Thursday, December 31, 2015

What a Year...

2015 has been one of the most difficult years of my life and also one of the most amazing.  Difficulties that included my mom's battle with breast cancer, one of the lowest points ever in my marriage, my children running from God, other family members struggles, my own selfish personal battles, you name it.  But through and amidst all of those things God has proven His faithfulness and goodness and love to me...more than I deserve.  And even more, began showing me a glimpse of His plan for me.  I really need to share about His marvelous works in my life, how He repaired my marriage and made it better than ever, how He is using me to serve Him and changing me into the woman He wants me to be.  He has given me incredible friendships with some might say "unlikely people" but I say they are an inspiration and amazing part of my life.  He has grown and stretched me, disciplined me and loved me more than I can describe.  He has given James and I a ministry together to use the gifts and talents He has given us to glorify Him and do His kingdom work.  And on the first day of 2016, this ministry will truly begin.  James and I and our partner in this work, Johnny, will go to Algoa Correctional Center to share Jesus.  James will preach his first sermon in prison, this is the start of something big in our lives, a calling from our King.  God has placed us here to use us, to grow us, to proclaim who He is and to provide freedom for the captives.  I am honored and humbled to be called to do this work, God doesn't need me for anything but He chose me and He chose James and He chose Johnny to do this together.  He made us a team to give away what we've been given through the blood of the Lamb.  How marvelous, incredible and wonderful is that?!?

I ran across these notes I had made a couple years ago and they blessed my heart today...

12/4/13 - Live your life for something other than yourself.  Live for something greater, something eternal.  When your toil is for The Lord, it is no longer toil but joy.  If you do anything for yourself it will not produce joy.  Joy comes only from pleasing God.

1/15/14 - God takes pleasure in me, His creation, when I live out my purpose.  When I sing, God takes enjoyment.

Here's to 2016! Let's live for Jesus and declare the Gospel!  Let's Praise the Lord!

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.
Psalm 95:1-7
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens![a]
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
    praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Psalm 150

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Epic Christmas Card 2015

If you know us then you know we have an outlandish Christmas card tradition.  Here is 2015's epic Christmas card...

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

God Has a Purpose for Me and for You

Earlier this year I began an online study called "The Best Yes", it was with Proverbs 31 ministries and Lysa Terkheurst wrote the book.  It was a great study and although I haven't finished the book...(I will eventually), I learned a lot and have put into practice some of the things it taught me.  God has a plan and purpose for us, He has called me to worship ministry, I know this without a shadow of a doubt.  What does this mean?  It means I can't do everything!  I have had to say no and let go of other things to pursue what God wants and requires of best yes.  What an amazing season of my life I am living at this moment.  Yes, I am busy...yes, I am tired...yes, I am somewhat crazy, but He has given me a strength and desire like never before.  It is amazing what can happen when we are obedient to Christ.

If you would have told me a couple years ago when I said "Anything you want from me, Lord, here I am" that I would be touring jails and prisons and leading men and women into His presence through worship...I would have said you were nuts.  On top of that...I play for myself, that is a big miracle for me as He has equipped me in such a brief time to do His will for me.  He is such a gracious God, what an incredible journey He has me on and I can't wait to see what's next.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

If you don't know what God is calling you to, get in His Word, spend time with Him in prayer, fellowship with His people, go on mission, serve, give...He will reveal Himself and His plan for your life to you.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm a Fantasy Football Loser

I love fantasy football and this season....I stink and not just a whiff of something gross when you live in a house full of boys, I mean a full decomposing, dog poop, pole cat kind of stench.

I had the first round pick in the draft, I chose Jamal Charles...he's injured and out for the season.  These things happen, it's part of the game but this year I've really taken the cake on losing.  I've picked up, dropped, changed defenses, kickers, many combinations of things all to no avail.  James keeps asking for me to give up and give him my "good" players....No Way!  I will play to the death, er, end.  And besides...I don't have any good players!  As I'm typing this, none of my players have scored more than single digits today.  My record is 2 - 8 soon to be 2 - 9.  I have no chance for the playoffs but I will keep playing, keep yelling at my players on the tv and kick them to the curb when they don't perform.  Because....I really do love fantasy football.

