Deeper Sand - if you are looking for more!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Praying for Wonder

How Can I Make This Year My Best Yet?

  1. Experience wonder* every day
  2. Two positive comments for every negative comment. Every Day. All Year.
  3. Train to walk Maui half marathon in 2014
  4. Walk a local 5 k fundraiser
  5. Read a classic 
  6. Ride a bike once a week May-Sept
  7. Call my mother 52 times this year
  8. Write a letter to each grandchild for their birthday
  9. Keep weight at or below goal
  10. Try 12 new recipes

*Today is your last chance to  take advantage of the free gifts that come with pre-ordering "Wonderstruck" by Margaret Feinberg. Click here for details.  

Join me January 1 for the 20 day Wonder Challenge - just drop me a comment to let me know you're in! Merry Christmas.

From Margaret's Blog....
Join with a friend and take the 30-Day Wonder Challenge. At the back of the book, you’ll find a 30-Day Challenge with simple activities to awaken you to the wonder of God all around. Some are simple. Some will ask you to be silent. Others to dive into the Scripture. Still others to take photos. And more. But all ask you to begin living awake to the presence of God in your life. Grab a friend and do it together so you can share the joy. Take a dive into the Wonderstruck Bible study together come the new year.  I assure you, God is closer and more intimately involved in your life than you ever imagined!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Who's in Charge Around Here Anyway?

This has been "a week", hasn't it. Hard things in my life and harder things in the lives of so many. One of those weeks when it's so hard to explain faith to a non-believer who cries out against a God  "who would allow this". One of those weeks when it's hard to see or feel joy or awe. And yet, the very week when I most need reminders of God's constancy and to seek His glory. Admittedly my grief at our fallen world was deep this week; it was hard to turn my spirit to a place of worship and awe, but because I had committed to doing just that I tried hard to note the places where my heart sang out.

Margaret Feinberg, has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God ,which releases Christmas Day. As we step away from this hard week, and prepare for the next one (because it will come) I want to offer a personal invitation for you to make the commitment to drink in the fullness of life. This book will turn your prayer life upside down, stir your desire to live more abundantly, and take your relationships with others to the next level. I've pre-ordered the book and think you should too!

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video:

Margaret recently posted a great warning on her site that those who have read Wonderstruck have experienced the following symptoms:

-An inability to stop smiling
-An uncontainable desire to pray
-A loss of interest in judging others
-A quiet, unshakable confidence in God
-A renewed ability to see the wonders of God all around

After a week like this one, wouldn't you love to claim those attributes? 

Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog. You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.95 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [] for all you last minute shoppers. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wonderday # 1 - Live Expectantly

“Therefore once more I will astound these people with
  wonder upon wonder.” Isaiah 29:14

Today I invite God to reveal himself to me through the people, places, tasks, and trials of my regular routine. I ask him to remove the fog obscuring my vision of Him and his beloved people. Astound me Lord!

Come back later today (I will) and share with us:

Where did God reveal himself to you today in a way that you otherwise would have overlooked?

I'm taking the challenge to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK by God. Join me & pre-order Wonderstruck today: .

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting for God to Show Up. Advent 12.12.12

Advent. A time of waiting, with expectation. With a 3 year old in the house it's hard not to get caught up in the Santa-ness of the season (he was singing "Santa was a baby" the other day...?) But deep in our hearts, what are we really waiting for? Sometimes I'm waiting for God to show up. I forget to look for Him everywhere, every moment. Yesterday our community was stunned by a headline-making senseless tragedy and I found myself drawing on the deep well of faith that shields and sustains me; knowing God will show up and he will redeem even this....yet I have to ask, how do I see the "wonder" when there is death and violence that seems to shatter hope.

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Margaret Feinberg and her books for the last few years. I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book  Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God. Here are some highlights from an interview with Margaret:

Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck 
book and Bible study come from?

Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.

My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”

God did not disappoint.

What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?

Sometimes talking or writing about wonder feels like tying kite strings to clouds. It’s ethereal, and you can never quite get a grip on it. But if you look in the dictionary, the two main definitions of wonder are: “being filled with admiration, amazement, or awe” and “to think or speculate curiously.”

