Christmas Classics

Oh yeah, I’m all about watching Christmas movies all month long. Not the Hallmark or Lifetime movies, although that one with Steve Guttenberg is really good. He’s Santa and needs a wife. I just like Steve Guttenberg. Ever since Three Men and a Baby days. 

Here’s my list of top five Christmas comedies that I must watch at some point and here they are starting with 5 and working to number 1:

And my #1….
Share your top 5 favorite Christmas comedies in the comments!

Casey Herringshaw: Are You Willing to Wait?

If ever there was a young woman who inspires me, who I would model my daughter to grow up like, it would be the sweetest-ever, Casey Herringshaw. I’m honored to have her here today sharing about being a single woman in today’s life and living for God–which shines boldly and beautifully through her life. Casey, you amaze me.
Everyone, welcome Casey!
It ain’t easy being me.
(and no, not
because I’m simply gor-geous
Twenty-one. Single. Not dating. Yeah.
It seems when you hit a certain age it’s expected that
you’ll date. Or at least by the time you’ve hit your twenties, you’ve had at
least one boyfriend.  The boyfriend world
has never been for me and I’ve never been on a date and really put myself “out
there” as available. It can prompt some interesting conversations from those
who are curious about why I’m still unattached.
I won’t sit and pretend it’s been an easy road to stumble
Stumble being the operative
word. I’m certainly not at a hopeless age for never marrying, it can seem like
my fusses are nothing but a futile compliant tossed to the winds. But sometimes
nothing is harder than to see those who have surrounded you during your growing
up years, your classmates and friends, all tying the knot.
Since I hit my twenties I have probably seen half the young
women I grew up with get married and start the next chapter of their lives. And
every time I see the announcements on Facebook or hear about it from a friend,
the tiny part of my heart that longs to fall in love hitches. It’s not to say
I’m not thrilled for them. But it often doesn’t make it any easier to realize
they are leaving me behind.
It’s in these moments, I have to acknowledge the state of my
heart. I have to admit that I’m struggling. But then I have to admit it’s time
to move on. The only thing that comes of being obsessive or impatient is
I have to be honest with myself in these cases and have a
sit-down with God. I can’t see my future. I don’t know where He’s taking me. I
don’t know what He still wants to teach me. All I do know, is He’s saying no right now. He’s asking me to walk by faith
and in trust. I don’t want the one thing I’d love more than anything to be the
one thing that shouldn’t happen right now because I’m not ready.
Satan uses everything around us against us if we grant him permission. Oftentimes,
it’s my siblings ragging me about “finding a man” or the pictures of those from
my graduating class in their wedding finery. The downer “it will never happen
to me” that defeats my solidarity of where God has me. In those moments, Satan
has won the hand and I’m questioning God’s sovereignty, exactly the power he wants.
It’s not always easy to be single. Especially when it feels
as though there is no light at the end of the hopeless tunnel.
But I’d rather be single, growing and loving in Christ, then
married to the man He doesn’t want for me.
It can seem easy to settle when
we’re hopeless in our present. But the present doesn’t last. Our future does.
And what we do in our present affects everything about our future. It’s praying
for wisdom. Smiling at the people that are always asking about your “love life”
and telling them: God’s got this.

Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school.
She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more populated with cows than
people. Taking the words and stories God has placed on her heart and
putting them on paper is one of her highest passions in life. Casey is a member
of ACFW and an assistant to the
ACFW Carol Awards. You can connect with her through her personal
blog, Writing
for Christ
 and her writing related group blog, The Writer’s Alley

*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Happy Thanksgiving and a Blog Break!


Thursday is Thanksgiving!  



 I’m excited and I’m looking forward to, you know, amazing people with my super culinary skills. Okay, not true, but I am excited to eat. That is true. 

I love turkey smothered in mashed potatoes and savory gravy. I love yeast rolls and cornbread dressing. I love pumpkin pie! 

But that’s not what Thanksgiving is all about. I mean I guess it kinda is since they did have a big feast. 


So here’s my top 5 things I’m thankful for at Thanksgiving.

