Saturday, July 30, 2011

Repost: I am so blessed. . .


         It's hard to know where to begin with writing this essay.  Everyone thinks that they have the most handsome, most thoughtful, most romantic husband when deciding to enter these contests.  In taking a moment to gather my thoughts before writing, I have to ask myself the question of what makes my husband Randy different, a cut above the average man. What sets him apart and gives me no doubt that he is the one who has earned the title "#1 Husband and Father" if not for this contest, but always in my heart? 

     The answer is simple, and yet profound:  he loves me with the unconditional and self-sacrificing love of Christ. I don't want to spoil a great love story by giving you the ending first, but Randy is the husband and father he is today only through the fact that Grace has made all the difference in his life.  Without Christ teaching and leading him daily in how to be a man after God's own heart, we wouldn't have a marriage approaching our tenth anniversary this year or a healthy, loving home for our three children. 

     Randy and I are both from "broken" homes and were children of divorce; we both experienced seeing our parents not make it to "forever" and didn't have the best examples in marriage and family life.  I married young and had to go through the loss of my first spouse to infidelity and single motherhood in caring for my young daughter.  Randy came into my life when I felt the most unlovable, unwanted, and discarded.  The first time I looked into his eyes however, I saw the love of Christ and the potential restoration of what had been taken from me . . . . I knew I could trust this man not to do anything purposely to hurt me . . . and by God's grace, that has all come true.

     There isn't such a thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect spouse - - - but I have the closest thing to that every single day and I don't take a moment of it for granted.  Through the last ten years, we have experienced many losses together:  the loss of a child, the loss of a business, the loss of his father, the loss of my health . . . and each time I have seen Randy come under me to support and defend my needs before his own.  We have also faced many moments of bittersweet joy together:  the birth of two more children after complicated pregnancies, buying two homes, watching our children grow and mature each passing day, and the blessing of praying for and loving each other through the ups and downs of daily life. Through it all he has been the steady support that has carried me through the life we share together.

     I have so many moments that have frozen in time in my memory when I knew that I saw Christ working for and loving me through my husband.  When the rubber really meets the road and all the potential "hazards" of life come into view, Randy has always shown me how much he loves me through his words, his touch, and his actions. 

     He has always treated me like a lady: preserving my affections and showing me such honor by asking for my hand from my father and then waiting to kiss me until our wedding day.  He is a "gentle-man" and is always respectful of me as a woman and sister in Christ.

     He has held my hand and prayed for me in childbirth and before many surgeries, soothing my fears with his quiet, steady presence.  His is the first face I look to find after the anesthesia fades.  He is my safe place.

     He sends me to bed early and looks out for my needs as he stays up late to wash the dishes, even after having a long day at work.  He misses much-needed sleep for me.

      He calls me every day on his break at work and patiently asks me about my day, along with sending me loving and uplifting text messages.  He invests himself in me.

     He loves spending time with his family - and is willing to give up HIS interests to do so.  Although he loves to watch sports, he lets the rest of us choose what to do, even at the expense of not being able to watch "his" teams.  He knows that his family is worth more than anything else in the world.

     He encourages me to have social time out with my friends each week, and although he hasn't been out alone with a friend more than 5 times in the last ten years, he is willing to send me out for some "me" time.    He never complains about the amount of extra work that he will have to do to make that happen. He cares about my needs and serves me by caring for our children.

     He works, tirelessly, to provide for our family so that I can follow my dream and calling to be a SAHM (stay at home mom).  I am speechless when I think about the sacrifices he has made to see this come to reality in our family, even with sometimes working two jobs to take care of the finances.  He isn't afraid to be responsible for our family and our future.

     He is always affectionate, patient, supportive, romantic, and self-sacrificing; most importantly, however, Christ has free reign to work in and through him to love me (and our children) unconditionally.  I don't deserve such love . . . but again, neither do I deserve Christ's love and sacrifice.  I am a very blessed woman, indeed.

     The thing I have learned most during the last ten years of our marriage is that, just as I had to make the choice to accept the Grace given so freely to me through Christ, I must also daily choose to accept and cherish the love and self-sacrifice of my husband.  There are times even still when I feel so unworthy of the gift of this precious man and his love for me.  In gratefulness and my daily service, I hope to "repay the debt" of love of both my God and my husband by choosing to accept that love that comes from both and offer what I can give in return - - - my whole heart.

I pray this debt will never be canceled. 

Happy Father's Day to my husband, my friend, and my love, Randy. 

Always your love,


Book Review: Life Without Limits

(Pictures on this post are from

Through videos on YouTube, the information on the Internet, and other forms of news media, most people have been able to learn and be inspired from the story of Nick Vujicic. This young man has become a hero to many, as he seeks to invest his life serving and inspiring others through his example of living a life without limits. 

He has been able to travel the world as an inspirational speaker through dedication, hard work, and fortitude, and he has been able to achieve many if not all of his childhood dreams. What makes him a remarkable man and his achievements so noteworthy is the fact that Nick has never let his life be limited by the fact that he was born with no arms or legs. He has had to open his mind and choose to live a life without limits - - - and the world has never been the same. 

I was able to read this book at a time when I was at a crossroads in my own life - I was seeking to know what to do about where I was at this point in my mid-thirties with being newly unemployed and seeking to know where I was called to go next. I was feeling trapped by my circumstances and unable to see how I was going to find my way out of this into the next step. Nick spoke to me, through this book, and I don't think that I will ever be the same again. 

