Thursday, January 01, 2015

What's the Big deal about New Year's? 2014 recap

My first and best trip to Cheddar:s with a great Friend was in 2014....  Interesting....   
Summer 2014 Faulkner Family Reunion 
Baby Shower for Kim and Cameron!
Jennifer Hand's book signing.Me stamping my name, as Jenn featured a few of my devotionals in her book.

Most people who interact with me on Facebook and in real life know my mom had very serious surgery on November 22nd 2014.  She is recovering, and the surgery went as well as could be expected.  Praise The Lord!  She has had many ups and downs in recent months.  Life has been somewhat chaotic since November.  As a result, I have not blogged or written in any public forum other than my mom's caringbridge page since October.  I cannot relive such events, except to shout from the roof tops, God is who He promises to be!  Before I move on to the reason for my post, I want to thank you for your ongoing prayers for mom and the family.  To follow mom's  journey you can visit:  Mom's journey

As we are now into the year 2015, I want to recall some of the blessed moments of last year, and share a word regarding this New Year...

2014 Vacation to Fort Walton 
My 31st Birthday....

              2014 had some great moments....  It had funny moments, It was happy, silly, crazy, and hard sad moments. As we embrace 2015, none of us can really know what will happen in the coming year.   As a Christian, there are a few things I do know.. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."  ECC. 1:9.  I also know however, that by entrancing the Gospel we can rest assured we have access to God's mercies,not only in light of a new year, but every moment of our lives!  See Lam. 3;23.  While the troubles of 2014 won't just magically be erased, because it is a New Year.,There is a great God who will sustain us and gives us a fresh with every moment.  The truth is some of this year will be the same as last year. Portions of this year will be new, but whatever this year is, or isn't God is already there!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pintrest Christianity...

If you aren't familiar with the website Pinterest I'll try to explain.  Pinterest is a website which allows a person to organize different aspects of their lives on an electronic bulletin boards.  For example, if you want to pin articles for work, then you might pin work related ideas,.  If you want a board that reflects your style or parenting, you would name the electronic board accordingly.  Sometimes I will get busy looking for different concepts and pin the information article book or outfit on the board. If I catch a mistake like this even months later, I am compelled to move the item to its proper board.  I like for a lot of life to fit into compartments or proper places.  As I causally pinned items to my own Pintrest it was if I heard a whisper saying Pinterest Christianity.  Pinterest Christianity I wondered where did that come from?  Days later the phrase entered my mind, prompting me again.  What are you attempting to show me Lord?  It hit me right between the eyes, all of us treat our lives and our faith like it is a pintrest board in some ways.  For example, I may be quick to invite God to have central place in my volunteer work or church activities, and music, but my movie and food choices not so much.  I might choose friends who love God and are devoted to God, but can I say that I am quick to listen and forgive when I'm hurt?  What about those times I promised to fulfill a commitment, and no one knew except God that I actually forgot or did not follow through?  

    I'm an advocate for authentic living.  I'm not the example of what this looks like a lot times, so let me not try to point you to myself as the standard here.   Pinterest gives users the option of having up to three secret boards, which means only the user has ability to see content of such boards. I suppose I understand the need when it comes to planning a party or inside jokes, but I don't have secret board on Pintrest. It's more common though, or should I say tempting to have secret areas in our lives.  Bitterness overeating people pleasing love of another person as much as or more than God.  I have those secrets too.  God knows mine, but you may not see those in me, or even in yourself.Like it or not it is impossible to have secrets from God.  Oh we can have secrets with God, meaning He alone knows us better that we know ourselves or others but there isn't a secret good or bad, we have that He isn't fully aware we have.  What's my point, I doubt as Christians we will reach a place on this earth where we are aware of God in every aspect of our lives.  If you think are one who has, I'd love to see it.  It is certainly something we should ask God for, and be willing to allow him to permeate our lives with more of him!  "In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Prov. 3:5.  AMP  The next time you and I see a Pinterest board or a box or wallet, let’s stop and ask God to help us give him central  place in the areas most challenging.  So that the next time we sing the I give you my life, It will reflect a little more of our reality than It did the time before.

  Do you practice Pinterest Board Christianity too?  What is an aspect of your life, which you desire to invite God to transform?  If you are like me, there may be many.  I am committing these to prayer one at a time.  How about you?  Let's move together from Head knowledge, to heart transformation!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Imperfect Perfection

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My and my cousin Brady @ McGuire's pub in Destin  FL

My mom on the beach!