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Night I Went to Prison

I had been anticipating this night - many prayers, planning and practicing went into preparing to enter this prison chapel and tell 100 men about Jesus' redemption plan and to share in worshiping my King.  I've been doing prison ministry concerts with my church worship team for the last two years.  I've seen many grown men fall to their knees and cry out to our Holy God, it really is a sight to behold, a privilege to be a part of...

This night was a little different, James and I had been asked to come in, him to preach and me to lead worship.  James wasn't too sure about the whole thing and wanted to observe the first time.  I was excited for the opportunity to share praise and worship with these men and to give away the hope that I have in Jesus Christ.  I planned my songs, what scriptures I wanted to use, what words and direction I thought God was leading me and prayed that He would use me for His glory.  And the waiting and countdown began.  My friend, Johnny, that goes in every Friday night to minister and had invited us to go was just as excited (if not more).

We arrived an hour early to set up and we circled up to pray.  Four or five offenders, Johnny, James and myself...and I was in awe.  In awe of God bringing me here, using me in this way.  What an honor.  It may not sound like that big of a deal to some, probably most people would prefer to play on a big stage, a sold out crowd, or somewhere without razor wire.  I could be content doing just this, this is enough for me, God, and I am so thankful.  I believe He has much more in store for me but I don't think I will ever give up prison ministry.

After we prayed, the prison worship band began playing and then men started filing in.  Johnny spoke for a few minutes and then turned it over to really is crazy.  I did a couple songs they knew and even the ones that they didn't know they tried to sing along.  Do you know what 100 men in prison sound like singing 'Holy, Holy, Holy to our Lord God Almighty' sounds like?  It sounds like freedom, it sounds like total abandonment, it sounds like brokenness and healing and so many other beautiful things that are beyond description.  Several men gave their hearts to Jesus.  I'm sure some people think it's only "jailhouse religion" and that may be the case for some...but if one life is changed with the Gospel of Christ...then what an awesome and incredible experience for that one.  A life changed - what's it worth?  The cross of Calvary.  My Jesus died for these men too and they are hungry to know who He is.

Prison ministry isn't for everyone but it's certainly for me and I can't wait to go back.  What a blessing, God is so good to me.  I know this is part of His plan for me, part of my 'anything' journey, the start of something amazing - the start of a ministry with my husband!  Next time, James will preach and I'll get to lead worship with these men again.  Say yes to Jesus, what has He called you to?

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

T minus 36 hours

In 36 hours I will be in the chapel at Algoa Correctional Center sharing Jesus with a hundred men.  I am beyond excited.  Some people may think I'm crazy for wanting to serve Christ in this way (going into prisons) but this is what God has laid on my heart to do.  This is part of my "anything".  Anything you want from me, Lord, I want to be obedient and surrender to it.

Join me in praying for the hearts of these men, that they will see Christ in me and surrender their lives completely to Him.  May Christ Jesus be exalted and receive all the glory!

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

What's New?

As you can see, I've been too busy (my curse) to blog.  Here's a brief update on my life since my last post which was in May....sheesh.

  • My mom had her first chemo treatment that had me taking her to the emergency room for a 5-6 day hospital stay.
  • I went to the National Worship Leaders Conference which was amazing, so thankful for the opportunity.
  • A tornado or tornado-like-winds blew through our neck of the woods resulting in lots of damage in my yard, to our shed, my car...we now have a new roof too.  Craziness!
  • Our Worship Team did "Praise in the Park" in Laurie, MO.

  • This is a big one...I enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC) to take online classes for a Worship Ministry Certificate.  I am taking two classes this semester and it has been quite the learning process, like I don't have enough to do or something!
  • Cameron decided to go to State Fair Community College, he got a scholarship and is a Music major on his way to becoming a music teacher.  He is just the coolest.
  • Moberly Prison Concert - awesome! Every time our band goes to lead these men in worship and into the presence of God is an incredible experience.  Overwhelmed!

