Monday, January 30, 2012

SHINE goes Italian....

yes, i am a dork....some things never change.
i made them raise their hands and yell SHINE! :)

surrounded by my Johnathan's. <3
see post here... 

Happy Birthday Dinner for me. The gift was their company.

We ate at Chianti's. One of my faves.

I love these girls. 

Every last cute little one of them.

Thank you, friends!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Presley and Annie....

As if the Lord had not shown me enough Red birds this week, he ended my Friday night with one last one.

My Presley made the Annie play! 

She and several other of her young little friends will be opening the play with a little song and dance..."You are never fully dressed without a smile!"

I am thinking that they probably let everyone have a little part in the play that tried out...and I think that is just the coolest thing.

You would think that Presley had the lead role as Annie. She is over the moon. She woke up and came into the den singing the "You are never fully dressed without a smile" song.


Thank you, Jesus for showing me another red bird.

He's so personal with us, friends. He wants to get down and dirty into your business in a big way.

Not sure about you, but I love a friend that gets down and dirty and who's not afraid to get in your business when they need to. It shows they love us. Big time.

That's our Jesus. The greatest friend you will ever have. Ever.

Look for some red birds today, friends. He is waiting to show them to you.

expecting more red birds,


Friday, January 20, 2012

No Coincidences here...

Just a little update.

Still no word on whether Presley made either audition. She wakes up every single morning and asks if we've heard anything. Love her.

Meanwhile, Joseph is planned to participate in the county spelling bee next Saturday.

Seriously, where do these kids come from? I scratch my head quite often.

It's definitely not true that the apple doesn't fall far from tree. Because, in this case, the apples fell, rolled down the hill, and rolled right into the roaring river.

This week has been quite amazing. I tend to overuse that word, amazing, but it always seems fitting.

I had a close friend sit across the table from me at a local coffee shop, with tears in her eyes, telling me of a restored relationship in her life. After many, many years of not speaking, God had restored their relationship in a matter of seconds.

The very next day, Joseph and I were having lunch at Chic-fil-a. As we sat across the booth from one another, I am re-telling the story of Saul that we have been reading about in 1 Samuel.

We are discussing Saul's lack of obedience and how Saul jumped ahead of God's timing. Because of this, Saul lost God's favor and pretty much lost everything. Whew.

As we are discussing the story, I see a beautiful girl in the booth behind us. She is by herself and reading her Bible. I remember thinking.."Oh, Lord.. please let that be Presley one day. Please, please."

We are about to leave, when Joseph asks if we can eat at ice cream together before we go. Always a sucker for some Chic-fil-a ice cream, I easily oblige.

He is up getting the ice cream when the young girl asks if she can talk to me for a second. "Sure", I tell her.

She then proceeds to tell me of how she was listening to the story about Saul that I was telling Joseph. She said she needed to hear that very message at that very moment.

Her eyes flooded with tears as she showed me a passage in Acts that God had just showed her as she sat down in the booth. It was a verse on waiting and not rushing ahead of the Lord.

We were both stunned. She then proceeded to tell me of how she had been in a 3 year relationship with a guy and he had broken her heart. She was so confused, and angry at the same time.

She wanted answers from the Lord over why this was happening. She still loved this guy and needed to know why the relationship was not God's plan at this time.

God was trying to tell her to be patient and praise Him in the waiting.

Oh man, we were both just awe struck by our whole conversation.  God had seated us at that very booth so that we could talk to each other. Wow.

I got her number, she got mine and I hope to hear how her story unfolds one day. I pray that she will just trust the Lord, and know He is working this out for her in her best interest.

Her name was Brittany, she was 19.

Not only was the Lord showing her something through all of that, but He was showing me something.

God was showing me that all of this...all of this, is for His purpose. Even the smallest details of my day are orchestrated by Him.

Joseph on any other day would have been in school. He was sick that day and I had taken him to the doctor. I would normally never take him out to eat on a sick day. However, I felt like I should that day.

Man, the Holy Spirit had this all planned out. It still gives me chills.

