May 31, 2013

Friday SHINE...

Today's Reading: Judges 3:7-31
Saturday 6/2:  Judges 4
Sunday 6/3: Judges 5

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

Sorry for the delay in this post. Summer hours are a little crazier now that kids are home from school. ;)

Since our memory verse is all about surrounding ourselves with others in fellowship and community, I thought we could make our Fun Friday Challenge centered around this. Fitting, right?

I sent this same challenge to our SHINE prayer girls this week.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Summertime can be a time to drift away from God's Word, from praying, and from meeting with our friends for fellowship.

We get busy with our kids, our schedules, and our vacations. However, I challenge you to make time for staying in His Word and staying connected in fellowship.

Some ideas:

  • Start a bible study! If you are not currently in one, gather a few girls and just read along with the SHINE reading plan if you need a curriculum. 
  • Reach out to your neighbor. Sometimes we take for granted those in our very own backyard. Check on them, encourage them, love on them.
  • Get up 20 minutes earlier to get in His Word and have prayer time.
  • Call a friend and meet her for lunch or just for coffee. 
  • Join a group or a bible study nearby.
  • Host a play date at your house--or meet at chicfila.
  • Stay in touch with a prayer/reading God's word accountability partner. We all know that accountability is KEY when trying to stay disciplined and focused.

Let's really try to stay connected this Summer! Keep doing the reading plan, keep praying, and continue to be involved with those around you.

Our SHINE girls face to face small group starts this Wednesday night! I am so excited to have real-time, face to face fellowship with an incredible group of ladies! Sharing, discussing, and true fellowship is the BEST way to stay connected. 

I'm taking this challenge, and I really want you to as well!

staying connected,


May 29, 2013

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Mark 16:9-20

Happy Worship Wednesday sweet SHINE girls! What a gorgeous week around here in Georgia! I really hope wherever you are today, you are worshiping Jesus!

Today, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce a girl that I have never met, Kristy Griffin. Kristy found our SHINE girls site on Twitter (I think).

Every single day she "retweets" our SHINE posts. I would get an email daily saying that she had retweeted our posts, and I had no clue who this precious soul was.

I began praying for her because she was drawing people to God's Word and our SHINE girls community.

Soon after I began praying for her, I met her sister, Katlyn, who lo and behold is also a SHINE girl. She also happens to live right outside of my neighborhood. What?! We both had no idea the connection we had. But, God did!

Katlyn immediately called Kristy and told her that we had met--and the rest is history. :)

Kristy and I immediately got in touch with each other and I asked her to share on SHINE. She has a powerful testimony. A testimony that God knew needed to be shared with all of you.

Grab your coffee, get cozy, and be blessed today by Kristy's story. I know you will!

Wednesday SHINE
By Kristy Griffin

Good morning, Shine Girls!

I cannot have this opportunity to share and not thank Jill for all that she does and how it has affected my life. I have not met Jill face to face (yet) but I know that her love for the Lord is HUGE! Shine girls has without a doubt changed my life! Before I started following Jill and “Shine Girls” on Twitter, I was not memorizing scripture, reading my Bible, or even praying on a daily basis. Seeing how Jill spoke of her love for the Lord and how on fire she is for Him, planted a desire in me to want to know Him on a deeper level. I’m so grateful for Jill and for how she’s allowed God to use her! I tell people all the time that she’s my BFF and doesn’t even know it! J

Kristy and her husband Allen
{aren't they adorable?}

When Jill asked me to share something with you, my SECOND thought was to write on something that I feel strongly about (how our words affect each other), but after praying about it the Lord clearly told me that wasn’t the topic my post should be about. He put it on my heart to write about FEAR.

You see, my FIRST thought after Jill asked me to share was “No way! I could never do that!”
I recently came across a verse in 1 Peter (3:15) that says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”

I knew that I had to say YES! When the Lord put it on my heart to write about ‘fear’, I knew why….

Fear is something that I’ve always struggled with. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll say “Kristy is a big old chicken, she’s afraid of nearly everything!” …..and it would be true.

I’m afraid of everything from granddaddy long legs (quit laughing! Haha!), to never being able to have babies; but something I really fear is stepping out of my comfort zone. This is something I feel super convicted about, because I’m learning that you can’t give Jesus your ALL if you are afraid of being uncomfortable.

Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

I’m learning more and more every day that Satan will grab hold of something that you struggle with and he will run with it. He will trip you up if you aren’t careful, and he will take that thing that you struggle with and create such a strong hold in you that you convince yourself that you’ll never break his grip on you. That’s exactly what Satan would do to me. He would use my struggle with fear against me and nearly paralyze me with it.

