Jan 31, 2012

SHINE girl spotlight....

Happy Tuesday, SHINE friends! If you are new to SHINE, we post a SHINE girl spotlight every week.

Each girl chosen, shares her testimony (or anything she wants to share), and then she picks the SHINE girl spotlight for the following week. Got it?

So, last week's SHINE spotlight was Courtney Butler. Don't we love Courtney? Her story touched all of our hearts...and then some.

Courtney has chosen the next SHINE girl spotlight, and here is her introduction. Be blessed. Very, very blessed. (grab your kleenex box, again.)

Courtney's Introduction:
If I could’ve hand-picked my mama, I can assure you that the one God chose for me would be the one I would’ve selected.  I am beyond proud to say that my mama is truly my best friend.  Her family is her life and, to this day, she will do ANYTHING for us.  Her love never fails. 

My mom is a warrior.  She has battled through so much in her life.  She has handled all trials in her life with class and it is because of her that I have been able hold my head high through my own trials.  Her incredible strength has certainly showed me, as her daughter, how to persevere and never lose hope, for God is in control and He never fails us.   

I hope that each of you appreciate all that your mom is in your life.  If not, I beg of you to make amends with her.  You never know when it might be too late.  Just as we are important to our children, we as children, still need our moms too…no matter how old we get. 

I am PROUD to introduce you to my beautiful, strong, and fabulous mama, Freda.

I’m not a writer, but I’m a survivor!
by Freda.

~Freda and her grandchildren~

~Freda and her Mike~

“Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid…for the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and He will be my Savior.”

Without a doubt, these words have been the greatest source of comfort and strength to me. I first heard them sung in church almost 30 years ago by my children. Our church‘s music department presented “ The First Song of Isaiah”  every Mother’s Day and it was quite the production with all of the church choirs participating. My children have since taught their own children these beautiful lyrics and our family continues to be blessed by them.

I married young…my husband was three years older and I loved him and trusted him will all my heart. We were blessed with three beautiful children and life seemed perfect to me. One day after almost 21 years of marriage my husband announced he wasn’t happy and that he was moving out. To say I was shocked is an understatement and my children were crushed beyond words. I was so worried about them and all I could think about was protecting them and keeping their lives as close to normal as possible. I never expected my children to be the product of divorce…but it happened and it hurt…and yet we grew so much from that pain. 

 At night, I sat in bed and read my bible. I was desperate to find answers and was so scared for all of us and our uncertain future. The words my children had sung were so true. .Surely it is God who SAVES me! I will trust in Him and NOT be afraid! We survived that year and I received strength, hope, courage and blessings beyond belief!

Five months after the divorce God put a plan into motion that changed my life completely. Events that only HE could orchestrate resulted in a blind date that led to a nineteen year marriage that has blessed not only me but my children and grandchildren, as well. My husband is a generous, kind and loving man who tells me constantly that he loves me and my children (and he has three children and six grandchildren of his own)! We have a wonderful life and I am grateful for it every day.
Nine months after our wedding I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Unfortunately, we don’t get the opportunity to say “no thank you”, so chemotherapy and radiation followed. Being bald with no eyelashes or eye brows on your first wedding anniversary is NOT cool !!!!! My children had just “lost” their father and now I had to add to their worries with the threat that they might lose me too! As mothers, we can’t help but worry about our children and all I could think about was protecting them and keeping their lives as normal as possible. Once again, God lifted me up and gave me the courage I needed to survive!   

Almost six years ago our entire family experienced my saddest time ever. You met my beautiful daughter Courtney in last week’s blog

Watching her come home from the hospital without her baby was the hardest thing I had ever done. The entire situation with baby Harrison was such a shock to us all and no one could have ever expected the outcome. It didn’t matter to me that she was all grown up ….she was still my little girl and all I wanted was to protect her and make everything ok. Guess what? She didn’t need any of that from me! She was so strong and God had lifted her up and protected her and filled her with His love. She said to me “How can I question God’s plan for my baby”?  We are so blessed to have had him for the time we did…some families never have that chance.

 She was so strong and truly carried our entire family. I am so proud of her but even more grateful to God for His many blessings to me and my family. Trusting in God and not being afraid is the only reason we survive the difficult times we face. How blessed we are to have a loving, caring God who protects us and saves us!

Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world!   Isaiah 12:2-6

Jan 30, 2012

Monday SHINE...

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 21  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20SAMUEL%2021&version=MSG

Good morning, sweet SHINE girls! We have made it to another week in our reading!

For those of you that have been with us since day one (Jan. 1st), this will be our 5th week in this study. Wow!

As I got up this morning, I had nothing to post to you about today. Nada.

I was just going to post the scripture, wish you love, and go my merry way.

Well, as always, God had another plan. Don't we just love that about Him? I love how He leads.

As the month of February approaches this week, the Lord is leading me to post about Love.

Yep, L-O-V-E.

Sounds pretty and sweet, right? But, do we really know what Love is? Like, really?

Is it just something we say when we feel like it's appropriate? Is it something that we say because we "feel" overwhelming affection for another? Is it something we say out of obligation? Is it something that we say because it makes us sound holy, or all Christian-y?

Let's break it down. What does Love really mean, like through the Lord's eyes.

 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

Read the above passage and then read it again. Now, insert your name into the parts that say "Love"  or any referral to "Love". For example: "Jill is patient, Jill is kind, Jill does not envy..." etc. Got it?

Does it change things when you do that? It sure did for me. It hit home a little more in my heart.

Am I living love? Am I making love a verb in my life, daily? Or, am I just saying it at the right time, when it seems appropriate to say.

Are we living and breathing love to others? Like, really living it out....not just to the ones that are easy to love, but the not-so-easy to love?

I have had to learn this lesson, the hard, very hard way recently. There was a time last Fall when I was convicted by the Lord of this very thing. My actions were not the problem, it was what was going on in my heart towards a certain person.


It was severely damaging my walk, and my peace. As I sat and prayed to the Lord and begged Him to show me why I was such a mess, He gently convicted me of the condition of my heart.

It was not easy to hear. I kind of argued with Him and told Him that I had not acted out on this lack of love in any way.

He didn't care. He wanted me to love this person, regardless. Regardless of what this person did to me, regardless of what this person may continue to do to me.

Girls, this was a pivotal turning point in my walk with the Lord. I mean, pivotal.

 So, what did I do?

Well, after being stunned that the Lord could actually see in that little dark corner of my heart, I started that day making love a verb towards this person.

Trust me, it was not easy at first. My flesh was screaming in pain, as I showed this person love. She did not deserve it in my eyes.

But, do any of us?

Do I deserve to be loved? Nope.

But, does He love me anyway? YES.

My darkness finally broke into light. God was showing me that although I was "acting" like I loved her, He knew my heart. He knew it was all a facade.

He wanted me to truly love her and not keep a lock on that sore spot of my heart towards her.

Friends, if there is anyone in our lives that we feel justified in not loving, it's severely damaging us. God will not be able to use us to our full potential until we do some house keeping on this part of our heart.

Trust me, I have learned this the hard way.

Is there someone that you are not loving? Is there someone who has greatly hurt you and does not deserve to be loved by you? Is there someone that rubs you in all the wrong ways?

