Saturday, August 31, 2013

For your Sunday

May God the Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed 
surround you with grace and peace.

Ephesians 1:2 (The Voice)

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Heart of Worship

On a Saturday afternoon in Guatemala, women from two different countries came together for a Women's Retreat. Although we did not speak the same language, that afternoon:

we sang together,
we prayed together and for each other,
we told stories of faith,
we broke bread together,
we made crafts together,
we shared tips to stay healthy,
we served as Christ served His disciples,
we witnessed unsaved give their life to Christ
and saved re-dedicate their lives to Christ,
and we laughed, cried and shared many hugs.
That afternoon, we worshiped God together.
Lives were changes
maybe ours more than theirs.

This is the heart of worship.

"I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
All about You, Jesus"
The Heart of Worship, by Matt Redman

I'm joining Lisa-Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday. Lisa has created a wonderful community where many others come together and write for five minutes on a prompt she provides. It's a beautiful thing. Today's prompt is: Worship.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Three Word Wednesday: Be Made New

Three Word Wednesday


I was ready to throw myself a pity party. Negative thoughts began to fill my head and I almost questioned what God had actually done to make me new.

Before heading down a path that leads to no good, God led me to open up a book I read two years ago by Chip Ingram titled, The Miracle of Life Change: How God Transforms His Children.

"The moment you came to Christ, you were saved and forgiven, and the Spirit of God entered your heart. God's game plan from that point on uses every circumstance, every person, every disappointment, every bit of suffering; and every touch of joy to conform (morph) you into the very likeness of His son. (see Romans 8:29; Ephesians 2:10)." ~ Chip Ingram, The Miracle of Life Change

It only took a few pages for my mind to flash back to the day, just a little over a month ago, when I was baptized. Shortly after the baptism I shared my story of transformation.

The devil tried to take control over my thinking and I almost fell for his lies. But when we are steadfast in God's Word (thank you HelloMornings!) we are more prepared to fight off those lies. So today I'm going to share a few of my favorite passages to remind you of God's promises to make us new.

My hope is that they leave you encouraged by how deep His love is for you.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" ~ Ephesians 4:22-24

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." ~ 1 Peter 1:3 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will ishis good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~ John 10:10

God transformed my life and continues to be at work in me. He will transform yours too. Be Made New.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Announcing—Three Word Wednesday Link Up

It's started many months ago when developing a daily theme for status updates on my blog Facebook page. I was in need of a theme for Wednesday's so I asked my lovely followers for their thoughts. A dear Navy Mom friend came up with Three Word Wednesday. Oh what a delight Wednesday's have been ever sense.

The first several months I only shared on Facebook. Then I began sharing on Twitter too. Last week, Three Word Wednesday appeared in its first official post (read here). The response was amazing.

It had been on my heart to eventually make Three Word Wednesday a link up. I was waiting for God to let me know when it was the right time. God used several of you to encourage me to take a leap of faith and begin this weekly link up. So this Wednesday (8/28/13) we will have our first Three Word Wednesday Link Up.

Every Wednesday I will share three words on my blog. Many times I will share only a photo and three words but there may be times when I share scripture or a few (maybe many) sentences to go along with it. It all depends on how God leads me after giving me the three words.

I will include a linky so join can join in. You can share only photo and three words, or you can write as much as you would like as long as the theme of your post is based on three words.

The linky will go live by no later than 7:00 AM, CST every Wednesday.

To participate simply,
  1. Choose three words
  2. Share a post, photo, scripture — anything that highlights the three words you have chosen. (link up your post URL, not your blog homepage)
  3. Family-friendly posts only. Anything else will be removed.
  4. Grab the button on my home page to use in your post or simply link back to my blog.
  5. Find someone (or a few) to encourage with a comment
  6. We can also connect on Twitter with the #ThreeWordWednesday hashtag.
  7. Don't have a blog? Share your three words in the comments or on my blog Facebook page.
  8. Help spread the word and get others involved.
Come back on Wednesday morning and link up.