  • Lots of Worship opportunities - leading CR, the band leading at the City Union Mission Retreat, and I went to Pettis County Jail to lead on Labor Day weekend instead of the 5th Sunday in August.
  • James preached at a little church, he did great and is looking for more opportunities.
  • On the last day of September my mom called me in the middle of the night and said she thought she needed to go to the hospital. She had a perforated ulcer along with another ulcer which was repaired along with removing her gall bladder.  A 7 day hospital stay in which I stayed almost the entire time, my poor mama is one tough cookie.  It was an amazingly speedy recovery which God receives the glory for, only Him!

  • Cameron turned 19!
  • I took mom home from the hospital on October 7th.
  • Saturday, October 10th - Prison Concert in St. Joe.  Uh-mazing!
  • Cameron had his first college concert; we took a good friend of ours (Cameron's boss), Johnny, with us to experience some musical culture.
  • More dr appointments with mom but she is doing great, praise the Lord!
Sean couldn't go so I photoshopped him in...

  • Christian turned 21 on the 2nd!
  • So much more happening this month.
It's been a wild Summer and Fall but I'm glad to have been there for my mom, witness the spiritual growth of my family, especially my boys. God is really working on them and they are coming around, He is so good to me.  I am grateful for the people He has brought into my life and theirs to bring them along.  We have spent the last 3 Friday nights with Christian and his girlfriend, Sydney.  Or they with us, but we so enjoyed having them around.  Later this month I will be going to prison to share my gift of music and the love of Jesus.  James is going with me and we are hoping that this will be the start of a ministry we can do together.  We are so excited to see what God has in store for us!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

My Baby Boy - A High School Graduate

Where does the time go?  It doesn't seem that long ago that Cameron was in First Grade talking with a sweet little lisp, cuddling with me, and looking up at me through those cute little glasses.  He has grown into the funniest, loving, and compassionate young man.  We are so very blessed.

I had Cameron's Graduation party at our house.  I threw the idea of having it at home last year and James said "sure".  Little did he know that I meant that and a couple of months ago mentioned it again and he said "call First Baptist Church of Lincoln and see if their fellowship hall is available", it's where I had Christian's party which was great, it's right across from the school but I had my heart set on having it at home.  I reluctantly called, unfortunately they were all booked up.  So my amazing husband worked his tail off fixing up our yard, decks, you name it.  Cameron and I raked and hauled lots of leaves but James still takes the cake on all the work he did, I was so proud of him, he gave me my wish to have this party at home.  Yes, our house is small, yes, it was crowded, but it was awesome.  Over 50 people came, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, church family, my cousin - Marcelena, from Texas!  It was wonderful!

 My mom, Marilee, Cameron, and my aunt, Barbara.
 He is so goofy and strong...
 Really strong...

This is my favorite thing on display at his party, a kindergarten self portrait.  It is so sweet and really captures him perfectly, an adorable, carefree little boy with glasses.  People asked me if I cried at graduation...I didn't, but when I came across this picture I teared up a little.  I miss my boys being little, they were so much fun, they still are just in a different way.  I know they have to grow up and that's probably why I didn't cry, I'm looking forward to the next chapter of their (my babies) lives and mine and James' as well.

"Children are a gift from God; they are his reward." Psalm 127:3

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

A New Way to Live

In a matter of 8 months, my mother and my aunt (my mom's sister) have both been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, my aunt had a double mastectomy a couple months ago and my mom's is so progressed that surgery wasn't even considered, it has spread to her bones and she just finished radiation and is now preparing for chemo therapy.  They are both doing remarkably well and seem to be feeling pretty good considering what they are going through.

This has changed my perspective in several ways, the most of which is what I'm putting into my body.  I really don't want to fight the battle of cancer, nobody does but if there is even the tiniest way that I can prevent it or postpone it, I feel like I should try.  I have read a lot about what kind of food I should be eating and the biggest thing I have found is lots of fruits and vegetables and no sugar.  So, I gave up sugar.  Bread has been the hardest thing to find without sugar, I did find some that has less than 1 gram but still haven't eaten much of it either.  I was also an avid diet soda drinker...I did away with that as well.