Girls, start today by praying for them. Yes, pray for them.

This is harder than it sounds. You will find the words are hard to say. Really hard. You will feel like you are being forced to say something that you don't mean. Pray those words anyway.

Still today, I pray for this person that I had a hard time loving. My heart has melted for her. My perspective has changed on the situation.

Friends, only God can make that happen.

"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

The first part of this command is pretty easy. How about the second part?

Start today, girls. Love that unlovable person.

Your life will change. You can count on it.

love them anyway,


Jan 29, 2012

Prayer Requests/Praises for the week of 1/30-2/3....

Please post your prayer requests and praises here for the week of 1/30-2/3.

“He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Serve your fellow SHINE girls by praying daily for them. Pray for their needs, and be blessed by the Lord as you do.

Discussions on Reading Plan for week of 2-1/30-2/3....

Discussions on 1 Samuel 21-25.

Post your thoughts, revelations, or anything about the reading this week here. :)

Reading plan week of 1/30-2/3....

Reading plan for week of 1/30-2/3:
  • Monday 1/30: 1 Samuel 21
  • Tuesday 1/31: 1 Samuel 22
  • Wednesday 2/1: 1 Samuel 23
  • Thursday 2/2: 1 Samuel 24
  • Friday 2/3:1 Samuel 25

A little encouraging scripture from our reading last week:

"David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." 1 Samuel 17:45

The Word is our strength and our power, SHINE girls.  Soak it up this week! 

Happy reading,


Jan 28, 2012

Saturday SHINE.....

Happy Saturday, SHINE girls! If you are new to SHINE, we do not have any scheduled readings on the weekend. So, the weekends are the perfect time to catch up on the previous week. I encourage you to do this! You will be so blessed and fresh and ready by Monday.

As always, I will post the reading plan on Sunday.

Today's guest blogger is Rebekah Vepraskas.  She has posted before, here. We were all blessed by her post then, and we will be blessed again today.

Can I toot her horn for just a second? Okay, thank you.

I love this girl. I mean like really, really love her. Let me tell you one of the reasons.

Just this week, I got a note in the mail from her with another scripture that she had written down for me on a beautiful green note card.  The timing of her note, could only be the work of the Father. The day that I received it was a not-so-great Jill Hill day. Down in the dumps, dreary, feeling sorry for myself kind of day if I'm being completely honest.

Rebekah lives in communication with the Holy Spirit, daily. Her gift of  being  a "counselor", has helped me and many others through some deep, dark, and ugly days.

 If you are Rebekah's friend, consider it a gift from the Lord. For real.

Be blessed, friends. This is mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, good. :)

Rebekah's boys. All 4 of them. 

Prayer, God and us:
by Rebekah Vepraskas

If I could rename 2011, it would be the year of prayer.  Prayer changed in my life last year.  Why?  Well, quite honestly, a lot of tragic things happened.  Cancer diagnoses in two, equally-incredible peers from high school, the death of my grandmother, a suicide attempt in my immediate family, the death of a my sweet friends’ child, the death of my friends' dad, miscarriages, the return of my nephew to jail--- over and over again, hurt.

If it were not for fear, hurt and tragedy, would we really turn to God?  Trials are gifts in many ways.  A chance to refocus our attention on Christ.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. “James 1:2

But, we don't believe that. We often say, Why God? And we look for relief.  He is our relief.  He is already there.  Are we listening? Are we open to Him, our answer?

1 Peter 4:12  
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”  

This year, I prayed so much for healing for my two friends’ cancer, one friend was healed, totally cancer free and one went to heaven.  Were both healed? Absolutely!  However, I prayed and prayed for my friend to be healed of cancer, even if it was not God’s will.  As his health worsened, I literally prayed, “Lord, I do not want your will, if your will is for him to die; how can you be glorified in this man’s death?!”  Do you know what happened? My friend died and God was glorified. Gloriously glorified, really!!!  (I still can’t believe I challenged God in this way and that He still loves me. Thank you, Lord.)

He can work, He will work and He is working… do we trust Him?

Jill Hill was Christian when Christian wasn’t cool. :)  Trust me. She is my peer, but also she leads me in the sweetest ways in my relationship with Christ.  She was a friend in verb form this past year and prayed in all of these areas with me.  In one of our afternoon talks, she shared something she had recently learned about prayer that I will never forget, (I am paraphrasing); “When we pray, we are breaking through the flesh and literally taking hold of God’s willingness to do His plan on earth. Prayer causes His power to be released and manifested in our lives, on our behalf.”

Eureka!  Did we get that?  HIS POWER. Not “our power” or “our plan…”

Prayer isn’t what “I want."  Prayer is seeking God’s best so that it can be manifested in our lives.  What is God’s best?  Do we trust God with these lives that we have in our white knuckle grasp?

Quite simply, more often than not, No…

Doesn't the Lord want me to have children? God where are you? How could they be sick? God where are you? He isn't getting better, he’s getting worse?  God where are you? Are these the children I raised? God where are you? My husband is horrible? God where are you? My friend is really missing on Mt. Rainier? God where are you? We can’t pay our bills? God where are you?  My parent is horrible and not what I deserve? God where are you?  My friend double crossed me? God where are you? My marriage is a dead end? God where are you??????????????

Is it possible God is working and we don’t see Him? Is God there and we missed Him?
When we pray, and then look around, are we only really looking for the answer we wanted?
Are we acting in obedience in all areas of our life or are we just expecting others to be obedient while we complain?
Is that what God is waiting on, our willingness to obey?
If it isn’t what we wanted, could we miss an answer that is beautiful and clearly there?
If the answer came, would we see it?
Are we only waiting for God to bring about what we thought was the answer to the problem?
(I have done all of these things...  I have it all figured out, I just need God to get on board!  Do you know what I mean?)

Let’s pray for God’s will and let’s walk in this sweet path. Let’s be accountable to each other to really, truly trust our Creator.  Let’s look for answers outside of the answers we thought were best.  Let’s consider letting God be the control freak of our lives.  He is surely better equipped.

How will we know?  Well, we will need to be in tune in prayer and we will need the Holy Spirit to meet us and lead us.  We need spiritual counsel.

John 14:25-27
He said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Listen to the Holy Spirit, love the Lord with all of your heart and keep His ways.(obedience)
Listen to the Holy Spirit, pray for the Lord to manifest His perfect will in your life.
Listen to the Holy Spirit, then, trust Him.
Listen to the Holy Spirit.

Lord, let us have a heart like King David. You protected Him, Lord, even through multiple attempts to end his life and to cause him pain. You made David victorious.  David was obedient and had beautiful trust in You, Lord. In response, You granted David favor at every turn.  Lord, may we turn and seek You, listen to You and walk in Your path. Refocus our eyes on You, Lord, and when we stray, help us to heed the Holy Spirit and come right back to Your way.  Help us to be so in tune that we can be bold and courageous in our faith just like David was.  Thank you for loving us while we strive to know You like David did.  Give us a humble, peaceful, childlike trust in You. Keep us in Your frequency, God, to hear You.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit and equip us for our walk, Amen.