Those definitions come together beautifully in our relationship with God. That’s why I define the wonder of God as those moments of spiritual awakening that create a desire to know God more.

In other words, the wonder of God isn’t about an emotional experience or having some cool story to tell your friends, but the wonder of God makes us want more of God—to go deeper and further than we’ve ever been before.

Why are you calling people to #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK?

If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High?  We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. 
For a free copy, email us at and we’ll send you one.

You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I've ordered advance copies on Amazon for $7.57 and I've already downloaded my free 14 day journaling guide (my first New Year's resolution is in place!)

...waiting, watching, listening with an attitude of awe this season. What are you waiting for today? Do you dare to pray for God to reveal himself to you? He will not disappoint!

Grace and Peace to you this Advent

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Sit back, close your eyes and take yourself back to that time when...
      you fell in love for the first time
            there was this singer who made you quiver when you heard his voice
                  you saw the car, you know the one, with the wheels
                  (in case a guy landed here)
                        your child was born
                               and you held that baby
                                      and looked into their eyes...

Remember? The tingly feeling  -  sweaty palms and racing heart?
The overwhelming love and urge to run and shout from a roof top ("Would you look at those wheels!").
That's what I miss. That's what I want in my relationship with God. To be stopped cold and washed over with the thrill of all that HE is. To see his glory in every face, his majesty in creation and his power in circumstances. I've gotten soft and apathetic and I take it all for granted. But do I need a bigger miracle? Or perhaps I need to slow down and reconsider the God of the Bible.

One thing I know is that I'm not a Bible scholar and I'm a bit in awe of those who are. I'm honored to have friends who dig deep and study the Word - women such as Bo Stern who graciously shared her extensive pursuit of Joy in scripture, women like Margaret Feinburg who read the book of Genesis over and over and over for a  year. Really? For a year? Women like one of my first mentors, Rev. Heidi Husted, who brought the inspired words of God to life for me. I'm grateful to have these and other writers and pastors out there to lead and convict and  teach me.

Join me if you will in chasing down that sense of thrill and awe as we encounter the living God of the universe this winter. Join me in reading and applying this new, fresh book and study: Wonderstruck.

You can learn more about this great book by clicking this link: Wonderstruck .
You can follow Margaret’s posts on TwitterFacebook, or her blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Lost Your Sense of Wonder?

My friend, Margaret Feinberg, has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God  being released on Christmas Day. The book is a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck will help you:

·         Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
·         Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days
·         Develop a renewed passion for God
·         Identify what’s holding you back in prayer
·         Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video, here

I have to admit that "wonder" and "awe" are not the first words that come to mind when I think of God. I think I've fallen into a place that is sometimes a little too comfortable and familiar. I see God as all-powerful and reliable, a sort of strong, silent personal life coach and bodyguard. The video (above) contains images of breathtaking scenery and that's where I find myself in a place of wonder - reflecting on the majesty of our natural world. The roar of crashing waves rolling in set after set with no end ever in sight...the timeless grandeur of Yosemite ...the soft colors as the sun rises and then sets each day - all of these sights silence my chattering brain and bring a mixture of delight and awe at the evidence of God's power. I treasure those moments and I'd love to train myself to be surprised and awed by God in every part of my day. How precious it would be to look at life with the fresh eyes of a trusting child!

So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life? 

Please post your comments below and help all of us reconsider what it might mean to 
be struck by the wonder of God.

Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog.

You can learn more about this great book by visiting where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I've seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble  for all you savvy shoppers.  (Great Christmas gift!)

Sunday, November 25, 2012


My little grandson - his eyes wide and face turned up - as we look at the big Christmas tree at a nearby outdoor shopping mall - huge ornaments and bright twinkling lights. 
We watch the steps ahead of us, gaze at the store windows, minds racing with the lists of incomplete tasks or burdens we carry. He looks up and around taking in the excitement in the crisp air.

I want to smell and taste and feel each moment of this season as we wait expectantly for the birth of a savior. God in babe. Bright, beautiful and bigger than we can comprehend. Faces tilted, ears straining to ear the voices of the angels as they sing....