I have had stints of eating healthy off and on throughout the years and usually go up and down about 10 lbs every year or so but this new awareness of breast cancer has given me a new motivation. It really hasn't seemed like much of a sacrifice at all, my thoughts of food has changed from mmmm to a necessity to keep me alive and healthy.  There are things I want to do in my lifetime and I want to make the most of it for Jesus.  Yes, I know that God is in control and I may have to fight this cancer thing one day and I know it can be used for His glory, I have seen that first hand in the life of my aunt.  But I know that He gave me this earthly body and I need to take care of it. 

God is going to teach me lots of things through this journey with my mom and my aunt and I praise Him for every lesson and for every bit of growth and I will thank Him for every day He gives me with them and every day He gives me to live for Him.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015


My life is transitioning...some exciting, some scary, some just baby boy will graduate from high school next month, my oldest boy is living on his own being all grown up, my mama is walking through difficult health issues, I just applied to seminary to work on a Certificate in Worship Ministry, and there are more things around the corner.  God is doing some molding on me and I feel vulnerable.  I have been brave, I have been weak, I have been encouraging and encouraged, I have wept, I have been confident, I have felt insecure, I have prayed for God to lead me through all these things and He is and I am thankful.  I am trusting Him.  I feel He is opening doors and closing others which is amazing and frightening, frightening because I am so human.  I'm eager to embark on this journey of new things, even the hard things because I know God will show Himself more and more to me and I will grow closer to Him especially through the difficult things.

"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". Matthew 26:41b

I feel like this pretty much sums up how I've been feeling and that portion of that scripture came right to mind but I looked up where to find it and was reminded of its instruction from our Lord.

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray.

I will keep my eyes on Jesus, watch for the snares of the enemy of self-pity, doubt, fear or those that will draw me away from God's calling, and I will continue to pray, pray for leading, clarity, to be used however my Lord wants to use me, and I will pray for His peace.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

It's Not About Me, It's All About Him

Every once in a while I scribble a small X on my wrist.  A couple people have seen it and asked me 'why do you have an X on your wrist?'  And I explain...and even though it is a good discussion starter it isn't the reason I do it, it's not for's for me.

The X is a visual reminder that 'it's not about me', sure some might get something tattooed like this or something else but I feel that if I intentionally write it on then I won't take it for granted and that I will be declaring and placing this day in the Lord's hands remembering that this day is not about me, it's all about Jesus.  You may be thinking...of course it is, you idiot!  Well, I know that but don't always act like I do.

I can't take credit for this seemingly small but significant to me thing, I heard a story on the radio and adopted it for myself.  And for the life of me can't remember who started it all.

I thought about writing a small cross instead that would declare 'it's all about Jesus!' but I'm afraid me would get in the way and over shadow that cross and that it wouldn't remind me (even though it should) that it wasn't about me.  It being life, successes, talents, everything!  I am such a selfish creature and I shudder to think what I would be without my Jesus, without His Holy Spirit living inside me battling my flesh.  Anything good in me comes from the One who saved me, Jesus.  It's all about Him, it always has been and always will be.  Sometimes...we need a reminder.

"Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Forty & Fabulous

Ok...I admit it...I look pretty good for a 40 year old woman, I've held up better than most...some...a few.  Really though, the weeks leading up to this monumental birthday was a little tough for me, a little humbling, but a little encouraging too.

I have a lot that I want to accomplish in my life and the number 40 looked like sand running out of an hour glass, like not enough time left to do all I felt God was calling me to do, like defeat.  But I realize that was the enemy; God gently reminded me that He is much bigger than any age, that He can use me no matter how old I am and that He still has a purpose and plan for my life.  My sweet husband also reminded me of this too.  I believe this will just be a bigger testament to His grace, glory, and sovereignty.  And I'm looking forward to the journey that lies ahead.

