Day 365

On July 3rd, 2012 I found out at a routine 20 week ultrasound that the baby we were expecting in November no longer had a heart beat.  I was scheduled to deliver him still born 3 days later.  3 days!  That meant I had 72 hours to carry around my lifeless baby.  I was dreading the delivery, but at the same time I hated being a walking grave.

72 hours is a lot of time to process.  Naturally, my mind tried to think of things that would ease the pain.  I tried to tell myself the whole thing was just a mistake.  I was never supposed to get pregnant.  It was just a little blip in the grand scheme of things.  I would move on pretending it never happened.  I would go into the delivery room and view it as a surgery to remove something in my body that no longer belonged, instead of the delivery of a child.  I didn’t want to think about the reality of the whole thing, because it was just too devastating.

We checked into a labor and delivery room on the evening of July 6th and there was no escaping the reality at that point.  This wasn’t just a surgery.  This was without a doubt going to be the hardest thing I had ever faced.  All of the things I had thought to myself to try to make this easier, weren’t helping, because they weren’t true.

I delivered Felix the next morning at 6:10 a.m.  Before we left the nurses brought us a pretty white box with mementos of the delivery.  His tiny footprints, a little certificate to let us know the time of delivery and his weight, and a measuring tape to show how long he was.  I hated leaving the hospital with just that little box.  I was supposed to leave with my baby boy.  The cut seemed to get deeper, the hurt seemed to grow stronger.  I was at a loss for what to tell myself to make me feel better, but God knew exactly what I needed to hear.

The next night before bed my husband Josh and I were talking with my mother in law about all that we were going through and the things we felt like God was sharing with us as we looked to Him for help.  In that conversation my husband said the words I needed to hear to release true peace, true healing, and true comfort into my spirit.  Two words that changed my life forever, “Felix mattered.”

I can’t even begin to explain the supernatural mending of that deep cut and the immediate pain relief I felt when those words left his mouth.  The whole thing hadn’t been just a mistake.  I was supposed to get pregnant.  I didn’t have to try to forget about it and move on as soon as possible.  God never intended the pregnancy to end the tragic way it did.  He had a great plan for Felix and even though we would never see him walk out that plan, we knew God could use us to pick up where he left off.  That was the truth.  The truth that set me free.  Felix wasn’t just a blip, he mattered, and I wouldn’t have to pretend that he didn’t ever again.

Tonight, as I wrap up 10kreasons, those two words ring truer than ever before.  Felix mattered, not only to me and my family, but to all of the lives that were touched by this blog.

He mattered to the mother who was mad and bitter toward God about losing her son until she came across 10kreasons and realized that God was not at all to blame for her loss.  He mattered to the people whose eyes were opened to the everyday goodness of God.  He mattered to the lady who needed an answer from God and got it when she read my post that day.  He mattered to the people who have found healing through thankfulness.  He mattered to the readers who had friends or family members that lost babies over the last year that were able to share hope with them by sharing a link to this site.  He mattered to everyone who decided to start their own thank you lists.  He mattered to anyone who read anything I’ve posted over the last 365 days that mattered to them.

He was only here for 20 weeks and never saw the light of day, but Felix mattered.  God used His life to make a difference in the lives of others and to bring Him glory.  God wants to use your life to do the same.  You are not a mistake, a blip, or someone that is just occupying space on the earth.

James 1:18 (NLT) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

You are His prized possession and like Felix, YOU matter.

And now, through tears of joy, it’s time to write my last list.

  • 9,974.  Josh.  My husband of 10 years.  My biggest supporter, encourager and the first to read each one of my posts.
  • 9,975.  Gus.  My first born!  His passion, his fearlessness, his cute face, and his love make it easy to see God’s goodness every single day.
  • 9,976.  Beau.  My beautiful 2 year old daughter.  She is pure sweetness and exudes joy!  She made making my lists so easy.
  • 9,977.  Sunny. Every good and perfect gift comes from above.  I can’t wait to meet my 2nd daughter in December!
  • 9,978.  Felix.  He mattered.  He made a difference in my life and in the lives of countless others.
  • 9,979.  My mom.  I know she took the time to read every one of my posts and has been very encouraging from the start.
  • 9,980.  My dad.  He wanted me before I was born, just like my heavenly father.
  • 9,981.  My mother in law.  One of my greatest supporters!  She introduced so many ladies to my blog.
  • 9,982.  My father in law.  There weren’t too many times I talked to him on the phone over the last year that he didn’t tell me how proud he was of me and how much he loved reading what I was writing.
  • 9,983.  Courtney, Tosha, Zach, Becky, Mindy, and Brooke.  My sibling supporters!
  • 9,984.  My church, Gateway Frisco.  Love the people and love Pastor Robert.
  • 9,985.  My job.  I have the best bosses in the world, Ken & Trudi Blount, and being able to work from home and make my own schedule was a huge factor in finding time to write everyday.
  • 9,986.  My husband’s  job.  He gets paid to teach kids the word of God every weekend!
  • 9,987.  My Bible.  There is no other book on the planet like it and I’ve learned so much studying it over the last year.
  • 9,988.  My new perspective on the goodness of God.  He’s good in the little things and in the big things.  He’s good all of the time.
  • 9,989.  Everyone that has taken time to read the blog.  Friends, family, strangers.  Whoever you are, thank you for letting me share my journey with you.
  • 9,990.  As of today, 29,078 views of
  • 9,991.  The world wide web.  10kreasons has been in 59 countries over the last 365 days.
  • 9,992.  I learned that know matter how busy I am, if I make spending time with God a priority it will happen.
  • 9,993.  All of my posts and lists are out there forever.  I’m looking forward to going back to day one and rereading all that God showed me.
  • 9,994.  I discovered that I love to write!
  • 9,995.  10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman.  If that song had never been written, this blog would have never been written.
  • 9,996.  Facebook and Twitter.  I was able to share my story with so many people just through social media.
  • 9,997.  Wordpress.  My faithful blog host.
  • 9,998.  We are God’s prized possession.  Each one of us matter to Him.
  • 9,999.  I did it!!  I really did it!!  Such a bittersweet moment closing out something so near and dear to my heart, but I know it’s really just the beginning.
  • 10,000.  Jesus.  My very first list started with Him, so it’s only fitting that my very last list ends with Him.  He is the Alpha & Omega, the beginning and the end, and THE reason I was able to find 10,000 reasons!