P.s. A special thanks to Lyli, Barbie and Kristin for their encouragement. I love you ladies.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

For your Sunday

This weekend I attended a conference held by Military Outreach of Greater Chicago. The purpose of this conference was to equip individuals and churches in the Chicago metropolitan area to provide a support role to all military members, veterans and their families impacted by the invisible wounds of military service.

I sat quietly through the conference listening to how we as a church can be a beacon of God's hope and light to our military community. Paul tells us in Galatians to carry each other's burdens (Gal. 6:2). The burdens of our military community are great. Not only can we be a beacon of God's hope and light to them, we need to be.

The presenter closed our time together by sharing from Psalm 118:6.

"The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid."

As is becoming rather common for me these days, tears began to well up. I was there to learn how to reach and support our military community but as I heard those words from Psalm 118:6 they filled a need in my own heart.

My husband will soon deploy. The day is approaching all too quickly and the closer it gets the greater my fears become. The words from Psalm 118:6 gave me comfort. They reminded me of how He is with us and I do not need to fear the day to come. And I'm grateful for the church community we have that will be praying for us daily.

But If my own need for God feels so great how can I not be a beacon of His hope and light to our military community? They need me. They need you too. 

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." ~ Galatians 6:2

Today and everyday, let us be praying for our military members and their families. Your prayers for my family would also be appreciated. If you are a military family please let me know how I can be praying for you.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Snapshot Love—a family together again. {part 2]

***Snapshot Love — capturing both the small and big everyday moments.*** 

Our day's our not meant to be rushed. As Jeff Goins writes in his post, Three Reasons You Need to Slow Down, "When we race from one thing to the next, we end up leading busy, but insignificant lives." 

While in San Diego I took some advice from Jeff and slowed down to appreciate what each moment had to offer. It was all about being present with my family. We had a beautiful few days together. (For some Snapshot Love from Part 1 go here.)

A leisurely stroll in La Jolla, CA

La Jolla is blessed with lots and lots of sea lions.

I love these next few photos of the men in my life lending a helping hand to the girls.

One of my favoritesmy military men!

This next photo would be fabulous if the men were actually smiling like I am.

I should note if you happen to be on our holiday card list don't be surprised if any of these family photos reappear on our card for the upcoming holiday. With the few times the entire family is together in a year that is just the way it goes. I was too excited to share and undecided on which one's I'd use for the card so consider yourself as potentially having a preview of what's to come.

After our time in La Jolla we headed to Carlsbad, CA for lunch. We had plans to make several stops along the coast on the way back but our plans were changed due to a slight emergency.
I will share more later in this post.

Since stops along the coast did not happen for us we eventually ended up back at one of our favorite placesCoronado Island. We walked up and down Orange Street to do some window shopping and then the girls choose to do some beach bumming while the boys played Frisbee.

We returned to Coronado again for some more beach bumming the day before we departed CA.

A great action shot I must say.

This is another favorite! I love my boys and love how they have become friends.

There was a mom and two girls who thought it might be fun to feed the birds.
Nearby birds quickly caught on as this got much worse than the picture shows.
My family was also guilty of trying to contribute but the birds weren't a fan of pretzels.
They did love the little bean bags we had in our possession; we had a few less before we left.

It was only matter of time before Jeremy ended up buried in the sand. It's so him!

This is about as far as he got even though he had hopes for a grand ole' sand castle.

I'm not fond of cigars but since my husband was overly happy with this photo I figured it was only right of me to share. Apparently he and my oldest son like to have one every now and then.

It's the simple moments we had together that won my heart most.

The simple moments:

Hugging my son after six months apart.
Praying together before every meal.
Lunch with the girls on a rooftop.
Watching the men play Frisbee together.
The many walks we took.
Evenings by the pool.
Taking my son to his dentist appointment.
and the list could go on.