There was a time when the very thought of being away from my home for longer than a few days would have me crying and crippled with anxiety, because home is where I’m most comfortable. Change used to be super hard for me but I’m learning to trust Him with everything. I’ve grown more in my relationship with Him over the past year than I have in the last 10 years I’ve been a Christian.

Girls, God can and will do amazing things in you if you give your fears over to Him and allow Him to take care of you!

He will strengthen you when you are weak (2 Cor. 12:9), He will comfort you when you are sad (Matt. 5:4), and He will prove His faithfulness to you over and over again! (Psalm 33:4)

He’s teaching me all these things and more! I think more than anything, He’s drilled in me over the last year to be patient and wait on Him (Ps. 27:14)

He knows me. He knows me better than I know me! He knows what I need before I can even tell Him! 

He knows the desires of my heart and He has plans for me!

Now I’m not saying that I’m OK with granddaddy long legs or that I’m not still afraid deep down of never becoming a mama – but I am saying this….

God isn’t finished with me (or you) yet! (Philippians 1:6)

Giving my fears to HIM,


Kristy and her beautiful sisters
~Katlyn, Kristy, and Karen~

May 27, 2013

Monday SHINE.....

Reading Plan for the week of 5/27-6/2:

  • Monday 5/27: Mark 15:22-41
  • Tuesday 5/28:  Mark 15:42-16:8
  • Wednesday 5/29: Mark 16:9-20
  • Thursday 5/30:  Judges 1:1-2:5
  • Friday 5/3:  Judges 2:6-3:6
  • Saturday 6/1:  Judges 3:7-31
  • Sunday 6/2:  Judges 4

Happy Memorial Day SHINE sisters! 

Many of you are probably reading this from out of town, or from coziness of your warm beds. Wherever you are, please stop and say a prayer for the families of our Service Men and Women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. Please include the current Service Men and Women and their precious families in your prayers for their safety and protection. 

As I prayed about our Memory Verse this week, I kept coming to a the same verse. It's one that I believe is very powerful, yet often we find ourselves having a hard time "living it".

The enemy wants to keep us as Christians disassociated and separated. The enemy knows how powerful we are when we are unified. 

God designed us for relationships and for fellowship in our community. When we think that we don't need others or that we are just better off alone, we are believing the enemy's lies. 

"For where two or three have gathered together in my name,
there I am in their midst."
Matthew 18:20

As we continue studying the New Testament, some things have really resonated in my heart about Jesus.
Jesus definitely "withdrew" a lot from the crowd to pray. He knew the importance of needing the quiet to hear from the Father.

However, he also lived in community with other believers. Jesus had 12 disciples with him most of the time. They studied, prayed, healed, walked, lived, and ate together on a daily basis.

Jesus knew the importance of community and fellowship. As we read about the last Supper in our reading last week, did you notice that he was surrounded by his friends?

 I believe for women, this is especially important.

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
 A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
 Ecclesisastes 4:12

Women long to talk, laugh, share stories, and just be heard. Somewhere along the way, we may have gotten burned by a friend, or several friends. We then put a wall up around our heart and vow to never let that happen again.

Friend, would you consider  praying and ask the Lord to guide you and lead you to a community of fellowship with other believing women? Not just social media fellowship, but real, live face to face fellowship with other women.

Our hearts and our souls desire this fellowship. We were made for fellowship.

If you don't have a bible study group, or a circle of women that you can turn to, start your own group. Be the first one to step out and invite others to meet for coffee and just start there.

Some ladies and I from my church met last week to discuss the importance of connecting women and the importance of fellowship. I left that meeting feeling so refreshed and renewed. Even just talking with other women about connecting made my heart full!

If you are not sure where to start, start within your church. Look for some women's groups to join.

If you live near my church, Eastridge Community Church, we have several groups meeting this Summer to keep us connecting. 

I will be leading a SHINE girls group on Wednesday nights at 7:00 at our church. Come join us! 

Wherever you are, get connected. Stay in fellowship. Don't let Summer draw you away from meeting and gathering with other women.

Father, we know that fellowship is what You desire for us. Please help to plug us in where You desire for us to be. Give us boldness to step out and find a group of friends to gather with. If we have vulnerable hearts, please help us to overcome this vulnerability and to be confident in Your plan for us. We trust You in this area. We anticipate meeting and connecting this Summer with other women. Thank you for loving us, and designing us to crave connection. In Jesus Name, amen.

staying connected,



May 24, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Mark 14:26-52

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

I'll keep this short and sweet so that you can get on with your merry little day. :)

It's Friday, so you know what that means....

Your Fun Friday Challenge:

ENJOY today.

Just because we are choosing to not conform to the world, doesn't mean we can't ENJOY our lives!

I think we get the perception that we have to follow all these rules, be a wallflower, and have no fun when we choose to follow Christ.

Oh, the contrary!

