Monday, December 31, 2012

May I Have a Word?

Happy New Year's! Here we go 2013! This month I'll be sharing the top ten moments God brought into my life this year. Some with happiness. Others with tears. All with blessings.

Today I am focusing on new beginnings. I love starting fresh and the possibilities for triumph that the new year brings! I'll admit that I normally kick off January with plans, resolutions and goals. And every year the list includes some tired yet hopeful language regarding weight loss and organization. 

Every year. 

You see, my best intentions get sidetracked by toddlers who won't nap, a calendar begging for a quiet day, and temptation that comes in the form of a red velvet birthday cake, not to mention chocolate filled Valentine's Day others words? By life and living in it. 

Anyone with me on this? 

So this year? This year I am joining a movement that calls for focus. Focus on one word. Instead of trying to juggle too many resolutions and feeling like I've mastered none of them, the word I chose will guide me through the next year. 

I prayed about my word. I know God will use it to bless me. To teach me something about myself I never considered. But what to choose? If I'm honest? I have about 50 words I could work on...maybe 100? Hmmm. Where to start? 

Within the list I kept circling back to one word: Consistency. At first it seemed an almost imperceptible whisper. No God, not that one...surely there is a less convicting word out there...???  


That whisper has transformed into a crystal clear command. It is officially the word God placed in my heart for this year. So over the past few weeks I've been thinking about how this word fits into my days. What it looks like as we enter 2013. 

Consistency meeting God through prayer and quiet time eating well and exercising writing, blogging and sharing my heart being at church faithfully being a present wife and mother

It still seems a big list. But what if?

What if one small intentional act of consistency in an area of my life lends itself to another? 

And another? 

And another?

I love this graphic so graciously created by Melanie at Only a Breath. 

About the design:
This design was created to symbolize our daily focus around each “theme” word. Each dot represents days as the year passes and the steps we make to incorporate the “One Word” into our lives. At the beginning of the year, each step might be small and farther between (like the dots at the top)… then as the year progresses, each step becomes larger until they start to just blur together… and the “One Word” becomes part of all we do, incorporated into each day as a habit we have each cultivated.
The best part of this button is the tangible visual of what gaining traction looks like as we focus on one word. So, are you ready to choose your One Word for 2013? When you do, visit Melanie's site where she gives instructions for requesting your free One Word button

And share with us in the comments section here, what will you work on this year?


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lean In

The Lesson

Earlier this week I wrote about a health scare I've had recently. And I've learned a lesson with that post...I, really...told my family BEFORE posting! Oops. I just about gave my dear ones a panic attack and for that, I am so sad. The truth is, I thought I'd make phone calls that morning, but the day got away from me. I goofed, so let that be a lesson to you, bloggy friends! Call first. Write later. 

The issue has been walking. Sigh. My poor mother. With her severe rheumatoid arthritis, she would have been able to relate too well to this. I am forever grateful she never had to know I would experience a taste of what she endured for years. On more days than I'll admit it has been hard to get out of bed, even to comfort a crying wee one.  

It started last March with a 10K race in Charleston. An injury I never recovered from. Alarms sounding in my head with each month that something was amiss. But with a three and one year old, who has time to slow down? 

It wasn't until the past few months that I couldn't ignore the pain, go for walks, or wear shoes that could be considered a smidge fashionable. The pain spread from my feet to my hips and hands. Doctor's visits, steroid shots, x-rays, a brace...nothing seemed to fix me. 

The Fear

A month ago a rheumatologist met with me and said I showed signs of lupus...and rheumatoid arthritis, which is believed, in some cases, to be inherited. And despite my best God's Girl prayers?


No, not fear for myself. For my husband. Because I know the personal courage, dedication and sacrifice my stepfather Jim gave in devoting himself to the "for worse" part of his marriage. God love Him. Seven children, about a bazillion jobs, working toward his doctorate, a thriving practice...and did I mention the SEVEN children??? Always with a smile and optimism. But you know, it had to be tough.  

Fear. For my baby girls. Because I want desperately to be a well mother for them. To be able to go to plays. Graduations. Weddings. Paris. I mean, listen, we are already well aware we will be the OLD parents in the bleachers...but I'd still like to be up and about, you know? Traveling the world. Seeing the day when stroppy teens become human again. Best friends. 

Fear. Because if you never had the gift of meeting my mother then you don't know: she did "sick" ...well. With dignity. Even on her worst days? She conducted herself with grace. Would I be able to do the same under duress? Could I show kindness and true compassion for others while my body rebelled against itself? I wondered silently, God? What if I fail? How can I even begin to live a life that lends itself to a testimony resembling hers? 

Lean In

My words trickled to a stop. Numb. They just wouldn't come, despite deadlines for guest posts, writing teams and critique groups. I began to question whether God had really called me to write? Did I have something to say? Was my faith so small that I only wanted Him to take the best parts of me? 

Lately....lately, I've been doing a lot of thinking. And stretching. You see, the stretching is good for my muscles that ache so much at the end of the day. When I begin, there is a tautness. It hurts to stretch as I get rid of the day's tension and stress. 

But as I continue? Relief. I am quiet. Centered. Peace filled. Pain free, even. 

My message today? Lean in. Lean in, friend. 
When life hurts. 
When it is full of uncertainty. 

Lean in, because God has something to say to each of our hearts. It may be scary and painful to take that first step...but if we listen intently...quietly...intentionally, then He can bless us. And while we are listening? Let Him. Let Him use all the best and worst parts of us. 