May your day be graced with Wonder.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's the day before Thanksgiving and in true PNW manner we have downpours of rain, wind, and then "sunbreaks" that are glorious. As I write this I'm looking out my second story dining room window at shimmering golden leaves on an ornamental cherry tree and a brilliant blue sky. God's creation inspires wonder in me regardless of the weather. This weather brought a "boil water" alert to our city - as God's littlest creations have multiplied in the water source to a level that is unhealthful for humans. Do floods in my life allow little sin organisms to flourish as well?

I admit I'm partly driven to write this as a way of convincing Margaret Feinberg to choose me for one of the remaining 26 spaces on her "Wonderstruck" launch team as they prepare to introduce a phenomenal new study on Christmas day. Why would I add this to my life? Well for one it would be a joy to be a part of something that draws us closer into God's presence. When I have a responsibility I find new reserves of self-discipline (so, yes, totally self-serving). It might push me to write more and to soak in His Word more.

It doesn't hurt that my husband and I are dreaming of a trip to Banff this year and this promo video highlights the beauty and wonder of that area. You can view the video here and link to pre-order the study and book yourself! 

To put the icing on the cake Margaret, I'm now headed to the kitchen to make your kick-booty cranberry chutney for my family to enjoy. With double rum and half the cranberries, right? 

The recipe is over here...Worthy Of My Apron
and here.....Margaret Feinberg

Thursday, November 1, 2012

HMC Strong Finish

Dear Ladies,
We are beginning week 12 of our 13 week challenge and I'd like for us all to recommit and finish strong. Perhaps you've run a steady race and just need to maintain the pace you've set. Perhaps you are lagging and tired or dropped out a few laps ago; in that case can we encourage you and help you to move back onto the track and finish with us as a team? Where ever you find yourself in terms of the three goals we set for ourselves (to rise and meet God before we meet our families each day, to move our bodies, and to plan our day), I hope you will push aside any sense of discouragement and get excited about reaching the finish line!

To help motivate and create accountability I want to suggest that we establish a numerical score for ourselves based like this - 1 point each for:
  1. Rising at the time I set for myself
  2. Meeting with God (praying, reading his Word, worship, etc)
  3. Moving my body
  4. Planning
  5. One other personal goal (please share if you are willing)

Each day of the last two weeks I'll post a check in comment and instead of just clicking "like" to check in I'd like you to bravely or humbly post your score (0 to 5 based on the criteria above). Of course you are free to post other comments and encouragements, but let's all help each other press on toward the goal by honestly sharing where we are each day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Faith Stepping

Footprints in the sand. Everywhere. All sizes and shapes. Each footprint tells the story of someone who wandered this same path. Leaving what is behind. Perhaps not sure of what is ahead. I walk behind these two, leaving my own mark, knowing that all our marks will be erased by the wind and the waves. And yet in this moment there is beauty in the evidence of community that surrounds us, in the gentle strength of a mother holding her child's hand and in the knowledge that we do leave a legacy made of one step of faith followed by another.
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. 
 I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. 
 You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don’t see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. 
 The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing. The Messiah’s Spirit let them in on some of it—that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when. All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves—through the Holy Spirit—the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!
1 Peter 1:3-12

For fun here's a link to one of the first posts on this sandy blog: Why Sand Stepping?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sacred in Place - Sabbath Living

I've posted twice now about defining a sacred space in your home where you can meet with God - and I've been grateful to those of you who have posted responses about your willingness to have your quiet times in the midst of your family life as a way to model to your children the priority of meeting with God daily, and in some cases out of necessity or as a spiritual discipline. I think I missed some important opportunities as a mother by keeping my prayer times more private - out of selfishness I suppose - out of deep need in hard circumstances - and out of ignorance. I wish someone had pointed out to me the value of having my kids seeing me meet with God.

I'd like to respond by proposing not an either/or, but as my pastor is quick to suggest, an "and". Perhaps a worthy goal is to build a beautiful, tranquil place for yourself. Our American homes have lots of bathrooms, indoor laundry facilities, dens and man caves and office space and of course lots of room dedicated to electronics and entertainment....but have you ever been in a house that had a chapel? Why not? What fun to have a place set aside to honor God. Yeah, all of our home should honor God (I love magnets with lists of blessings on fridge doors, and scripture signs over the fireplace), but what about a place where one can escape the busyness and sit at the altar? comes the AND....also incorporate times of worship, prayer and contemplation into the rhythm of our lives. Let your kids catch you meditating on the Word....stop and pray when life is getting too crazy...and as Ann Voskamp models, eat the Word at every meal. 

