Monday, October 29, 2012

She's Got a Way About Her

We love and miss you, Mom.

Some days the words just won't come. I've been thinking a lot lately.  Planning. Dreaming. Missing. 

Please join me on Encouragement Cafe today as I share a post I wrote about my mother. Maureen. Her faith in Christ and determination continue to inspire me...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What We've Been Up To

Happy Tuesday! I have missed all of you and being able to blog for the past few weeks as we traveled!! It is truly a blessing to feel the sense of community I have with the women I've met on this blog and through link ups on other sites. I love hearing from you and what you've been up to this fall. 

Thank you so much to Tracy Steel and Michelle Carson for awesome guest posts. These women are part of my She Speaks sisters and constantly provide inspiration for me!

What have we been up to? Our house has been fighting a virus that left Tea with temps hovering at 105! Scary! She and Brian are on the mend while Isla and I cross fingers that we are spared this round. 

We also went to Co. Cork, Ireland to see Brian's lovely family. It was SO much fun and I can't wait to share pictures of our adventures this week. Brian and I went for nightly walks which became date night gifts to us from Nana Betty. I took these two shots I thought were cool...

Now that we are back we are enjoying the fall days. I so hope we get to a pumpkin patch this weekend as this is my fav time of year! I've decorated a bit around the house....

Isla had her very first haircut! It was so fun and I can't wait to share pictures this week!

Plus we've just had some sweet moments around here. There are more pictures to post this week before the costume madness begins for Halloween! 

I most excited about a special announcement coming soon! I am making big changes to Teagan's Travels which means I've decided to hold off on Destination: Inspiration Tuesdays for the rest of the year.

I feel God calling me to a certain direction within my corner of the world, this little "bench" of mine (thanks Emily Freeman, author of Chatting at the Sky, for the beautiful vision). I so hope you'll grab a coffee and stick with me as I make the changes. I think it's going to be an awesome fall and winter seeing what God has in store! 

How have you been spending the past few weeks?
What exciting things is God doing in your life at the moment?

Blessings, Michelle

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Loving Someone’s Backside by Guest Blogger Tracy Steel

Hope all are having an amazing day! Tracy Steel from One Degree Ministries is providing some awesome inspiration on Teagan's Travels today!

The Bible teaches that there is a time and purpose for everything under Heaven (Ecclesiastes chapter 3). The older I get, the more I realize and embrace the time and purpose for each backside that I encounter…

Besides being a mother, I am a military wife and mentor. These privileges have given me countless opportunities to make new friends and to talk about God and His Word with women all over the United States.

Unfortunately, at some point our mentoring season ended or my husband’s assignment in that city ended. Though I still remain in contact with these women via phone calls, Facebook, or Skype, I still had to hug them, say “see you later,” and watch as they turned and walked away.

These bittersweet backside moments left me wondering:

Did I encourage her?
Did I help or comfort her in any way?
Did my friendship bring glory to you, God?

A One Degree moment:
I love someone’s backside and the change it symbolizes. I am learning to embrace “see you laters” and am finding freedom from the need for life to remain the same.

Life just isn’t going to remain the way it is now. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to help me let go, so I can embrace what God is doing now.

So next time you are watching a friend walk away, or when you watch your child achieve a milestone, I encourage you to pause. Rejoice over their backside and remember that life is not going to remain the same. The people in your life will change, and so will you.

May we allow God to help us embrace change and fill our hearts with joy despite our bittersweet tears.

Ok, so I have to pray ALOT for God to help me rejoice when saying “see you later.” (BTW, I dislike saying the words “good-bye”) I also assume that I will bawl my eyes out as I watch my children graduate or move away. Who am I kidding? Moving and change stinks. However, letting go is often a process. I am finding that change is tolerable once I allow the Holy Spirit to help my heart adjust. Go figure, right?

“There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on earth… A right time to cry and another to laugh… A right time to embrace and to part… A right time to hold on and another to let go…”
~Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4a, 5b, 6b The Message

Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force.  Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves to drink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. She also enjoys chasing their two children, Jackson (3) and Katherine (1), throughout their toy-infested home.  Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at You can also connect with her on Facebook at, or chat with her via twitter @tracy_steel.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A New Way to Pray

Hello from Ireland! We are wrapping up a great few weeks hanging out with Brian's family in Co. Cork. I can't wait to share our trip with you. In the meantime, I'm skipping this week's Destination: Inspiration but have a new devotional to share.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this and what you've experienced with prayer!

