a horse today. Ouch. Seriously.

God, please help me to keep learning. And help me to be quick about it.

Thank you. Amen.

January 26, 2012

my solitude

The woods along the Prairie River Dam

Dispersed camp site in the Chippewa Forest

Big Jack Lake

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

“Do not be too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something.”

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”

“One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.”

Henry David Thoreau said all these words (and many more which you can find on this page).

Sometimes, when I get really stressed or overwhelmed, I long for the places in the pictures above. Those places are my solitude. They are my very own hidden, special places where I can unwind, recollect, let go, worship, sit, breathe, pray, thank, and just exist with nothing going on around me or within me.

I almost got attacked by two HUGE wolves when I was standing by that tent. After a heart pounding stare-down, I gave them a few minutes to run off...then sprinted the half-mile to my car, jumped in, and locked the doors (just in case wolves could use door handles). I sat there shaking. SHAKING. Then I started crying. And when the tears has been spent, a slow smile crept across my face. I had just encountered a beautiful, natural miracle. So, I got out of my car and walked back to my tent and stayed there through the night (but I won't lie and say that I slept even a wink)!

Anyway, just thinking about this place today. Would love to get back there soon.

January 25, 2012

whistle while you work

**i won't complain, i won't complain, i won't complain, i won't comlpain, i won't complain, i won't complain**

Today, I am thankful for:

1. Finding five dollars in my wallet.
2. The ability to work.
3. Good music.
4. My mom praying for me.
5. Having been able to pay bills yesterday.
6. My computer.
7. My husband, son, and daughter...(even if they drive me a little crazy)
8. Memories.
9. Cheerios.
10. Riding lessons...I feel like I was made to ride horses, and this has been an amazing gift.

January 23, 2012

"never be afraid to sit a while and think"

(Title quote by Lorraine Hansberry)

FPFG says it best. These words. And these words. And so many more.

The first one, if you clicked on it, was exactly what has been going through my head. Why do I think I am so dang cool just because I didn't make a facebook post about my New Year? I am in desperate need of committing to a lot of things this year, but my aloof-ness (?) stood in the way. I didn't want to be like everybody else and say that I was going to start working out (which I did). Or eat healthier (which I did). Or try to get in the Word more (which I have). Or be a better friend (which I hope I will be). Or write more letters (which I have been doing). I am the most resolution-y of all! I just let me coolness and pride get in the way of sharing about it.

Next. Her next post, "We Can Be Alright" made me cry. Ok, sob and weep....don't judge. I am overboard with stress and emotions right now. Our car broke down. My student loans got 60%. We live in an attic. Our house is still on the market and no one is looking at it. A silly health issue that lingered after my pregnancy may get me kicked out of my Air Guard unit. Our ministry is going to struggle (Stable Days) if we can't find funding and hold a session in some sort of location that is safe for the kids and horses. And all of this is made worse by an increasing fear that my weak mind and already full heart will fail and that I won't be strong enough.

I don't have more words right now. I am probably being over dramatic, and 'the sun will come out tomorrow' but for today, I am tired and overwhelmed.

Are you feeling the same way? Is there something big in your life that's going on? I will pray for you. I would be honored to pray for you. Or send you an encouraging letter on the beautiful stationary I got.

Lemme know.

January 22, 2012

"you can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness"

(Title quote from song I currently cannot stop listening to: "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Walk Off The Earth {cover of a Goyte song})

How long do wise words stick with you? How long do you think on things after they touch your heart?

I heard an amazing message this morning from our pastor, Bob Bartlett (you can download it here). It really touched my heart and I felt God moving the wheels in my head for how I should apply it to my life. And I thought on this for about......ten minutes.

Then, we walked out of the building and my mind went to "gee, it's cold", "i wish the kids were able to take a nap right now", "i have a ton of homework to do tonight", "did Tom start the car or will it be freezing", blah blah BLAH.

Since when are my life and the petty things of the 'day to day' more important that my relationship with the Lord. Rather than chatting with Tom about the groceries, I could have continued mulling over the message by talking to him about it. I could have told him that I wanted to pray together about being a more vision and mission driven family.

And while we are on the topic of my relationship with the Lord, let me just share with you the prayer that I ought to be saying on repeat all. day. long.

Dear Lord,

Lord, you are to be praised. You are worthy, and I am thankful for this moment of prayer.

Please help me seek you and serve you in each moment today. Help me prioritize. Fill me with your love, grace, mercy and patience.

Please sell our house.