Two of my favorite moments:

We made a somewhat speedy return from Carlsbad when our younger son (Jeremy) realized he left his insulin back at the hotel. (He has Type 1 Diabetes.) Later that evening he apologized for ruining our plans. I ensured him his health was what mattered most and how it's all about how we respond in those situations. Apparently God had other plans for us that day. He surprisingly said to me, "God was with us, Mom?" My response was obviously, "Oh, yes He was. He is always with us."

After a difficult morning on the golf course for my oldest son (Zackary) I had the opportunity to give him a hug. It was a hug that lingered longer than a normal hug. The way he held on told me he needed it. A part of me wishes I had prayed out-loud with him before letting go but I hope God spoke to him through that hug.

My children are not followers of Christ. I'm not sure what prompted the comment from Jeremy. He could have been slightly teasing me for believing God is always with us. My gut tells me God is working in both of them and  will one day win their hearts!

Oh my, this went longer than I intended so I will end here. My friend Shannon is busy preparing for her move from an old Victorian home to a 200 year-old farmhouse so she is taking a break from blogging. I'm sure she would appreciate some encouragement and prayers so hop on over to her page won't you please?

And don't forget to link-up something from your week. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Morning, God!

Before coming here to write this post I said a quick prayer, "God, I've been without words these days but I would love to share with others how our morning time together this week has blessed me. Can you give me the words, even if only a few? If the words don't come that's okay. You showed me this week how three words can still bring glory to You. Thank you, Father. In Jesus' name I pray."

What would happen to this place I've created here if I had no words to share with you? At times the lack of words makes me sad. It leads me to question if He called me to write in the first place.

I've learned enough to know the answer is found when we seek Him.

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. ~ Deuteronomy 4:29

I decided to accept a challengeThe HelloMornings Challenge.

My day now begins at 4:30 a.m. After showering and grabbing a much needed cup of coffee, I check-in on Twitter to tell my #HelloMorning and #HMCShine friends that I'm up and I then go meet God for at least 30-45 minutes.

For this HelloMornings series we are studying from the Book of Ephesians utilizing the Quench Bible Study, Glorious Grace, by Lara Williams and Katie Orr.

I've always been drawn to Paul, this follower of Jesus Christ. I remember when I first discovered Paul was previously known as Saul. As a relatively new Christian I'm always grateful for these new discoveries. Maybe I was drawn to Paul because the first book in the Bible I opened up as an adult and began to study was Philippians.

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19

I could try to share with you all I've learned about Paul through the first week of this study but the thoughts twirling around in my head are not translating to the written form. One thing God made overly clear to me this week was to trust Him and the plans He has for me.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

He also reminded me how deep His love is for me. So instead of fighting a battle to find words, I will continue to seek Him.

"Life is all about the Lord God. His gift. His calling. His pursuit. His healing. His salvation. His redemption. His plan. His will. His grace. And in God's grace He blesses His children abundantly." ~ Glorious Grace

I'm choosing to drown myself in God's glorious grace and trust that He does have plans for me. I completely surrender to Him and with the few words He does give me; I will proclaim how He gives life.

And I will pray as Paul prayed,

"...that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." ~ Ephesians 3:16-19

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Three Word Wednesday

Three Word Wednesday

You give life

I'm figuring out how to be okay with this place of not having words to fill a post. God seems to be leading me to a place of spending more time in His word. What better place is there to be? It's in His word and those opportunities to worship Him where I find peacewhere He gives me life.

So today I'm pouring out my praise to Him only. Would you join me? Share three words that give praise to Him. You can share in the comments, Facebook or on Twitter

I'm sharing the lyrics to the song that inspired my three words. I loved the moment last night at my church, during a General Board Team Leader meeting, when we sang these words and worshiped Him together.

Great Are You Lord
by: All Sons and Daughters

"You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord.

It's Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It's Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our priase to You only.

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord.

All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord."

Sharing with Lisa, Jennifer, Tracy and Kristen.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

For your Sunday

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.