A New Way to Pray

 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
A dragonfly in my front yard this summer brought back memories. As a college student, I longed to travel. My heart has always been fascinated by France. The people. The food. The gorgeous language and scenery.

I dreamed of studying there.

But despite my greatest efforts and prayers, I could never pull the funds together to join a study abroad program.

One day, my political science professor nominated me for a full scholarship to study in Japan through the Japanese embassy. The day I completed my application a dragonfly was hanging about my door. In Japan, they are a symbol of good luck. At that moment? I felt such a sense of peace. Friends, I knew I was going to get my scholarship!  

The two years I spent in Japan were so rich and full of adventures. In that environment, so different from our western culture, I learned so much about myself, my new friends and the world around me. It blessed me tremendously.  

But it also provided a valuable lesson. Sometimes when God says "No" it is because He has greater plans for us.  

Destinations we could never imagine.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God outlines his plans for us. In this we can have a hope, joy and peace that transcend worldly understanding.

There was a time early in my career when I was laid off and couldn't see past my tears and feelings of embarrassment.  But despite my defeat, what followed was a new role that took me around the world often and to my beloved France for the very first time.

God said "No" when I cried out for a baby.  I grieved through miscarriages. And I was devastated with an ectopic pregnancy that had to be terminated. But my babies were worth every tear and moment of waiting. I didn't become a mom the way I imagined. Instead, God brought me to my knees and back to Him.  

To depend on Him and His timing.  

To praise Him in the storm.

To be at peace when I pray… even before I know His answer.

You see, sometimes God's answer is "No." And sometimes it's "Not right now." Sometimes? It's "Go. All the way. Go for it!"

And sometimes?

If we are lucky?  

It's something we've never even thought to ask for. And it feels so miraculous looking back in hindsight.  

Reflection and Action:
I know there are also more serious and painful decisions than I’ve represented here. I don't intend to dismiss them.  I only want to offer hope with this post.  

Is there something you are praying for today?  Can you give it to God and wait in peace with the wonderful expectation that He has wonderful plans for you?

It would be my privilege and honour to pray for you and your family.  Please email me at

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and wisdom. Thank you for seeing a big, brighter and more brilliant plan than we could ever imagine possible. Comfort us in our disappointment. Soften our hearts and have us turn to you with patience and gratitude, assured that you have great plans in store for us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Additional Scripture:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

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.

John 14:27 (NIV)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home is Not the House Itself by Guest Blogger Tracy Steel

I am delighted to have guest blogger Tracy Steel from One Degree Ministries encouraging and inspiring us with her words today!

Home is Not the House Itself
by Tracy Steel

Our recent move across state lines was a challenging one for my children. Katie’s heart has only known one home. So when our new home was finally ready, the children’s rooms were the first to be unboxed and arranged.

In fact, I couldn’t wait to show them their new rooms. My heart was blessed as they rushed in and saw their beloved toys and beds. They knew they were finally home. The wait was over. Their expressions and giggles said it all.

However, as much as my children love their new rooms, they will not stay in them for long. They love to follow me around the house. They long for my presence. To them, home is not their room, it is wherever mommy is!

The Father’s House
Jesus finished washing the feet of the Disciples. To add to their confusion, Jesus told them that He would be leaving them (John 13:33) and that they could no longer be with Him. 

Knowing the condition of their troubled hearts, Jesus said:

“Do not be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
~John 14:1-4 NIV (emphasis mine)

There is a room in the eternal house of God for those who have called on the name of Jesus to save them.

Now I know some of you are already wondering what the curtains in your room will look like, if you will have a queen or king size bed, or if you have a view of the Tree of Life from your kitchen window. Hang with me, I used to be an Interior Designer, and my imagination goes there sometimes…Scripture doesn’t go into detail about my room specs. So I need to STOP it!

Just keeping it real…

Home is not the House Itself
Please re-read the portion of Scripture I underlined above again. 

Did you catch what it says?


Our home is where the presence of God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are. We, the forgiven and redeemed, will dwell with them for forever, and ever, and ever.

I needed to be reminded of this and to remember where I am headed.

And the present isn’t it.

Our wait for our new home will end.

Jesus is in Heaven.

He is preparing…

He will come back and take us home.

Through the eyes of my children, I caught a glimpse of what awaits. My home is not just a room.

Jesus is where my home is.