Jan 27, 2012

Friday Give-away Winner...

Who's ready to hear the WINNER of our Weekday Give-away??

Okay, let's do this!

Y'all have made my week with your God humor comments. Seriously, I've been chuckling over here.

First let me tell you the awesome prize!

My friend, Kate Wicker, has just published her first book! She is an amazing Christian writer, mother of 4, and she home schools.

Yep, all that. Pretty incredible, huh?

Well, she offered to give away a SIGNED copy of her book, "Weightless  :Making peace with your body".

How cool is that? Who doesn't want a little peace with their body? For real, sign me up!

Thank you, sweet Kate, for donating your book to one of our fellow SHINE girls. We are so grateful!

Without further delay...

My handsome assistant (and son), Joseph,  draws a  name
(yes, those are Christmas wreaths still on my kitchen windows. don't judge. )

Looky Looky!
 It's...ANGIE HEAD!!!

Presley wanted her picture made as well (go figure)...
so Joseph did the honors of taking this one.
(I was okay with a pic since I finally had my 2 inch roots bleached today. oh happy day!)

Angie! Congratulations, friend! YOU are the SHINE girl WINNER!

Kate's book is coming to you!

Now that this is over, y'all can go and have a wonderful weekend. :)

Oh, by the way, my friend Rebekah, will be guest-blogging tomorrow. Yay!

Stay tuned!

happy weekending,


Friday SHINE....

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 20 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20samuel%2020&version=MSG

Happy Friday, SHINE girls! We made it to another weekend. Yes!

As I ended my reading yesterday with David and Johnathan, I started thinking about my relationships.

I asked myself, "Who is my Johnathan?" As I pondered this and prayed about this, her name kept coming into my heart.

I quickly grabbed my phone and texted her, "YOU are my Johnathan." Hopefully, she had already read the chapter, because a text like that at 5:30 am, may be just a little bit weird.

All day yesterday, I was thinking about the relationship between David and Johnathan. I found myself wondering if I was a friend like Johnathan. Did I love like he did? Am I a friend like him?

I asked the Lord to help me to be a friend like he was. Create in me a heart that loves his friends like he did.

The Lord has surrounded me with Johnathan's, I have come to realize. He must have known my insecure self would need them.

Girls, do you have a friend like Johnathan? Do you have a friend that tells you the truth, even when it's hard to hear? A friend that holds you accountable in your walk with the Lord, even at the risk of hurting your feelings?

If you do, my challenge to you today is this:

Send your "Johnathan" a note, a text, an email, or hey...why not call them. Thank them for being your Johnathan. Thank them for their love for you and how much you appreciate their friendship.

Friendships like the one David and Johnathan had are very rare and priceless. Especially relationships between women. Jealousy often seeps in and destroys even the best friendships.

Cherish your "Johnathan's" today girls.

If you are not sure who your "Johnathan" is, pray about it. If you find you don't have a "Johnathan", start praying today that God will bring you a "Johnathan."

 In the meantime, BE a "Johnathan" to your friends. The best way to have a friend, is to be a friend.

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." 
Proverbs 18:24

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Eccl 4:9-12.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. " Proverbs 27:17

Go, thank your "Johnathan", girls. 

sharpening in progress,


**p.s...weekday give away drawing will be later this afternoon. so, you still have time to post your comments! 

Jan 26, 2012

Thursday, again....

Ok, girls. It's me again.

Yes, second post in one day, but who's counting?

Two things.

First, please make sure that you all post your prayer requests on the "prayer request" page. Prayer is POWERFUL.  I mean, I can't say it enough. Prayer changes things. Period.

On that thought, I was driving home from the kid's school today when I had a God light bulb. I love these!

He reminded me of a time when I was desperate for answers and desperate for a word from Him. During that particular season, I had prayed, and prayed, and prayed my little heart out.

I felt frustrated though. I knew God could hear me, but I was not hearing from Him.

Okay, well, He showed me something during this time.

This is what He showed me: " My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." John 15:12-13

What does this mean to me?

Well, I had been praying up a storm...for myself. Or, if not for myself, for things (or certain people) that would "benefit" me.


Don't get me wrong...there is NOTHING wrong with praying for ourselves! God wants us to do that! He wants to hear our cries.

However, the miracle for me came, when I started "laying down my own life" for others around me. Meaning--setting "me" to the side, and pouring my prayer life into "others".

Let me repeat...praying about something for yourself is a very GOOD thing! God loves when we come to Him and lay our heart out before His throne.

The cream comes, however, when our concern for others trumps our concerns for ourselves.

"Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." 1 Corinthians 10:24.

Girls, hear this. Don't miss this.

If you have a friend desperate to hear from the Lord, be a "Johnathon", and tell her this message.

If you are the one that is desperate to hear from Him, start pouring your prayers into someone else right this very second. Pray scripture and truth over them.

I think God reveals Himself to us when we do this, because it goes against the very grain of our flesh. Doesn't it?

Get on your knees, dear friend, for someone today. Say their name out loud to the Father every day. Wait and see what the Lord does.

 Get ready, friend.

Okay, secondly, go to the "weekday give-away" post and comment! The drawing for the weekday give-away is tomorrow afternoon. So, go and post before you forget! Who doesn't like a freebie?

back to the laundry,


Thursday SHINE....

Today's reading 1 Samuel 19:  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20samuel%2019&version=MSG

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! Can you believe we have made it this far in our reading?

I am so proud of each of you! You are SHINEing so bright, girlfriends!

Okay, Lisa Inlow will be guest-blogging again today. Aren't ya excited?

Last week, I didn't have a chance to properly introduce her. So, here goes.

I met Lisa through my precious (twin) friends Mary and Rebekah. Lisa is the sister of Mary and Rebekah's sister-in-law, Leslie.

Got that? Ok, good, I will quiz you later. :)

When I met Lisa, I was fascinated by her. I sat across the table from her at Chili's and listened to her speak and was absolutely blown away by her wisdom and her candor. My walk with the Lord was less than good at that time in my life--so she was just the inspiration that I needed to get me back on track.

Soon after, she and I started having lunch dates at Chili's, and our friendship grew. She has given me such guidance and wisdom through these last couple of years of my life.

Lisa is my own personal mentor. God sent her to me at just the right time.

If you don't have a "Lisa" in your life...I encourage you to pray for the Lord to send you one. Everyone needs a "Lisa" to encourage them in their daily walk with the Lord. Seriously, go pray right now.

Lisa and I discovered that we share the same birthday soon after our friendship started. That's when I KNEW that the Lord had hand-picked her to be in my life. Wow. What a gift.

(our birthdays are January 31--next Tuesday..just in case you were wondering. not a hint or anything, just a little FYI.) wink, wink.

Oh, and she is also one of our SHINE prayer intercessors. Yep, she is. Aren't we blessed?

So, now that you have a little insight on Lisa, read her post and soak up the wisdom from her beautiful heart.

Hide His Words 
by Lisa Inlow

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT)  Never stop praying.

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)  Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. 

I'm going to ask y'all a question I ask myself.  If I don't pray for my kids, daily, who will?

Another thing I ask myself.  If I am not reading God's word to my kids, who is?