5. I’m thankful I didn’t have to grow corn or kill my own turkey or wear white paper or feather hats. Because with feather hats comes war paint and I’m out this year. And with the white hats come no make-up and um…well that ain’t  happenin! (make-up and war paint are totally different)

4. I’m thankful the dude at Kroger’s let me know if I didn’t have a Kroger card my turkey would have been $30 bucks, so I saved over $12 since he saved me. So I’m totally thankful for young punks who yawn at 7:30 in the morning but are on top of saving money for old broads like me.

3.I’m thankful I got to brag about my savings to my husband as most times, I’m trying to talk him into believing all the money I spend is for good reasons…you know like pretty stuff for my house or books. Or 10 assorted creamers and yes, I will drink all of them. Yes, I do need them all. I like making choices–or at least having choices, I don’t necessarily like making them.



2. I’m thankful no one expects me to dress up on Thanksgiving and I can wear my “eating” pants and no shoes.

And the #1 thing I’m thankful for on Thanksgiving is….



Naps! Because 1, I love naps especially on Turkey day and everyone knows it’s inevitable because of Tryptophan and 2,  it gets me out of conversations I care nothing about. Like who’s scoring a touchdown or who’s not backing the line…thus line backers, right? Right?


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Gobble Gobble! 

I’ll be taking a blogging break  until next Wednesday.  I know that’s a long time to do without me, but I’ll still be all over facebook and twitter, so don’t lose touch with me. Seriously, don’t. 🙂 
*photocredit: freedititalphotos
*this is revised version of last year’s Thanksgiving post

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? And if it’s really yummy and you have a minute, share the recipe!

If You Died Tonight…

“We don’t have forever. 
If you died tonight where would you be? Where would your soul spend eternity?”

Big Daddy brings it home in a way no other band can. And once again, their songs help me write. Don’t skip it, today! Click play. Have a listen. 

Have a great weekend!
What will you do to make it meaningful?

Susan Tuttle: Smear It Like Peanut Butter!

Susan’s Sunday morning breakfast!
These are the kinds of texts she sends.

I can’t say enough how awesome Susan Tuttle is! That’s right. You heard me. Susan is an amazing prayer partner and writer whom I treasure. She writes a wonderful blog called Steps! And you’re nuts if you don’t head over there and follow her. Just sayin. Thank you for guest posting today, Susan!

I had a revelation the other day as I made my breakfast. It was early, so roll
with me here.  See, I LOVE peanut butter.
It is one of the most delicious things on this earth. If you don’t like it,
well, there’s something wrong with you, and I’ll add you to my prayer list.
every morning I toast an English muffin and when it pops up I spread my
creamy-goodness over it. Peanut butter has a heavenly fragrance to it. It is
unmistakable. You don’t open a jar of peanut butter and have someone ask you if
you just cut up an onion. No. You know peanut butter by its smell. Oh, and when
you spread it over your warm English muffin??? It drips into every nook and
cranny and makes every bite oh-so-delectable!
I made my breakfast last week I literally stopped mid-spread. I looked at my
English muffin. And then I said to God, “Know what, Lord? I want you to be just
like this peanut butter in my life. Smear yourself over me, get every nook and
cranny, until every bit of me is covered with you, and your fragrance rolls off
of me.”
you it was early. Hadn’t even had my coffee yet.

But that didn’t make my words any less true of a statement.
you know what I want most in my life? Him. In every particle of my being. I
want to look like Him. Smell like Him. My words to taste like Him—the words I
speak AND the words I write. Because when people interact with me, I want them
to have an encounter with the Living God.
in the business of changing lives. And as much as I love peanut butter, I love
that even more.
Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who
is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them.
Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a
life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational
Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing
transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby, chasing the family dog,
or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the second
grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps.

Tell me, are you PB
lovers too? If not, what do you pair with jelly? 

Come by our online
facebook community where you
can be inspired daily with
devotions! Click “like”
in the sidebar.

Olivia Newport: What Happens When Values Collide?

I would like to welcome, Olivia Newport to the blog today! Everyone give her a big welcome! I had the privilege to read her newest novel, Accidentally Amish. Whether you are an avid reader of the Amish genre or not, I think you would enjoy this book. I know I did! 

Thank you so much for coming by today, Olivia, and sharing about values colliding! Take it away!

If we
were sitting in a quiet room together telling the truth, we would admit we have
come up against situations that challenged us to consider our values.
instance, a child’s temperament throws a parenting curve you never saw coming.
Someone you trusted makes an unkind remark about a decision you wrestled over.
Illness holds you back from attractive, even noble, opportunities. Two values
you hold deeply seem mutually exclusive. A calling on your life seems contrary
to anything you ever imagined.

