What does the word “freedom” mean to you? 
  •      You’ve just been released from prison? 
  •      You are finally out of that abusive relationship you’d been in? 
  •      You are free from the bonds of an addiction? 
  •      You’ve finally paid off those student loans from school? 
  •      You finally got out of your three year old daughter’s room that she locked you in            with the lock you put on the door to lock her in? (Yes, that really happened…but thank goodness not to me!) 
One of the worse traps people put themselves in from childhood to the grave, is worrying about what other people think. Someone once gave me some very good advice, and at the time I never realized how much I would cherish it. “What other people think of you is their problem, not yours.” 
There are hundreds of ways we feel trapped, and I want to share with you the way to freedom from everything. Twenty-one months ago, I was trapped. Once God freed me from a seven-year struggle with my health, he has shown me how to have freedom in everything. Now stick with me here, I’m not saying it is EASY, but once you get a taste of how sweet freedom in Christ is, you’ll never want to turn back. 
Freedom in forgiveness—In Matthew 18:21-22, God tells us to forgive those who have wronged us. How many times? Seventy times seven. When you can let go of a grudge…truly forgive the person who has wronged you and let God be their judge, you would be amazed at the weight lifted from your shoulders.
Then Peter came up and said to him,
 “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? 
As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him,
 “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”
He also tells us in Mark 11:25, in order for God to forgive our sins, we must forgive those who have sinned against us. Now if that isn’t enough reason to forgive, I don’t know what is! 
And whenever you stand praying, forgive,
 if you have anything against anyone, 
so that your Father also who is in heaven 
may forgive you your trespasses. 
Freedom from worry—God tells us not to worry. By worrying about something does it do you any good? Does the situation change by worrying about it? No. Action may change it, but worry doesn’t. 
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin… (Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)
Freedom from fear—Everyone is afraid of something. But just like worry, does fear really do us any good? An action that helps us with that fear is good, but the fear itself is in vain. In a previous blog (Life is good, Eternity is better) I shared a story about Jeff Strueker faced with a life and death situation during the gulf war. He could fear death, but instead he chose to look at it like this: If he died in battle, he would get to receive his award in heaven and begin his eternity with Jesus. If he survived, he would gain his reward here, go back home to his wife and continue God’s work. Win-win.  
For God gave us a spirit not of fear 
but of power and love and self-control. 
(2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
 So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:26-33 ESV)
Fear of the Lord himself is the only fear that should drive our actions. He is our creator, our judge, and our savior, and is the only one who decides our eternity. 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; 
fools despise wisdom and instruction. 
(Proverbs 1:7 ESV)
In the prescribed verse of the day, God tells us that we will have troubles in this world. We know that. The part we need to remember so well is “I have overcome the world.” We get so easily caught up in our troubles of this world. And while we must deal with them accordingly, if we can remember that someday this world will be no more and look at the bigger picture, maybe our grudges, worries, and fears will be a little easier to let go. Freedom in Christ is an amazing way to live.
I have a little leather bracelet that helps me remember not to let my thoughts imprison me. Embossed in the leather are the simple words, “Change your thoughts and you will change your world.” 

From my heart, 

P.S. If you are a blogger and post a blog about freedom, be sure to enter to win a free blog design that Ashley and George are offering over at Tekeme Studios. Click here for the link 😉 Just by commenting on this blog post you’ll be entered for the drawing once! Just be sure and leave your e-mail address in the comment. (No spam, I promise!)

Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Stretch Your Way to Happy

When Marlee was just a toddler, she would stretch endlessly. When I would go to get her up in the mornings, she would stall saying, “Hang on, I’m not finished stretching yet.” And she would stretch to one side, then the other, procrastinating because she didn’t want to get out of bed. 

But she always got up in the best of moods! 

Stretching does so much for our mind and body. When I get up in the morning, I try to take lessons from Marlee and stretch for a minute. I’m immediately energized and awake. At night, if I can’t sleep, I stretch my arms and legs as far as I can, hold the stretch, and then relax every muscle in my body. 
There is something that happens when I do this that feels like peace washing over me…which is why I picked the prescription verse above. 