There's so much FUN and JOY in following Christ! The funniest, sassiest, cutest, coolest, and wittiest women I  know are Christ-followers. It's true!

Take a deep breath, and smile big today! It's amazing what a little upturn of the mouth can do for our souls!

The bible tells us in Proverbs 17:22 that a cheerful heart is good medicine--and that a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Yikes!

 So, what's holding us back from being cheerful and enjoying today?

Decide to smile today. Through tears if you have to--just smile.

"a happy heart makes the face cheerful"
proverbs 15:13

choosing a happy heart,


May 23, 2013

Thursday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Mark 14:1-25

Happy Thursday, sweet SHINE girls!

This week is an emotional week for so many of us. Not only due to the fact that school is ending, children are growing, and things are changing. Also because of the devastation that has hit Oklahoma. My goodness, such tragedy.

As I brace my heart for the ending of another school year for my children, I rejoice in the fact that I have them! I rejoice in the fact that although they are growing, they are breathing and they are living life!

Yesterday was very emotional. It started with meeting my girlfriends in the same parking lot that we have been meeting  for the last 5 years, to have our last run/walk of the school year.

Our cheerleader and leader of our running group, Erin, will be getting a job outside of the home, so we celebrated her last run with us. {tears}

We celebrated her, when we really felt like crying our eyes out together. We chose to focus on the GOOD, not the sad.

Not only Erin, but several other of our dear friends will be beginning new seasons with jobs outside of the home when the new school year approaches.

Needless to say, our group will look different. Smaller.

From left: Mari and baby Bennett, Jamie Miles,
Angie LudlowMelissa Martin,
Jenifer Fiorenza, Amy Butler, Me
front row: Erin SpinksAshley Moon, Stephanie Keener

My heart wants to stop time, to make it stand still. I do not like change. I do not like change. I do not like change.

Do any of us, really?

As I was pondering how different life will be next year without many of the familiar faces I have grown accustomed to seeing every day, I realized something.

I realized that our memory verse applies to this. It really does!

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Romans 12:2

Change is inevitable. God created change. Everything that surrounds us changes.

So, when I try to hold on white-knuckled to the past and desperately try to keep things the same, I am conforming to the world. 

Conforming to the world and to the past, allows no room for growth, or for HOPE in our present and our future!

We were created for change. I can whole-heartily say PRAISE GOD! I need change. Without God changing me, I would be an utter disaster. 

As we all adjust to the changes going on around us, let's remember to let the Lord transform us and renew our minds in the process. Holding on to the ONLY thing that NEVER changes--God!

A song keeps playing in my head as I type. It's "Your Love Never Fails" by Jesus Culture. I think I've posted it before. 

My favorite part of the song is this chorus:

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

He never changes, friends! What comfort! 

Conformity is for the world, change and trust in God's direction is for US!

This has become one of my favorite things to say when I'm feeling overwhelming change.

 Dr. Seuss was a wise, wise man.

smiling because it happened,


May 22, 2013

Wednesday SHINE

Today's Reading: Mark 13:24-37

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE Girls!

We are so blessed, Sweet Friends. Wow, I'm overcome with a grateful heart even now.

It's just good to welcome the end of the school year and with that the beginning of my favorite season...SUMMER! Thank God for warm weather and ample opportunities to be with our families.

I have a particular friend who is very much like family. Mary and I have been close for years but last Summer she joined my same gym and life has just been even sweeter.

It's nice because we do our cardio while sharing about our faith and our struggles and what God is doing presently. She listens and shares and I do the same.

Our conversations have changed. We now talk about what we are reading daily in our Bibles. We can literally talk for a whole hour about Moses, all the while huffing and puffing it out on the stair master.

Who knew we could have such a "God thing" at our local Y-M-C-A.  ;)

Today, as Mary shared, I could not help but think again how much work the Lord has been doing in her life.  The change in her has been evident and she affirmed this again as she spoke.  

Mary has been really trying to live like the little fish in the picture from Monday. Swimming away from conformity to the world, and swimming towards Jesus and His calling for her life.  

I asked her if she would write about her experience and she glady whipped up a post just for us.  

Be blessed  by her story.

About that...
Mary Balicki

Remember that old famous line you heard as a child.

There is a lot of truth to this, actually. 

I took a break and it has really turned into more of a solid goodbye - after a hearty Facebook birthday last August 6th, I deactivated. I figured I should go out with a bang. ;)

Honestly, I used to think about it on a constant basis, this thing called FB. Imagining my next clever post and what pics would look most snappy on my profile. Sheesh. 

 It was exhausting and I spent way too much time concerning myself with this outlet. Outlet. That's exactly what it was. I would escape my life of what seemed mundane to chat with other adults and get my fix. 