I want to be better at reaching out to God in the chaos, and even better at letting him reach out to me in the chaos.  I want my daily to-do list to have unwritten priorities to pray first rather than as a last resort, to count blessings and denounce spiritual attack. But, at my heart, I still crave my little corner that helps me to shut out the cares of the world and find my center in Christ. 

Call waiting....God's on the other line!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sacred Space Two

As I gaze around this space that I've grown so accustomed to I see trinkets that have meaning; a wooden cross I bought on Ebay (everyone made fun of me for believing monks really made it). It's lying on its side - did the cats knock it over? How did they knock just that over and not all the other stuff? There is a photo of my earthly father, a kaleidoscope I bought as a college graduation present in one of my favorite places -Mendocino, a vase that was a gift from a good friend, a wooden birdhouse my youngest gave me, and a little angel figurine that was a parting gift from a ministry job. All the trinkets are placed wrong because our housekeeper moves stuff around and likes things lined up oddly.

There is soft light from a funky crooked lamp I bought on clearance somewhere (I seem to collect odd bargain basement stuff), and from a candle. The air is sweet from the fragrance of the candle, laden with the scent of lilac. I think heaven is lilac scented.

My chair is smooth leather. Cold in the winter and slippery. I love the feel of the leather and the way the chair cradles my body. My bible is covered in leather. I love the feel of  the cover in my hands, the light heft of the Word, the delicacy of the pages between my fingers. I love just holding it and turning the pages. I adore my Kindle but for the Word of God I have to have my actual Bible. It's just not the same seeing the words on a screen. I have to feel them in my core. The bookcases contain an assortment of books, all of which have memories attached. They are friends who are part of my journey. I love texture so there are a couple of baskets to contain clutter, but also to bring sensory delight with their unique woven patterns.

I often listen to music in this space - generally acoustic offerings - as I find lyrics distracting when I'm trying to listen for God or read or think. Note to self; Bose sound system. Gotta take this space up a notch from my funky bargain basement Ipod speaker that sputters.... I also hear, all the time, all.the.time....static. I suffer (am blessed?) with tinnitus so there is always background noise in my head. Annoying. Aggravating. Accepted. I guess it filters some of the other sounds for me. Constant white noise makes space for more of God. Even with a focused space I find my mind and heart wandering so I have to employ technique (which somehow seems oh so wrong) to stay open and focused. Breath prayer, a centering phrase or word, and gentleness with my distracted self.

Ah, there's the sound of the cat door...and the microwave just dinged upstairs....

What sensory touches help you make a space
into a sacred space? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Musings - Sacred Space One

I used to have my quiet times upstairs - less private but it affords a filtered view of the sunrise peeking through the neighbor's trees. I love seeing the sky wake up and always feel a bit in awe of God's mastery in creation. Now I have a very sweet little space downstairs with a candle, comfy chair, treasures to look at, all my books, and sometimes even my pen. I cherish my time in my sacred space, but my view is of the lawn and fence. The sunrise presents only as a lightening of the scraps of sky that are mostly covered by the vegetation. Today I moved between spaces. It's interesting to note the difference in my spirit when I can see the sun rise. As I watched for the hue to change I was aware of the physical hunger in my belly, a headache, a very sore shoulder, and yet mostly I was aware of peace. Downstairs I find myself more focused but less free. I also find myself unconsciously turning my chair away from the window (towards bookcases) - perhaps to remove even the distraction of light and creation?

What does your sacred space look like?

 What elements help you to find spiritual space with God? 

If you have not claimed an area of your home - can you? 

Friday, August 31, 2012

Week Two

Building our foundations, one morning at a time.

We covered a lot of ground this week! I closed the week re-reading Peter's letter in the Message version, which always helps me to highlight different passages. As you welcome the weekend go in grace and peace with these thoughts on your heart:

v2 ... Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!

v 8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You're not the only ones plunged into these hard times. ...So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won't last forever. It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

Enjoy your weekend - make space for Sabbath rest - find blessings to count and treasure - and wait in anticipation for God's "last word"!