Also, open the hearts of people around us to our ministry with Stable Days. We know, Lord, that you have a big heart for children who are hurting and in need, and as we seek to serve these kids, we know that you are providing all we need. Continue to provide donors, volunteers, prayer support and wisdom in all we do with this ministry.

Lord, protect my children and my marriage. I want my children to grow in you each day, and I want my marriage to grow each day on the foundations of your Word and your perfect example of unconditional, eternal love.

Forgive me for my sins.


P.S. Help me figure out what in the world went wrong with my student loans and why ALL OF THE SUDDEN they decided that I don't qualify for a grant or loan of any type. I know you have a good plan for me; help me keep that in mind despite my current confusion.

Amen, for real.

Ok. SO that is that. Now you know my head and my heart for today.

Last, but not least. My one and only comment leave-er on the giveaway blog....RACHEL! You are the grand prize winner! Please email me your address and I will send you your cozy blanket and rock-star bracelet! Thanks for participating! ( is my email)

January 17, 2012

the kind of woman i wish to be...

Lately, I haven't been the person I want to be.

I have been petty, easily offended, quick to anger, quicker to complain, lazy, slow to serve, self-centered, and all around awful.

Proverbs 31:10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

A Proverbs 31 wife probably doesn't push an issue to prove that she is right. She probably doesn't skip reading her Bible...for like six months. She probably doesn't argue with her husband over silly issues. She probably doesn't spend her money irresponsibly. She probably doesn't complain about her post-baby body. She probably doesn't waste an hour on facebook when she has tasks that need completing.

She probably doesn't....but I totally do.

I can blame it on the fact that I'm tired, or didn't get coffee, or feel sick, or am really stressed, or because its hot outside, or cold outside, or because Adalia is being tough, or because whatever.

The fact of the matter is that the only thing to blame is my enormous lack of character. I need to get on my knees and pray. I need to seek the Lord and ask for strength, wisdom, grace and perseverance. I need to get into the Word. I need to be humble and learn to let things go.

I don't have any solutions or uplifting words, but I felt like sharing.

Hope you are all having an awesome Tuesday!

January 15, 2012

a giveaway...!!!

Hey everybody!!

So, I am going to do my first giveaway today! I am not pairing up with any cool etsy shops or anything so don't get TOO excited! But what I am going to giveaway is two of the items that we use for fundraising for SDYR. The first item is a fleece blanket with a crocheted edging, and the second item is a recycled t-shirt bracelet (made by our Stable Days volunteers)! I will select one winner who will get the blanket and a bracelet, and another two winners for bracelets.

recycled t-shirt bracelets

(girl not included)

{ultra-soft fleece, with light brown yarn crochet edging}

To get in on this sweet, horsey giveaway simply leave a comment below about what horses mean to you, why you like horses, or a memorable experience you had with a horse!

For an additional entry, go like our facebook page here.

And for a third entry, let me know that you asked some friends to check us out too (i.e. "I told Jimmy, Susy, and Bill to check out your sweet program...")!

The giveaway will close next Sunday, January 22nd! I am doing this to raise awareness of this great program, so send your friends over here to check out what we've got going on!

January 09, 2012

smells fishy...

Today is my first official day back to school after....quite a while.

It's intimidating.

This online schooling stuff is going to require that me and technology make nice.

But, I am excited. I am taking Spanish, Intro to Business, Geology, History, and Math. Should be a fun (BUSY) semester.

I am have no time to blog, really, as I must go pick up my books.

Since I am not posting, I will leave you with a link to check out...hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Carpe Diem: Sieze the Day, Carp in Denim: Fish in Pants

January 05, 2012

brain overload...

1. I joined a local bird watching group. I really like birds. More than you can probably imagine.
2. I start school in five days.
3. Adalia didn't sleep well last night.
4. My shoulders are sore.
5. My heart is a little sad that I haven't even had one email reply from my post two days ago. Did you read it? Did you care?
6. I am starting a 52 week Bible reading plan that I am super excited about.
7. Student Financial Aid paperwork has officially made me qualified to join the circus as a professional circus lady for 'jumping-through-hoops'.
8. I am serious about being sore. My shoulders HURT and I am not hardly even moving.
9. I will be attempting to cook bok choy for the first time in my life tonight.
10. I have a dentist appointment in a few hours. I don't like having metal tools shoved around my pearly whites.
11. I am sitting at a coffee shop on campus, and they have got a FABULOUS sectional. Denim ultra-cushy seat, great paisley throw pillows.
12. I can't find Tom's 2011 tax return and I need it to finish my financial aid paperwork.
13. I am very ready for us to buy our own home, but I am quite thankful for the rental we are in temporarily.
14. I had an amazing time meeting with a great friend, Heidi, yesterday. I coulda chatted for another five hours and not gotten tuckered out. WHAT a blessing!
15. I am excited to meet this lady that my husband just started doing Crossfit classes with; met her husband today and she sounds SUPER cool :) I love making friends.