In the end? It's not confirmed, but based on bloodwork, I believe I have osteoarthritis. It is degenerative but I am relieved that it will not attack my immune system and organs. I meet with the doctor this Friday and would love your prayers as I learn what I can do to manage the pain. 

In the meantime, may God bless your family this day. If there is a prayer I can pray for you, please leave a request in the comments or at

In His Name, 

Just Another Day

Imagine a world where your babies believe Christmas just another day. 

Another day to wonder if they will eat. 

Another day to walk for miles for water. 
Another day to get up early and go to the market to try to bring in some money.

For many children this is exactly what they have to look forward to on Christmas.  Giving through the Compassion International Christmas Gift Catalogue provides an opportunity for the churches we partner with in the poorest countries to personally hand these gifts to a child in poverty, to meet their need, and to tell them Jesus loves them. The gift of salvation. And hope. 

Care for a baby's medical needs for 1 year - $55

Provide seeds for a garden that will provide immediate food and income generation - $10

Gift safe water for life for a child and their family - $79 

In this season I ask for your help. For whatever reason, the response to this year's catalogue has been slim. Can you let Christ use you today? Bless someone on your Christmas list by buying one of these gifts in their name. I've pledged to raise $100 so here's my rare ask of anyone reading today:

  • Will 10 of you give $10?
  • Or 5 of you $20?
  • Maybe 2 of you feel called to give $50
  • Or will 1 of you bless these children with $100 in gifts?
For Jesus, giving meant giving everything he had to give. And He asked us to take care of those less fortunate. I would be humbled if you would join with me to change the future for these precious babies. 

Click this link to view the catalogue, make a selection and even send an e-card to your recipient. Then come back here and share with us what you got!!

Blessings to you and yours. In His Name, 

Monday, December 17, 2012

I've Got Somethin' To Say

After a break from blogging, I am back. 

My prayer during this time:

Use me God.

Tell me...whisper your sweet words of inspiration. 

Give me courage to live outside of my immediate surroundings and circumstances. 

Eyes that see beyond the daily trials and into an eternity within your kingdom.



You see, in the midst of a health scare I've had over the past few weeks, I was paralyzed. I couldn't write. I only worried about what the future would hold for my husband and babies. What would their lives look like as they cared for a sick mother? Who would guide my girls through the turmoil of teen years in a way only a mother could, if I were to pass?

And then? True silence. My trickles of writing ground to a halt. I began to question if I just imagined God called me to write. Or perhaps, I thought, it was just for a short season? 

Wouldn't that just make Satan dance for joy? To know He silenced a child of God from proclaiming His greatness...just at the time of year when we have the most powerful, life-changing story to tell with the birth of Christ our savior on Christmas Day? Luke 2:1-39

So today, sweet friends...I declare I've got something to say. My God is an awesome God. A God who loved us so much that He sent His only son to live and die on a cross for us. 

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born; 

O Holy Night

I am back. I am writing. Perhaps small, trickles of words to start with? But they will continue. And grow. For His glory. I will tell how Christ uses all the best...and worst parts of me. Will you join me? Even if it is a word? A picture? A verse from a divinely inspired book of the bible?

May you and yours be blessed this season. Today I am working with a wonderful designer at LexiLyn studios! Amy is helping me develop a blog devoted to my ministry...and I am thrilled to see what God has in store for 2013! I pray you'll join me!

In the meantime, I want to share my sweet angel babies photo. It's been a while and they are growing so much! Isla and Teagan captured this shot with Santa last week. Speaking of something to say, there were no lines that day. Thankfully. I don't think Santa has recovered from my very detailed 3 year old's description of her list! Isla was all about the candy canes! They make my heart so happy! 

Blessings, Michelle

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I love what Beth Moore calls "God Stops." Those are the small but miraculous moments when God shows you He is always with you, ready to give you joy. It's like a little squeeze from Him that makes me giddy! 

Blessings, Michelle

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It Is Well

Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 -Horatio Spafford

The past two months I haven't written much. I've  been thankful during this first holiday season without mom, my stepmother and dad, to be on the road. Ireland, Asheville, Napa, Boulder have called...what wonderful distractions and happy memories my family and friends made along those sweet, tender days. 

But lately? If I'm honest? My heart has been rolling. Tumbling with anxiety. Dark thoughts of uncertainty that messes with this southern girl's peace. Daylight brings blessed busyness. A bleary-eyed focus. My one and three year old daughters command my attention. And my husband catches me in his strong embrace, telling me everything is fine. 

So today, I turn my eyes upon Jesus. In this world that can deliver a swift kick as quickly as a beautiful, tear-producing hug from your sweet baby girl when you least expect it...I have found sanctuary. And with that faith in Him, I am returned to peace once again. 

All is well.

Maybe not the way I had planned this life of mine. Perhaps better? More meaningful than days filled with my to do list? Days where we know it slows down. I become transformed into a voice that tries, often with imperfection, to show others His love, His grace, His compassion, His gift of salvation for a sinner like me. Like you. Like us. 

Is there a battle taking place in your heart today? Do you know the peace and sanctuary Christ offers in our world full of sin, disease, anger, hurt? In this season where we celebrate God's greatest gift...the birth of Christ, I would love to share and pray for you. Please leave a comment or email 

Blessings, Michelle