So let's break it down in a momma's day.  We have a lot to do.  We look at the clock about 30,000 times because we are thinking about carpool, naps, snacks, lunch, carpool again.  We are busy girls.  Throw in the dryer constantly buzzing...

I will just tell y'all some things I do.  I strive to do one or some of these things daily.  I will admit, I fail, miserably.  But I get back to it and strive.

Breakfast, you have a captive audience.  If you have littles at home, one or all are contained in a seat with a strap, right?!   Get your Bible out, or log onto youversion.com and read the Proverb of the day, (Proverbs has 31 chapters, one for each day of the month) or read your SHINE passage from 1 Samuel.

Can't get through the whole chapter, fine.  Read what you can.  One, 2, 5, 8 verses...doesn't matter.  Just open God's Word and read it to your kids.

A question is often asked to me. "They won't understand, my kids are 18 mos and 3."  I believe God's word is breathing.  Living.  Inhale.  Exhale.  As I like to say, I believe the Father speaks Max and Jenna.  Meaning, I believe he speaks their language.  For real.  We don't think the Almighty's words can speak to the heart of a little one?

Matthew 19:14 (NLT)  But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Just this morning I read the story of David and Goliath to my son while he ate breakfast.  He is 6 1/2 and don't you know he listened and said "wow" a lot!  We connected over God's Word.  Then in the car I talked to him about David's faith in the Lord.

Let me stop here and say this.  I am not a scholar.  For heaven's sake, I had to drop out of High School and get my GED.  So if you're thinking, "I can't teach my kids the Bible"....just tell them what you get out of the passage you are reading.  Don't over-think!  (oh we all do it!)

Our children don't expect us to have all the answers.  Let the Lord handle that.  Just start reading.  They ask you questions you don't know the answer too?  Tell them you don't know, but that you will try and find the answer.  How to find the answer?  Google it.  I'm totally serious.  Pray, ask the Father to give you wisdom as you teach your (HIS, actually) children the Word of God.

Pray!!  Try to read Psalm 91 each day.  Or quote Psalm 23 or 1 Corinthians 13 as a prayer.  Or simply, talk to the Lord together.

In August 2009 my oldest started pre-school.  So I wrote Psalm 91 out on a piece of paper and would read it on our way to school at red lights.  Stop at the light, pick it up, read, typically finishing up in the carpool line.

One day as I was reading at a light, it turned green and I had to put my paper down.  Y'all ready for this??  He started quoting the next verse!  Barely 4 years old, quoting God's word from memory!  Why?  Because he kept hearing it day after day.

We still quote it, and little sister has joined us.  Don't y'all know I choke up a lot of mornings hearing those voices in my backseat.

All I did was write it on a piece of paper and read it at red lights.  HE did the rest.

What about writing Scriptures on 3X5 cards.  Read them to your kids before bed, at the breakfast table, again while sitting in traffic.  Keep them in your purse or tucked in your visor or console.

We can do this SHINE girls.  We HAVE to do this!!

A quick story before I close this post.  My mother gave her heart to the Lord when she was pregnant with me. An older woman (Titus 2 in action) reached out to my mom. She saw a young woman with 2 daughters and one on the way, in an extremely difficult marriage. A word of wisdom this lady, Mrs. Tannehill, gave my mom was to read the Proverb of the day, daily, aloud to my sisters and me. When my mother responded, "but they won't understand what I'm reading", Mrs. Tannehill wisely replied, "do we teach our children English, or do they learn it because it's all they've ever heard?"

Jan 25, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's reading: 1 Samuel 18: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20samuel%2018&version=MSG

Does anyone else find themselves thinking about David a lot lately?

I cannot get this man off of my mind. Maybe it's because He has a heart like God's, or maybe it's because he wasn't the cutest or most "likely" fella in the bunch.

Not quite sure why he has caught my fascination, but he has.

I want to be like him! 

All day yesterday, I found myself praying to have a heart like David's. I think in a weird way, I am envious of David's heart.

My heart is far from being like God's, I mean like...way far.

Not only was his heart good, but he was bold and courageous! He wasn't afraid of anything...especially a big, ugly giant.


Maybe if I type it in all caps it will come true.

My favorite part of the story is how David declared victory to Goliath before the battle. Listen to this:

"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 45-47.

Ahh!! Do you see this?

He is declaring victory over Goliath in the name of the Father! He is speaking it and declaring it out loud!

Girls, what's your giant today? Whatever it is, speak victory over it right this very second. Speak the Word over it right now.

Do not let another minute go by without doing this. Declare victory in the name of the Lord!

This is powerful! This requires being bold, being courageous, and full-on FAITH.

"Nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37.

I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are wet with tears as I let this sink in. Girls, we have  victory. 

Let me say this again: We have VICTORY.

Speak it out loud today. Speak it to a friend, to your spouse, to the grocery store clerk, to your co-worker...speak your victory, sweet girl.

Moving on to Ch. 18. Even the title of the chapter gave me chills: Saul's jealousy of David.

Oh man, I don't ever want to be like Saul. He has lost God's favor and now is jealous of David because of God's favor on him. Yikes.

Jealousy rears it's ugly little head and destroys even the best, doesn't it?

"the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve." Jeremiah 17:9-10


 I know in my own life, I have had my share of this evil little green-eyed monster. Not proud to say so, but I have definitely been stricken with jealousy time and time again.

It's so embarrassing to admit.

However, by the grace of God, I can overcome it by prayer and petition to the Lord as soon as it rears it's stinkin' little head.

The best thing to do when jealousy comes, is to pray for the person (or people)  that my jealousy is towards. I immediately start praying for God to prosper them and show His glory through them.

For real. I do.

God has taught me that by doing this, it releases the jealousy and creates love for them. Not only love, but JOY for them. Happiness for them.

Now, you know that only God can do that. Only He can turn jealousy into Joy.

Seriously, He's good isn't He?

One last thing, friends.

I want you to speak your victory in the comment section of this post. Get used to speaking your victory out loud and declaring it "finished" because the Lord, your God is your deliverer. You can post as anonymous if you need to. However, I just encourage you to do this.

Let the Lord fight your battle. It is already won with Him.

declaring my victory today,


"the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lions and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." 1 Samuel 17:37

Jan 24, 2012

Discussions on Reading plan 1/23-1/27....

Here is our Discussion Spot for this week's reading of 1 Samuel 16-20.

Any comments, thoughts, revelations, etc...post them here! :-)

SHINE Spotlight....

Happy Tuesday, SHINE girls. Today's reading is 1 Samuel 17. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20samuel17&version=MSG

Get ready to be blessed. Grab a kleenex and a cup of coffee.

Our SHINE spotlight girl from last week, Erin Spinks, has chosen this week's SHINE spotlight. Enjoy her precious testimony. I'm still crying over here.

Erin's introduction:

"Next shine girl, Courtney Butler!!!!  I met Courtney about 2 years ago through a friend from Fitzgerald.  I instantly loved her, adored her, connected with her, and started a friendship with her.  She is full of grace!  She shines from the inside out!  Our paths do not pass much but her story and her heart are always dear to me.  She has faith that can move a mountain!  I cannot wait for you to meet her!  Enjoy her and love her with me!!  SHINE, my friend, shine!!"