Thank you to my family

My heart soared at the sight of the palm tree as we were restless to arrive at the condo.  As usual the vision of the ocean  took my breath, and I happily felt free again.  I'm never sure if when we depart from the beach, if  the fourteen of us will be blessed to come back the beach, this is why I savor the breezes and the smell of the salt water air  Have you ever seen the movie Christmas Vacation?  Remember Clark imagined his vacation differently than one which unfolded?  His expectations were unattainable, mostly because he forget to embrace life as it was.  In years passed , I may have been a slight version of Clark Griswald: but not this year...  You see the character Clark had unrealistic expectations for his family vacation, and as result he made his family miserable and himself too.  While viewers of this movie have laughed for years Clark refused to see the humor in such perfect imperfections.  See above clip for a laugh!
The beach to me is the closest experience to heavenly perfection on earth.  Even on the best day at the at the beach though, there are "perfect" Imperfections.  Leaving your custom hair washing board at home, which means you  must improvise by using a water hose or hanging your head upside over the bed. The reality of amazing Aunt who has major back pain on the trip, limiting her enjoyment .  Kids who are tired after long car rides!  Leg problems which hinder long walks on the beach.  All these are small inconveniences that interfere with expectations of perfection.  You know what, I 'I m glad  perfect as the beach is to me, it still has imperfections. .   .   You see for me walking on the beach is a dream, and part of what makes me dream about walking on the beach wonderful for me, is I don't know at all what it is really like.  In my mind it is the perfect experience, and nothing imperfect can touch it.  As those of you who can walk know, it isn't perfect walking on the beach.  Sand I have been told, is hard to walk in, and it is sometimes hot on your feet.  The reality is this earth and the world has imperfections, even in our happy places.  

   9 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God;[b] 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 
   Romans 8:9-24.  


It is imperfection that often allows kindness  to be seen.  My family was an amazing help to me at the beach.  My uncle Ron brought ramps in his already over packed truck, so I could sit on the balcony and see the ocean which I cannot do without ramps.  It meant the world to me.  My cousin's husband Brad drove us the whole trip both ways.  This was so helpful to us.  Most all my family helped place me in and out of bed every day we were there.  My brother Justin and cousin Bill pushed me up and down the beach ramp.  You see even though, heaven is the only perfect place, we can savor joy through imperfect perfection!  Sometimes its fun when things are less than perfect. I'm so thankful for and to my family for all they do for me, even when it is hard work.  My mom physically cared for me even though it was tiring for her.  My 5 year old cousin Jack brought me a pale of ocean water to put my hand in.  A stranger bought our lunch one day.  It was pretty heavenly!   Memories made, Corn Hole played!

Next time you are tempted to expect perfection look for the "perfect" in  your surroundings, and look for the perfect in imperfection...  Smile wide, laugh hard, and be thankful! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Silencing Our Moster

Image here
It was happening again.  A disappointment trigged the What Ifs in my mind.  The lump had already formed in my throat.  The all too familiar what ifs line of questioning soon changed shape into questions of how will I.  Before I knew it, I  wasted energy not on the current disappointment, but future predictions and assumptions based on the present.  The lump in my throat, had now become a puddle off tears.  In that moment, I had two choices.  I could let these emotions come and pass quickly, realizing that what I was thinking and feeling was not reality. My second option, I could continue to exhaust myself with false information, and try to figure out how to solve problems before these existed. Do you have these What if’s and how will I questions too? How will you make ends meet? How will you cope with the loss of your loved ones? How will you raise that child?  How will you balance work and family?  Suddenly, I remembered a list of fifty-two Bible verses I printed a couple weeks before.  I began to read these slowly. Once my mind was refocused on the verses I  was reminded that God gives us daily provision.  Meditation is a biblical concept. It an area where I could be stronger.  It is not simply the practice of mediation, which impacts our minds, as popular culture might suggest, it is willfully choosing to direct our thoughts to God’s word.  In this case, I discovered weapons to conquer “my what if’s and “how will I thoughts.’  A few days later, I knew I would find myself in another difficult situation where I knew I would be tempted. I clutched tightly to the list of verses, and breathed a prayer asking for sustaining grace.  Clinging to scripture enables us to stay in the moment, when we are lured to speculate about our futures or linger in our pasts. “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” Joshua 1:8 NLT
          Once I began to live in the current moment, it became easier to see that as needs arise   God did and would provide whatever the situation required.  God desires that we rely on Him continually for our daily needs. If He met our every need in advance, we would likely cease ongoing fellowship, and abiding in God’s grace.  Even, when Jesus prayed to The Father He asked, not for weekly or monthly provision, instead Jesus requested daily bread.    “Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 AMP. The next time we feel as though our “what Ifs” and “how will I’s are closing in on us, let’s focus our attention on God’s secure promises   we can and must come to our Father for today’s specific needs. Tomorrow will become today soon enough, but it isn’t our load to carry.  God’s provisions will be just as sufficient tomorrow as these are today.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Life in Photos