To celebrate this undoubtedly fantastic birthday, James had some close friends meet us for dinner which I loved.  I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people that love and care about me.  Even if the waiter did put whip cream up my nose..but who cares??? I got free ice cream.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Lay it Down

Last night I did jail ministry in a local county jail.  I've been a couple of times before, it is a humbling experience.  This time our leader asked if I would do the lesson and I asked her if I could share my testimony, she said yes so I began to prepare.  I also asked her if I could bring my keyboard with me and she said she would try to get it approved.  I've sang with the ladies before but with no music, which is fine but I thought they'd enjoy this.  About 30 minutes prior to my leaving, my keyboard got approved, so I packed it up and headed to the jail.

We had two groups of women, some I had seen before, some were new.  I printed lyrics for them to sing along and to take with them back to their cells, I hoped it would be an encouragement for them.  We prayed, sang, and there were lots of tears, I shared my testimony which is nothing's simply my story about surrender and how Jesus saved me.  It is really all about surrendering our will, laying down that pride, our fears, our life and following Him, letting Him have control.  I am so grateful for these opportunities and am so in awe of God using little ol me to do anything at all.

I have the privilege to do a concert for them in May, how awesome is our God!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

The Prayers of a Righteous Man Availeth Much

I was looking for a notebook to write in and ran across this one.  Whew, it made me tear up a little.  This first page is a sermon Christian preached a few years ago, I think from 2009.  If you've been following our story on this then you know that my sons are not following Jesus right now.  But as much as this grieved me to see his faith then in relation to now, this even more so shows me God's promise of his return to Jesus' arms.  I am so blessed and thankful for my Savior. 

Some other things he wrote in this notebook that I want to quote because they are so so good...

Romans 1:17
*The gospel is what God uses to tell us things about our lives...
*The gospel shows God's righteousness
 - The righteous man shall live by faith

Colossians 1:11
*It's not about just getting by

Philippians 1:27
-We should walk in a way that is worthy of the glory of the message
-Are you willing to walk in integrity?
-If you confess your sins to your brother then there will be healing

I've been on my face every day for my boys and my gracious Heavenly Father is giving me glimpses of their return and peace beyond belief.  I am constantly in awe.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I don't know about the Omega 13 but I do know that when it comes to marriage "Never Give Up, Never Surrender" is a good motto.  I really believe that every marriage can be saved and that too often people throw in the towel instead of trying to work it out.  Let's face it, marriage is hard work!  I know mine has been and I have to continue to work on it each and every day.

The words "for better or worse" always stick out to me, the "for worse" part is so over looked today, when things get party or the other bail.  Now, I realize that God's grace and forgiveness extends to all and there are even grounds for divorce outlined in God's Word but it is not His design or plan for us.  My best advice for surviving and thriving in marriage....Grace.

Give your spouse grace just as the Lord gives us every day.  We mess up, give each other grace.  I put up or extend grace to my husband but he has to put up and give me grace as well.

"So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore, God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:6

Never give up, never surrender...

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sing for the King

I know my sing for my King.  Let's go back a few years...

My musical interests revolved around playing the piano and the saxophone.  I begged my parents for piano lessons when I was in 6th grade and they said yes.  My lessons were $4 a week and I walked to them every week for a year and a half.  We moved after my 7th grade year and had to leave my piano and my lessons behind.  I played the saxophone from 7th grade on and I loved it.  Even when I started singing in high school the saxophone was my first love.

I didn't begin singing until I was around 15 years old, I hadn't thought about singing.  I loved my saxophone, remember?  A year or so after "the move", we began attending a little country church...they had a youth choir.  They asked my sister and I if we would like to join and we said why not.  My sister sang in glee club at our former school but I had only been interested in playing instruments.  Much to my surprise and everyone else's, I was a decent singer, who knew?  And...I wasn't too shy to sing in front of people, another who knew?  The first solo I ever sang at my church was by Petra "The Prayer", I would sing with tapes or CDs or acapella if need be.  I sang a duet with a friend at youth church camp the Summer after my freshman year, I was in the high school choirs my Junior and Senior year, I sang at revivals at various churches, in people's living rooms, I would sing whenever anyone asked, anytime, anywhere.