Courtney's Story:

Remember when Casting Crowns came out with the song “Praise You In This Storm?” The first time I had heard that song was in March of 2006.  That song came on the radio every single day while my mom was driving back and forth from Lake Oconee to Augusta. It played every time.  Every single time.  Amazing how God works, isn’t it?  That beautiful song impacted our lives because that song was us.

I had already gone through some pretty tough times in my young 27 years of life.  At 12, my parents divorced.  At 15, my mom battled breast cancer.  At 25, the greatest man in my life, my daddy, died of a massive heart attack on Easter Sunday.  One would think, “Ok God..that’s enough for a lifetime.  I’m good from here on out, right?”  Wrong.

My husband Jon and I experienced one of the most difficult heartbreaks any parent can experience.  We were newlyweds (not even 10 months) and awaiting the arrival of our first born son, Harrison.  That much was a surprise because we had not planned to be parents so soon!  But hey, we were happy.  Who wouldn’t be?!!  So, here I was 30 weeks pregnant and after being sent to Augusta for what we thought was just more thorough ultrasounds, the doctors told us that Harrison needed to come out via emergency C-section ASAP.  The doctors said he had to come out if there was any chance for him…and even then, they could not assure us that he would live.  Excuse me..what is going on here?  We just had this 3-D ultrasound 2 weeks ago that showed a perfectly healthy baby boy.  Everything was perfect.  He was not supposed to be born until Mother’s Day weekend!  

God’s plan certainly was not what OUR plan was.  Tiny Harrison was born 10 weeks early on March 4, 2006.   Babies can miraculously survive being born premature every day, but Harrison was sick and the doctors could not figure out why.  Every second was crucial.  Every second was also a miracle.  Doctors did not know how long he was going to live.  I, of course, was convinced my child was going to be ok. He has to be, right?  I’ve already been through too much.  We were going to just be here in the NICU a while, but that was ok.  We would walk out as a happy little family, just as I had imagined it would be!  I mean, I had watched probably every episode of TLC’s “A Baby Story”.  This girl was ready!!  We could do this no matter how long we had to stay in the NICU.  We are a tough family so bring it on!  We are equipped and ready to get through this.  Well yes, we could do this, but not in the sense I certainly was thinking.  God’s plan was different.

The morning of March 9th, I sent my husband back to Eatonton to check in with work.  He needed a break, I thought, and since Harrison had not had a bad night, I thought it was safe and would be a normal morning.  My family would be checking on us later that day and we knew the neurologist would be visiting us later that day too.  So, off Jon went for a quick trip back home and I was going to spend my time with Harrison.  Unfortunately the neurologist visited early.  Tests had come back and they weren’t good.  There I was alone in that hospital when I got the devastating news that our newborn son, Harrison, would not make it.
I cried out to God to PLEASE not let my baby die!  We can stay in Augusta as long as it takes.  Just PLEASE let us get out of there with our baby in our arms.  Whatever we needed to do we would do it.  JUST PLEASE, GOD! I AM BEGGING YOU!!!

Here I was, a desperate young mother begging my Heavenly Father to save my son!  God heard my cries.  He could hear the fear in my voice.

At that very moment, God lifted me up off of the floor of the NICU.  I literally felt his strength pick me up. His strong arms held my fragile body and raised me up from that cold and lonely floor.  For the first time in my life, I could LITERALLY feel God.  It was the most incredible thing.  It was as if He had taken a portion of his strength and put it right in my body.  I knew I wasn’t alone.  My Heavenly Father was there.  He really was right there with me to care for me.  Of course he was, right?  He has always been there for me during my heartaches.  But on that day, His strength and Power took over and I FELT HIM.

Psalm 56:3 states “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.”  I certainly did just that.  I knew God was filling me with the strength I needed. After all, I certainly didn’t think I had any on my own.  He was there to comfort me and get me through this.  I knew this because of the immediate comfort I felt from my Heavenly Father, telling me that we were going to be ok.  We would get through this with Him.

What a blessing it was that we had our son for an entire week.  What a miracle that was!  What a miracle it is for any woman to be able to carry a child and give birth.  There are too many women out there that never get to experience the joy of carrying a child.   I knew to focus on the positives, not drown in my sorrows, for God gave us life.  How could I be angry when He blessed us with Harrison’s precious?  Had I not listened to my mom and gone to the doctor, Harrison would’ve died in utero within the next 48 hours and I would’ve delivered him still born.  To me, there is no greater sadness and for any woman who either miscarries or has to deliver still born, my heart truly breaks.  Whether it was for 7 minutes, 7 hours, or 7 days we had life with Harrison and I praise God for that.   What we didn’t know was whether or not we could have any more children so I knew I had to focus on the many miracles..and believe me, there were so many.
He gave us precious time with our son.  He gave us that joy to hold him in our arms.   We had a fighter in our arms, strength that he felt from us.  Here was a preemie baby who had suffered a brain bleed into the brain stem, thus making it impossible for him to have any movement.  Yet, as I would do little exercises with his limbs, he would resist me.  I would move his little arm one way and he would move it in the opposite direction.  The doctors couldn’t explain it but I could.  That was my powerful God!  My God showed me that He was in control.  Not the doctors.  He gave us many little miracles throughout the week.  The greatest was just being able to hold life in my arms.  What a special gift that was.

In that incredible song “Praise You In This Storm” the lyrics say “I raise my hands and praise the God who gives and takes away.”  I remember waking up on Saturday, March 11, 2006 in the hotel.  I didn’t want to get up.  Call it that mother’s intuition or whatever but I knew this day was it.  All week long I wanted to hear my son cry.  When he was born, he didn’t cry.  I guess he was too sick.  I just wanted to hear my baby cry.  Well, I heard him cry, but it wasn’t in the NICU.  It was in my dreams.  To me, that was a sign that it would be our last day with him.  I wanted to hit the rewind button.  I wanted to wake up from this awful week long dream and still be pregnant.  My dreams of spending the rest of my life with this precious life were about to be stomped on.  My strength was gone.  I…was…a…wreck.

As we held him in our arms knowing we just had a few more minutes, Jon and I told Harrison that it was ok.  Mommy and Daddy would be ok.  He could give up his fight and let go.  Right before he took his last breath, he squeezed Jon’s finger.   Nothing, nothing, nothing could ever take away that joy amidst our pain.  God gave us that last little miracle so we would know that Harrison knew his mommy and daddy were holding him.  We praise God for that.  Without His hand in this, we would not have been so very blessed.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”   I know that one of the missions God had for me and Jon was share our story.   Plus, it is continued healing for us both.  We still have our moments of sadness, but we try our best to focus on the blessings.  We chose to praise God in this terrible, terrible storm.  We knew we could handle it because we had our Father and Jon and I had each other.  Yes, our precious first born son was now in Heaven, but our Father blessed us with a life for a week.  That is how we chose to handle the tragedy.  Our specific case was a 1 in 2 million chance.  It took the doctors over 3 months to figure it out.  One might wonder WHY us?  Why are we that 1 in 2 million?  Well, I believe it is because He chose us to be the parents to that special child.  He chose us to be the ones to hold him and love him for that week.  God believed in us…that we could get through it together.  He also believed that we could use our story to hopefully help others in a similar trial.