January 03, 2012

a desperate cry for help

If you read my blog very often, you are aware that my parents founded a non-profit organization called 'Stable Days Youth Ranch'.

our two sight-impaired horses, Charlie and Gideon
Stable Days is a faith-based equestrian mentoring program servicing diplaced, disadvantaged, or otherwise at-risk youth in the Greater Grand Forks area. Stable Days Youth Ranch has, at its core, a passion to work with disadvantaged children, wounded youth, and struggling families, providing a safe and peaceful environment where unconditional love, purposed mentoring, and hands-on experiences with our horses can provide a foundation where the values of faith, life and family can be learned. At no cost to the families, our program will offer 60-90 minute visits. Each child will be paired with one horse and one leader who will mentor, nurture, listen to and share in the child’s unique life story, developing a degree of trust and friendship while providing opportunities to bond with, care for and ride a horse. Our goal is to care for and focus on the mind, the body and the soul of each individual that comes to our program. Stable Days is a registered 501C3 (non-profit organization) in North Dakota.

Our herd currently consists of eight horses; Gemini, Taz, Precious, Ruby, Sissy, Samson, Charlie and Gideon.

Here is why I am writing in detail about this organization. We are currently in the process of buying a new, safe facility for our horses. We were previously boarding our horses at a ranch where they were neglected each and every time we were not around to monitor their care. A few of our horses were badly injured and because we needed to leave in a hurry, some board members of SDYR graciously stepped up and are allowing our horses to stay at their farm temporarily. Our horses have healed up nicely and are doing great, but they need a permanent home.

We have found a beautiful facility in East Grand Forks, MN called the Riverbend. It is fifty fabulous acres of horse paradise and an abandoned restraunt that will be converted into a home for my parents and a few of the volunteers, plus will include a 'hang out' space for participants of Stable Days. My parents are trying to sell their house now to pay for this property but we have hit a major time crunch. The owner of the property needs us to put down $25,000 to close and he needs us to do this is just a few weeks.

I am humbly begging for each of you, readers, to help if you can. If you have $5 or $100 or some wealthy friends, I would ask that you consider donating to this amazing program.

The website is currently under contruction, so their online donating link is not working, but if you are able to donate, or could chat with some people who may be willing, PLEASE email me.

If you feel comfortable with this, you can also mail checks written out to 'Stable Days Youth Ranch' to our program address 504 South 6th Street, Grand Forks, ND 58201.

Please please please please please spread the word and pray about whether or not you would be able to help us financially.

Thank you so much for listening!

January 02, 2012

the most terrifying responsibility

(i found intense inspiration for this post here, please read.)

i have two children to raise.

i want Hunter to be a man. a 'hold-her-hand', 'kill-some-supper', 'not-too-tough-to-pray-on-my-knees', 'dirt-under-my-fingernails', 'farm-boy' man.

i want Adalia to be a woman. a 'modesty-before-style', 'meek-but-strong', 'cookin-in-an-apron', 'tender-loving-care', 'proverbs-31' woman.

i want to pray against generational sin poking its ugly head around in their lives. i want them to memorize scripture so often that its stuffed to the brim in their hearts. i want them to help the helpless and love the unloved. i want them to want not, but to also understand frugality and sacrifice. i want them to love america. i want them to guard their hearts. i want them to be thankful, humble, gracious, giving, perserverant (new word?), Bible-loving, obedient, thoughtful, slow-to-anger perfect creations of a perfect Creator.

i need to rely on the grace of my eternal God to be the parent they need me to be. i have to commit daily to be up to the challenge. to intercede for them in prayer, to discipline them, to love them unconditionally, and to raise them up in the way that they should go.

and I AM A FAILURE. i am a mess-up and a learn-the-hard-way fool. i am undisciplined and a sinner. but God knew just what my kiddos needed in a parent, in a mother, and He completes me if I am in Him and remain in Him and trust in Him and use His strength.

what a terrifying responsibility! and what an undeserved honor...