Day 364

Day 364!!  I can’t believe tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of 10kreasons.  The project I started 364 days ago will be complete by this time tomorrow evening.

I’ve had several people ask me over the last few days, “what’s next?”  So for those of you who are wondering…

2 months into the start of this blog the Lord spoke to me about turning it into a book.  He showed it to me in hospital gift shops, in church bookstores, in regular bookstores, on Kindle and in the hands of hurting moms all over the world.   It was exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.  I know nothing about turning a blog into a book or how to go about getting a book published and printed, but I know God wants me to do those things, so I’m going to find out how.  I have done a little research and talked to a few people, but I’ve been waiting until the blog was complete to really dive in and now the time has come.  I’m finishing up one project and getting ready to start the next.

Psalm 145:6 (MSG) Your marvelous doings are headline news; I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.

I know there are more people who need to hear about His marvelous doings and the details of His greatness, so be praying for me as I launch into the book phase of 10kreasons.

In September, I will be sharing my story with the ladies of Tascosa Road Fellowship in Amarillo.  My father-in-law told me the Pastor there would like to have me come and speak and I told him I would have to pray about it.  I feel way more comfortable behind my computer screen than I do up speaking in front of a group of strangers, so God was really going to have to give me a loud and clear “Yes, I want you to do it!” before I said, “Yes, I’ll do it!”  When I asked Him about it, He reminded me of the word He gave me at the beginning of this year;

Psalm 81:10 …Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.

I wrote all about it on Day 146.  “I am entering 2013 with a wide open mouth.  I’m saying to the Lord, I trust you and your plans for my life.  I won’t miss out on the good things you have for me and my family because I don’t want to get uncomfortable.  I know you would never do anything just to mess with me.  I want what you want.  I know that if I open wide you will fill my life with blessing.  I believe 2013 is wide open, if I’ll agree to open wide.”

I meant what I wrote and what I prayed that day, so be praying for me as I launch into the speaking phase of 10kreasons.

In December, we will welcome our little girl Sunny Joone into the world and that’s where most of my focus is getting ready to shift to.  I’ve got a nursery to decorate, baby clothes to sort through, nesting to do and naps to take!  I’m so thankful that that sweet little girl is part of the answer to the question, “what’s next?”

So, I’ve got the book, the speaking, and the baby on the way, but I will continue to write and post to 10kreasons.  I’m not sure how often, but as often as I can, because I absolutely love being able to share the things that God is showing me through writing.  I’ll also continue to list, not publicly and not until I reach a certain number, but in my journal every night before bed.

I will have found 10,000 reasons upon the completion of my last post tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep looking for more.  It’s like the last verse to the song that started this journey says,

“Still my soul will sing your praise unending.  Ten thousand years and then forevermore.”

I will spend the rest of my life on earth and then my eternity praising His holy name.

  1. The book phase!
  2. The speaking phase!
  3. 19 weeks to prepare for Sunny!
  4. I have all of eternity left to praise my awesome God!
  5. 10kreasons blog project is ending, but my love for writing is not.
  6. The word God gave me at the beginning of the year.  Just what I needed to help me get out of my comfort zone and say yes to a great opportunity to share my testimony.
  7. Gus woke up upset at 2:00 a.m. after a bad dream and Josh went to check on him and slept in his little twin bed with him the rest of the night.
  8. Great morning at church with a happy group of 4 year olds and the sweet girls I get to work with!
  9. Teaching the kids such a powerful truth – The Lord is our helper!  Heb 13:6
  10. Mrs. Tammy brought Beau a Mickey & Minnie Mouse purse full of some of her daughters old dress up things.  Beau was so excited and spent the whole afternoon in her flower headbands, bracelets, and rings.
  11. My big sister Mindy is celebrating her birthday today!!
  12. Mindy is one of the most selfless people I know.  She would do anything for anyone.  Her husband and 3 girls are so blessed to have her.
  13. Mindy is an awesome photographer!  She is good at making people look good!
  14. Football was on tonight… just preseason, but that means that fall is approaching quickly.
  15. Pastor Adana is celebrating her birthday today.  Love her heart for women and the way she is able to balance being in full time ministry, raising her 3 boys, and loving her husband.
  16. The good watermelon and pineapple I cut up this morning.
  17. Josh home in time for dinner, bath and bed time!
  18. Beau ended her prayer tonight, “and… happily ever after!  amen!”
  19. My family was satisfied with frozen pizza for dinner tonight.
  20. The Next Food Network Star with Josh… he loves me more than football.
  21. When I get Josh to laugh out loud.
  22. Every night I put the big kids down for bed and then Sunny decides to wake up and play for a bit.  So sweet!
  23. Had a good visit with my mom and dad over the weekend.  Happy they took time to come see us before they headed to San Antonio for vacation.
  24. Beau has Josh wrapped around her chubby little finger.
  25. I had to wake Beau up after she had been asleep for two hours and give her some tylenol.  She took it all in and then went right back to sleep!
  26. Humidifier + eucalyptus oil.
  27. Jesus is our healer!  Thanking Him in advance for working on Beau and the little cough that’s been bothering her.

Day 363

Yesterday, I wrote about the night I started this blog and about how important it is to take the first step in doing what it is that you know God has called you to do.  If you never take the first natural step, He can never follow with supernatural steps.  Today, I came across this verse and God spoke to me about being a finisher, someone who takes the first step and then keeps on stepping until they reach the finish line.

John 17:4  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

Jesus was a finisher.  He started something great when He agreed to leave His father and His kingdom in heaven behind, downsize to the confines on a young girls womb, and enter into a world that He knew would reject Him on that first Christmas morning.  He didn’t stop there though.  He knew to bring His father glory on the earth He had to do more than just start, He had to finish.

And that’s exactly what He did when He gave His life for us, hanging from the cross.

John 19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

After He completed the work His father had given Him to do, He shouted in victory, “It is finished!”.