To him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
Who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
Who made the great lights
His love endures forever.
The sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
The moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1-12

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Snapshot Love—a family together again.

I wasn't sure if I'd get around to sharing some photo's with you this week as I'm in San Diego visiting my son and his wife. But sharing at least a few was too exciting to pass up.

The last time I had my entire family together was over the Christmas holiday so I'm sure you can understand how excited I am. We will only have a few days together but I will be grateful for every moment. We haven't planned for any grandiose adventures. All we care about is being together.

Off we go...
(More pictures than words as I must go be with my family.)

From the plane...we are getting close.

First time flyers.

We finally get to hug this son of ours!


You know I love some Red, White and Blue.

We spent a beautiful evening together. 

They are so silly but I love them.

Day 2

The men headed out for a morning of golf.

The two of us shopped!

Dinner on Coronado Island.

There will be more to come but I love ending here for now. My cup is overflowing!

Don't forget to visit my friend Shannon. This is our combined effort to get you to join us in sharing the small and big moments from your week. It is so much fun. Won't you please join in? It's a blog hop!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Embracing the In-Between

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thomas

As much as I'm trying, the desire to write isn't there. I stare at a blank computer screen and my heart aches for something more. I know what the ache is for. It's for more of God. 

My time in Guatemala was spent without electronic devices. Being disconnected from all that I allow to distract me was needed.

I'd wake to the sounds of His creations. Some sounds were not so pleasant (something strange was taking place at the pig farm next to us) but I now find I miss those sounds. The less than pleasant sounds would soon be replaced by worship music. I would hum along while preparing for the day.

I grew fond of what we referred to as "Guatemalan time." 
Guatemala moved at a slower pace. People didn't rush to move from one place to another. A church service lasted over three hours. I glanced around during that service expecting to find people either staring at their watch or dozing off. Instead, I found them with their eyes looking up and arms stretched out worshiping God. 

I wanted what they hada heart for more of Him.

The days were spent serving others. Life was no longer about my own needs. There were times Satan tried his best to keep me from stepping over my fears to serve others but God always prevailed. Outside of my comfort zone quickly became my comfort.

Our mission team ended each day gathered in a big room with hearts ready to share. We'd take turns sharing what moved us most. Sometimes it was something big; many times it was something small that stole our hearts. In between sharing our hearts we'd stop to worship God. Before calling it a night our hands joined together and we prayed.

Praying didn't only happen when we gathered in a circle at night.

Praying happened everywhere. There were silent prayers and there were out loud prayers. We would pray for each other and you were grateful for the ones who knew when those prayers were needed. We would pray for those we were serving and they would pray for us. And oh how the beautiful Guatemalan children would pray. It was a beautiful thing.

My dear friend Alene Snodgrass said when she first went to Guatemala she thought she was bringing God there with her. Once she arrived she realized she wasn't bringing God; He was already there.

God was surely present. I was jealous of how present He was. I was jealous of how rich the faith of the Guatemalan people appeared to be. They depended on God to meet their every need and they were grateful for how He provided even though their possessions failed in comparison to what we have. I find myself with a desire for less stuff and more of Him.

I'm struggling with where I go from here.This life changing experience should change my life.

My church had an evening worship service this past Sunday. We stood with "arms high and hearts abandoned worshiping the One who gave it all God." (The Stand, by Hillsong United) We prayed for each other. We prayed for our church. We prayed for our community. My heart was full again for the first time since returning home from Guatemala. I was missing God but I realized He had never left my side.

If I'm not seeking Him though then it's harder to know He is really there.

God is everything I need. He is everything we need. So I'm taking some advice from Jeff Goins and stopping to savor this moment of being between the greatest experience of my life and waiting to see where God will lead me next. (Read about Jeff's challenge here.)

For now, I believe the change God is asking of me is to slow down.

"Learn to enjoy life more. Relax, remembering that I am God with you. I crafted you with enormous capacity to know Me and enjoy My Presence.