I was conformed to all of my "friends" instead of being transformed in Christ.  Guess what--it worked, in a way. While I was "presenting" my life to others - I was no longer "present" in my own life.

I rarely talked to my friends personally because why would I? I already knew everything they wanted me to know and likewise...I actually heard a friend say to me, "I was going to call you but I just checked your wall instead to see what was going on with y'all." 
Um..ok? Has it really come to that?

The issue was settled when my then 6 year old daughter asked why I wasn't on FB anymore and my 10 year old chimed in - - "because she wants to spend more time with us!"

After that it was easy to never look back. In my absence I've had a lot of TIME and wow, the PEACE has been the best part. Peace and time to be present in my actual life. Time to spend in prayer and peace in God's word. Time to be with my girls and peace with my husband (hello, he hated that his time with me was forfeited because of this other dominant force in my life). 

Although, every once in a blue moon, I just couldn't resist logging on to see what someone was talking about when I heard about a particular post, etc. 

I'd log on and see whatever it was and within about 2.2 seconds be abundantly affirmed in why I left in the first place. 

It's just TMI - - too much information, for me. 

This past week that happened again. A close friend shared that she had posted a pic of herself and me. 

She said it was getting a lot of feedback, so I did the dumbest thing ever and logged in to see what she was talking about...there it was - the photo was harmless but then I started scrolling through the comments and my heart sank. 

One of them was just hitting me the wrong way. I then spent the next hour or so toiling over the questions...what did they mean by that and why. 

Ugh...why is right. Why did I ever do this to myself. Don't I know this the purpose that God has called me to? No, absolutely not. 

We aren't meant to know what the multitudes are thinking and saying...I know that I'm not.
God made me to care for others and to feel things deeply. I can't be who God has created me to be and also be so plugged into social media that I spend my days worrying about such needless things.

So, there you have it - we're back to this week's memory verse.

This is where God wants me to be – resting in Him, being transformed. 
When I am transformed in Him, I'm not worrying about what others are thinking/saying/doing/wearing/buying/reading. 

I'm just content to be and enjoy this blessed life that He has given to us.
Let's be transformed together, Friends.

Ah, now that's more like it.

May 20, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 5/20-5/ 26:

  • Monday 5/20: Mark 12:28-44
  • Tuesday 5/21: Mark 13:1-23
  • Wednesday 5/22: Mark 13:24-37
  • Thursday 5/23:  Mark 14:1-25
  • Friday 5/24: Mark 14:26-52
  • Saturday 5/25:  Mark 14:53-72
  • Sunday 5/26: Mark 15:1-21
Happy Monday SHINE girls! Sure hope your weekend was fantastic!

As I went into church yesterday, I prayed that the Lord would reveal, and reveal it clearly, what He wanted our memory verse to be this week. I had something in mind, but wasn't quite sure it was the same direction that He was leading for us.

The sermon started off with the pastor saying this particular verse. I knew without a doubt, this was the scripture we would be memorizing. A close friend and I had just had a conversation regarding this very scripture, this very week! I've told you a million timeabefore that there are no coincidences, just God-incidences. Well, this was one of those.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Romans 12:2

This verse is personal to me. Very personal. I've shared a very up close and personal post  before about my struggles with insecurity. Insecurities of every shape and size.

This has been a life-long struggle until He showed me this verse a couple of years ago, and I realized that my insecurities were not based on my weaknesses. Nope. My insecurities were based on my desire to conform to the world. To not be who God created me, Jill Hill, to be. 

I was never happy with my size, my hips, my teeth, my personality, my skin.....nothing. No matter the affirmation I received from my parents, my husband, and my friends, I never believed them. 

Until--- I decided to believe His Word. Until I decided to believe that "I was fearfully and wonderfully made", and for a purpose. Exactly the way I was

Since we memorized the verse, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength" in Deuteronomy 6:5, a few weeks ago....I've been pondering what this looks like. What does it mean, Lord?

I then started taking an inventory of my thoughts on a daily basis. My conversations with friends. My conversations with the hubby. All of it. 

God very clearly revealed to me that although I desired to love Him completely, there was a huge gaping part of me that was still wanting to conform to this world. 

My thoughts revealed that at least 50 times a day, I had thoughts of discontentment. Ranging from: my weight, my hair, my skin, my marriage, finances, and my mothering abilities. 

50 times! That's NOT good. 

Each time a thought came up, I would ask the Lord to take that thought from me. I would them force a thought of contentment into my mind. 

"take every thought obedient to Christ"
2 Corinthians 10:5

I then heard the Lord clearly say to me: "Jill, why are you so discontented? If you took the world out of the equation, and it was just you, Lem, and your children...would you have these same thoughts? When you conform to Me, instead of the world, you see what truly matters."