Jesus is not the only one who has ever received an assignment from His father.  God has assigned each one of us to do something or somethings to bring Him glory during our time here on earth.

Last August, He gave me one of my “somethings” when He shared the idea for this blog with me.  I took the first step in the natural and wrote and published my first post and after that I determined that I would finish strong 364 days later.  In just 2 more days I will cross that finish line and I’ll do it with joy.  All the time, energy, and dedication I’ve poured into this project will have been worth it, because I have glorified God on the earth and finished the work He gave me to do.

Whether you are at the starting line, somewhere in the middle, or so close to the finish line you can taste it, determine that you are going to be like Jesus, you are going to do more than just start the work God has called you to, you are going to finish it and finish strong.

Acts 20:24 (NLT) But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus…

  1. Jesus finished!
  2. The completed work of the cross.
  3. We have all been given special assignments from God, that when finished, will bring Him glory!
  4. 2 posts away from finishing 10kreasons!
  5. Phil 1:6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  6. Beau slept until 7 this morning!  Was hoping that 5:30 wakeup call yesterday was just a fluke.
  7. Awesome morning playing lunar putt-putt golf with Grammy & Grampy.
  8. We finished all 18 holes just before Josh had to leave for work.
  9. When I ran into my friend Sayra yesterday she mentioned the Collin Creek Mall and the area where we ate lunch today.  It was so nice having something new and different to try.
  10. Yummy lunch at Frankie’s Mexican Cafe.
  11. Sweet Firefly Ice Cream.  Cute little store and really, really good ice cream!
  12. The blue tongue Beau got from her Cookie Monster ice cream.
  13. Ice cream and putt putt were Grammy & Grampy’s treat.
  14. Beau fell asleep in the car on the way back, but finished her long nap in her bed when we got home.
  15. Grampy was here to help me carry Beau’s sleepy head up the stairs.
  16. Got to have my mom and dad sitting with me at church tonight.
  17. Great worship!  Everyone seemed so entered in tonight.
  18. Crown Him by Chris Tomlin.  What a song!
  19. Pastor Robert’s message on how easy it is to witness to someone.  Good stuff!
  20. The mechanic that witnessed to Pastor Robert’s grandfather.
  21. Palio’s Pizza for dinner.
  22. The way a spanking can change a kid’s attitude!
  23. Beau is learning about how Jesus is our healer in her class at church this month.
  24. Grammy got to read Gus all of his bed time stories tonight.
  25. The silly good knight/bad knight game Gus was playing with Grammy.  He was having such a good time.
  26. Bath time with Beau and Charlie Hope songs.
  27. My niece Maleah made it safely to her new home for the next year, China!!

Day 362

With just four posts left to write and 108 reasons left to find, I can’t help but think back to the night I wrote my first post and made my first list.  August 6, 2012.  About a week before that, while I was making dinner, God gave me the idea to be thankful for 10,000 reasons over the span of 365 days by listing 27-28 reason each day.  I immediately fell in love with the idea.  I found myself thinking about it all of the time and every time I thought about it, I felt like I should share the idea and my lists through a blog.

I knew nothing about blogs, except that a few of my hipster friends used to have them and they would post about their favorite new albums and weird independent films on them.  I wasn’t sure how to set one up for myself or if anyone even read blogs anymore, but I couldn’t get that word out of my spirit.  I hadn’t shared my idea with Josh yet, because I wanted to hash it out a bit more, so one night while he was away on a staff retreat, I started hashing.

I tucked the kids in, made myself comfortable on the couch, grabbed my laptop, opened it up and started to google “free blog” when a list of suggestions popped up, I clicked on the one that said “free blog hosting” and the first site that appeared was  I clicked on it and within 10 minutes I had set up my own blog.  “10,000 Reasons” was taken by a food blogger, so I went with “10kreasons”.   Everything was ready to go, I just needed to write my very first post.  I started to type away and was amazed at how quickly the idea that had been stirring in my heart for a week came together.  I was excited.  It felt great to get everything down on “paper”, but now I had to decide if I wanted to publish it.  I had to decide if I wanted to share my heart with my social networks or whoever happened to come across the site.  I had to decide if I could commit to taking the time to make lists every night.  I had to decide if I was going to obey God.

I re-read what I had written about 25 times and then I did it.  I clicked publish.  A banner popped up that said, you published your 1st post.  Last night the same banner popped up, but this time it read, you published your 361st post.  The next morning I posted a link to my blog via Facebook.  It was another nerve racking moment for me, but I knew God hadn’t given the idea to me just for me… He gave it to me so I could share it with others.

I had NO idea what the time commitment was going to be, if people would even bother reading it, or if I would be able to think of things to list every night.  I never considered the fact that I would have to make lists while I was on vacation or in the middle of a super busy week.  I kinda forgot about the fact that I had a part time job, a 17 month old daughter, and a 4 year old son to take care of.  I didn’t think about any of that and I’m glad I didn’t, because I probably would have talked myself out of the whole thing.

When God calls you to do something, don’t over think it.  If it’s His idea, He will work out every single detail in your favor.  Looking back none of those things I forgot to think about ended up mattering.  God graced me with extra time, I did think of things to list every night, listing on vacations was really easy and now I have all of the highlights of our trips recorded. Somehow I was able to keep up with my part time job and never had to neglect my most important job, being a mother.  And people did read it, lots of people, and those people were blessed!  God made it all possible, but I had to take the first step.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NLT) Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

God trusted me with an idea, and I trusted Him to make it a reality.  I didn’t wait for everything to be perfect before I started, I just took a step in the natural, I posted my first blog entry, and He’s been with me every supernatural step since then!