God has a plan for each of us.  If we can’t trust in God, then who can we put our trust in?  I know there is no other I’d rather put my trust in.  He has proved to me through many storms in my life that He will ALWAYS bring me joy.   My last scripture to share is this.  Psalm 30:5 “..His favor lasts a lifetime.  Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”   That, we know, is the truth!"

Hamilton and Alli Hayes~
Their angel baby....Harrison.

the beautiful Alli Hayes~
she looks a whole lot like their beloved Harrison
~The Butler Family~Jon, Alli Hayes, Courtney, and  Hamilton~

Jan 23, 2012

Weekday Give Away 1/23-1/27....

Guess what?

We have another weekday give-away! Yay!

**confetti, lights, more confetti, more lights!!**

Here's what you have to do:

Tell us something about your life that makes you KNOW that God has a sense of humor.

It can be anything. Yep, anything.

We can take ourselves WAY too seriously, so let's have a little fun!

The winner will be drawn this Friday.

One of our fellow SHINE girls is donating the prize for this week's give away. How cool is that??

I will tell you the awesome prize on Friday when the winner is drawn.

So, come on girls...don't be shy!

(we played this at the SHINE party on Sunday, it was JaNice's idea, and we loved it!)

Have fun, girls!

Please put all comments under this post, thank you!

Monday SHINE....

Today's reading 1 Samuel 16:

As I sat down to read 1 Samuel this morning, I was anxious to see what would happen next.  We left off with Saul losing God's favor over lack of obedience.

As the chapter unfolded this morning, I was drawn in to the events taking place. Oh, man, did the Lord speak to me this morning through this chapter.

What stands out the most is this verse:

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Girls! Does this resonate in your hearts?

How many days have I been so caught up with my outward appearance? How much have I spent on trying to "look" like what the world expects me to look like?

Do we not try to please others with how we look, how we dress, how we "appear" because of the standards the world has set for us as women?

Okay, if this doesn't resonate with you, how about this:

Do we try to look as if we have it all together spiritually? We go to church, attend a bible study, memorize a few verses, tell people we are praying for them....

But, girls, what is the condition of our hearts?

What's going on in these little hearts of ours? The part of us that others cannot see. The part of us that truly defines who we are.

God is only concerned about the heart, sweet loves.

Girls, if we can truly get this, lives will start changing. God's hand will start moving like never before.

What's going on in that pretty little heart of yours?

Tell the Lord today that you want a purified heart. You want a heart that pleases him. You want a heart like our friend, David.

The great news is, we are on our way girls. We are soaking ourselves in the Word of God, which brings a heart change like no other.

We can sometimes be blind to our own hearts, because we are so conditioned by this world. However,  God's Word brings truth and gentle conviction. Praise Him.

My prayer every day over my husband is this: "Please let Lem have a heart like David's, the wisdom of Solomon and the faith of Abraham."

It all begins and ends with the heart, girls.

Let's pray for a heart like David's for ourselves. A heart that reflects the Glory of the Lord in all that we do.

craving a changed and purified heart,


Jan 22, 2012

Prayer requests and praises 1/23-1/27....

Please post your prayer requests and/or praises on this post. We have SHINE intercessors lifting you up daily. If you want to be a SHINE prayer intercessor, please let us know.

Thank you for letting us pray for you. Prayer is powerful, sweet friends.

Philippians 4:6-7 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Reading plan 1/23-1/27....

Happy Sunday, SHINE girls!

 First I will give you the reading plan for the week:

  • Monday 1/23: 1 Samuel 16
  • Tuesday 1/24: 1 Samuel 17
  • Wednesday 1/25: 1 Samuel 18
  • Thursday 1/26: 1 Samuel 19
  • Friday 1/27: 1 Samuel 20

Secondly, we had our very first SHINE girl party! Despite the yucky weather, we had a wonderful time!

 Is there anything better than girl time? I mean, seriously.

I could sit on the floor with my shoes off, legs crossed, sipping a hot cup of coffee, and talk to my girlfriends for hours on end. There's just something about our girlfriends.....agree?

Then you add coffee and Jesus, and well....enough said.

Since, as you know, I love visuals...here are a few pics from the SHINE party. I have a hard time multi-tasking, so I completely forgot to take more pictures. Happens every.single.time.

I have such high hopes of wonderful pictures, and well, it just never happens. In fact, some of the SHINE girls that attended I didn't even get a picture of. Bummer.

So, here's what I did get...enjoy!

Amberlee and Presley--truly SHINE!

despite the nasty weather, we had some SHINE girls come to our first  (but not last) party!
from left--Terri, Sarah, Angela, Erin, Ladona , Angie, Me
Front middle--Krischa
Aren't they beautiful?

some of the yummy food!

my personal favorite SHINE girl--my daughter, Presley,  showing us some SHINE power

love these girls!
Sarah, Terri, Camille, JaNice (the wonderful hostess), and Ladona (my Momma)

always a sucker for black and white pictures. :)

Big thank you to sweet JaNice for opening up her gorgeous home for our little SHINE party! We love you and are so grateful to you!!

Jan 21, 2012

Saturday SHINE....

Good Saturday morning SHINE girls!

I wanted to share something real quick that happened to me yesterday.

I had gotten up to have my quiet time, and pushed "start" on the coffee maker. (I always have the coffee ready to go--less clanging around in the morning--and more importantly, the less I have to use my brain.)

A few minutes later, I walked in the kitchen to get my beloved liquid consciousness only to find that it was just a pot full of hot water.


I had forgotten to add the coffee last night. Ugh.

As I poured the hot water out, and started all over again, I felt the Lord was showing me something with this.

Before I was in His Word, I was just a big ol' pot of hot water. No color, no flavor, no nothing.

When I add God's Word to my day, the flavor, the robustness, the POWER is added to my day.

Let's not be a big ol' pot of hot water. Let's be a delicious, hot, caffeine-filled pot of coffee--full of power and flavor!

Starbucks has nothing on us, girls. :)

Okay, our Friday challenge extends through the weekend--stay prayerful and thankful this weekend, girls.

If you need to catch up with the reading, take time to do that.  We will continue on with 1 Samuel starting Monday. Tomorrow I will send an email with the weekly reading.

Don't forget about our SHINE party tomorrow! Please try to come if you can. I want to meet you and hug your pretty little neck! Come and meet your fellow SHINE sisters!

no more hot water for me,


1 Chronicles 16:11--" Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!"

Jan 20, 2012

Friday SHINE....

Today's reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20SAMUEL%2015&version=MSG

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!  Don't ya just love Fridays?

Let's get straight to the reading...Whoa! Are we at a cliff hanger or what? I cannot wait to read the next chapter!

Do you find yourself feeling sorry for Saul? Me too.

I feel sorry for him, because I am a lot like him. Today's reading hit hard on my heart today. Once again, the resounding theme here: obedience.

Saul did not fully obey God with His instructions to kill every single last Amelekite. Instead, Saul saved some of the choice sheep and cattle to sacrifice to God.