The God I saw in Guatemala is the same God here with me. I only need to allow Him to be a greater part of my life. 

The more you focus on My Presence with you, the more fully you can enjoy life. Glorify Me through your pleasure in Me. Thus you proclaim My Presence to the watching world." ~ Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

So what happens next? My priority will be to devote my mornings to time in His word. I will turn that worship music on and offer my heart completely to Him.

And I will slow down and savor every experience God gives me. As Jeff Goins writes in Day 1 of his Slow Down Challenge:, "Life is not a race. It's a walk around the block, a casual stroll through the park, a deep abiding in where you are right now."

To help me slow down I will also finish reading Jeff's new book, The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and theNext Big Thing. I'm inspired by the words he has shared.

If there are gaps between posts I hope it's because God has me savoring a moment. I’m headed to California to visit my son and his wife who I haven't seen in over six months. I plan to savor every single moment with them. When I return my focus will be on savoring the moments I have with my husband before he deploys.

My time with God and with my family must come before my writing. I will write only as He leads.

Until next time, since praying is on my heart how can I be praying for you?

Monday, August 12, 2013


As I struggle to return to writing, I'm grateful for friends who are keeping my place active by sharing their hearts here. Susan is another blogger who found her way to my place many months ago and I'm so glad she did. I had the privilege of guest posting at her beautiful place back in April.

I love Susan's heart for her children and for God. I know she will touch your heart too. 

Much love, Beth

A guest post from The Unraveled Mom.

I love and adore my four children.  But it is also a lot of work.  Homework, poopy diapers, illness, dishes, laundry, and endless battles of will - they keep my head spinning.  And  I unravel.  The urge to snap supersedes my self control. 
regret those moments.
But sometimes, it is much deeper than a stressed out moment over the baby bathing in spilled apple juice. Sometimes, it's evidence of a depleted relationship.  A depleted heart.  And that's exactly what happened to me.
  I experienced a BIGGER unraveling.  
It started when I was a child.  It was all I ever knew.  It was my normal.
Anxiety.  Social anxiety.  And panic attacks.
Anxiety has always silently dictated my thoughts and actions.  But I learned how to manipulate my life around it. Honestly, I never considered it a heart or faith issue. I never even contemplated the existence of an intense internal battle.   I never considered the constant nagging anxiety to be a product of a spiritual thirst for God that, despite my faith in God, I regularly fed with all else except  Him.
Then I had four children.  I love them very much but the mounting responsibilities of motherhood created an unresolved tension that left me in a constant state of stress.  The anxiety wore me out.  But it was not necessarily visible or noticeable to anyone else.  So I did nothing.

But after my fourth child was born,  I suffered postpartum depression.  The anxiety quickly plummeted into full blown panic attacks and intensified an anxiety driven, and quite embarrassing, muscle spasm of my neck and shoulders.
I finally unraveled.  Big time.
My struggle, as much as I hated it, ultimately saved me.  It finally led me face to face with my sin  – I did not trust God.  And I genuinely rejected His creation: I did not view myself as the treasure He made me to be.
Even with this confession, I still had a major problem. I could not profess God’s truths.  I have long known the truth about who God is and who He made me to be.  In the depths of my heart, though,  I could believe it for anyone else but not for ME.  My mouth could not say that I am His treasured possession or that God hems in the most intricate parts of my life.  My fear always took over as I truly believed that I am nobody in God’s eyes.  I believed that I had somehow slipped into the plan of salvation by accident.
I prayed for God to transform my heart. I searched His word.  I sang His praises.  I surrounded myself with God’s truth to drown out Satan’s lies.  God had brought me to this low so that my eyes would look up to him.  And slowly, His truth transformed my heart.
And I am free from the bondage of anxiety.
But don't misunderstand:  Freedom is not perfection.  I still struggle.  I have had months in which the temptation of anxiety seems to defeat me.  I have had a few panic attacks.  And sometimes, my muscle spasm rears it’s ugly head when I am under pressure.
But it’s only a momentary loss of perspective.   I drown my thirsty soul in His truth and He daily sets my heart free. That constant, internal turmoil – it’s gone.  God has blessed my husband, my children – my family, with a new me.
It is my hearts desire, then, that God would use my struggle to bring Him glory.  So, I pray that my writing through The Unraveled Mom would be dear to your heart as you feel a little less alone and a lot more encouraged in your faith’s journey.
The Unraveled Mom