  1., so glad I took that first step!
  2.  The encouraging little banner that pops up every time a blog gets published.
  3. When God gives us an idea and we start taking steps in the natural, supernatural things begin to happen.
  4. I didn’t over think it.
  5. The extra time God has graced me with over the last year!
  6. I was able to keep up with my part time job.
  7. I found times to write during the day and in the evenings so I never had to neglect my sweet kids.
  8. I was able to think of things to list everyday.
  9. Beau decided it was a good idea to wake up at 5:30 a.m.  this morning.. I decided to wake up with her and get some writing done because I knew today was going to be very busy!
  10. Safe drive home from Tulsa.
  11. 4 hours of hanging out and talking with Josh with very few interruptions.
  12. What-a-burger lunch.
  13. Our batteries got recharged while we were in Tulsa.
  14. Received some wonderful news from some wonderful friends!!
  15. I got to go grocery shopping alone this afternoon.
  16. Ran into two sweet friends from church at the store, Sayra first and then Karleigh.
  17. Fridge and pantry are full!
  18. Started my 21st week of pregnancy!
  19. Sunny” by Bobby Hebb.
  20. Josh was home to help me unload the groceries on this very hot Texas day.
  21. My mom and dad made it safely to our house.
  22. Yummy dinner at Rudy’s BBQ, mom and dad’s treat!
  23. Settlers of Catan game night.  My mom finally won one!
  24. Josh unpacked all of our suitcases while I was grocery shopping.
  25. The way Gus looks in his Jedi costume.  He’s so cute and so serious.
  26. Beau was in a very sing-y and very chatty mood tonight.  She was happy to have Grammy & Grampy at her house.
  27. My mom noticed the loud, clicking sound our car used to make when the air conditioner was on in the back of the car was gone.  I forgot it used to do that.  We took it in last year and the car shop said it would be $800 to fix, so we decided to stick it out.  How nice that it’s gone and it didn’t cost us anything!


Day 361

Remember when silence used to be golden?  Nowadays, I think most people think silence is awkward… and sometimes it is.  Like when you have some new friends over to your house for the first time and conversation seems to be going good and then all of sudden it comes to a screeching halt and no one knows what to say to start it back up.  That can be awkward.  Or when you are used to sleeping with a loud box fan right beside your bed, turned to it’s highest setting, and the power cuts off in the middle of the night.  That too, can be awkward.

Silence can be deafening, but it can also still be golden.

Psalm 65:1 (AMP) To You belongs silence (the submissive wonder of reverence which bursts forth into praise) and praise is due and fitting to You, O God, in Zion;…

I know for me there are times when I am overwhelmed by the greatness of my God, so overwhelmed, the words that I am using to tell Him just how great I think He is seem so inadequate.   The Message version of Psalm 65:1 says, “Silence is Praise to you.”

Silence is never awkward between me and my husband because we have such a close relationship.  We don’t have to fill every second of our time together with chatter.  We are comfortable enough around each other to know that just because one of us isn’t saying much doesn’t mean we aren’t having a good time.  The fact that we can be silent around each other solidifies our relationship.

The same is true with us and our relationship with God.  We can praise Him with our silence and he won’t think it’s awkward at all.  We can sit and just quietly think about how amazing He is and how worthy He is, and those quiet thoughts will burst forth into praise.

After 9/11 happened there were moments of silence that took place all over the country.  There was so much people could have said to honor the lives of the people that were lost, but even the most eloquent speech ever given wouldn’t have been enough, so we honored them with silence.

Sometimes it’s good for us to have a moment of silence in honor of the Lord; to stop talking for a few minutes and just quietly reflect on the price He paid for us, the love He has for us, and how holy He is.  Yes, daily make a joyful noise unto Him, and yes, daily tell Him with your mouth how good He is, but don’t be afraid to let your silent adoration honor Him when you feel like you are at a loss for words…. He can have that effect on people!  Your moments of silence will be music to His ears.

  1. When we are rendered speechless by God’s goodness, our silence sounds like praise!
  2. He is so much more than words could ever say.
  3. Moments of silence don’t have to be awkward… they can be golden.
  4. Our loud fans.  I don’t know how people sleep in silence.
  5. I got to sleep ’til 9 this morning.
  6. Since Gus & Beau are sleeping in the same room we told Gus if he woke up first to tap three times on the baby monitor so he wouldn’t wake up Beau trying to get over the baby gate and he did it.  I can’t believe he remembered.  He thought having a “secret code” was pretty cool.
  7. Beau woke up happy and healthy… no sign of whatever was making her feel bad yesterday!
  8. Discovered “The Wonder Years” is on Amazon Prime and all episodes are free to watch.
  9. “The Wonder Years” intro.  Best intro to a show ever.
  10. Beau teaching us all the story of Noah and the arc this morning.
  11. Chic Fil A cobb salad.
  12. Had a fun afternoon cooking and prepping for grilling this evening.
  13. Homemade garden salsa!  Very tasty!
  14. Beau woke up early from her nap, went in and covered her back up and she slept another hour and forty five minutes.
  15. Josh got Beau to get in the big pool with him even though it was colder than what she prefers.
  16. The little faces Beau makes when she swims.  She is so pretty!!!
  17. The awesome bacon cheeseburger Josh grilled for us.
  18. Nana & Papa’s pool.  It’s so nice to be able to sit around it and visit while the kids play.
  19. Lots of big, beautiful trees shading the backyard.
  20. Gus & Beau playing Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
  21. Josh got his haircut by his dad tonight.  Looks great and saved us $30!
  22. Kids enjoyed making homemade fudgesicles with Nana’s Zoku popsicle maker machine.
  23. Sweet hugs and kisses for Sunny from her big brother and sister tonight.
  24. “42” Movie night with Nana & Papa.
  25. Suitcases are packed with clean clothes.
  26. Received a really encouraging e-mail from a literary agent in Dallas that I emailed several months ago about turning the blog into a book.
  27. The sound on my iPhone seems to be back for good!  Nice to be able to hear it when it rings or when I get a text and it’s not on silent!

Day 360

I grew up in the great state of Oklahoma and when I was in 4th grade I spent a lot of time learning about the state’s history in my Social Studies class.  We studied Indians and Sooners and even had our own land run on the front lawn of the school… everyone dressed in settler clothes and carried lunch pails made out of coffee cans.  I got to do a lot of fun projects that year and this morning when I was reading my Bible I was reminded of one in particular.  Buffalo branding.

Indians would take a steel rod that they had carved their trademark symbol on, get it blazing hot, and then press it into the hide of their buffalo, leaving a permanent brand on the animal so everyone would know who it belonged to.  Our class books had pictures of what some of the symbols looked like and our assignment after the lesson was to design our own trademark symbol.  I can still see in my head the brand I created.  I used my initials at the time, S.N.