What do
we do?

we struggle through the immediate circumstance and heave relief when it’s
over—without deciding what we actually believe is right. We do whatever
everyone else is doing, or what they tell us to do. We do whatever seems easiest, even if our guts tell us it’s
not best.
How many
examples in our culture can we point to where people of conviction nevertheless
look just like everyone else? Are they different? Are we, as people of faith, different?
The book
of Romans has long been one of my favorite parts of the Bible. Around chapter
12, Paul gets down and dirty practical. Theology is all fine and good, but what
does it have to do with how we live? Perhaps you know the opening verses about
not being conformed to the world, but transformed by God’s work in you. Here’s
how Eugene Peterson puts it in The
(emphasis mine).

“So here’s what I want you
to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping,
eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an
offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your
culture that you fit into it without even thinking
. Instead, fix your
attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what
he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you,
always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of
you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it
without even thinking.
This is a constant challenge for Christians
engaging the culture around us, isn’t it? And it’s exactly the challenge that
Annie Friesen, a main character in my book Accidentally
, faces. The title is playful and catches people’s attention. As they
read, though, they feel the collision of worlds in Annie’s life when she
realizes she has become so well-adjusted to her culture that she fits into it without thinking.
Though the Amish are no more perfect than the rest of us,
they do present us with some questions worth pondering.
• What truly are the values that drive our decisions?
• Are our behaviors consistent with what we say we believe?
• Is our faith strong enough to help us buck the culture
when we ought to?
I love the promise at the end of Romans 12:2: “God brings the best out of you, develops
well-formed maturity in you.”
How have you collided with your
culture and seen God 
bring the best out of you? 
Olivia Newport is the author of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning (2012), Accidentally Amish (2012), and the forthcoming The Dilemma
of Charlotte Farrow (January 2013). She
lives in Colorado with her husband and two twenty-something children. Learn
more at

Anywhere books are sold! 
Here’s a sneak peek at Accidentally Amish:
Escape the
helter-skelter of the modern culture and join software creator Annie Friesen,
hiding at the home of an Amishman. With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie
runs from fast-paced Colorado Springs—and straight into the hospitality of San
Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and
the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie
finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures
colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give
up the only life she’s ever known?

* photo credit: freedigtialphotos

Trunk or Treat Success!

On Halloween, our church held our first ever Trunk or Treat! My friend Melanie and I were in charge of organizing it and at first my biggest concern was, will anyone want to participate?

We decided to shoot for a 50 car minimum, with the knowledge that 5-10 vehicles would back out for one reason or another before go-time.

64 trunks later, my concern was gone and I was thankful!

Everyone pitched in and seemed very excited about it! Almost two dozen women volunteered to bring chili. 

In just a couple weeks, we had people in charge of moon bounces, popcorn, the outdoor movie screen, parking/security, the kitchen, face painting, hayrides, and welcoming guests with gift bags!

Melanie and I bought a surplus of candy–just in case 300 pieces per car wasn’t enough. The last thing we wanted was for families to leave not receiving what they were told they’d get!

I spent years in childcare which ultimately is customer service and marketing. We don’t let customers go away unhappy.

We just don’t.

Everyone showed up and the laughing and friendly competition made my heart sing. I witnessed unity among believers and I’ll tell you, it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. I can’t imagine how God felt as He witnessed his hands and feet getting along and loving each other–loving the community! 

And then I got nervous. “What if no one shows up!” We put flyers out at our local Chick Fil A–they were so nice to stuff the bags and in house trays for us! We also had people put flyers at a local apartment complex. With a banner in our church yard, that surely was enough. After all, were we prepared enough for more than 300-400 kids?

The fire department showed up to judge the trunks! We had prizes for the top 4!

Then at 6:15, it was flooded and we didn’t even begin until 6:30. In about 10 minutes we’d given out 300 gift bags!

Candy started getting low and we pulled out the reserves and sent our Creative Arts pastor to Sam’s for more. 

And then we ran low again! And out he and my husband went for another load of candy.

We never ran dry. About 2000 peeps later we finished with a half of a tub left. Families went away happy and safe. And I think everyone who participated had a great time. 