Today, I get a phone call from a loved one that something incredible has unfolded in her marriage. Something that we have been praying for, for a very long time.




God is in charge of all of this restoration. He orchestrates every detail.

He wants me to know that He is at work. He is doing His part in all of this.

I must trust Him, and praise Him in the waiting as well.

I know this is just the first of many red-birds (as I like to call these kind of moments) that I will see along the way. They never get old. I am always left dumb-founded and completely struck by our God.

What's your red-bird, friend?

Seek Him, He is longing to show Himself to you.

ever in awe,


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Audition(s)....

I am so in love with my kids.

And my husband.

Not necessarily in that order.

The last few days have been very special and "living in the moment" kind of days...even more so than usual.

Every second with my kids makes me the happiest girl in the whole word. It really does.

I know people say that a lot..but I really, truly mean it. They make me laugh the MOST. They make me feel like the silliest person in the world...I love that!

They need me. I dig that.

They make me better.

For example, just yesterday, my Presley tried out for two plays. Yes, two.

One was for her school play, the other was for the high school play. Who does this??

She does!

Her confidence and boldness teaches me. Every day.

I pray (a lot) that she will make at least one of them. My heart breaks thinking of the idea that she may not make either. She is so sure of herself, so confident. I want her to stay that way...whether she makes the play or not.

Yesterday, I had completely forgotten about the high school audition for Annie. It was scheduled for 7-9 pm. Presley goes to bed by 8:00.

I was worried she would be too tired to go. Nope. She was ready, standing at the door with an adorable headband topped with a big, fat pink flower on top of it.

Irresistible, she was. 

Confident, she was.

Courageous, she was.

Bold, she was.

Yep, she's teaching me. Every day.

enjoying being her student,


Change of plans.....

I posted this on the SHINE blog today. I wanted to share it on my blog as well, because it is personal. I want to remember this and want to be able to look back on this and remember:

As I got up this morning to read 1 Samuel 13, I have to be honest..I wasn't really feeling it. I could tell as soon as I poured my hot coffee that I wanted to go through the motions a little today.

I wanted to just kind of stay numb and in my own thoughts. I  wanted to process some heavy things going on right now around me. I wanted to just wrap my brain around those things and figure them out.

As I type this, my eyes are blood-shot, and tear stains are on my cheeks.

Reading 1 Samuel 13 was really the last thing I wanted to do as I sat down in my little chair in the den at 5:00 am. I just wanted to melt and go away for a little while.

You see, I love getting up early because it helps me to focus and get my day right with the Lord.

However, this morning, I just wanted to sit and cry and try to figure out what I can do to help my loved ones figure out the mess of things that have unfolded. Ugh. Heart broken.

In fact, I found a few quiet minutes yesterday and had already prepared something for today's blog post. I was prepared to send it early this morning.

Change of plans.

Why the change of heart?

I read 1 Samuel 13.

Actually, I had thought about doing my reading later today...I needed to just sit in this chair, drink my coffee and figure things out.

However, I remember telling you all from the first email to read the reading before you do anything else.

I heard my own voice echoing in my head, so I didn't want to be a hypocrite in that respect.

As I looked around for my Bible, I realized that I had left it in the car. Shoot.

I like reading my very own.

This day was already starting out not good.

I found my husbands bible and sat down to read.

I'm so glad I did.

In these passages, Saul gets impatient and decides to go ahead with his plan instead of following God's plan. He makes a move too early, and offers the burnt sacrifices before the Lord had appointed Him to.

He was supposed to wait for Samuel to get there before doing this. Saul became impatient and took matters into his own hands.

From that point on, He lost God's favor.

Oh, girls! This is HUGE to me!

How many times, have I taken matters into my own hands because I didn't want to wait any longer? I wanted to rush to the outcome that I so desperately wanted...only to find that it led to disappointment.

What is God telling us in 1 Samuel 13?

Keep TRUSTING Him and stay OBEDIENT to Him, even when things seems bleak and hopeless.

Oh, man...could God make it any clearer to me this morning?

Here I was trying to figure out how to make things better and tweak the seemingly inevitable outcomes of things around me.