Saturday, August 10, 2013

For your Sunday

All that My Father gives to Me comes to Me. 
I will receive everyone;
I will not send away anyone who comes to Me.
John 6:37 (The Voice)

Snapshot Love—Guatemala

On Saturday's several of us join together and share our week through photos. My friend Shannon is guilty of getting me started with this weekly post! (Thank you, Shannon.) Capturing the moments of my week has quickly become a joy. I've discovered my weeks are filled with many small and ordinary moments but they are moments I hold close to my heart.

Then comes a week were it was anything but small and ordinary. Others told me this mission trip would change me. I'm still trying to put words to how much it changed me.

God set a fire down in my soul.

"No Place I'd rather be
No Place I'd rather be
No place I'd rather be
Here in your Love,
Here in your love.

Set a Fire Down in my Soul
That I can't contain that I can't control
I want more of you God
I want more of you God."

Set a Fire, by United Pursuit Band


Note: The comments in italics are taken directly from my journal.

Friday, July 26th

 We met at Living Hope Church at 4:30 a.m. ready to begin our adventure.

A total of 28 people traveled for this Mission trip (two came from California).

Off we go...

We arrive in Guatemala (after a layover in Houston).

Off they went with our bags.

Our bags left long before we did. 
We waited and waited at the airport for our vans to arrive. 
Guatemala moves at a much slower pace.

"Making our way through Guatemala City and San Lucas overwhelmed me. How can one not be brought to tears? I was brought to tears. When we finally arrived at the mission house all I wanted was to hear my husband's voice. Eleven days without electronic devices would be harder than I thought."

Our home away from home.

Saturday, July 27th 
(Our first full day in Guatemala)

First stop was a Rehab Center (New Life and Peace Ministries) in Parramos.

"I sat alone in the 2nd row of the van as we made our way to the Rehab Center and silently cried praying for God to give me the strength to step out of my comfort zone. How could I speak to and impact these men?"

We began our time with a church service.

"Mike delivered a testimony that spoke to everyone in the room.
Juan translated and the two became one."

I hugged just about every one of these men. Please pray for the continued journey of recovery.

A beautiful morning was spent together.

Our next stop was Rehobath Children's Home.

"As soon as we all unloaded from our vans the children were running to us for hugs.
They didn't wait for us to come to them; they came to us."

We provided a delicious spaghetti lunch.

"Our hearts are being changed. This place God, it has won my heart.
I will leave with a piece of my heart left behind."

Sunday, July 28th

I have no pictures from this day. 

We attended a three hour church service in the morning. Oh my!
It blew me away though.

"Here are people who have so little but their faith in God is so strong. Their faith is stronger than ours it seems. They rely on God to provide; we have plenty and don't turn to God to meet our basic needs. I'm almost jealous of their faith and dependence on Him."

The afternoon was spent preparing for the following day.

Monday, July 29th

A birthday party at La Puerta

This beautiful lady, Sonya, touched us all with her many stories. Her faith in God moved us to tears.

 The children of La Puerta

It's the stories behind these photos that bring you to tears.
But then you see how God's love gives them hope for a better future.

"How do you describe such a day? You wouldn't know from looking at them the pain they have already endured and still endure outside the gate of the school. Watching them bow their heads in prayer was simply beautiful!
These children with such a heart for God...I want the same heart for God."

A few of my favorites from our time at La Puerta

The children of La Puerta won our hearts COMPLETELY!

