Unrelenting Love

forest trail 2Many years ago I had a dream where I was visited by Jesus.  It was so vivid and clear that I felt and knew it was real.  In the dream… 

I was walking down a long road that was lined and covered by trees that were creating the most beautiful canopy overhead.  It was fall and the colors were amazing and vivid.  As the wind slowly rustled you could see the light dancing on the roadway.

I felt utterly alone and wishing beyond wishes that somehow my life would be worth something, that I would not be forced to forever wonder if I had a purpose or if I was from the beginning, nothing but a mistake.

As I walked down the old dirt road I could see someone walking towards me.  That person was a long ways off and I wondered what they were doing there.  As I continued to walk they were suddenly in front of me just a few feet away.  I knew without any introduction who it was and all within me jumped with joy and simultaneously shook with fear.  It was Jesus.

I had spent years calling to Him, begging Him to help me from one thing or another.  I had asked Him to help my daddy stop drinking, to stop being so angry, to just stop.  I asked over and over and over and each time I felt that my prayers fell on deaf ears, there was silence and the prayers were unheard.  My heart broke with each unanswered prayer and my belief in a God that loved me and a Jesus that saves all was shaken, of course not destroyed, but damaged.

The very moment I saw my Saviour standing there looking at me all my fears were in front of me.  The joy of seeing Him there was inside of me.  I could feel my heart leap.  But I couldn’t allow it to carry me into His arms.  I couldn’t allow it to help me feel peace.  Instead I felt the fear and the dread.  Is He here to tell me I was asking for too much, begging too much, that He had too much to do to deal with to worry about my miniature problems?  Was he there to crush my very existence because I was a mistake?  Was He there to accuse me of all the bad I had ever done, ready to sentence me to life of unbearable pain and suffering?

Hundreds of questions flew through my head in the split second before He spoke and then they were all silenced by His smile.  What a sweet smile, warm and inviting.  The very glance of His eyes melted my heart and put me at ease.  His voice was soothing and yet it was strong and had authority.

“You are my girl.” 

What did He say, surely He was mistaken, He had the wrong girl?

“You are mine and I love you, no one can harm you.  You were not a mistake and I have many plans for you, you are mine.”

I couldn’t believe that with three sentences He crushed every fear I ever had.  Tears streamed freely down my face and as they did He reached out and wiped up each and every one.  Not one fell to the ground.  I felt relief and joy and peace wash over me and as quickly as He was there, He was gone again.

To this day that memory remains.  It was a powerful, life changing moment.  His love is everlasting, unrelenting and unconditional.  It is pure.  I am thankful for a love like that, a love I don’t deserve but freely receive.  It is a love for the taking.  It is for you.  Have you had an encounter with Jesus?

Fierce Protector

Psalm 91:4

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”

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This Bible verse has always captured my heart.  I have had many things happen in my life where I have needed the protection of our Father, and this verse reminds me that no matter what happens, I always have it!  His protection is fierce and requires nothing on our parts other than faith and from past experience, sometimes not even that.

This painting was done by my amazing husband, Mark.  You can see more of his works and writings at markschutter.com.

Know you are loved by the God who made all things.  You were beautifully and wonderfully made and His eyes are upon you!

Kitten Madness!

On April 10th several kittens were born… We were blessed to receive 2 of them.  Now I have had well over a dozen cats throughout my life and know a lot about them, but one thing I had never experience that I remember are multiple kittens.  I am sure we had them growing up I just don’t remember them.  Had I remembered I might have said NO… and yet on the other hand I would have certainly said YESSSS!

Here is a picture of our bundles of joy at 7 weeks old.

chloe and lilly 2 aNow! Are they not the cutest things in the world!  They were spectacularly adorable!  Sisters and litter-mates they went everywhere together.  Which is evidence below!

chloe and lilly 3 aThe one on top, the tabby, is Chloe.  I totally and unconditionally fell in love with her.  She was my little snuggle bug.  The one on the bottom is Lilly and she and my daughter immediately bonded.  She is sweet and beautiful and definitely more grown up!  Chloe is a goof ball and silly and not real coordinated! lol  Lilly is beautiful, too grown up for some kitty games and extremely coordinated and catches flies mid air to eat them just so we are protected from those germy little creatures!

Fast forward to this week….

chloe and lilly aThey are certainly kittens at heart, but as you can see they have seriously grown!!!  I have to constantly remind myself that they are still kittens!  So their phycho raging through the house at 100 miles per hour between legs and over couch backs and up curtains will soon end!  Right??? lol

This is just a little snap shot of some of the joy that has been deposited into our lives because of these kittens and we are forever grateful!  What joys are in your life and why are you grateful? I would love to hear your stories.

Be blessed!

Independance Day Fun!

We live in the country, and though we complain often of how long it takes to get everywhere, there is nothing more wonderful sometimes that country life.  For example, we have amazing neighbors who are so much fun.  We walked a couple houses down from us to spend the time watching fireworks last night.  It was crazy!  There were large fireworks going off everywhere!  Who needs to drive and pay to see them when you can sit at home with friends and enjoy them together.