However, God is telling me..."wait on me, Jill. Wait on me. Trust in me. Despite the looming clouds and the thunder and lightning...wait on me. Trust me."

Not sure about you girls, but I don't want to be like Saul. I don't EVER want to lose God's favor because I lacked the faith in Him to carry me through.

I want to be the one that trusts Him, no matter. No matter what.

What storms are raging around you that you are doing everything in your power to control?

Are you truly trusting and waiting on the Lord through faith and obedience?

Or, are you like Saul (and myself)..and have decided to take matters in your own hands and hoping God will think your idea is a better one.

Oh, girls....let's not miss this.

Let's learn from Saul. Let's learn from his mistakes.

Stay on course, girls. Let's quit taking matters into our own hands because we are impatient.

Let's trust Him. No matter what.

"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

re-setting my compass,


Monday, January 16, 2012

Be Quiet....

Having a lot of A-ha's lately.

Let me rephrase, God is showing me a lot of A-ha's lately.

Phrases keep coming into my head and scriptures keep popping up all over the place repeating the same thing...

"I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.

I feel and hear the Lord beckoning me to draw closer to Him. To come to a quieter place and hear him.

My world is busy. Phones ringing, phones beeping, phones vibrating, emails being delivered, emails being sent, blogs being posted, blogs being commented on, children fussing, husbands beckoning, doorbell ringing, tv blaring, oven timer going off, dryer buzzing.....

The list goes on.

How in the world am I supposed to hear from God if my ears have all of this clanging going on?

So, it's time to  follow His lead. I am going to a quiet place to get some rest.

His Word.

When I go to His word, He brings my anxious heart peace. I know this, but why is it so hard to get to that quiet place?

Is it that I want to feel important and loved so I refuse to give up some of the things clamoring for my attention?

Is it that I am afraid of the transparency that I find in the quiet moments with the Lord?

Am I scared of what He may show me?


Besides, the world says it's good to be "busy." It's good to be needed. It's good to be super-woman. It's good to be wanted, invited, and sought after by others.

However, is that what God's Word says?

As I sat on my bed tonight with a heavy heart and a hungry spirit...I opened the Bible directly to this passage.

It's the same passage that the Lord has been showing me all Summer. The same passage that launched SHINE into existence.

However, this small little passage in those scriptures stood out on the page for me tonight like He was shining a spotlight on them.

"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mark 6:31.

He may as well of dropped a brick on my head.

He is telling me, once again, that I need some rest. He wants me out of the "busy" and into the place where He can be found.

That's what I want.

That's where I want to be.

So, as I tune into Him and tune out the noise, I will be waiting for Him to speak to me once more.

I will be waiting for Him to fill my hungry spirit and my thirsty soul. He is the only thing that can fill it.

silence is golden,


Friday, January 13, 2012

Humble me, why don't ya.....

Sometimes life if just plain humbling.

For example: A few days after Christmas I broke out in a horrid rash on my stomach, chest and back.

Okay, "horrid" may be an understatement.

It was horrendous. Yes, that sounds better....horrendous.

It looked like the chicken pox, but only uglier.

Thank goodness, it's sweater, scarf and turtleneck weather, or I really would have been doomed to confinement.

Soon after, a big crusty fever blister popped up on my bottom lip.

To top THAT off, another formed right below it hanging off the corner of my mouth. Yes, hanging off the corner--you read that right.

More than once these past couple of weeks I have been asked.."Are you....okay?"

This only after seeing my face broken out, fever blistered...oh, and did I mention dark circles under my eyes?


Pity stares, I'm tellin' ya.

Well, here we are going on week 3 of this rash. Now, it's crawled up my neck. Yes, my neck.

To top THAT off, I was applying mascara and noticed a little spot on my eye lid. Yep, my eye lid.

Good grief. Give a girl a break, will ya?

So, I called the doctor at dark thirty this morning. The dermatologist.

The answering service picked up. Shoot.

When I want to see a doctor, I want to see a doctor...NOW.

Have a little sympathy....when you look like Frankenstein's twin sister, you get a little irritable.