This continued through my adult life, singing in my college show choir, singing at church, cantatas, special events in my or other communities, youth conferences, stupid talent shows...sing, sing, sing. In 2003, I recorded a "demo" CD with 6 songs to tracks, I never really did much with it but was grateful for the opportunity and experience to make it.  Once in a while someone asks me about a CD and I get a little embarrassed, I don't know...I really don't think of myself as a big deal and don't want to either, even typing this makes me a little uncomfortable because all this is not about me, it's all about my Jesus and the journey He has led me through. 

I did a few concerts at various churches after that which was a great learning experience as well.  And eventually I ended up on a worship team at my church...

All the events leading up to now are important and played a role in my life but the last couple of years have been a whirlwind of not only musical growth but more importantly spiritual growth.  In the Fall of 2010, I began singing on the worship team at my church, I led a few of the songs for Sunday morning worship and gained some knowledge on what it was like to sing with a live band instead of CDs or the typical church piano.  Then in 2013, due to various circumstances, there was a need for an interim Worship leader and I seized the opportunity.  It was also at this point that I began singing on Monday nights as well at our Celebrate Recovery meetings, another blessed experience and opportunity.  The CR worship leader was a big support and contributed about as much as I did to the Sunday morning process.  I can't say that I was great at it because I wasn't but it was an eye opening experience and I am thankful for every minute of it.  It taught me a lot about all the work that goes in behind the scenes that nobody sees or notices on Sunday mornings and what kind of leader I was and need to be.  Another first during this time...Prison Concerts, the CR worship team took their first concert to prison, it was awesome and we were hooked. Along with that...I began playing the keyboard, I played for a couple songs during the prison concert and a couple times at CR and the very last Sunday morning that I led the music.  I was not very good, I just chorded mostly but it put me on a path to things I had only dreamed of.

Five months later we hired a worship pastor, he was wise and gracious and an incredible leader, musically and spiritually.  He has taught me a lot about music and worship and has been continually guiding and teaching me to be a better worship leader.  I now play keys most Sunday mornings and every Monday night and the craziest part...I'm singing too. That has always been a challenge for me, to sing and play at the same time and I'm still working on it, but I can play for myself and have on several occasions now for revivals or our worship services and the occasional funeral.  But the most important life-changing part is the work God has done in my heart.  I have a renewed sense of awe and wonder about Him, He has given me a freedom to worship Him like I never had before...what an amazing King I serve.  I am humbled by His majesty, undeserving of His mercy and grace, and completely surrounded by His love and presence every day.  And I can't wait to see what's next...

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About Me

I am a woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter, singer, leader, and more but the greatest of these is a Child of the King, my King, Jesus.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I want every aspect of my life to ooze Jesus, maybe that’s a poor choice of words but I want to be so inundated with the Gospel that it flows so freely from me that people can’t help but wonder about why I am the way I am.  Let me be the first to say that I am not even close to perfection; I’m on the journey…stumbling, dusting off, getting back up, trying.  This whole sanctification process is a wild ride, there are times that I want to get back on the kiddie ride and take it easy but that won’t make me grow, that won’t make me more like Jesus and I want to be more like Jesus.

I began this blog to simply tell precious stories about my family and happenings and maybe the occasional deep thought I might have here and there.  Sometimes I don't write a post for months and sometimes every day, sometimes it's completely random and sometimes ridiculously silly.  But I hope that there is something to be learned or a way to be encouraged or a glimmer of hope and joy.  Most of all, I hope you see the love of Jesus here.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Make Jesus Famous

This post is going to hurt…

Right now, my children are not in love with Jesus, it’s heartbreaking because I know how wonderful He is and how worthy He is and how much my boys are missing out on.

My boys are good boys, they aren’t out partying and carousing and doing the things that rebellious teenagers and 20 somethings do; they are usually at home, spending time with each other and with their crazy parents, they are going to church because they know we want them to, they are bowing their heads when we pray over dinner, they are going through the motions but have vocalized their doubts and maybe even unbelief.