Animals aren’t the only things that used to get branded by a red hot piece of steel.  Slaves, human being slaves, used to get branded too.  For the same reason, their owners wanted everyone to know who owned them.

Galatians 6:17 (AMP) …for I bear on my body the [brand] marks of the Lord Jesus [the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me]!

Paul had been branded.  Not by a steel rod, but by the stones that had been thrown at him and the beatings that had wounded him as he spread the good news of Jesus.  He had some serious battle scars, but he wore them proudly, much like a war veteran wears the scars he received while in combat for his country.

Why was Paul proud of the ugly marks that He bore on His body?  Because they let everyone know that He belonged to Jesus.  He was branded, like a slave or like livestock with a “J.C.” trademark symbol and it testified to Jesus’ ownership of Him.

John 16:33 promises us that in this world we will have trials and tribulation.  In other words, we most definitely will go through things that leave marks on us; things that hurt us, that scar us, that wound us, BUT the same verse also tells us to take heart, because Jesus has overcome the world.

As a believer you have two options when trials come your way.  You can let the enemy mark you by running from God, blaming God, and getting bitter toward God OR you can let Jesus mark you by running to God, believing He is good and only does good, and depending on Him to see you through whatever the devil has thrown at you.

How you respond in the face of adversity determines who you really belong to, who really owns your heart.

We are in a war, a war that has already been won, but a war in which we will receive some battle scars in.  If you are walking with God and He is truly the Lord of your life and you go through a trial that leaves a mark, you are in good company, you are among those who Satan hates the most.  You are one of the ones that threaten him because you remind him so much of Jesus.  He wants to wear you down and mark you as his own… don’t let him.  Let every wound, every scar, every hurt transform into a permanent brand that reminds you and everyone else who sees it that you belong to the Lord!

1 Peter 4:13 Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

  1. The scars in my life are proof that I belong to Jesus.
  2. Trials make us partners with Christ.
  3. He has overcome the world!
  4. We don’t have to try to hide the trials we go through, but we can turn them into testimonies that helps us lead people to Jesus!
  5. WE get to choose whose brand we want stamped on our lives.
  6. 4th grade Social Studies.  That was a neat class.
  7. Breakfast by the pool at Nana & Papa’s.
  8. Papa always has the best tasting fruit.  Strawberries, blueberries, and peaches were all very good today!
  9. Gussy did some preaching and praise and worship for everyone this morning.
  10. Papa fixed Gus’ messed up haircut he got in Texas yesterday.  It looks great now!
  11. Gus did good when the clippers came out!  Those used to scare him quite a bit.
  12. Kids got to swim for a while this morning.
  13. Listened to a great message on hearing God’s voice.  I can never be reminded enough about how important it is to listen for that still small voice.
  14. Taco Bueno, Papa’s treat.
  15. I got to take an awesome nap in a big cozy recliner.
  16. This last minute trip to Tulsa worked out.  We really needed some down time.
  17. Utica Square.  I always love being there with the trees, the bells, the squirrels, the fountains, and the shopping.
  18. Nana & Papa got Gus a new Lego Star Wars book complete with a mini Lego Han Solo Figure.
  19. Gus was overly thankful!  The whole store knew that that little guy received something that made his heart very happy!  Made me want to buy him every Lego book and mini figure available.
  20. Nana & Papa got Beau some Melissa & Doug wooden slicing fruit… perfect for her new passion for cooking.
  21. Yummy dinner at Pei Wei.  Another Papa treat.
  22. Josh got to spend his night doing one of his very favorite things, producing music!
  23. The next Ken Blount Ministries album is going to be awesome!  Got to hear all of the songs Josh has been writing and they were all so good.
  24. Beau was acting like she was starting to not feel good, but by the end of the night she seemed to back to her happy little self again!
  25. Found a Starbucks giftcard!
  26. Gus told me he wasn’t sure what Sunny wasn’t going to look like but he was sure she would be beautiful!  Such a sweet brother.
  27. My 13 year old niece Ryan saw an angel a few nights ago.  Such a cool story!

Day 359

Last July, our little family of four headed to the doctor’s office, excited to find out if baby number three was a boy or a girl.  My son Gus was four years old at the time and he just knew it was going to be a boy, he was looking forward to confirmation.  We waited in the exam room for what seemed like forever.  The kids were watching Sesame Street videos on YouTube to pass the time and to keep them from wrecking the place when finally, the doctor came in.  It was show time.  My husband Josh held our one year old in one arm and the video camera in the other.  Gus was sitting beside me in a little chair.  We were all quiet as the doctor started the scan, and then he got quiet too.  I knew immediately that something was wrong.  A few seconds later he said, “I’m so sorry you guys, but the baby’s heart has stopped beating.”  Gus was still little enough that he didn’t catch that, but he did catch that his mom was upset.

Someone handed me a towel and I began to weep into it as quietly as possible, but Gus knew that something was wrong… that this wasn’t the way this was supposed to go.  He began to cry too.  Josh who was also devastated not only about the baby, but because he knew I was crushed, came over and let me know that Gus was starting to get upset.  I knew I needed to be strong for him.  I composed myself, took the towel off my face, and smiled at Gus and told him not to worry about mom.

After the appointment was over we walked to the car and Gus asked about the baby.  I told him we thought there was one in my tummy, but there wasn’t.  He seemed okay with that explanation so we left it at that.  He has never really asked about it since.

I’m 20 weeks pregnant again, with my 4th.  We decided this time around we would find someone to watch the kids during my doctor’s appointments… not because I was afraid of bad news, but because I was afraid it might bring back bad memories for Gus.

Yesterday, I was scheduled for my 20 week anatomy scan, which is the longest and most in depth ultrasound of the whole pregnancy.  I had asked one of my sweet friends if she could keep the kids for me and she said would, but a few hours before the appointment she got hit with food poisioning and had to cancel.  I thought about calling another friend, but decided to just take the kids along.  They were both excited.  I prayed a quick prayer and asked God to guard Gus’ mind from any flash backs from last July.  I didn’t want the happy moment to get spoiled for him or for me.  I printed some Bubble Guppies coloring pages, packed some crayons, and dum dums and we headed to the office.