Finally, I get an appointment--after practically begging the poor secretary on the other end of the line.

The PA walks into the room where they have chosen me to bare my ugly rash. As I am pulling up my shirt and pointing, she is looking down. She hardly gives me a glance.

"You're fine. It's just contact dermatitis. Or something similar." She says.

(Basically, my skin had a reaction to something....helpful, huh?)

She then says, "I will get the nurse to come and give you a the butt, and you will be okay."

I had lost every ounce of dignity that I had left.

Here I was looking like Leo the Leopard and now I had to have a shot in my......buttocks.

(Did she have to say.....butt? It was so.....demeaning.)

Before I had time to draw my composure, the nurse walks in with a needle.

Good grief, I mean, give me a minute to freshen up will ya?

I was not prepared to pull down my pants and bend over. (sorry for the graphics, but the truth is the truth, people.)

Girls, you know what I mean by "not prepared". I did not have on my cute panties or anything of the such. I was wearing my oldest and ugliest undergarments.


My face was reddening by the minute. I mean, come on didn't even lock the door.

What if someone walked in?

I mean, this is the kind of stuff that gets put on YouTube.

After the shot, I got in my car, put my tail between my legs and drove home.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

This didn't help.

I am not vain, but a girl likes to be able to catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror and not shudder. 

Is that too much to ask?

So, meanwhile, when you see me...just tell me I look great.

 Lie to me.

I'm okay with that.

rash and all,


**don't even think about asking me to post a picture...not a chance.**

Monday, January 9, 2012

Remember to Live...

My stomach hurts.

My head hurts.

I feel a little numb.

We just got home from David's memorial service.

My life will never be the same, of that you can be sure. I want to be like David. Period.

The church was so full that there were friends lined up and down the walls and out the sanctuary door.


A man I've never even met face to face.

A man that has touched my, not touched....etched. He has etched my heart. He has left an undeniable etching right in the center of my heart.

I remember when my friend, Heather, died. I felt much the same as I do today.




In fact, I just realized that after Heather's funeral...that hot July day...I immediately came home and took a bath.

As soon as I got home today from David's memorial service today, I crawled right into a hot, steamy bath.

Maybe, in some way, the burning of the water takes the pain of my heart away for a few minutes.

Or maybe, it's the sadness and the grief that I am trying to wash off of me.

Or maybe, just maybe, it's the solitude of being alone with my thoughts and my that my heart can cry the most.

When Heather died, I sat in the hot tub, and knew that my life would be different from that day forward. I realized the smallness of my time here on Earth.

I realized that I wanted to live life to the fullest.

I wanted to take chances.

I wanted to unlock the chains from my heart of bitterness, hurt, fear of rejection, unforgiveness.

That very day, I set my heart free.

Free to take risks, free to fly, free to dream.

But most of all free to love.

As I sat in the hot bath today, after David's memorial...I realized the gift that David's life was to me.

His battle and his journey brought me to my knees in prayer every single day.

Out of his pain, illness, and prayer life was restored.

Through that restoration, my life will never be the same. Ever.

How can I ever thank him for that?

I think I know.

I will live like he lived.

Love like he loved.

Memento Vivere.



Saturday, January 7, 2012

I have a dream....

My personal favorite SHINE girl. 

I am so excited to announce the birth of something that God has completely put together with His very own hands.

My heart is absolutely blown away by what the Lord is doing in the lives of His people...especially His women.

It has been my DREAM for a very long time to have a platform to help lead others to Christ.

However, I have very, very limited skills and abilities. For real.

 I cannot sing, I do not public speak, I am not a leader. In fact I get all weak in the knees just thinking about all that stuff.

So, I have always prayed that God would just use me to do something that honors Him...whatever His plan should be.

I truly believe SHINE is the answer to my prayer.

SHINE is an online weekly Bible reading group. We read a chapter a day on weekdays only.

We save the weekends for catching up if we need to.

The reading plan is adapted from my wonderful church..Eastridge Community.

I have NO idea what the Lord has in store for this little group. My prayer is that lives will be transformed, restored and renewed in their relationship with the Father.