So, let me get this straight, Lord. I was having thoughts of discontent because I was holding all of these things up to the "world's light", instead of "God's light". I was viewing myself and my situations through what the world expects of me. Not what YOU desire of me. 

This has been a huge awakening in my spiritual journey. Huge.

As you go through your day, think about your thoughts, your conversations, your desires. Are you holding these up to God's light? Or an unattainable fluorescent light that reveals a false image, and a false reality.

Can we really live in the world, and not be of the world?

His Word says we can. I believe Him.

Lord, help us to conform to You this week. We have so many things screaming at us that we are just not quite good enough. We rebuke those things, Lord. We ask that You help us to recognize the lies that are being thrown at us. You want to transform our minds, which includes seeing ourselves in Your Light. The soft, glowing light of Love, Mercy, and Grace. We are tired and weary from striving and trying to keep up with a race that we don't even belong. Help us to embrace who You created us to be. We bring You such Joy when we are filling our God-designed mold. Thank you, Father. Amen.

conforming to Him,


May 17, 2013


Finally have pictures ready to share from last weekend! Our very first SHINE girls 5K together!
For several girls, this was their VERY FIRST 5K!
My heart is still overflowing with JOY from the memories of this day!
If you missed out, don't worry, we will do another one!
We all wore YELLOW, so that we could show off our SHINE!
OH, and a HUGE THANK YOU to Angie Ludlow, she made our banner!


Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading:  Mark 11:1-19
Saturday 5/18:  Mark 11:20-33
Sunday 5/19:  Mark 12:1-27

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! I really hope you have spent a lot of time rejoicing this week. My prayer is that your memory verse is deeply planted into that pretty little heart and will grow fruit of JOY in your daily lives.

Sometimes we think that we need a circumstance to make us rejoice. It's not true though.

We can rejoice because we are the daughter of the King of Kings.{2 Corinthians 6:18} We can rejoice because we are the apple of God's eye.{Zechariah 2:8} We can rejoice because no matter the mountain facing us, or the valley we are knee deep in, He carries us. {Psalm 68:19}

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Fill in the blanks:

Although___________________, I will still Rejoice.

No matter what happens with _________________, I will still Rejoice.

God, I am not sure what You are doing in this situation_________________, yet I will still Rejoice.

After you fill in those blanks, pray and ask the Lord to help you to Rejoice in all things starting today!

It doesn't take a circumstance to get us rejoicing, it just takes a heart committed to finding the Joy in the midst of the struggle.

Lord, bless these SHINE girls.Where Joy is lacking, fill them right now with Joy unspeakable. We commit our hearts to seek Joy every single day. Let us not miss the opportunity to see You in all things. Even the valleys, Father. Tune our hearts to Joy. 

choosing Joy,


May 15, 2013

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Mark 10:17-31

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! If there's anything that can get us on our way to REJOICING, it's praise music!

I encourage you today to listen to your local Christian radio station, or pop in a Christian CD. Let the words of praise wash over you, and see if you find your little weary heart rejoicing. I bet you will!

This world offers up a platter of things that want to steal our Joy. The world we live and the enemy that resides here has his eyes focused on joy-sucking.

Have you ever been joy-sucked? Yeah, me too.

Can the enemy really steal our joy, though?

Well, he certainly can throw some balls at us that can try to steal our joy. Key word is "try".

Do we succumb to these balls and fall down in despair?

Or do we stand strong with the armor of Christ tightly fastened to our bodies and hold out our sword declaring Victory in Christ?

I'll admit to both scenarios. I've certainly at times wallowed in the pit of despair, being eaten alive by the joy-suckers.

I've also stood strong and fearless proclaiming God's promises while the balls are being thrown my way. The enemy eventually gets tired and moves on. When we don't budge, he slithers away. It's true.

We have a choice. We really do.

What will your choice be today? Will you choose to find the JOY in today by rejoicing?

Or will you lay down and die in defeat as the joy-suckers consume your precious heart.

Did you know {I sure didn't until I researched} that the word "rejoice" is found over 200 times in the Bible?

Not only that, but the word "joy" is found over 150 times in the Bible. Yes!!

If God's Word has this many references to the words "rejoice" and "joy", I think we need to hang our cute little hats here and live it.

Live Joy. Live Rejoicing.

Let me repeat...

Live Joy. Live Rejoicing. 

Now say that with me 150 times.

Just kidding.