Both kids were happy and care free the entire visit.  Gus got to see his new little sister’s face on the ultrasound monitor and watch her put her tiny hands in her tiny mouth… the very thing he gets in trouble for all of the time!  He thought it was funny.

I sure don’t like that my friend  was sick yesterday, but I’m glad we ended up taking the kids with us.  We got back a happy moment that was stolen from us last year.  I was thinking about that before bed last night when I opened up my YouVersion Bible to see that this was the verse of the day,

Job 19:25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.

Redeemer – one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs.  This title is peculiarly applied to Christ.  He redeems us from all evil by the payment of ransom.  (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)

But as for me, I KNOW that my Redeemer lives!  And I am so thankful that with everything else that he holds in His hands, He took the time to redeem a special moment for me and my family yesterday and that there is more where that came from.

  1. My Redeemer Lives!!
  2. He did stand upon the earth and He will do it again!
  3. Jesus has redeemed so many moments for our family over the last 20 weeks and I know there is more where that came from.
  4. He holds the whole world in His hands, yet He still takes time to minister specifically to me.
  5. That Job 19:25 just happened to be YouVersion’s verse of the day yesterday.
  6. God’s grace covered Gus while we dealt with the loss of Felix last year and God kept him from experiencing any flashbacks yesterday.
  7. My Redeemer Lives by Nicole C Mullen.  One of my mom’s favorite songs.  I listened to it this morning after I wrote this blog and it wrecked me and the make up I was putting on.  Powerful!
  8. I told Josh what I wrote about and that song and he said he woke up with a different song, but same title in his head.  This is a great song too and amazing we both woke up with songs about our redeemer on our hearts.
  9. Clean house!
  10. All caught up with laundry.
  11. Josh woke up early and did breakfast with the kids so I could get my blog written before we headed to Tulsa this afternoon.
  12. While Josh and the kids were at the breakfast table I heard Beau tell him, “Daddy, you are the best snuggle-er in the whole wide world.”
  13. Beau then told me, “Mommy, you are the best reader in the whole wide world.”  She’s gotta be the most adorable two year old in the whole wide world!
  14. Gus got his hair cut today and he did so good, especially considering he had to be very still for about 40 minutes!
  15. I was not happy with how the hair cut turned out, but we were on our way to Tulsa and it just so happens Gus’ Papa used to be a barber and he’s going to fix it for him tomorrow.
  16. Gus’ ears!!  I hardly ever see them with his little mop top hair.  I’m looking forward to having them out in the open for a while.
  17. Yummy salad for lunch.
  18. Safe drive up to Tulsa today.
  19. Love, love, love doing the 4 hour drive with Josh.
  20. Got to talk through some ideas and get some advice from Josh on how to prepare the message I am going to teach in September.  Feeling much better about the whole speaking thing.
  21. The kids traveled great.  Beau even took a pretty good nap on the way in!
  22. Drove through a refreshing, great smelling rain shower.
  23. Mazzio’s Pizza!
  24. I rarely splurge for a fountain drink, but if I’m at Mazzio’s I must get a Cherry Coke.  It did not disappoint.  I want to know Mazzio’s Cherry Coke secret.
  25. Nana & Papa treated us to Andy’s Custard for dessert.
  26. The kids went to sleep so good tonight.  We didn’t have to get on to them one time, which is usually not the case when they have to sleep in the same room!
  27. Fun night visiting with Nana & Papa.  We haven’t gotten to really hang out with them in a long time.

Day 358

When I was in 5th grade a group of cheerleaders from the high school I would eventually attend came to my elementary school.  Dressed in their uniforms, complete with red striped Asic tennis shoes, they did a cheer in our cafeteria and talked about how much fun it was to be on the cheerleading squad.  They handed out fliers with information about 6th grade cheer tryouts.  I was mesmerized.  I didn’t know anything about cheerleading, but I wanted to give it a shot.  I tried out that year with girls from all over my 6A school district and I made it!  I loved everything about it.  The friends, the ribbons, the pom poms, the uniforms, and the fun.  But each year the dreaded try out week would roll around agains and each year the squads got smaller and smaller.  In 6th grade close to 50 girls made the cut, but in 9th grade only 16 girls made it.  We had the best varsity squad in the nation when I was in 8th grade.  I was there at Disney World when they competed for the title and won first place, so it was very competitive.

I couldn’t wait to be on the varsity squad… Friday night football at the big stadium, going to the elementary schools to recruit future cheerleaders, Disney World trips, going to state with the football team… varsity was a big deal, but I never made it past JV.  At the end of my 10th grade year I tried out and didn’t make the cut.  I was beyond crushed.  I had one of those shirts that said “Cheerleading Is Life… the rest is just details” and it wasn’t far from the truth, so I was pretty much devestated.

My whole family knew how much I loved being a cheerleader and they knew how important the varsity tryouts were to me, so I had a lot of prayer going into that week.  When my Grandma Wagner heard the news she said to my mom, “Well, I haven’t been praying that Sarah would make the squad, I’ve been praying that God’s Will would be done in her life.  He must have other plans for her.”  My mom shared that with me and I’ve never forgotten it.

I remember thinking to myself, “Hmmm.  That’s interesting.  Maybe Grandma has the right idea.”  Maybe my “help me make the squad” prayer wasn’t what I should have been praying, because I didn’t even know if making the squad was part of His will for my life because I had never taken the time to ask Him about it.  I wish I would have.  I know He would have told me I wasn’t going to make it and not to even bother trying out.  I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and embarassment, but nevertheless I learned a great lesson through all of that high school drama; His will should always be top priority when I pray.

Matthew 6:9-10 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.

There are certain things in the Bible that we know without a doubt are His will.  Salvation, healing, peace, forgiveness, joy, etc., but then there are things like, should I buy this house or that house, should I take this job or that job, should I go to this university or that one, that we can’t look up scriptures on to find the exact answer we need.  There was nothing in the old or new testament about the varsity cheerleading squad, but my Grandma knew the Lord’s prayer and she knew that the best thing she could pray for me was that God’s will would be done in my life, and it was.