Here are some of my pictures from last night, I hope you enjoy and that you are truly blessed this season!  Summer can be so much fun!  God Bless you, and God Bless America!

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Thankful Thursday!

It is Thankful Thursday time and since I have been so busy the last month that I have hardly had a chance to share I am here to say I am thankful for being here!  🙂

There is so much to be thankful for, even for busy schedules sometimes.  But as I think on my life, what is in it and who is in it, what I am truly thankful for is my family.  They are a true gift from God and I am 100% blown away by how amazing it is to have them in my life!

This man is the most amazing man I know. He is my best friend, lover and God given gift. He is an incredible dad and husband. I am so proud of the man he is and the man he is becoming. I am so very thankful for him!

Here is my man with my Muppin… another wonderful thing I am thankful for! If you can’t tell what they are doing in the center… He is throwing gold fish into the air and she is catching them. Such a wonderful day!

I am also thankful for my daughter’s amazing imagination! She builds amazing things out of whatever she finds, and has so much fun doing it. Creativity is a true gift from God as He is the ultimate creator!

What are you thankful for?  I would love to have you join me and shout out what God has done in your life that you are truly thankful for.  There is so much that we take for granted.. Don’t!!! 🙂

Join Divas With A Purpose ~ Thankful Thursday!

Thankful Thursday

Summer of Service A.C.T.S.

The summer is winding down as evidence by the crazy whirlwind that my life is right now!  I have been busier than ever and it isn’t going to slow down for a few more days.  In just hours I am off to our yearly women’s retreat at our church to serve and minister to other women and to hear what God has to say to me.   As I prepare to leave I am reminded of something wonderful that begins next week.  So before I leave I wanted to share A.C.T.S. (A Call To Service) with you!  It is not for us adults.  Us mom’s know how hard we serve already.   😉    This is a program to get our kids to serve!

Why serve?

Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by simply telling them they are important and valuable.

At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and depressed than ever before.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child.

Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/0/?ui=2&ik=dcb1346767&view=att&th=13e8ec22ea82a46c&attid=0.1&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P873rJS1u4yrBsktQqV7xgG&sadet=1368747677139&sads=s6tVvE2OvIhx3WQIqkOJHfMLY3QAdventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos, and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.

This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve, everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas, kids will discover that serving can be a blast!

How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:

Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org.  At the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.

A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners (one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to another country with a parent!  The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it!

Just to show you some love you can download a free mp3 file of the AIO Service episode, Business of Busyness as well as the free PDF download of summer service ideas for kids.   Enjoy!

What will you be doing with your kids this summer to serve?  I look forward to hearing some fun ideas!  God Bless!!!

Thankful Thursday!

It is Thankful Thursday again and I love this day.  I do a lot of thinking on what I need to fix about myself and my surroundings and life in general and sometimes being thankful just isn’t in the mix.  And that can get depressing.  But you know, I have so much to be thankful for that I should be doing it on a daily regular basis.

Michelle over at Divas With A Purpose has decided to do just that for Thankful Thursdays!  She is going to list what she is thankful for one day at a time… one each day this week.  I think that is a wonderful idea so I will be doing the same thing.  I will add something I am thankful for each and every day this week so don’t forget to check back to see the rest of the list!

Day 1-  I am thankful for the beautiful sunshine that we have had all this week.  If you know anything about Western Washington, you know this time of year can be very rainy, grey and wet!  The sunshine has been love for my soul.

Day 2-  I am thankful that I can work out again and get back to being healthy.  God is good even through the pain 😉

Day 3-  I am thankful for my church and the leadership we have.  My pastor, Jon Cobler, is an amazing man of God and I am grateful to him for listening to God when preparing to teach us.  This week he had a plan and notes and on Saturday morning God said, “But I want to say this!”  And our pastor listened.  Because of that I am now paying attention to my belief in something very simple…. I believe God can… but do I believe God will?  It is important for us to believe God desires to and will do what He said He will do!  Just food for thought for you!

Day 4-  I am grateful for my mother and father-in-love.  They are truly great people and care for us very much.  I love seeing my daughters eyes light up when they are around.  It was wonderful spending time with them today.

Day 5-

Day 6-

Day 7-

Click the picture below and join us in Thankful Thursday!  Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday!

A friend of mine, Michelle, over at Divas With A Purpose has started up her Thankful Thurdsay’s again so here I am to share with you what I am thankful for!  If you get a chance, check out her blog, she is amazing!

So, what am I thankful for?  Many things really 🙂

  1. For the most amazing God and His love He has for me regardless of how bad I am or how many messes I make.  He is always there to pick me up and help me move in the right direction!
  2. For my amazing husband Mark, who loves me through all my issues and always stands by me no matter what… who provides so well for our family and who makes me laugh like no one else!
  3. For my beautiful daughter, the most special gift given to us.  She is pure joy and I love her so much.  She teaches me to have joy every single day.
  4. For my church and the ladies that I love there.  More gifts from God.
  5. And finally, for the ability to write, how boring would life be without writing!

God is so good.  And I have so much to be thankful for.  What do you have to be thankful for?

Thankful Thursday