When I see Him face to face, my expression will say it all…

Blessings, Tracy

“Long Way Home” by Steven Curtis Chapman 

Tracy is proudly married to Chad, a pilot in the United States Air Force. Whenever they are not being relocated, she loves to drink green tea and watch re-runs of LOST. She also enjoys chasing their two children, Jackson (3) and Katherine (1), throughout their toy-infested home. Tracy graduated from Phoenix Seminary in 2005, and served as the Director of Student Women at Scottsdale Bible Church from 2005-2007. She is also the author of Images of His Beauty, a newly released Bible Study, for young women who struggle with self-image issues and eating disorders. You can find out more information about the study and follow her blog at You can also connect with her on Facebook at, or chat with her via twitter @tracy_steel.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dodging Fiery Darts - Guest Post by Michelle Carson

Dodging Fiery Darts

Recognizing and loosening the footholds the enemy places in our minds.

Guest Post by Michelle Carson

I remember it like it was yesterday. My palms sweaty, my head pounding, I stepped on to the small square as the little old lady in front of me began to read off the numbers, "Quarter pound gain!" was yelled into the room. I was 12 years old and attending my weekly TOPS weight loss meeting. This was not my first rodeo, as I had been attending these meetings with my mom and grandmother since I was a toddler, and became an active member at age nine.
Size and weight were always the issues that coughed in my face when I woke every morning. They were always there, reminding me that I was different. Growing up I lived in a wonderful Christian home with two loving parents and labored under the delusion that since I had invited Jesus into my heart at the age of 5, I was untouchable to Satan. So, with every fleeting thought of unworthiness, I began to crumble from the inside.
Due to my overwhelming insecurities, I shied away from everything. My mother grew so concerned she threatened to take me to the doctor. My dad said I would grow out of it. And what did I think? I can't remember a day in my childhood that I didn't believe everybody would be much better off without my presence. I never voiced that of course. Those thoughts weren't what good, Christian girls thought about, right?
My story is not new to most people. The majority of us have encountered some form of body image unraveling at some point in our delicate lives. Maybe you were the skinny girl or perhaps you had curly hair when straight was "in". Satan has a way of finding the things that hinder us most and exposing them like a raw wound. This is not the most fun thing to think about, but it is of the utmost importance to talk about.

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." John 10:10 Amplified

The fight we fight is against principalities and darkness, NOT our wardrobe nor the scale. Satan finds us at our weakest and plants a small thought that will grow into a stronghold. As daughters of the King, we must be aware of these thoughts and have a plan to "weed" our spiritual garden. 

Here are 5 truths to remember as we fight the fight of our very lives:

  •     God knit each of us together to be different. Psalm 139:13
  •     You, and only YOU, have been created to fulfill a specific purpose. 1 Peter 4:10-11
  •     Our fight is against more than the flesh. Ephesians 6:12
  •     Satan deals in chaos, clutter and distraction. John 10:10
  •     The pursuit of perfection on this Earth is futile and weakens us. John 14:2-3
We must learn to recognize the footholds that are placed in the mind and speak the Truth of God's Word to banish them. Things such as self derogatory statements can be a foothold that evolves into a stronghold such as anxiety or depression. Allowing Satan even a corner of our mind will keep us trapped in bondage and unable to fully devote our lives to Christ and His higher calling.

We as a society of women have been plagued by these issues for far too long. Think about this: what would happen if we all stood for what we believed in, unwavering even if our jeans felt tight or we woke up with an enormous pimple that day? What if we truly took the time to dive into the character of God and accept His unending love for us? The day that you can throw your arms up, lean your head back and expose your heart to the Almighty, allowing Him to fill and fulfill you, is the day that we become a formidable force in God's kingdom.


Michelle Carlson is a totally devoted follower of Christ and wife and mother. Michelle battled with negativity and low self esteem for most of her life, eventually facing her demons and losing over one hundred pounds. The result of this was two books on healthy weight loss, Your Guide to Lasting Weight Loss and The Little Fit Book. Michelle is passionate about empowering all women to live their lives to the fullness of their God ordained purpose and make the world a better place for our daughters. Michelle lives in Baytown, Texas and writes about emotional and spiritual health, nutrition, weight loss and body image.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Destination: Inspiration #26

We are off to another great party!! 
Share as many inspirational posts as you like!

Passport to an Awesome 
Destination: Inspiration Party!!!

Teagan's Travels Button, 2012 February

I Was Featured, 2012 February

*I  am trying to grow my little blog so I'd really be excited if you would follow me using Google  Friends Connect or Linky Followers on my sidebar!

*Grab my button and post it somewhere on your blog if you want to totally make my week.

*Link to your post instead of your overall blog address.

*We all love comments so spread the love to at least one other blogger.

Have a great week!