I ended up graduating a year early and getting married the very next year; something that never would have happened if I had made varsity.  I’m glad God doesn’t answer all of our prayers, because sometimes we pray the wrong ones.

Your will, will disapoint you.  His will, will not, so when you come before God in prayer, let Him know that what you value most is HIS will being perfected in your life.

  1. His will!
  2. Unanswered prayers.
  3. My praying Grandma.
  4. I got to graduate in 2002 instead of 2003.
  5. I got to get married in 2003!
  6. Cheerleading is what gave me the extra credits I needed to be able to graduate early.
  7. Breakfast in bed!
  8. Gus turned the tent Josh made them a few days ago into the Bat Cave.  I love watching his imagination run wild.
  9. Got to see Sunny at the 20 week anatomy scan today and the doctor said she looks great!
  10. Ultrasound technology.  It really is so neat to be able to see what’s she is up to in there.
  11. Got to put some pictures of the scan on a flash drive, not sure what most of them are, but I did get a few of her pretty face!
  12. Her sweet little hands that were moving around a lot next to her sweet little mouth.
  13. Gus & Beau came with us today and Gus really liked getting to his little sisters face in black and white.
  14. Had such a peaceful day today.  No fear at all going into the check up.
  15. Bubble Guppies coloring pages.  They kept the kids busy while we were waiting.
  16. My doctor never keeps us waiting long!  When I was pregnant with Beau and Felix I had to wait 45 minutes to an hour every single visit.
  17. I’m well on my way to my New Year’s Resolution of gaining 35 pounds by the end of this year!!  Praise God for my healthy, growing girl!
  18. My cousin in law Jordan is celebrating his birthday today!  He’s one cool dude!
  19. My pastor, Robert Morris, is celebrating his birthday today!!
  20. Brandon Anderson is celebrating his birthday today.  A faithful friend and a faithful ministry partner.
  21. Brandon helped us redo our bathroom at our old house in Tulsa.  He did a beautiful job and didn’t charge us a dime for his time.
  22. Beau saw 10 minutes of Bobby Flay on Food Network which inspired her to get our her little kitchen and pretend to cook for the next 45 minutes.  She had so much fun using some of my real kitchen whisks, measuring cups, and colanders.
  23. The kids got to run around in the backyard while I cleaned and Josh mowed.  They came in with pink faces, smelling like wet dogs, and smiling from ear to ear.
  24. Mexican hoagies for dinner.  Not as good as my mom’s used to be, but still tasty.
  25. Unexpected check in the mail!
  26. Got my hair washed and dried this morning so I wouldn’t have to do that and pack for Tulsa all in the same night.
  27. 358 posts written, 7 to go!!

Day 357

Today, my little brother Zachary turns 26!  I was thinking about him this morning… about how fast time goes and about how thankful I am that we got to grow up together.  It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were walking to school together every morning after watching “Rugrats” or that I was cheering for him at one of his little league baseball games.  But, he’s no longer the little guy sporting a Jurassic Park baseball cap, Boever’s Elementary t-shirt, Texas Ranger shorts, tall socks and big tennis shoes.  Now, he’s happily married with a sweet little one and half year old daughter teaching history at the school I graduated from.  While reminiscing about the past this morning and thinking about Zach I had a flash back of the time he fell from a tree about 9 feet.

Our older Michael decided to build us this awesome tree house in the backyard and by awesome I mean one piece of ply wood placed between two branches so that we could stand on it.  It was nothing you would see on “Treehouse Masters”, it technically wasn’t even a house, but we thought it was awesome.  Michael then got another awesome idea.  He decided to get a rope and tie it to something across the yard and then take the other end of the rope and tie it up in our “tree house” to a branch, add a sturdy cylinder tube and we had ourselves a zip line.

I was in the back yard playing when the zip line buzz started.  Zachary was probably 7 or 8 and he couldn’t wait to try it.  When Michael had it just about ready he called Zach up to the treehouse.  I could hear Michael telling him to just stand still for a second, but Zach was too excited to hear.  He grabbed onto the sturdy cylinder tube and stepped off the tree house board.  He fell straight to the ground.  Michael hadn’t  secured the end of the rope to the branch in the tree yet and Zach and his little tailbone were now very aware of that.  Everyone in the neighborhood was now very aware of that.  Zach was crying, my mom came rushing outside, and the treehouse and zip line were never seen again.  I think Mike got in pretty big trouble over that, I’ll admit, it wasn’t the brightest idea, but he wasn’t trying to create something that would hurt us, he was trying to create something fun for us, Zach just jumped the gun.

Hebrews 10:36 (AMP) For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.

Zach never got to perform and fully accomplish the will of our big brother’s zip line idea because he was lacking patience!  We probably could have zip lined like 10 or 15 times before our mom realized what we were doing and made us take it down, but that didn’t happen.  No one got to enjoy the promised tree house zip line to the full.

I think sometimes we can act like an 8 year old little boy when it comes to God’s will.  We get excited and eager to do what it is that He has planned for us to do, so excited that we can’t hear His voice telling us to hold on just a second while He makes sure everything is in place for us.  We know what He is calling us to do, but we don’t feel like waiting around with steadfast patience and endurance while He’s tying up loose ends for us, so we  jump out in front of Him and we fall.

If we want to fully accomplish God’s will we have to fully rely on His timing and wait patiently for Him to give us the all clear.

I know for me, once I get a glimpse of the awesome things that He has planned for my future, it’s hard to stand still.  I want to grab onto a  cylinder tube and zip into His promises, but I know I won’t get to enjoy those things to the full if I can’t practice patience.  Be excited about what God has in store for you, but don’t let that excitement hinder your ability to hear God’s voice.  If you wan to receive and carry away what He’s promised you, you are going to have to learn how to be faithful while you are waiting for the red lights to turn green.