New TV for my birthday a couple weeks ago!
Sometimes we must live our life before we can write about it...Here are some pictures of me simply living life!
Bumped into a friend from youth group years ago @ Spring for Life!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Are we Listening?

 Watch this video before you read my post. This humorous YouTube video will serve as an illustration for the topic of this post   Both, parent and child are claiming the other is not listening.   My work, teaches me to actively listen to my clients: using rephrasing and restating.  It helps both me and the client to process responses.  Sometimes we ask or wonder if God is listening to us, when the better question is: Are we listening to God?   People speak in terms we are often familiar with, however we may not be as in tune with the voice of the Holy Spirit.  I am learning a few concepts about listening for God's promptings.     
1. God desires and allows us to know and discover his voice...    “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me:" John 10:27.  The sheep represent God’s children.  This verse also states that the sheep know and hear God’s voice,   they are known by God and Christ.  I believe wholeheartedly God is able to speak audibly if He chooses to.  Let’s just be honest I’ve never heard God speak audibly to me.  While I can’t speak for others, I think it would be hard to say others have either, unless of course they lived during the of Jesus’ ministry.  Though not hearing God’s voice does not mean God isn’t speaking, and t we should not listen.  
2. It is impossible to listen to God without spending some form of time in His presence. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:12-13. One reason I changed the name of my blog to: From Head to Heart, is because I know it is possible to know God’s word in my mind, but not n allow those words to affect my life and heart.  Unless I allow God’s words to make the way from head to heart, I’m living purely from a legalistic knowledge, and not intimacy with God. The Bible says God rewards those who seek, listen to, and place their trust in him. Hebrews 11:6
3.  One of the primary ways God speaks is through his promises.  I shall delight[in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.
Psalm 119:15:16.  Sometimes, in my own life, because of doubt, or just simply because I’d like another answer, I fail to listen to the truth God has given clearly in a given situation.  If God has already provided the answer in the Bible, the phrase do what has already been stated applies.
4.  God also speaks through our own past and present experiences.  This might be through an answer to our prayer, or a challenge we face.  We may choose to waste our trials, but God never intended that.  I watch on a weekly basis as God redeems the agony of cancer into ministry.  It is often difficult for me to listen and look for ways to use my life experiences, but when I do listen and respond, God speaks and reveals himself. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in ]any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor.1:3-4.   I wonder sometimes if we are not like the child in the video saying Lord you are not listening to us.  I envision the Lord responding graciously yet firmly. No, child You are not listening to me!  God often repeats his message to affirm it to us.  Are we listening? 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The News is Out! Big News!