When we are soaking up God's word, we cannot help but change....and radiate His light and love.

I invite every reader...(all two of you) to be a SHINE girl with us. Let's stay accountable to each other, pray for each other, and follow our Shepherd to greener pastures.

The Lord laid this scripture on my heart for our SHINE group...

"Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Psalm 34:5

My 7 year old is looking over my shoulder as I type. She wants me to let all of you know that she a SHINE girl! She wants me to tell you that "She SHINES like a lightbulb!"

Tears of JOY.

SHINE girls come in all ages, shapes, colors and sizes. The more colorful and different we are, the more we radiate His glory!

Please check out our blog page..and JUMP in and SHINE!

shining like a lightbulb,

jill & presley ;-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pass me a Kleenex....

I sit here and type, but I really need to be doing housework.

My floors are dirty, they need a good sweep and vacuum. But, I just can't right now.

While making my bed a few minutes ago, I started sobbing uncontrollably.

My heart is still aching from the loss of David.

The strange thing is...we were not really "friends." I knew his brother and hung out with his brother a little after high school. I had never really met David.

Until Facebook.

When I heard of his illness, I contacted him and introduced myself and expressed to him how my family and I were in fervent prayer for his healing.

We sent a few emails back and forth a couple of times, and I posted countless encouraging scriptures on his wall.

But, we had never even met.

It doesn't matter though. My heart grieves for the loss of his presence and his warmth that he radiated.

I just saw a picture of him on facebook taken when he was about hit my heart hard.

I saw him as a little boy, close to my Joseph's age.

As a Mother, I grieve. As a wife, I grieve. As a friend, I grieve. As a sister in Christ, I grieve.

I know he is healed. And smiling.

I take comfort in that.

I will finally meet him face to face one day. I will hug his neck, and tell him what he has done for me...for us.

Jesus took him for a reason. The reason is becoming crystal clear to me.

His life has impacted so many. His life is drawing us all closer to Jesus because of our sorrow.

Oh, I love you.

blowing snot bubbles, but still trusting,


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A time to weep....

I knew it when I woke up this morning at 5:15 and read my Jesus Calling devotional.

Here are the first few sentences...

"I want you to learn a new habit. Try saying, "I trust You, Jesus" in response to whatever happens to you. If there is time, thing about who I am in all My Power and Glory; ponder also the depth and breadth of My Love for you.

This simple practice will help you see Me in every situation, acknowledging My sovereign control over the universe. When you view events from My perspective--through the Light of My universal Presence--fear loses its grip on you."

I knew He was preparing me. Preparing us for the news.

We lost a friend today. No, let me rephrase, we didn't lose him, we know where he is.

He is sitting next to Jesus. Wearing his new attire, and glowing so bright that it would hurt our eyes to see him.

He is healed. Completely.

Our prayers were answered.

We prayed for healing...God gave David the ultimate medicine to heal.


I am sitting in my bed, coffee to the left, computer on my lap, and bible to the right of  me.

When I heard the news this morning, I was headed to spin class.

My thoughts were jumbled, my mind was racing with anxious thoughts for David's family.

I just kept saying, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus."

I am still saying that.

I don't know what else to say.  Perhaps that is the only thing to say.

I trust you, Jesus.

My Hope is in the Lord.

I envision David looking down from Heaven and seeing the final masterpiece of his life complete. Jesus is showing him the pieces of the puzzle that we don't see. I envision David smiling and laughing and nodding his head as he sees the purpose in all of this.

We will see it one day too.

We will see our brother in Christ again. Sooner than we can even imagine.

God brings us strength through death. We learn things that we could not have been taught otherwise.

Death brings the reality of our earthly mortality. However, it also brings the truth of our Eternal Home.

I will choose to continue trusting Jesus.

He is the only way.

This verse gave me comfort when thinking of David's widow, Lisa. At 37, she bears the burden of raising 2 children without her superman.

" He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young. " Isaiah 40:11

This was the verse in my devotional this morning.

If this doesn't show us that He is all sovereign and in control...I don't know what does. He gave this to us.