Friday, August 24, 2012


You Completed Week One of the 

Hello Mornings Challenge.

Are your mornings looking like this?

Or are they running a little more like this?

Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

James 1:4 - Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Staying with it may be hard but the reward will be great. Please don't give up. There are 20 of us here to support you within our Facebook community. Thank you for sharing the joys of your process as well as your honest frustrations and set backs. We can do this - together. As you persevere in turning your first thoughts and movements to God you will find it becomes not only easier but that is is life giving.  I'm praying in advance that your weekend will be filled with moments that take your breath away (in a good way!) as you experience God's presence with you in your daily activities. Make a memory this weekend! 

Monday, August 20, 2012


This is it!

Fall 2012 Hello Mornings Challenge

We are no longer in countdown mode - we are off and running. We are committed to taking control of our mornings by meeting with God, moving our bodies, and setting the stage for a day lived with intention. We are also going to show grace towards ourselves and one another as we face the real obstacles that will present themselves. This is not about a perfect record, it's about incremental change! 

Jennie and I will be here each day to check in with you and we are counting on you to help hold us accountable too! We'll be praying for each of you in your unique situation. Let's Go!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Before We Go

This weekend as we move toward our official challenge launch on Monday I'd like to suggest that you clear space in your head and heart by sitting quietly with God for a few minutes each morning.
"True silence is the rest of the mind; and is to the spirit, what sleep is to the body; nourishment and refreshment." (William Penn)
Don't fret about your Bible reading or journaling or intercessory prayer...just sit in silence with God. For some of us this is a very, very hard practice - for others it's a place we find ourselves drawn to easily. No matter where you are on that spectrum find just a few minutes to quiet your inner space. Remember the feeling of a little one snuggling up and resting in your arms, completely at ease? Be that little one with God. Rest in Him. Listen for His whisper of love to you. 

May your weekend  be blessed with recognition of the abundance in your life, with joy in your relationships and with His perfect peace over all your moments. See you Monday morning!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

....Get Set...

Just as I make lists and plan in preparation for a trip (my husband can pack in under 5 minutes, I'm lucky to get packed in under a day!) it's helpful for us to plan for our launch of the Hello Mornings Challenge. Here are just a couple of ideas that may be helpful for you.
  • Get your bible and any devotional you are planning to use and place it near your bed, or better yet in your sacred space that you'll be using for your early morning quiet times.
  • Organize your exercise equipment and clothes so they are ready to go. For me it's a matter of setting out the exercise band I'm using for some physical therapy for my shoulder (I can do this in my robe). On alternate days I'll be taking a walk so I'll need shorts and a top, shoes and socks, and probably my iPod.
  • If you want to use music, candles, have a cup of tea, etc...get those items all set up so you are not scrounging around at early o-clock trying to find stuff. That's a great way to suffer a setback.
  • For the planning part of our mornings you might need a calendar, notepad, your to-do list...I know lots of us use electronic means for planning and I'll let you decide if you have the willpower to ONLY look at your planning materials..if you think Facebook and Words With Friends might creep in then start out by using good old fashioned paper and a gorgeous pen in a fun can find a time slot later in the day (while you are waiting for someone to make their move in WWF) to update your electronic stuff.
  • Last but certainly not least...the alarm clock. Find it, set it, give it a little polish and try to think of it as a friend.

Praying blessings over you as you set the stage for our great mornings!

Awake, my soul! ...I will awaken the dawn.          Psalm 57:8
I'm adding a link to a great article "First Things First, Making the Most of your Morning" by David Mathis, in which he quotes George Muller as follows:
. . . it is as plain to me as anything that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for the inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. . . .
How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon one!
You'll have to read the article if you wish to glean the rest of the pearls of wisdom it offers! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Get Ready to get set to go - Warm Up #4

Getting to know we get ready to go!

In order to cheer you on and for us to grow together, it will help if we know a little about each other. It's perfectly ok if you feel like you need to wait a bit to share...but if you are ready please post on the Facebook  page (you can click the underlined "Facebook" and it will take you right there!) and tell us who you are. Married? Single? Kids? Ages? Do you know the people in this photo? Really, if that is your husband and your boys...well...good for you! See, kids love it when their parents spend time in the Word! 
Don't those boys look happy?