GIRLS!!! Hello? Are we hearing this?

How often do we  "almost" do everything in obedience to the Lord. How many times do we think that by offering Him our "sacrifices" of prayer, reading His word, attending church, giving to the needy, etc...that this is enough. 

All of those things are part of the walk...but we are missing out on one huge piece of the puzzle, complete obedience to Him.

You know what I mean by this. Obedience in all areas:

  •  loving the unlovable.
  •  forgiveness.
  • turning the other cheek.
  •  putting others before ourselves.
  • humbleness.
  • self-control.
  • taming our tongues.
  • minding our own business.
  • not gossiping.
  • showing grace to those that hurt us.
  • wives--submitting to our husbands, not only in action but in our hearts.
  • younger girls--submitting to your parents not just in action but in your hearts.

Did i mention loving the unlovable? (this is a toughy.)

Let's not miss what God is telling us through the life of Saul! He wants desperately for us to get this in our own lives.

Ask the Lord today, what's missing in your obedience to Him. He would love to show you. I only know this, because I am living proof of all of this.

Missing the mark, constantly. That's me.

Don't think this is about perfection. It has nothing to do with being perfect, but everything to do with being obedient. Big difference.

The verse that rings over and over in my ears after today's reading is this: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams." 1 Samuel 15:22

What is your burnt offering and sacrifice? Whatever it is, it's only part of the equation. The rest is obedience, friend.

Chew on this for a while. Let it sink into that beautiful heart of yours. God loves you, sweet girl. That's why He is showing you all of this. He loves you.

Okay, I will make the rest of this post (kind of) short and sweet.

First, I want to give a big, fat, THANK YOU, to our SHINE prayer intercessors. They have gone above and beyond the call to pray for our SHINE girls daily. Wow.

Girls, let me assure you--if you have posted a prayer request--we have been covering it with the precious blood of Jesus...daily. Our intercessors do not take lightly the call to pray for you. Man, they are good.

They are not the only ones praying, I am sure. Hopefully all who see your requests are lifting you up as well. So, you are double-covered. :)

If you are interested in being one of our SHINE intercessors, let me know...we would love to have more. Prayer is POWERFUL. Enough said.

Secondly, I hope to see your beautiful SHINEy face this Sunday at the home of JaNice Van Ness in Conyers. Please try to come! It will be so much fun! You can RSVP at this link: http://shinegirlsshine.blogspot.com/2012/01/its-shine-girl-party.html

Thirdly, if you know me, you KNOW I love games and challenges. So......

You have a FUN FRIDAY SHINE challenge! Yay!

Your challenge today is to give thanks to the Lord all day today. Not just this morning, or tonight when you pray, but ALL day. When you are in your car, at school, at work, in the grocery story, at the gas station, on your hot date...whatever it is.

Give thanks to Him. Thank Him for this week...that you made it to Friday.

Thank Him for His word and how He is speaking to you through it. Thank Him for just being HIM. Holy of Holies, King of Kings, Lord of Lords.

When we are thankful, our whole perspective changes. Does it not?

We see things differently. We see things as they should be and not skewed by bitterness.

Be thankful girls. It will only bless you.

I want to hear from you if you are doing this today! Tell us, share!

Listen to this verse. In fact say it out loud so that you really get it.

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

so very thankful for the gift of His Word,


 **If you still are not getting emails and you signed up to get them...please let me know. I will see if I can fix the problem. :)  Just check the blog regularly, we have good discussions about the reading going on in our "discussion" post. If you are confused about any of the passages, go to discussion post. It's enlightening! :)

Jan 19, 2012

Thursday SHINE...

Thursday's reading:

Good morning SHINE girls! How's the reading going?

Can you believe the precious gems that are in 1 Samuel? Did you ever think that these few chapters could so relate and intertwine with our lives today? Wow. Just another reminder that God's Word IS living and active.

I have a gift for you today. My friend, Lisa Inlow, will be guest-blogging.

I asked her a couple of days ago if she would do this, and of course she gladly accepted. She asked me what she should write about and I told her to pray about it and let the Holy Spirit lead her.

Oh, man...did she ever. When she sent me the copy of this, I literally had to sit down. I had just been feeling the Lord telling me that very day that I  needed to find rest and quiet in my days. In fact, I ended up deactivating my Facebook page, because I felt like I needed less distractions in my life and more focus on Him.

I love how God sends us His messages and affirmations at just the right time.

Read and be blessed, friends.
My Photo
again, i like visuals...so here is my beautiful friend, Lisa.
(she had no idea  I was posting a picture. )

Genesis 2:20b  ...But still there was no helper just right for him.

So God created Eve...

Definition of 'helper' from dictionary.com:
a person or thing that helps or gives assistance, support.

Encouraging other women in their marriage is a passion of mine, not gonna lie.  I love to encourage and help them see their role as wives, though our Father's eyes, not the worlds.  And for the record, the two typically do not match.

I am the extrovert in our marriage, my husband is the introvert.  We do have great conversation about the kids, his work, my work as a stay-at-home-mom, our church that we love, etc.  But when it comes to what he needs, what he feels, what's on his mind, what he's struggling with, well, those things are kept inside...tight.

For years this kind of annoyed me, as what I'm thinking about anything, flows freely though my lips and thought it would be nice if he carried on the same way.

I would ask questions, really wanting to go deep in his psyche.  Crickets.  (But ask anything about the mobile industry, his line of work, and well, hold on sista!)

I posted a comment the other day on SHINE ( http://shinegirlsshine.blogspot.com/2012/01/discussions-116-120.html ) about living in quiet so I can really hear my God.  And not silence noisy things when I want to hear Him, but strive to live quietly so I can always hear Him.

I am no longer on a certain social networking site because personally, I find it very, very loud.  It is not best for me, does not bring out the best in me, and definitely does not make me a better daughter of the King, wife or mommy.

I have other areas in my life where I may be more low-key or keep myself on the down-low.  A verse that pops in my head on a regular basis, I Thessalonians 4:11
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  I strive to live inside this verse.

Back to the hubby.  These principles are also how I operate at home.  I have learned with my husband, that in order to help and support (great word used from definition above) him, I need to pay attention.  Sit quietly and listen.

Watch.  Listen.  Quiet.  Shhhh.


I know we are all busy.  But are there some things in your life that you could turn down, turn off, or omit all together?  Couldn't our hearts really hear better if we made some changes?  Wouldn't we be able to "see" more clearly?

I really want to hear my Heavenly Father every time He speaks to me.  I want to hear my husbands heart, even when he's not saying a word.  Wouldn't he find that helpful?

Will you join me SHINE sisters?

Let's support our husbands, listening to them, being still with them.

Let's quiet our spirits so we can truly hear our Father who so desperately loves us and wants to communicate with us.  Can we hear Him through the noise?

Our precious Father in heaven...wow, do we love You so much.  And we are honored to be your daughters.  Lord we want to hear You. We commit to quiet the noise, omit the noise, kick the noise to the street!!  We are here.  Waiting.  We are quiet.  We are still.  We are listening.   In Jesus precious name.

Jan 18, 2012

Wednesday SHINE...