And it makes this mom wonder…did I show my kids what it looks like to make Jesus #1?
There’s a difference between teaching them and showing them.  We’ve said all most of the right things, put them in the programs (Sunday School, Awana, Youth Group), sent them to camp and on mission trips.  But what about the other things?  Did we give up that basketball game or team so we could pursue Christ more?  Did we say ‘no’ to Music events, school plays, school activities that coincided with church events?  Did we make excuses for the birthday parties, the golf match, the once-in-a-life-time opportunity? Even if these activities aren’t on Sundays…did it consume all the other days so we had nothing else?  It seemed that we started out with “good” intentions to keep Christ first in every part of our lives and then what’s his name is really good at this and he is getting a lot of recognition for this or that and it’s only a couple of times a year this is going to happen and slowly these things become important somehow…how did this become #1 in my child’s life?  Wait…how did it not? I was at every match cheering him on, telling him he could do all things through Christ, give God the glory, praise Him when you win and praise Him when you lose.  And those are good things…right?  Yes, they are...I tried to teach them things along the way about grace and mercy.... But we put so much importance on doing well and competition (everything is a competition) that defeat and losing are not in our vocabulary and we become consumed with being the best, winning, and before you know it…there’s not room for anything or anyone else.

We fool ourselves and take for granted that God is constant and that if we miss a couple of times every now and then it’s not really going to have an impact on my spiritual walk.  Now, I’m not trying to be legalistic, God’s grace is sufficient.  I’m pointing out that when we put more emphasis on the worldly things (even though they are fun and even make us proud) then we are going to lose something.  That something will be time spent with our Lord, time spent hearing and reading His Word, time spent in fellowship with believers, time spent pursuing Christ and knowing Him more.  Because, in the end, none of this matters, only Jesus…  It doesn’t matter if my kid was prom king or the hall monitor or the star athlete…it’s about the Kingdom.  Did I make Jesus famous? So famous that they wanted to be like Him, know Him, love Him more than anything this world could ever offer?

These are the things you look back on when your kids are grown and you wonder where the time went.  Yes, I wish I would have done more to point them to Christ and I wish I would have cut out some of the things that eventually would consume a lot of their time.  Where do I go from here?  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23  An awesome reminder of the amazing Savior I serve.  My boys are going to come back to the Lord, God has given me a great gift of peace about this and I am so thankful.  I will continue to speak truth into their lives and love them like Jesus.  I cannot save them but I can point them to the One that can and I will do that with every part of my life.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ My Journal

The following are journal entries from this year's trip.

Friday evening, 2.13.15

After a crazy week of not feeling ready to even begin this journey this time around, here it one of traveling is over and tomorrow we will be in New Orleans face to face with the people we will be ministering to.
Feelings of inadequacy and unpreparedness flood my thoughts along with ironically, pride and self-centeredness.  I'm the "leader" of this trip which is already a stretch but I better take hold of it and do one of the things I do best, boss.  The last two times I came on this mission trip I was very introverted for the most part with my team members and I didn't realize quite how much until one of my current team members made an innocent remark about me that I was mindful of my lack of community amongst my own team.  This leadership thing has forced me to engage more, God is using me in different ways this go around and I'm eager for the journey.  To God be the glory!
*It's all about Jesus - not about me winning people to Him ( I can't do that, only He can), not about me even leading this team, nothing good can come from any part of Christy Hoagland.  If there is any good in me it is because of the redemptive work of Jesus.

His grace is sufficient, His mercies are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness!


This has been a weird trip.  Please move in my life, Lord.  I feel very under attack, spiritually and emotionally.

Distraction - whether the enemy's whispers in my ear or issues at home have been difficult for me to overcome.  I feel like I am able to talk with people and share Jesus, because of the Holy Spirit, but I am not always as focused as I should be.

Lord, I need Your help, to finish this journey, to lead this group and to put You first in every situation.  Go before me today, give me strength and courage and discernment to do what You have put before me.  To God be the glory. I love You, Jesus!


We are back in our hotel room in Mississippi before we head home tomorrow.  This has been a stretching week, leading the team and making every stinking decision isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Nevertheless, Christ was exalted and proclaimed!  I am weary...