If would be wonderful to hear some of the answers to the "why" homework - what is motivating you to take the challenge, what is the hardest part of it, what are you hoping to gain?

Inspired to Action asked me to describe myself with only 5 words - which was a huge challenge for me and of course I'm not really happy with the five I chose (mom, grandma, cook, sojourner, shopper). I'm bothered that I didn't chose "wife" or "God's Daughter", my oldest daughter chose "shopper" for me which is true, but I'm not sure that's how I really want to be known. Truth is, "Sojourner" is the best fit....I'm sorta wandering through life looking for truth and leaning on truth and I'd love to share the journey with you.

So, tell us who you are!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Get ready to get set to go - Warm Up # 3

It's Friday! 

Have you been getting up 5 minutes early? 

Let the Olympic athletes inspire you to exert the discipline required to open your eyes and remove your body from your bed, to move your body in just one way that is different today, and to visualize the one thing you will accomplish today. Say hello to God before you speak to anyone else and lay your day before him. Just the act of offering your worship through your daily activities will set the stage for a day of grace. He IS in the small you bathe a child or prepare a meal for your family, as you work in your garden or bring your best to your employer and clients. Today is a new day and we give thanks to the Lord! 

Something to consider...will you continue the challenge on weekends? Sundays? Is there a way to incorporate a family devotion time on the weekend in place of your early morning practice? What a wonderful way for a family to start a Saturday morning- perhaps a short walk around your yard, sharing a verse from the bible and talking about what you hope to accomplish that day.  

Remember to give yourself grace!

Sharing from the Inspired to Action Blog:

Being a Morning Ninja is Easier Than You Think…

The idea of waking up early enough to have a Bible study time, plan the day AND exercise can be overwhelming. You might think that you need to suddenly start setting your alarm for an hour earlier to get all done. Here’s some good news: You don’t.
The goal is simply to wake up early enough to have a “warm up” for the day. Just as all the Olympic athletes arrive at their event early so that they can talk with their coach, stretch, and get in the zone, we need to do the same for our families.
Maximizing your mornings with Bible study time, daily planning and exercise, is not as hard as you might think. It can actually be done in about 5-10 minutes a day and with minimal effort.
(Not that speed or minimal effort are a goal, of course. But if perfection is keeping you from getting started, know that starting simply is better than not starting at all.)
The key is to use simple starts in each area to get your momentum going. Once you have developed the habits of daily Bible study, planning and exercise, you’ll find it easy to go deeper in each area.

To read the tips and the remainder of this article please click the link below:
3 Incredibly Simple Ways to Maximize Your Mornings

To check in with your "coach" (me) contact me via this blog or our Facebook Group.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Get Ready...

Remember the anticipation you felt as a kid when someone called out "Ready, Set, Go" and a foot race commenced? You focused your hearing, your heart picked up speed, your body tensed as you waited to hear "Go!" and spring forward into the race.

Hearing the word "Challenge" and having a start date (August 20th) has me just a teeny bit excited and in anticipation of the official start of our fall commitment to rising earlier and starting our days with God. It's hard to wait for good things! It's sorta like getting a new diary in December...ah the long wait until January 1st so you can start writing in it!

So let's start now to prepare for our fall challenge. We had a homework assignment asking us to consider why we were participating and to share some of our thoughts in our Facebook Group (which is closed to all others - only members of that group can see what you post. There are still a few ladies in the group who have not made their full commitment to the challenge and I want to give them some time to decide. After August 20th I will delete anyone who is not registered from the group).

I think considering "why" is a good way to more fully commit to the process. If there are elements that seem scary or hard I hope you will feel safe to share those concerns. We come with a wide variety of backgrounds and can encourage and affirm each other if we are open and honest. Part of getting ready is addressing fears, strengthening our resolve, and praying for ourselves and our sisters..

Father as your daughters get "ready" to build our days from the morning out, we pray to you for our hearts to be open and teachable, for our misgivings and wills to be submitted to you, for the excitement of beginning anew to be contagious to everyone in our group. Give us a deep desire to meet with you. We love and praise you and it is our joy to serve you. Amen.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I spend most of my days with a 3 year old who says "why" all day long, to everythingI really don't recall my kids doing this and I swear it's about to drive me to distraction. So that's my excuse as to "WHY" it has taken me so long to do this simple homework assignment and share it!