Find your Joy today, friends. It's there, right under your darling little noses.

repelling the joy-suckers,


But I trust in your unfailing love;
 my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psalm 13:5

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; 
weeping may remain for a night,
 but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; 
may those who love your salvation always say, 
"The LORD be exalted!"
Psalm 40:16

May 13, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 5/13-5/19:

  • Monday 5/13: Deuteronomy 32:48-34:12
  • Tuesday 5/14:  Mark 10:1-16
  • Wednesday 5/15: Mark 10:17-31
  • Thursday 5/16: Mark 10:32-52
  • Friday 5/17:  Mark 11:1-19
  • Saturday 5/18:  Mark 11:20-33
  • Sunday 5/19:  Mark 12:1-27
Happy Monday, sweet SHINE girls! I hope your weekend was full of love, laughter, and rejoicing. 

We celebrated my precious Mother yesterday at my house, and God could not have planned a more perfect day to honor our Mother's. The weather was divine. At least it was here in Georgia. :)

Before we put on our play clothes and got covered in BBQ sauce from our lunch, we snapped a few pictures out in the sunshine. 

the two angels that made me a momma

the angel that taught me how to be a momma

As I prayed this weekend about our new Monday Memory Verse for this week, I was unsure of which scripture He was leading me to until the moment I sat down to write this post.

I've had this scripture on my chalkboard in the kitchen for a few weeks now. I look at it every single day to remind me how to live my life that day.

God led me to that scripture after a very close friend, and fellow SHINE girl's, husband had died. It was sudden and very shocking. Devastating.

My heart was heavy for my friend and her family. The Lord led me to this verse and it has been LIFE to me these past few weeks. I have studied it, memorized it, tried to live it out loud, and taught it to my children since the day I wrote it on my chalkboard.

After looking for several minutes on Pinterest for a picture of this verse to post, I decided to grab my camera and use my own picture. The chalkboard in my kitchen--a real life--picture.

"Rejoice in the Lord always;
I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Philippians 4:4

Notice in the picture it is shortened a bit. I write too big to fit it all on that chalkboard. :)

However, memorize the entire scripture at the bottom of the picture. 

I love how Paul {the author of Philippians} makes a point to say "rejoice" twice. Not only does he say it again, but he adds an exclamation mark!

I'm a big exclamation mark girl. So, if you get an email, letter, or text from me---you will notice an overuse of exclamation marks. It's my way of expressing JOY!!!!!!!! {see?}

So Paul is telling us to not just plain ol' rejoice, but to REJOICE!

Paul is teaching us through scripture that this is the way to live each day. He didn't say to rejoice sometimes, or to rejoice every once in a while, or to rejoice when we feel like it. No, he is telling us to rejoice ALWAYS!

Ponder this scripture today. Say it out loud. Write it down. 

Whatever you are facing today, there's always a reason to rejoice. 


rejoicing with an exclamation mark,


May 11, 2013

Saturday SHINE...

Happy Saturday, SHINE girls!

I want to wish all our SHINE girls Mother's out there a very happy Mother's Day weekend. I hope that you are showered, loved on, and pampered this weekend. 

If you have a Mother still living, honor her this weekend. No matter a rocky past, or rocky present, honor her in some way. I challenge you, friend. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you and to soften your heart if there is a sticky place there. 

I love you so, and I pray in Jesus name that God heals any hurts in that beautiful heart of yours.

We have one last Mother's Day post. Heather Heaton is a friend of a friend, which I have had the pleasure to meet several times. 

I asked Heather to post because her sweet family has been through a whole lot this past year. Her strength and faith inspire me. 

Be blessed, SHINE girls.

My Mother
by: Heather Heaton

My mom will never be on the cover of Time Magazine.
My mom will never make national headlines.
My mom will never save the world from hunger or sickness.

God didn't call her to those things.

He called her to be the daughter of an Army dad and a strict Mom.
He called her to be the oldest sister of 2 younger brothers.
He called her to be the wife of her high school sweetheart.
He called her to be the mom of 3 girls.
He called her to be a nurse – to fulfill a dream she had for herself.
He called her to be the mother in law to 3 new “sons”.
He called her to be the grandmother of 7 grandchildren.

He wanted her to show her girls what determination looks like.
He wanted her to teach her girls to not BE a hairdresser, but to OWN the salon.
He wanted her to endure heart break – so her daughters would know how to forgive.
He wanted her to cultivate friendships that would end up carrying her thru some of the hardest times of her life.

She’s was a good daughter.
She keeps in touch with her younger brothers.
She loves her friends.
She cherishes her relationships with her daughters.
She would give the shirt off her back for a complete stranger.

Life has thrown her curves. She remains classy. She remains in the Word. She remains focused on finishing the race well. She wants to do the right thing – not always the EASY thing.

She has taught us what forgiveness looks like. What restoration looks like.  She has taught us to keep fighting. Even when you want to give up. 

She is still learning. We are all learning. But, thankful that she has taught us that when the going gets tough – try harder. Search longer. Dig deeper. Love stronger. Hold on tighter. Pray. Pray. Pray.