He opened my eyes to see myself as a person of value, a person who can make a difference, and as a person with only this moment, this day, this life at my disposal. I know that I want to make it count! I don't want to waste a moment looking back; he encourages us to open your arms and mind to imagine the possibilities of what you can achieve when you purpose in your heart not to limit yourself by your attitude, the fear of potential failure, or the immense needs of others out there in the world. Each of us are here for a reason. . . and by seeking to make a difference in the lives of others we meet each day, we will find out true calling and life's work. 

By reading the accounts of his struggles and triumphs, along with his positive, encouraging words, I felt the flame of passion for serving and following my authentic calling again. This 30-something wife and mom of three kids was able to remember what it was that I used dream of doing and what I pursued with passion. Reading his words made my heart soar and my spirits rise! Nick's love for God and people comes through on every page, and his humorous take on rough times reminded me again of the importance of keeping an great attitude in facing the hard times; humor is the pillow to catch is when we get pushed to the floor in life! 

I would recommend this book to anyone, especially since the message is timeless, inspirational, and genuine. He has a pure heart of love for all and the enthusiasm he has for experiencing all that life has to offer really touches me. Nick works so hard every day to reach the stars in every area of his life that he has set off a tidal wave of service and philanthropy. Make each moment of your life count by investing it in the lives of others. Doing so will enable you to also live a life without limits!


Disclaimer - Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group gave a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

Book Review: Lioness Arising

     This is the first book that I have ever read from this author, although I have heard of her and been intrigued by the titles of her works for a while.  When I found out that I could receive and review this book, I immediately could sense that it would change my life; there are books that can do that to the reader by just them reading the synopsis.  I can honestly say that from the moment I opened this book, I was not disappointed.  She has put words to my heart's cry.  

(Photo found here

     Lisa Bevere, along with her husband, are the visionaries behind Messenger International,  which seeks to "inspire(s) godliness while imparting freedom through uncompromised messages releasing people into their fulfilled life in Christ" (quote from their website).  This book, the latest in Lisa's focus in calling women into the truth of God's Word, takes the metaphor of a lioness and a modern-day Christian woman and weaves a riveting account of how God can use the lioness-woman to:

  • be a stunning representation of strength*
  • fiercely protect the young*
  • lend your voice to the silenced*
  • live in the light and hunt in the dark*
  • raise a collective roar that changes everything*
           *Points found here, at her website.)

     Too often, it becomes easy to be focused on the here and now, in the small bubble of our own existence (and fight for survival) as modern-day women, even as women of Faith.  Lisa challenges us to start thinking of the impact we can (and should) be having on our world by becoming women-warriors who are mindful and deliberate in our focus to impact our world for Christ, as individuals and as a group united with a common calling.  

     As an English teacher and a lover of the written word, I throughly enjoyed the fact that she was able to take the metaphor of the lioness and develop it fully, weaving Scriptures throughout her book, showing me the truths of this concept.  Once I was able to finish reading and close this book, I was inspired anew; I could see that I needed to redirect my thinking to be intentional,  powerful, and visionary, according to the Word of God and not my narrow-mindedness of "reality" versus having the eyes of faith.

     After reading this book, I am reminded again that nothing is impossible for women of faith to achieve when God has called and then equipped all of us, regardless of our personal, daily tasks, age, or situations, in reaching our family, friends, communities, and the world with the truth and clarity of the Gospel and the Love of God.  For such a time as this, yes, we as women of God are called to be world-changers according to the lioness roaring inside all of us.

Will you listen and heed the roar of your sisters in the field?  We are calling you to unite and join us as we redeem the time and change our world for the Glory of God!

Disclaimer - Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group gave a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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Book Review: Love at Last Sight


   It was the title that drew me in and hooked my interest to open this book to learn ASAP what would lie inside the cover.  With a title like "Love at Last Sight" one might take a guess that this book would be another run-of-the-mill self-help book, and I admit that I wasn't ready for the impact this book would have in my life and my relationships. I'm only getting started in absorbing all that this book had to offer.

     Right off the bat, this book started with the encouragement to choose three relationships that are not where you want them to be at the moment or that could be improved upon using the steps outlined in the book.  Immediately, I felt convicted, knowing that although I do my best to ensure that my conscience is clear towards others and I don't harbor any known grudges, there are relationships in my life that I value that haven't stayed as close as I want them to be. I immediately was awakened to the fact that I could do something about that.

     Rather than waiting on that other person in the weakened relationship to take the initiative to reach out of do something to improve things between us, I decided to seek God in knowing how *I* could be the one to make the first move, even if I was thinking it was "their" turn.

     The Shooks (the authors of LALS) have set up a wonderful website and developed a SmartPhone App that helps the reader apply the concepts in the book even more.  By taking this 30-day Challenge, you will learn how to practice the Four Lost Arts of Relationship Building:

 1. The Art of Being All There

 2. The Art of Acting Intentionally

 3. The Art of Risking Awkwardness

 4. The Art of Letting Go

     I can't report on how the relationships I am working on are improving; only God knows the ending of the story He is writing about them.  I do know and can report that I am left with the peace in knowing that I am taking an active role in improving the relationships in my life.  With God's help and the tips provided in this book, we can all have Love At Last Sight.

Disclaimer - Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group gave me a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes. 

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Friday, July 29, 2011

A new direction

I am not new to the world of writing and blogging, but God has impressed upon me that I have needed to take this calling upon my life into a new direction.

I am not looking for praise, fame, glory, or self-promotion in starting and posting to this new blog; may all that I do here and the words I share through the blogging world be a blessing to the One who has called and encouraged me in this.

May He be praised!

His Handmaiden - reaching for the Hem,

--- Gina