Hebrews 12:1 (AMP) …and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us

  1. God ties up all the loose ends!
  2. If we wait patiently we will receive and carry away and enjoy to the full what is promised.
  3. We can run and be patient all at the same time.
  4. God has good things in store for all of His children.
  5. 26 years ago today my little brother Zachary was born!
  6. I had a really great childhood and Zach played a huge part in that.
  7. Rugrats and Hey Arnold!  Some of favorite shows.
  8. Little league baseball.
  9. Space Jam & Angels In The Outfield.  Some of our favorite movies.
  10. Zach didn’t get seriously injured the day he fell out of the tree.
  11. I have a big brother and a little brother.  I hope Beau and Sunny have the same set up!  Every girl needs a big brother that looks after her and a little brother that she looks after.
  12. Michael was always thinking of ways to invent more fun.  It really is a miracle none of us kids ever had broken bones.
  13. Boevers Elementary.   Loved going to school there.  K-5!
  14. Zach is happily married to his high school sweet heart, Tosha!  So thankful God brought her back into his life.
  15. Ava Sophia!  My cute little niece.  It’s pretty cool seeing Zach as a dad.
  16. 17 years ago today my nephew Colton was born!!
  17. I have had the song we sang in the four year old class stuck in my head all day, but what a great reminder that God’s plans for us our good!
  18. Sweet quiet time out in my back yard on a lovely summer morning.
  19. Sunday afternoon nap!
  20. String cheese.  My new favorite pregnancy snack.
  21. Watching Beau pretend to be me.
  22. Josh grilled some awesome chicken sandwiches for dinner.
  23. Hanging out with Josh and being entertained by the Food Network this evening.
  24. Sunny was moving so big tonight.  I even saw my tummy move from the outside a few times.
  25. Josh’s “day at the office” was teaching kids about their God given destinies!
  26. Home movies.  I watched a few of me when I was Beau’s age tonight.  It’s so fun to see the similarities in the two of us.
  27. Get to see Sunny via ultrasound tomorrow!!

Day 356

In Galatians 4 Paul writes to the Galatians to let them know that he is concerned about them and their walk with God.  He feels like he’s going through labor pains with them all over again.  The first time he went through the laboring process for them it was more like a miscarriage because Jesus wasn’t fully formed in them, and Paul doesn’t want that to happen again.  He let’s them know He will labor for them until Christ is fully formed in their lives, and then in verse 20 he writes something that totally captured my attention this morning,  I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.

Paul wished he could address the Galatians face to face so that he had the option to change his tone.  He knew they wouldn’t be able to pick up on his emotions correctly just by reading the words he had written.  Instead of concerned, they might of thought he was angry.  They might have mistaken his love for them as disappointment in them.  He may have wanted to convey a since of urgency and seriousness, but it’s not easy to pick up on how serious someone is without hearing their voice.   If he could see the people and they could see his facial expressions and hear the sweetness or the concern or the anger behind his voice, they might understand his heart better, but he didn’t know how else to help them, so he went with the letter.

We all have people in our lives that are close to us.   People that live under the same roof as us, people that work in the same office space as we do, people that we come into contact with pretty much every day of the week.  There is not a great distance between us and them and so we, unlike Paul, have the luxury of changing our tone.  We have the option to express our hearts through the tone of our voices.  We can look into the faces of the people we are closest too and decide which tone we need to use as we address them… which tone will minister to them most effectively.

This morning in my quiet time I prayed that God would help me to set the tone for my home today.  That He would use me to see to it that my family would wake up to a wonderful morning filled with His presence, because in his presence is fullness of joy.  To set a tone, you have to watch your tone.  If you want the presence of God to continue to linger after your quiet time is over you have to guard it.  You have to watch what you say and how you say it.

You can set the tone for yourself and for the people that you are in close proximity with just by being more mindful of how you speak.  The sweeter I am to my kids the sweeter they are to me.  If I make a point to speak kind words to my husband throughout the day, the vibe between the two of us is going to be a good one.  If I join in with people who are griping and complaining, the wonderful presence of God is going to become a lot harder to pick up on.

Paul wished he could change the tone of his voice, you don’t have to wish that.  You are not in a long distance relationship with the people you come into contact with everyday.  Set the tone for yourself by waking up each day and getting into God’s presence and then use your voice to set the tone or to change the tone if it needs to changed for the people that you do life with.

  1. In His presence is fullness of joy.
  2. I can set the tone or change the tone with my voice.
  3. That one little verse really changed the way I went about my day.
  4. I get to do life with my favorite people in all of the world.
  5. Gus came out of his room first thing this morning fully decked in his batman costume.  He was setting a tone for sure.
  6. Got some good Bible reading in last night when I woke up wide awake at 2 a.m.
  7. Bills paid!
  8. Have yet to pay anything for all of my pregnancy check ups and ultrasounds.
  9. Josh took the kids to run errands with him this morning so I could have a few hours of alone time.
  10. Enjoyed getting dinner ready and in the crock pot and listening to a great message servanthood.
  11. Gus is doing great two days into his 7 day break from video games.  I am really proud of him!
  12. Gus loves books.  He spent a good 45 minutes just looking through some of his favorite picture books this afternoon.
  13. Pastor Robert is back in the pulpit!
  14. Feeling Sunny move around during the message.
  15. Great, challenging message tonight.
  16. Wonderful worship.
  17. Over 100 kids got saved at Wacky Week.
  18. The hilarious conversation I had with Gus on the way home from church about what kind of girl he wants to marry.
  19. Mikayla Corbo.  Gus’ first crush!  Too bad she’s 13 years older than him and taken, but he knows how to pick em.  She’s beautiful inside and out, so cute to me that he’s picked up on that.
  20. Kids both had a great night at church and were so full of joy for the rest of the night.
  21. My friends John & Dana had their little boy Frankie this morning!  Loved waking up to see his cute little face on Facebook.
  22. So many of my friends on FB have newborn babies.  Seeing all the pictures of them makes me so excited about Sunny!  Newborns are so fun!
  23. My first attempt at BBQ ribs was a success!
  24. Tried a new cucumber salad recipe and it was a hit.
  25. My healthy, growing boy who is all of a sudden too tall for his church pants.
  26. Josh found a shirt he really liked yesterday and last night when he was hanging it up he realized he got the wrong size, went to take it back and was able to exchange it the size he needed.
  27. Beau is in a contant state of skip, hop, or bounce.