Fill your WHY Reminder with visual and written reminders of WHY you are doing this. 

  • List all the reasons WHY you want to Maximize Your Mornings. 
  1. Over the years I've learned that if I don't start the day with a plan it slips by...and over the years way too many days have slipped through my fingers. They are gone forever.
  2. I'm in a new season of my life and need to be focused and productive.
  3. I have some health issues that limit my stamina and energy, so I'd better make the most of mornings! By afternoon I'm crispy!
  4. I want my time and talents to Glorify God.
  • List the benefits - to you, your children, your husband and your future.
  1. The stronger and closer my relationship with God is, the stronger and closer all my relationships can be.
  2. I'll be more at peace, feel better physically, and feel successful.
  3. I think building a slightly different morning habit will lead to building other good habits...which should enrich my future

  • Make a morning mp3 playlist.

    • I prefer instrumental music for quiet times as the words distract me - so I like Andrew Burchett, David Nevue, and any worship music.

  • Picture your perfect morning and write it down.

    • I wake up rested and not in pain. I spend as long as I want listening and talking to God, meditating on His word, listening to lovely music and sipping really good coffee. The weather is nice - sunshine, soft breeze, cute little critters outside. A beautiful breakfast tray with a no-calorie cinnamon roll, fresh cantaloupe and berries, some crispy bacon and more wonderful coffee shows up at my chair. All the laundry is done and I have a really cute outfit all set to wear. My hair looks great. My toes polish themselves.  Oh and I am sitting at the beach in Hawaii. : ) 

Honokowai - Maui

Monday, August 6, 2012

Get ready to get set to go - Warm Up #2


How sweet are Your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)

Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. (Jeremiah 15:16)

But He answered and said, It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

And have tasted the good word of God… (Hebrews 6:5)

Our weekly email from Inspired to Action will contain a bible study you may choose to use for your morning time with God. I've heard through the grapevine that we'll study 1 Peter. While we are warming up I'd like to suggest a couple of simple ways to get "into" the Word in those small bites we discussed in Warm Up #1.

Choose a Psalm and read it each morning for our first week. Choose a new Psalm for the second training week. I'm partial to Psalm 1, 8, 23, 62, and 84.

Read one chapter of Proverbs (there are 31 so you can choose the one whose number coincides with the date)

Choose a Scripture based devotional such as Jesus Calling.

Choose one scripture you'd like to memorize and use your two minutes to study and meditate on it. A few ideas:
Psalm 27:4 or 25:4-5
Jeremiah 29:11-13
Micah 6:8
Matthew 11:28-30
1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Corinthians 5:17
Romans 8:28

See? Easy can do this!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Get ready to get set to go - Warm Up #1

We've got a couple of weeks before our fall challenge officially begins so as we get to know each other I thought it would be wise to slowly warm our "muscles" (self-discipline, spiritual, physical)

Maybe you are gal who already gets up before the roosters and does an inductive bible study as you power through the Bible in 78 days, followed by a 10 mile run and a Zumba class, after which you pull out your iPhone and set your hourly agenda for the day....good for you! (Why are you with us again?) For the rest of us I'd like to suggest that from August 6-10 (that gives you a few days to get used to this idea) we start out something like this:

Get up 5 FIVE minutes earlier than you normally do
  1. Spend 2 minutes saying hello to God, reading a verse over a few times and thinking about it - sort of enjoy it the way you do a really good piece of chocolate, and then sit quietly and listen. If your mind jumps ahead ...find a word or phrase you can repeat to bring you back to stillness. Maybe something like "I'm here God", or "Spirit fill me"... Take small bites and chew slowly.
  2. Spend 1 minute moving. Stretch, bend, walk up and down your stairs, do a sit up or two.
  3. Spend 1 minute deciding 1 thing you want to accomplish today. Just one. Make it a doable one (no you can't choose "learn French" or "clean the garage")
The article below is copied from the Inspired to Action blog and gives some helpful tips on building a new habit, but I've shortened the time frame for our purposes because I want you to be a success! You can come back to the 15 minute model on August 20th if you think you are ready for it.