Today's reading: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20samuel%2013&version=MSG

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 Bible...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,


Jan 17, 2012

SHINE party reminder....

We have had a lot of new members sign up in the last week, so I just wanted to make sure you ALL know...

We are having our very first SHINE party
FROM 2-5

Our fellow SHINE-ee JaNice Van Ness is opening up her home for us!

The information including her address is at this link:

Please RSVP if you CAN come!

You can RSVP here or at that link under comment section.


I cannot wait to see your sweet, SHINEy faces!!

Tuesday SHINE...

Happy Tuesday, sweet SHINE friends!

Here is today's reading 1 Samuel 12


Just wanted to check in and say hello and let you know how proud I am of all of you! You are reading God's word daily and showing so much love and encouragement to your fellow SHINE girls. It makes my heart overflow!

YOU truly SHINE! Every single one of you.

Thank you for inspiring me in my own walk with the Lord. You make me want to be better, to draw closer to the Father, and to encourage others along the way.

I love how God uses someone else's story, someone else's testimony to speak to my heart.

He loves getting personal. How cool is that?

God is teaching me so much from these chapters in 1 Samuel. Whew, man.

I feel so much like those Israelites sometimes. Always chasing after worthless things that are not God's best for me. My heart has been convicted countless times while reading these passages.

The old testament was never my favorite--I always felt that it was hard to relate.

Until now.

I never thought that through these few chapters in 1 Samuel, God would reveal some things in my very own heart that needed some fine tuning and correction.

Again, He loves gettin' personal.

keep SHINEing girls,


Jan 16, 2012

SHINE Spotlight...

The SHINE girl I chose to spotlight this week is Erin Spinks. She will choose the next SHINE girl to spotlight...and we will share her story next week.

The purpose of this is to encourage each other and lift each other up, just as God's word tells us to do.

Erin has been a huge part of my growth and walk with the Lord. When we moved to our current location, I prayed fervently for the Lord to introduce me to some friends that would be good for me, and that would hold me accountable in my walk with God.
I met Erin when my friend, Kristi, invited me to run with some other mommas in the morning after carpool.
From that day forward, I knew God had answered my prayers.
Erin is a cheerleader at heart and always encourages others to do their best.
Not sure about you, but I need a cheerleader in my life! :)
Read her story, and be blessed.

Chuck and Erin <3

erin and her 4 special loves

When Jill asked me to share my testimony, I became sick to my stomach! Not because I didn’t want to share, but because I wondered what in the world I would share! If you know me, not much is a mystery about my life. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I usually never meet a stranger. However, praying about what I should share and preparing to share my heart scared me. We all have stories. We all have purpose. I think that most of the fears come from my passion of wanting to make a difference. I want to be the best me so that others(mostly my 4 little children) will strive to be the best themselves. I have always been a cheerleader at heart! I love to cheer others along the way in life. However, there are times when cheerleaders have to also look at themselves and cheer themselves to be betterJ “Sometimes the hardest person to lead is yourself.”

This is who I am, this is me: Erin Spinks. I am a wife to a wonderful man who puts God first every single day. I pray for him daily and I strive to love him like God loves him. I choose him first in every part of my life. But, I am NOT a perfect wife. I am a mother of 4 precious children. I love to be surrounded my them. My perfect days are when we are all together all day long. But, I am NOT always patient and gentle with them. I am a faithful friend and I love to celebrate the lives of others. But, I have let people down. I am a child that was abandoned by my father early in my life, this is why I do not want to miss a moment with my children. I want to be in every part of their lives. I am a sinner but God has new mercies for me each and every day. I am an encourager to others and yet there are days when I feel lonely. I am a runner but I have never ran a marathon. This is who God created me to be and the awesome thing about it all is that He is not done. I am still growing, still healing, still mentoring, still loving, still providing, still running, still longing, still praying, still hopeful for mended relationships.
“In this life you will have troubles! But, know I have overcome the world” John 16:33--This life is hard. But, I choose to find the beauty in it all. Beauty in the life, in the love, in the hurt, in the sorrow, in the unknown. I have joy! Jesus does not expect us to live perfect lives, praise God! He is the only one that can be perfect. He wants us to take the obstacles of life and turn them into opportunities. TODAY-as I was preparing to write about my testimony(I love that about our GOD), our pastor asks us to write down 5 tough times in our lives and share our story with someone!
So, tonight I did that: my list, my story. How I handle tough times defines me as a person--molds my character. “Tough times do not last, but tough people do!”

1. Childhood without a father
2. Miscarriage with our #2 pregnancy
3. Going 3 months without paycheck when we had 2 little ones early in our marriage
4. Mae’s adoption/ foster process
5. Lump taken out for testing
6.(overachieverJ )- selling our home this summer to downsize
These things in my list are troubles I have faced. Troubles I have overcome. Troubles I have left at the foot of Jesus. I have learned that stepping out in faith and going through troubles is what this life is about. I am not done. I will face more through out my life. I am prepared for that. I know that in James Ch.1, we are reminded to have joy in the troubles. This is given to us to make us stronger. God wants us to look to Him for wisdom and peace. When we lay it down, He comes. His mighty winds, holy spirit can freely feel our lives and make us whole again. Years ago a friend asked me about my faith through the hard time of going without a paycheck for the 3 months. I remember telling her that I gave to the Lord and really didn’t even think about it. That conversation messed with me though and I questioned my true faith. Was I like that because I really had faith in God that much or was it because Chuck is our provided and he was the true one making the payments?? Since that day, I asked God to use me. Let me have a story to share. Where can I have faith like that in something that REALLY is all me trusting, leaning, and praying for wisdom?

He answered loudly, God wants us to be used. For Him to have all the glory. We always knew we would adopt. It was 3 years ago now, but we ended up fostering our little girl. I can remember praying and truly seeking God’s will and wanting Him to write in the sky the answer to our plea about THIS BABY. God choose me and my faith was shaken to no end. There was never an easy moment. My trust as completely in Him. I learned that without Him, I am not me. I can not make decisions. I cannot find beauty without seeking His face first. I cannot love without first knowing how He loves us. I cannot forgive, heal, grow without faith in Him.

God desires our hearts. He longs to feel our sorrows. He awaits for our cry out in need. We will all have troubles, but we can turn them all into great JOY knowing that this is HIS plan to make us stronger. So…. “even when the rains fall, even when the floods start rising, even when the storm comes--we are washed in the water!” Let your faith arise! Whoever you are, no matter what you have been through or believe in, you can touch someone! Tell your story, lay your troubles down, ask for God’s wisdom. Do not hold on to your story/life---SHINE and let the whole world see!!! Celebrate the good of others! Love out loud! When we get to see Jesus face to face, He is going to shout out the good that we have done and He will celebrate us BIG TIME! Do that with others in your life. Each day I announce the good that each of my children did that day, I try to tell others tooJ Life is not about what we didn’t get done, or didn’t do right it is about what we DID DO!! Live life running after God’s wisdom. Lay those troubles down and grow!! I am cheering for you!!!
Blessings to you all!
Love always,
Erin Spinks <3
Erin asked me to include this video...please watch. :)


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