After the birthday party was over we spent the afternoon helping out Sonya around the daycare.
We cleaned bathrooms, walls, toys and much more. Work also began outside to repair a leaking roof.
I must say we are quite the team.

"God's presence was surely felt at La Puerta."

Tuesday, July 30th

A visit to Getsemani school
And my birthday!

My request had been to spend the entire day with the younger children but God had other plans for me.

"What I feared most ended up being what I enjoyed most."

I was surprisingly blessed by my time spent with the high school students.
The best part was when a class of students sang happy birthday to me in English.
I was ALL smiles!

I have no pictures from the time with the high school students so I stole this from one of my team members.

A beautiful evening in Antigua

Thank you God, for these ladies. It was a blessing to be with them.

Dinner at The Fork in the Hill.

I was one blessed birthday girl with a rather red nose. hehe

"It was a birthday that will never be forgotten."

Wednesday, July 31

Our day was spent preparing for a Women's Retreat on Saturday.
This was also our first opportunity to walk around the town of San Lucas.
(The mission home was in San Lucas.)
We enjoyed an afternoon of freedom!

"It was nice to see the town of San Lucas from a different perspective and not only from driving through it. The poverty didn't impact me as it had the first few days. I now saw the uniqueness of this town. No matter what their conditions the people here appeared to be happy."

Thursday, August 1

We departed for Panimache (a village on a mountain) early in the morning.

A scenic stop on our way up the mountain.
God bless our drivers who got us up and down this mountain safely!


"I was in no way prepared for what I would see and experience here."

 The children of Panimache

"I had to wipe the smell of their unclean bodies from my mind as I couldn't let it keep me from loving them."

Our time at Panimache was spent doing Vacation Bible School activities with the children.
We played with them, helped them make salvation bracelets, sang songs together and simply loved them.

 "Will I remember all the tears shed for these children?
Will I remember how God touched my heart over and over again?
Why God? Why do children need to live like this?
At the same time I know You are there with them and I know we were blessing them with Your love as we touched them. They are all precious in Your sight."

Friday, August 2

The day was spent with One Hope Ministries (John and Judy Prim).

Breaking the cycle of poverty by equipping girls with 
a good education and a well-founded hope in Christ.  

 We began with a prayer walk around potential new property for this ministry.

Then it was time to meet the girls.

In addition to spending time with the girls we did some work around the house.

Our evening ended with pizza and time of worship.
I truly loved those five girls.

"What beautiful, beautiful girls. When you spend time with them the look in their eyes reflects love not heartache. They show gratitude not regrets."

Saturday, August 3rd

Women's Retreat at Mission House

I lack pictures from this day but time was spent with these ladies in God's word, prayer and worship. They were separated in to four groups. Each group had the opportunity to make something special to take home with them, have their toenails painted, address health concerns and grab a bite to eat.

Several dedicated their life to Christ on this day and some renewed their commitment.
Is there anything more beautiful?

Sunday, August 4th

Our last full day in Guatemala was spent in Antigua.

First we went to church with John and Judy Prim and their lovely girls.
Then we had a wonderful breakfast together before SHOPPING!

Shopping in Antigua is rather exhausting. "Special price for you."
I regretfully have no pictures from the Antigua market area so these will have to do.

Monday, August 5th

Time to go home

I miss this fabulous group already.
We were surely the body of Christ during our eleven days in Guatemala.

There is much more I could share with you from this trip (I completely skipped over our devotional time spent together every evening...a separate post eventually.) but friends I'm truly struggling with believing any words I leave you with come close to describing the full impact this trip had on me. To say it changed me is an understatement. Instead of being filled with words I'm filled with tears. They keep on flowing.

I have tears for what has been left behind...a place I so desperately want to return to.
I have tears for what lies ahead...months without my husband as he prepares to deploy.
I have tears for more and more of God.
He has overwhelmed me with His grace.

 I have lots and lots of tears but...
"It is well with my soul."