I love when I have big news to share especially when the news is exciting.   If you follow me on Facebook, then this could be old news but will you indulge me briefly.  My dear friend Jennifer Hand has an e-book out with Amazon called 31 Days to Coming Alive devotional  She is passionate about the  the message, and I'm really proud of her!  It has taken me awhile to wrap my brain around the excitement. The truth is my friend Jennifer Hand has always followed her dreams and this book is no exception.  Jenn is brave in ways many of us have never had the courage to be.  Jennifer Hand sincerely loves Christ, and she makes me want to be brave!  Do you want to live a life of fullness?    If you do, Jenn can and will point you to the One who can take you upon this journey!  In the near future I plan to interview Jenn on my blog about the book.  I'm even more humbled and most honored Jenn has graciously allowed me to be a contributor in the book. You  see, my dear friend Jenn knows I have loved writng since childhood.  She knew the joy that would overflow at the thought of sharing what God has given me.  This post is to tell you and Jenn, as she made her own dream come true by committing her dream and vision to God, He has made mine a reality too.  I have tried not to be overly loud about my personal role in the project, one because Jenn has done all the hard work and I'm so proud of her!  The truth is my goal is not to be a NY Times Bestselling author, I simply want to inspire people by the written word pointing them to the One who makes my life make sense.In all honesty though, I can hardly contain my joy excitement, and gratitude to God and Jenn for allowing me to be published in the book, and to be part of this and get my writing into hands and hearts.   All that to say that I'm so thrilled to have a part in the book, and even more thrilled to call Jennifer Hand a friend!  The books will be in print in a few weeks I will let you know when, but for now, it is on Kindle APP for much less than 5 dollars.    Jenn thank you again!  To those looking for renewal, or just want to check it go for it!  Stayed turned for the interview soon.  I have more blessings to share in an upcoming post!  I'm blessed....  Special thanks to Blaine Vandegriff for promoting the book on social media.To all who are reading or have the book  You all won't regret this read Jennifer Hand is funny, charming, and passionate!

Find the Ebook here

Saturday, March 15, 2014

God Is In the Remodel!

For some of you I know the word remodel or makeover conjures images of a dream come true. You probably have thought long and hard about the colors you would choose and how perfect things will look. You may even look at magazines or spend hours online looking for the perfect color scheme and fabric. I hate to disappoint those who have the passion for remodeling. You will not induct me as remodel president. You see I love the finished product, where the final snapshot is revealed. However it is the process that takes place before the finishing touch that gives me both a literally and figuratively headache.  I appreciate those who paint and work hard to display beauty.  We are in the middle of a living room and dining room remodel.  My grandmother, has the joy of finally remolding a bit.  I’m so thrilled for us and especially for her, however, in my brain the word remodel means getting rid of stuff.  It means disruption and distraction.  It means sorting through items and throwing away.  It means rearranging objects that seem okay to me right where these are.  The irony is that I know everything will look beautiful when it is complete.  The new paint already makes everything look brighter and like another place entirely. 
I often have the same response in relation to spiritual remolding…  I wonder if most of us have a similar response.  We love the result of God sanctifying us, and becoming Christlike. I don’t believe most of us want God to clean out our messiness, and refine us.  It is painful and inconvenient and it leaves us exposed.    In the end and even in the between, I envision that our Savior is likely saying see my child, all of this remolding and pruning is for a divine purpose, I’m conforming you into the image of Christ.  You only see glimpses of beauty now, but on that final day you will see the completion of my flawless work in whole.  Our dining and living room remodel will be worthwhile and beautiful upon completion. Now we see only small glimpses of the final reveal. This is true for those who walk with God. We cannot see the all revealing beautiful work of Christ just yet.  We are offered beautiful in our lives but sometimes we can be so busy being distracted by the mess in front of us,  we miss the amazing progress occurring.  God is teaching me I can trust Him to refine me. In a spiritual sense to perform a renovation on my mind and soul.   Remodeling takes time. Our spiritual transformation will take longer, and the results at times are far less noticeable. Isn’t great to know that our Heavenly does not leave His work within us incomplete?  By faith in his promise, we can know God is able and willing to display His glory as He confines and refines us!   
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.” Isa. 64:8
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29

My friends on a fun note I have to know are you a remodel junkie?

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Confessions of s scared Writer Part 1