His words.

He is tending his flock. Of this we can be sure.

trusting you Jesus,


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grace in the moment....


Today, I am overwhelmed by God's grace and His Glory.

I sat in the quiet of my den this morning with my very hot cup of coffee and just cried before the Lord.

He absolutely knocks me to my knees with His presence.

He has never been more REAL to me than right now.

He shows Himself time and time again in my life...and I just don't understand why He loves me so much.

I don't deserve it...and He knows it.

I guess that is the cool thing about Grace.....although, I don't deserve it, He still lavishes it upon me.

Goodness, that's love.

It's really too much for me to even wrap my tiny little brain around. Perhaps that's why it's freeing.

I don't have to wrap my brain around it all...I just need to sit and soak Him up.

And trust Him.

Just when I think, I have screwed it up beyond repair...He offers me another chance.


It's a beautiful thing.

soaking Him up,


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week One...

OK, so today starts our weekly Bible reading plan. I am really not sure what God has thrown me into...but I am excited!

Normally, I would be completely overwhelmed at the thought of such a commitment. Need I remind you of my commitment phobia?

I am not sure if I will post all of them emails on my blog or not. Still figuring that out. However, I do encourage all of my (one or two) readers to make a commitment to studying His word. Daily.

Joy, strength and wisdom will come like never before.

Who doesn't want a little of that?

I know I want it and I need it.

So, here is today's's never to late to jump in.

 Just email me at and you will be in our little group.

Fun, right?

Good morning, girls! Happy New Year!

Are you ready to start this year off on the right track? I know I sure am!

I love the start of a new year. It offers a clean slate.

Anyone besides me need a clean slate?

Regardless of how 2011 was for you...God offers us new Hope every single day. He is a God of second chances, and third, and fourth, and fifth....and so on.

How cool is that?

I for one, need His grace. Every single day. I cannot even begin to count the many chances He has already given me. Whew.

This virtual bible study is new for me...and probably you too. However, just because we are not face to face doesn't mean it's not personal.

I want you all to know that I am praying for each of your sweet faces (even if I don't know your face).

My heart is taking this very seriously, because I need this accountability.

Please feel free to share at any time....anything on your heart regarding the reading or if you just want to share something in your life. We are all here to encourage and stand shoulder to shoulder together as sisters in Christ.

If you are feeling weak, stressed, angry, bitter, on us for prayer. The enemy wants us to keep those feelings inside...because then they have power over us.

When we bring our deepest hurts into the Light of the Father, we are healed. Completely.

Many of you have asked about Bible apps for your phones. There are a lot of good ones. YouVersion is a popular one. You can select any format as far as New International. American Standard, King James, etc. This makes it easy to pull up scripture on your phone at any given time.

I also encourage you to find a quiet spot in the morning with your Bible already there...and coffee too! It will make it easier for you to just get up and go to your little spot without much thinking.

Go to Him before checking your email, turning on the news, etc....let Him be the FIRST thing you do. (I am really speaking to myself here!)

In the meantime, pray for each other. Pray for your fellow sisters. Strength and Joy come through prayer.

Also, if you know anyone else that may want to do this...please include them. We are not a closed group. Ever.

Let's do this, girls!

Let your little lights SHINE today and every day!

Oh, how HE loves YOU!

loving this clean slate,


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012....

It's 8:20 am and I am the first one up.

Did I say the first one up? I mean the second one up. My little Presley is always the first one.

 God love her.

I just wanted to wish all of you a very Happy and Blessed New Year.

This year has been a roller coaster to say the least.

Thank the Lord for His big strong arms carrying us through it all.

My resolution?

I want to be radical in my faith and my love for Jesus Christ.

I want to make a difference. Even if it is only in one life...I want to make a difference.

Not for my glory, but for the glory of the Lord.

I want everyone I know to know Jesus Christ. Not just know Him, but love Him.

Not just a fan, but a follower.

A groupie.

Yes, a groupie for Christ.

That's my resolution.

That's my heart's desire.

What's yours?

your fellow groupie,