This Mother’s Day is different. This year I’m the child of divorced parents. A title I never wanted …and one that I never dreamed I would have. There is beauty that comes out of the ashes of something so horrid. A bond with mom that is closer now than it was. A renewed relationship with her family – cause at the end of the day, you realize … they are really the most important. 

Heather{far left}, her two sisters, and her precious Mother.

 Happy Mother’s Day to you mom. Thank you for teaching me what forgiveness looks like.  Thank you for trying again so many years ago – allowing your 3 girls to have the gift of a 2 parent family for as long as possible. Thank you for showing me that there are deeper ways to love. Thank you for deciding that you are going to just dive in – head first into being the matriarch of our family … a title that you didn’t know was going to mean much more than you thought.

May 10, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 29, 30
Saturday: Deuteronomy 31
Sunday: Deuteronomy 32:1-47

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! Are you ready for the weekend? Me too!

We have another wonderful Mother's Day tribute today. I asked my friend, Mary, to post about her precious Mother.

Mary's Mother is very special to me in so many ways. For one...I have never, ever, ever, heard this lady speak a negative thing. EVER.

Mary's Mother, Gloria, exudes JOY! I think her name is a perfect fit for her. I know she brings such glory to the Father.

Be blessed by Mary's story today.

My Mom
It is an honor to offer a tribute to my beautiful Mother here at Mother's Day.  What a gift she has been in my life.

In her, I have an advocate, a teacher, an uplifter, a prayer partner, an instructor, a cheerleader, a helper and a (huge) supporter.  
Gloria Hudgins, my sweet mother
Basically, she's awesome and when I say she's awesome - - you truly have to be when you have 7 children, 14 grandchildren and a dear husband to whom you have devoted your life.  

Mom is a rock star at being a mother, but what she is best known for throughout our town, is being a lady that loves Jesus.  She tells everyone she speaks to that Jesus loves them and His love shines from her heart and her face.  

This has given her countless opportunities to share her faith in Christ and many have come to know Jesus in a personal way because of her boldness.

Recently, I phoned her at 11:45 at night.  I was anxious and a little bit unnerved.  

My Gabby (2 1/2 yrs old) was very sick with a terrible cough.  It was so bad that she couldn't breathe and needed immediate care.  I have been a mother myself for 10+ years and have never witnessed such distress, so naturally I called my Mom - - the seasoned veteran.  If there was ever a comforting voice, it is hers.

Now, my precious Mother struggles to sleep.  She always has, we affectionately call her The Night Owl (the good news is, I knew she would be awake at that hour).  Amazingly, she has never taken any sort of prescription meds to help with the insomnia but does take a few different remedies to get her through.

Because it was so late that night, she had already taken her remedies but assured me that I would not take Gabby to the hospital without her.  I told you she's the BEST.
"It's ok, come pick me up, I'll take a vitamin and I'll be fine." 
And, of course we did (she didn't have to ask me twice).  Mom was a sight for sore eyes - - Gabby and I both needed her and she didn't even blink before making herself totally available.
Gabby and Nana at Scottish Rite
The whole night long, Gabby kept saying "I want you, Nana."

And, Mom would smile her cover girl smile and take Gabby back into her arms once again.  It was so neat to sit there and watch the two of them.  I know how Gabby feels - I want her, too.  

My baby girl is learning what I already know - - she has an advocate, a teacher, an uplifter, a prayer partner, an instructor, a cheerleader, a helper and a (huge) supporter in her Nana.

The Hudgins Family - all 30 of us
 She is the best of the best and we are all so blessed to call her Mom/Nana.  There are a lot of us to say the least and I can safely say that Mom has lead by example and shown us all how to believe the best and above all - keep loving one another unconditionally.

My parents
Daddy is truly the love of her life and I've come to know (and appreciate) that this kind of love is rare.   After 55 years, they are still going strong - - loving each other and keeping up with all of us, all with God as their firm foundation.  They are our dynamic duo.

My Mom with her sisters - Aunt Carole, Aunt Teddi and Aunt Beth
Any great Mother gets along with a lot of help from her sisters.  They are her very best friends.  God must have known that Mom would need some extra help (with so many of us to put up with).  She has relied on these precious women for prayer and support.  They are all like Moms to us, too and today, I thank them for all of the ways they have loved and encouraged us through the years.

Mom and me
I love you, Mom!  Thank you is not enough, so I seek to live my life in a way that is pleasing to you - to honor you and Dad.  Thanks for teaching me to love Jesus and guiding me and always having a kind word even when things aren't good.  You inspire me to love and keep loving and because of your example I can seek to be that same kind of wife and mother.

Happy Mother's Day!


May 8, 2013

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 27:1-28:14

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! I hope your week is going well. You sure have been in my prayers this week...every single one of you.