Just a couple of months ago, maybe more, I made a goal for myself to blog at least once a week. For the sake of improving my skills as a writer. I honestly did not think it would be difficult. Several months in to this project/goal it is clear that thus far it's been an epic fail. This wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact, I'm aware of the fact that unless I commit to writing I'll never get to where I desire to be. The thoughts and excuses that run through my mind like a movie scene are endless. What's the point of writing?   You're not competent enough or educated enough to make your mark as a writer. Distractions are everywhere Facebook the dog and just my own laziness played a crucial role in my lack of follow-through.  My mind flashes back to she speaks 2012, where I remember author Emily P Freeman reading a quote from Mark Batterson which states: "the question is not whether God has called you to be a published author, rather the question is has God called you to write?"  The word called has as always been sort of a strong word of my mind. I never really thought of the word "calling" unless it pertains to a person serving in full-time ministry. It isn't that I don't believe that God gives everyone a purpose, of course I do. Those purposes are no less or more significant  than the purpose of someone in full time ministry.. Can I honestly say "God has called me to write? It feels almost arrogant to make such a claim. The truth is whether it is a calling or not,  it is more  a calling than anything else I've ever felt compelled to do. The obstacle staring back at me most at the moment is what if no one relates to my writing voice. What if I have nothing worth writing?  What if I'm too transparent? What if I'm not transparent enough? These are just a few of the thoughts swirling through my brain.  I read  the first chapter of Revelation where God tells John on the island of Patmos to write down his vision  He was there preaching the word of God having been exiled   One day He was worshiping, and he encountered a prophetic vision from Christ.  I imagine the fear, doubt, and sense of urgency he might have experienced when the Lord instructed to write down the vision.    “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen.]This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”  Revelation 1:19-20 

Let me be clear I have never seen a prophetic vision nor do I expect to, but I do believe at times in life, God may offer a clear word or direction for his children.  Have you experienced this in your own life?  As I read this and other verses where God tells his children to write down his words, I was reminded how important writing can be for those God has given this task.  .Never will there be another book as important as the bible.Know this however, it does not mean God is unwilling or unable to use present day writing to minster to others.
  Writing often helps people keep a record of what God is doing in their midst.  If I wait for a moment, when my writing is perfected, I’ll never share anything I write, because what I  write will never be perfect.  Do I want to improve yes, but as with so many things in life, my writing craft and skills need God’s grace to soak through.  A friend reminded me, God does not call the qualified, but rather He qualifies the called.  Most days I feel unqualified to write, but the more I write, I’m convinced God is willing and able to equip me.  Have you ever felt unqualified?  How did you find the courage to risk and make yourself available despite your doubts?  Did your experience bring a positive outcome?  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why Laugh?

Dedicated to Margaret Long and Madeline Ellis
If you are around my family much there is one element that is present at any family gathering.  Well if you count food as one, there are actually two elements present.  The one I want to focus on here, as we have entered into 2014 is laughter. There is rarely ever a shortage of laughter when my family is together.  There is no doubt there is much to be serious about in this life, but the abundant life Christ promised us isn't’ one that is void of laughter.    Do you ever wonder if Jesus laughed?  I have really no doubt that He did, because the Bible says He Christ made himself like us in every way.  When Jesus allowed Children to come to him, I believe that He allowed them to come as who they were, laughter and all.  There are some who would say that laughing with God is irrelevant, but I disagree….     Laughter makes life richer….  My mom and I laughed last night when she mistakenly gave a Hobby Lobby card to the cashier at Starbucks.  We laughed when my aunt bought groceries from Kroger and upon pushing the cart to the van the toilet paper rolled into the street.  We were not the only ones laughing then.    As a result of my being a deep thinker people often miss or overlook my fun side.  Laughter makes the hard times lighter and more manageable.  Laughter is a gift from God.  “There is a time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecc. 3:4 
A life without laughter is a life lacking something.  I’m glad I have a family that knows how to laugh.  I remember when my cousin Bill, my uncle Ron, and another family member, all ran around the pool like mad men chasing my little cousin Jack, before he dove in the pool with his nice clothes on.  If memory serves me correctly they did not catch him before dove in, and we burst into laughter.  I think we were all so amused that I don’t recall his getting into trouble for his big jump.   
Sometimes it is good to laugh at yourself.  Like the time I introduced a classmate by the wrong name to someone, as I drove away, his girlfriend asked why I called him by another first AND yes last name too. 
 Like any other gift in life if we use laughter poorly or in the wrong way at the wrong time, we can hurt ourselves and others.  No one uses laughter perfectly, all the time, but laughter is healthy for body and soul.  I want to tell you about two sisters who laugh together and have fun wherever they go and whatever they face….  One has chemo brain sometimes, and the other is sometimes suspected of possibly having slight conversational ADD.  I think this verse describes both these sisters. “

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
    and she laughs without fear of the future Prov.”31:25

    One of these women is my Aunt, and the other is my mom.  They spread the gift of laughter wherever they are, and many uplifted by their fun and optimism.  I’m blessed to have their genes.  Does someone in your life make you laugh?  I’d love to hear about them!