I know I did. But I had a walkie talkie which is uber-cool so I was content. Ha! I love walkie talkies!

But what moved me most was how much people pitched in and helped run candy, clean up, pick up trash. They simply did what needed to be done even though it was late and it was getting chilly. 

Because to me, that’s the love of Jesus. Always going the extra mile with a smile. I love the people in my church and their big hearts for Jesus! Here are some fun photos from our Trunk or Treat!

This is my great niece,
Crimson. She wasn’t there,
but how cute is she? Had to post!

Wish I could have posted them all! 🙂 

If you’re a church going person, what kind of things do you and your church family do for community outreach?

Cracked Out: It Can Happen to Anyone

My husband and I
love to hold hands. We have a certain way we fit as our fingers lace together.
Walking in a parking lot, a store, even in bed while watching TV. We’re hand
Sometimes, his hands
feel overly rough, especially in the valleys of his fingers. He uses lotion
each night to smooth them.
have a running joke; when his hands are rough I’ll say, “You’ve been
“I have.”
We’ll laugh about
But I can tell. He
can’t hide it. Not for long. It builds. Worsens.
And that is exactly
what can happen in your spiritual life. It starts when you’re in a valley. At
your lowest point. In Winter. When things seem upside down, uncertainty is your
middle name. You lay off the lotion–the Word of
God. You ignore the healing balm to heal wounds.
the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds
and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up,
Or soothed with ointment.” Isaiah
Unfaithful to
Unfaithful to the
Unfaithful to
actions becoming a bride of Christ.
It happens over time. A slow fade–like Casting
Crowns sing about.
And sometimes, it
happens when things are wonderful. When you’re soaring over accomplishments,
when you’re ministry is growing and thriving, your family is pulling it
together, prayers are being answered in a tangible way.
You sleep in a
little later, because God’s got it all under control. You celebrate by focusing
on your goal and leaving the One who gave it to You on the coffee table, the
night stand, the kitchen counter. After all, you need to push through–push
harder–get things done so you can soar over the  next mountainous goal.
Tiny cracks form in
your skin. Barely noticeable as you make plans and plunge toward the next step
in your life–in your purpose. The one God gave you.
The cracks widen,
harden, build up. And one day you’re exhausted. Worn slap out. You’ve opened up
opportunity for the enemy to slip in with temptations you’d been guarding in
the valleys–but hey–you were on the mountain! Nothing bad happens on the mountain
tops. You can skip early morning with God alone, because He’s in what you’ve
woken up early to do. He’s given you this ministry you’re working on. That
counts, right?
It doesn’t.
something for God’s glory doesn’t
replace spending time in God’s glory.
“…the priests could not continue ministering because
of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.”
2 Chronicles 5:14
Sometimes, you need to stop ministering and let His
glory fill your temple.
Dried up skin bleeds
when it’s cracked. It stings. It opens up areas of disease to seep in.
Inflammation and sickness can form before you’re even aware.
And all you needed was a daily dose of lotion to
lather on and stay smooth. Even. Healthy.
It’s not too late to
slather the lotion on. It’s not too late to ask forgiveness for putting other
things before God, for dropping the ball, for ignoring His whispers. It’s not
too late to reorganize, reprioritize, and hit the start button again.
we confess our sins, He is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1
John 1:9
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot
deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
How are you at taking care of spiritual cracks? And what’s your favorite lotion? I’m a fan of Vaseline’s Cocoa Butter.

Come by our facebook
community and let’s

*photocredit: freedigitalphotos

Dear Teenage Girl,

Fill in the blank:

If I could offer only one piece of advice to a teenage girl, I would say________________________. 

Tonight, my daughter is having a slumber party for her 14th birthday. Ten teenage girls will be crowding my house with giggles, shrieks, and who knows what else. My husband and Myles rented a hotel room–they’re not sticking around for it, but my friend “Jane” is coming (with her daughter) to spend the night. 

We did the same thing last year, only Tim went to Thailand. LOL On a missions trip–not to escape. At least he said it was a missions trip. 😉 

I blogged about my daughter getting lost on our street in the subdivision on that night and the hoopla that went on. You can read it for fun HERE! 

Have a great weekend! Can’t wait to share the advice you leave in the comments with her. 

*Photo credit: Freedigitalphotos