I’d like to think that I’ve had the peace of God many times in my life, but nothing like I felt when He healed me in 2010 of seizures, depression, and addiction. I was in the car listening to a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean called Mercy Came Running, being totally thankful for the mercy that God showed me when He chose to heal me, and I literally felt peace wash down over me, starting at the top of my head, running down my hair and face, then over my shoulders—kind of like the green slime kids get poured over them on Nickelodeon, only not so gooey! 😉

When we stretch out our muscles, we release endorphins in our brains that give us a peace of sorts…a sense of well-being and calmness. Maybe not as good as God’s peace washing over you, but he did create the hormones in our brain, so in a sense, it is His peace! 

Here are a few other ways stretching is good for you: 

  • Stretching relieves your body of stress, therefore decreasing your cortisol levels and increasing your serotonin levels.
  • Stretching helps put your muscles in a more relaxed state, therefore helping you sleep better.
  • When you stretch, you are focused on your muscles…contracting and relaxing them with a regulated breathing pattern, which also increases serotonin.
  • Stretching increases blood flow in your body, therefore reducing the stress on any particular system in your body (cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous system).

So the tip to a happier you for today is simple—stretch. If you read Monday’s post, and you have your post-it note up to remind you to say your “trust” prayer, just use it to remind you to stretch too. Again, it only takes a few minutes and what do you have to lose? 

From my heart, 

Make-a-change Monday~Just Do It!


Why is it so hard? Why do we resist even when we know it’s for the best? 

In November of 2010, I decided I wanted to write a book. I suppose I could say God called me to write this particular book, since He gave me an overnight miracle and gave me a very specific testimony with a unique perspective as a pharmacist and a patient. If I’d had any idea what I was getting myself into, I never would have attempted it. Now, fifteen months later, I’m so excited about how far I’ve come in the process and how much I’ve learned. If you’d known me just eighteen months ago, you’d be just as amazed as my husband is! 

“Even the greatest of all journey’s begin with the first step.” I have no idea who said it, but I’ve heard it all my life. I didn’t truly understand it until now. 

It’s all about small changes. 

   I joined the ranks of Facebook
   I learned to blog
   I learned to tweet
   I went to a writer’s conference
   I went to a speaker’s conference
   I joined a writer’s group
   I joined an online marketing group for writers
   I submitted articles for publication
   I’ve completed the outline for my book
   I’ve written the first four chapters
   I’ve sent the first chapter to be edited

Those are the things I’ve accomplished in these last fifteen months. Did I just decide to create a blog and sit down and do it one day? No. I had to join Google, join blogger, learn to navigate Word, learn to create links, manipulate photos, document resources, change font, create layers, upload templates, etc. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve probably lost a little hair in the process. But I decided to do it and I did, making one small change at a time. 

I had to make changes to become a writer. Today is about what you want to change. What is something that you’ve wanted or needed to do but haven’t? 

   Reconnect with an estranged person from your past?
   Begin an exercise program? 
   Clean out your closet? Your whole house?
   Cook tastier and healthier meals?
   Make a quilt?
   Paint your bedroom? 

Whatever it is, write it down. Then decide what tiny little step you can make toward your goal and just do it.

   Find the phone number of the person you want to reconnect with
   Go walk for thirty minutes
   Clean out one drawer in your closet
   Find one recipe online that you like and print a copy to take with you to the grocery store
   Create a box to begin collecting scraps for your quilt
   Go by a paint store and look at paint colors; make a list of the items you’ll need.

Goals can seem overwhelming. One small step at a time is within reach. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. He certainly can give us enough strength to clean out one drawer. Begin today with just one small change, then another, and another. Remember the Nike slogan “Just Do It?” You’ll be surprised where you’ll find yourself one year from now. 

What change do you need to make? Will you just do it?