I have been praying specifically for your covering, protection and favor as your week continues on. Each of you have been drenched in prayer this week. I sure hope you have been feeling His peace.

Today, we have a very special SHINE girl's story about her Mother. Sarah Frachiseur is a precious friend and SHINE prayer warrior. She has prayed over all of you and continues to daily.

I am so thankful for this girl! She has an incredible story to share with us about her Mother. I know you will be inspired! {and you will be inspired to LAUGH!} How fun is that?!

This post is especially dear to my heart because I love Sarah's Mama, and I LOVE to laugh!

Be blessed, friends.

My Mama
by: Sarah Frachiseur

Sarah, Savannah {Sarah's daughter},
and Terri {Sarah's Mama}

Hey y’all! Jill asked me to write about my Mama. As I was praying and thinking on what to share, 
my Mama’s laugh kept coming to mind!

If you know my Mama, you know that she loves to laugh! And she likes to laugh loud. J
Her laugh was heard at any basketball game in any gym I was playing in, across any softball field I was playing at, and everywhere in between! It’s loud y’all! It’s real funny too. J

I played sports all through school, and my Mama and Daddy did not miss games. They were there, every time, cheering me on. I usually rode the bus with my team to my games. I would glance at the stands during warm-ups to make sure they had arrived safely.

I always knew when my Mama was there because I could hear her laugh! Sometimes my friends would even say, “Oh my gosh! Was that your Mom?!” They all knew the laugh too! J

My Mom and I have always enjoyed laughing at my Dad and my brother! My Dad is hilarious and he doesn’t know it, and my brother came out of the womb as an entertainer.

My Dad is a Vietnam Vet, so loud noises startle him. I learned at a very early age not to jump out from behind a bush and yell, “Boo!” Her laugh has always startled him! And after she startles him, she laughs even more at his reaction!

My brother can bring this laugh on by just being himself. If you know him, you know he brings the entertainment!

She is also known for sending animals into hiding, and stopping them in their tracks as they crouch to the floor looking for an escape route. Especially cats!

Here’s a little story of how she “weathered the storm” with her humor! My Mama signed everyone up to go deep sea fishing while vacationing at Myrtle Beach years ago. We were MILES off shore, and you could see no land. A bad storm came about and we were caught in 8 foot swells. Huge swells. This was not fun. Other boats around us were going out of sight. I was terrified of going overboard no matter how hard I held on (we had no life jacket on!). We were holding on to the boat and each other for dear life, with waves coming over the side of the boat and crashing down on top of us.

In the middle of the “up and down, up and down” my Mama had lost her lunch (sorry for the details, we were all so sick!), my dad lost his, and the deckhand who claimed he never got sick was hanging over the side.

My sister-in-law (Tonia, my brother’s wife) and I had our heads on our husband’s shoulders holding on to them, and trying not to go overboard or lose our lunch. And my brother-in-law (Zack, my husband’s brother) was eating Oreos…he’s a different breed! His stomach is made of steel. Hahaha! J

After she lost her lunch overboard, she was trying to console everyone around her and had a smile on her face and was laughing! I kindly asked her to move out of my face since she had part of her lunch left on her shirt, and proceeded with closing my eyes and picturing myself on shore.
The Lord delivered us safely to the shore that day. I kissed the ground. J

Please laugh today! I urge you to find the humor in something! Even when everything seems to be crumbling down around you, or you are in that 8 foot swell of a storm, find that special someone that you can share a chuckle with. It will lift your mood, change the atmosphere around you, and change your mindset.

We laughed a lot growing up in my house, and it was usually at each other! Our home was not perfect, we all had our struggles, and laughter seemed to lighten the load.

Laugh with those you love, and let that joy fill your home. I can still hear my Mama’s voice saying, “Just laugh about it!”

Jill shared something awesome with us a couple of months ago about the Proverbs 31 woman. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25 

We know who is in control! No matter what, He’s got our back. Don’t let the weight of this world steal your joy.

“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” Psalm 68:3
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful” Proverbs 15:13

My guess would be that the enemy hates laughter. He wants to see us miserable, beat up, and without joy. “The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 Don’t let the enemy steal your joy!!!

My prayer for you today is that the weight of depression, anger, frustration, hurt, or anything else that is pulling you down would be lifted in Jesus name. And I pray that His joy would be released on you and into your life! And on your children, family, and your home!

“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

Happy Mother’s Day to each Mother out there! Share a laugh with your children or your mother.
And if Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that is so tough for you because you have lost your mother, you never knew your mother, or your mother wasn’t there for you, I pray for peace for you today.

I ask in Jesus name that He would fill that void in your life, and bring you joy and peace that surpasses all understanding. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 4:7 In the way that only He can do!

Much love to each one of you! 

Love, Sarah Frachiseur

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