We are home safe and sound.  God has taught me a lot these past few days.  One being to be bold and authoritative in my decision making.  Although I am naturally bossy, I'm also a people pleaser and I'm learning I cannot make everyone happy and that I can lead people more graciously.

As for my personal struggle (which I really haven't shared but maybe will in the future) talk with my husband went better than expected.  He was gentle and gracious with me and I am so thankful for him.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ The Mission

Why we go...

To share the love and hope of Jesus!  This year our worship pastor, Mark, came with us and he and I did some live music during the day in the French Quarter, this was one of my favorite things of the entire trip.  It was a blast.  He used a kick drum pedal to beat his guitar case while he sang and played his guitar...he is really talented.  I had the privilege to beat a tambourine against my leg while singing...I am only mildly talented, ha.  I did make a nice bruise on my leg but it was worth it.  Several people tried to give us money, some succeeded, we turned some away because that's not why we came but their persistence wore on us and the money we collected was donated to the Vieux Carre Baptist Church, our home base while in New Orleans.  I saw some people mouthing the words to some of the songs we were singing as they walked by, a sweet lady by the name of Brennie, who swore she knew me, stopped and sang with us for probably 45 minutes to an hour.  She was a blessing and an encouragement to meet.  A couple told Mark that they appreciated the way we presented the Gospel through our music.  I was so blessed.

Other members of our team did face painting.  Face Painting is a very effective way to have good conversations with people, we've never had anyone walk away with their face half painted, they stay and listen.  One young lady rededicated her life to Christ, another heard the story of Jesus for the very first time...we take for granted that people here in America have heard about Jesus, or that people that come to America will hear about Jesus.  It's just simply not true and many that do hear about Christ have a warped and skewed view of Christ and Christians because of the lack of love and grace shown by so many professing Christians.  This should call us to action, to tell the world about the God of love and redemption.

A couple of people in our group directed people to the face painting and talked with people on the street.  I think they thought they weren't useful enough but they were a valuable asset to the team.

And we all went to Bourbon Street in the evening...this was a battle for some.  It's immorality in your face with an 'I don't care about anything' attitude, especially Christians and what they have to say.  There are always the "condemners" with their signs and bull horns shouting at people and telling them they're going to burn in hell.  This year we saw a new approach, a group of 20 somethings came to the same corner we were on and she simply held a sign that read "Christians love gays".  People came up to talk to her and she was able to tell them about Jesus.  This is what I would like to do next year...flood bourbon street with Jesus' love.  I wanna do more music of course...just not on bourbon.

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Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ The Fun

This was an entirely different trip this time around.  First of all, I was put in charge of this motley crew (they really were quite lovely though, a little crazy, but fun loving servants of Jesus).  And the craziest thing...I volunteered to do it!  We stayed at a different place, we did a service project for a was just different and that's ok.

I'm really writing this post for purely selfish reasons.  I don't want to forget some of the adventures we shared during our time there.  Here's just a few:
  • Mark threw a baby alligator at me, a dead one...
  • Vanessa was beside herself when I told her we were going to Duck Commander on our way back to Missouri
  • Kaitlyn broke the shower knob off at the missions trailer we were staying at and my favorite part of this story is that it came off right away but she took her shower anyway, lol, and then proceeded to get help, but hey, I don't blame her
  • Mark thinking that Dava may have put said dead baby alligator in his bed one night
  • Someone letting one rip in the bathroom while the majority were having their quiet time one morning
  • Driving around for 45 minutes to an hour for a parking place and ending up paying $40 to park right across the street (several chipped in so it was ok)
  • I ate a donut bacon cheeseburger just like Guy Fieri on the Food Network at Memphis BBQ
  • We all ate grilled alligator at Mulate's, a Cajun restaurant in New Orleans (we also ate calamari, crawfish, frog legs...)
  • I saw no naked people...Praise Jesus
But the best things....
  • A rededication to Jesus
  • Someone hearing the story of Jesus for the very first time
  • Jesus Christ being exalted and praised
  • Love through service
  • Love through sacrifice
  • Love through surrender

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