From my heart,


P.S. I’d love for you to briefly comment on my blog and share your small change. It will help keep you accountable and give me some inspiration! My closets are a mess…

“It’s all in your mind.”

Has someone ever said to you, “It’s all in your mind?” It’s a funny and not so funny thing that my dad used to always say those words to me, and now my husband does! It made me crazy then, and it makes me crazy now. HOWEVER (and I promise you these words WILL come back to haunt me), we can train ourselves to think in a way that can change our mind, our hearts, and our world.
How often do you decide you want to change something about yourself? Or start something new? We are always growing and changing as our life progresses, yet we are also creatures of habit. I blogged about this same topic called “Small Beginnings” if you’d like to read that post as well, you can see it here:
I can’t tell you how many times I decided I would change my diet and threw away everything in my pantry; how many times I decided to get in shape and spent 3 hours at the gym, then couldn’t get out of bed the next day; decided to “spring clean” and cleaned out so much stuff at one time I had a bigger mess than when I started! 
In all of these situations, I set myself up for failure. It has taken me a LONG time to learn, but in order to really change, you must take small steps. If you are making a positive change in your life, and you begin to see good in the first small steps, you will eagerly await the next one. 
For example, if you want to diet, the first logical step would be to replace all of your beverages with water for two weeks. After that time is up, water will be a natural choice for you, you may have already lost a little weight, and you’ll be ready to take the next small step…like walking for 30 minutes a day. 
If you want to save money, make a conscious decision to eat at home instead of eating out when you normally would, then put what you would have spent aside and see how much you have saved in two weeks. This will “train” your mind to realize that even small things can make a difference. 
If you want to have the uncluttered home you’ve always coveted, spend 25 minutes a day devoted ONLY to cleaning out clutter. Do not tackle more than you can accomplish in 25 minutes, and then make the commitment to yourself NOT to let that area get cluttered again. Little by little, this will become a way of thinking, and in just 6 months to a year, you might just have that house you always wanted! (oh…and when you declutter, put whatever you are getting rid of in a black trash bag and get it OUT OF THE HOUSE…to go to trash, good will, consignment, wherever, just don’t leave it in the house.)
Now, all of these things are obviously things I’ve done, and am still doing. Each one of these areas of my life gets easier every day. But without the steps I’ve taken every day to get to know my Jesus better, none of these other things would matter. They are all in this life, here and now. We need to be happy here and now, but we also must know that none of these things will matter someday. So while me make little changes to shape our life here, we must also make little changes to shape our life there…in eternity. 
Begin to do small thing each day to get to know Jesus better. Find a good non-fiction book to read to begin teaching you about your Jesus. “The Purpose Driven Life” comes to mind since I’ve blogged about it recently. “Seeing Through the Lies” is a book by Vonda Skelton my bible study is about to start. Another book to begin to change the way you think is “Crazy Love” by Frances Chan. Don’t go to the bookstore and get a Beth Moore bible study right off the bat, or you’ll probably find it sitting alone on your desk next week untouched. They are wonderful, but time consuming. Start small. Just read a book. A little each day.
Maybe make “Fireproof” your Friday night rental. Make WLFJ the station you listen to in your car. Before long, you’ll realize that you are getting to know your Jesus, and you’ll want more of him. You may begin to see and feel changes that surprise you! 
I have not always known Jesus personally, even though I claimed him as my savior. I believe many Christians are in the same boat I’ve been in most of my life. It took seven years of sheer hell…severe depression, migraine headaches, grand mal seizures, and prescription drug addiction…to make me see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that light was Jesus. Plain and simple. I pray that this blog, and the hard lessons I have learned, might help someone else NOT have to learn them the hard way. I’d like to know that the horrid seven years I endured weren’t just for me. I want them to be for you too. 
“It’s all in your mind” is a statement that frustrates. It’s overwhelming. And I think it may be a little sexist since it seems to be men that love to say it! =o/ But if we can begin to do small things, we can begin to change the big things. If we change our habits, we will change our thoughts. If we change our thoughts, we will change our world. 
From my heart,