Monday, December 19, 2016

To Joey, With Love....WINNER!

I apologize for not posting on Friday like I said I would!

I was traveling to the midwest to pick up my son from college and move him to Phoenix for his new job (que the happy dance) and we got stuck in the ice storm that hit.  It was crazy and I am just now getting home!

So, I went to and used their generator and it came up with 5, Mari you are the winner of the DVD!!  I know you are going to love it and will get it in the mail ASAP!

Thank you again to Icon Media Group for offering me this opportunity!!!

Monday, December 5, 2016

To Joey, With Love….Review and Giveaway.

Recently, I was offered the opportunity to watch a private screening of the movie, To Joey, with Love. I will be honest and say that I had never listened to their music before, however I had heard of their story…it was all over the internet last year.

Icon Media Group’s bio reads….Joey and Rory were a singing duo that wanted more to life … so they chose less. In preparation for the birth of their child, the couple simplified their lives by putting their music career aside and staying at home, planting roots deep in the soil of their small farm, and the community they loved.
They believed God would give them a great story … and He did.

This was an amazing film in so many ways….the beautiful cinematography, the soft, heart felt narration of Rory Feeks and of course, the incredible love story of Rory and Joey.  But even more beautiful was the love story written by God in their lives. 

I already knew that Joey had lost her battle with cancer this year, so I anticipated that there would be some very sad moments.  But I wasn’t expecting the beauty or the joy I felt watching them discover God’s blessings in their lives….even in the simplest of moments.

I love how God works.  And I was left in awe of how the Holy Spirit had nudged Rory to start recording the daily moments of their lives leading up to the birth of their child.  They had no idea what God had in store for them or how important those videos would be…but God did.

This is a story of LOVE….the love of a husband and wife, the love of parents and their sweet baby, but mostly it is the story of how much God loves us…especially amidst the hard.

I would encourage all my readers to watch this movie when it comes out on DVD Dec 12th.  However, the wonderful people at Icon Media Group have generously given me a copy of the DVD to gift to one of my readers!!  Comment below and tell me if you have heard Joey and Rory’s music/story.  I will randomly pick a winner on Friday December 16th. 

The story, To Joey, with Love, moved me so much that now I am headed to iTunes to download some of Joey and Rory’s music!

Friday, October 21, 2016

This week is Baby Loss Awareness Week


How do you define it?  We all know that grief has many stages….gut wrenching sorrow, anger, deal making, emptiness, denial…..but how long do those stages last?  What order do they come in?

Grief is not a respecter of time and plays out differently in each person.  And in some cases grief never really goes away. 

So how do you manage something with no distinct boarders?

My family is grieving.  Grieving the loss of a child, my grandson.  Peter Lukas was born still on August 19 and it rips at my heart each day.  Some days I am so overcome with sadness.  Sadness over what might have been.  Sadness as I watch my kids try to navigate their loss.  Sadness at the realization that many have forgotten Peter already.

On those days, I have to cling to my HOPE in Jesus.  I have to hang on tightly to the fact that because of what Jesus did for us on the cross I have hope I will one day see Peter and know him.

Evelyn Christenson once said "Sometimes grief is so deep that no words will come, and there is a numbness over our whole being, making praying impossible. It is then that God comes, not with words either, but with Himself. Just His loving filling the void with Himself. With His love, His comfort, His assurance -- and His healing."

He’s all we need when it seems we’ve lost everything.

My daughter-in-love recently wrote “I had hoped to sit with Peter and tell him all about Jesus...but it turns out Jesus will have to tell him all about me. And who better to trust my baby with than Him.”

Such perfect words.

Peter’s life was exactly what God had intended for him.  He went from the warm safety of his mother’s womb to the safety of Jesus’ arms.  I may not be able to understand that plan this side of Heaven but I have already seen that Peter’s life has changed us…..individually and as a family….for good, drawing us all closer to God.

So as we continue this ever changing, unpredictable path of grief, we hold fast to what we know….God is good, sovereign and never changing.  His plan for our lives is always best, whether we can see it now or not.  And because of Jesus we can celebrate….yes celebrate, that Peter is with Him. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016



What comes to your mind when you read that word? Do you think of something fun you are expectantly waiting for?  Maybe you think of something that you expected but didn’t come to fruition?  Maybe it brings pain because of undo expectations placed on you?

As a pastor’s wife, this word…..expectation…..sadly most often times brings to mind hurt.  I have a hard time thinking of another position that carries with it more spoken and unspoken expectations.

I have been a pastor’s wife for 26 years now and fortunately have learned how to navigate and/or dodge the expectations of others.  Over these years, I’ve learned to listen to God first and to be willing to maybe upset others in order to be obedient to what He calls me to and sometimes not to. 

But other’s expectations and assumptions can still sting and hurt. 

Here are a few that have been spoken and unspoken to me over the years….

·She must have been a believer all her life
·She must know the bible inside and out….after all her husband was in seminary
·Of course she’ll lead the bible study!
·And lead AWANA
·They have nice things, the church must be paying them too much or they are in debt
·They should be available 24/7
·I’m not good enough to be her friend
·She should not make mistakes, she’s a pastor’s wife
·She should be soft spoken and unassuming
·She knows everything going on at the church
·Her children are perfect….or should be

I’m sure you can think of many expectations that have been placed on you too over your lifetime.  I can think of even more that I have placed on other people in my own life.

Many people never speak their expectations out loud, they only think them in their minds.  But thoughts often times determine actions.

I read a story recently that made me smile and had me thinking of my own life….

One dark rainy night a salesman had a flat tire on a lonely road. But to his dismay he had no lug wrench. Seeing a nearby farmhouse, he set out on foot. Surely the farmer would have a lug wrench, he thought. But would he even come to the door? And if he did, he’d probably be furious at being bothered so late at night. He’d say, “What’s the big idea getting me out of bed in the middle of the night?” This thought made the salesman angry. Why, that farmer is a selfish old clod to refuse to help me.

You see, you might not speak your expectation but even in thinking them it will often times determine how you treat that person.

Expectations, along with assumptions, can sometimes cause you to miss what is really going on.  They can cause you to be blinded to someone’s heart and true intentions.  And they are most definitely used by the enemy to cause division and hurt.

We have to work hard to put aside expectations and allow God to let us see people and situations through His eyes…..the only eyes that see correctly.

But how can we put our expectations aside?  They happen many times without our even thinking about it.  Staying close to God is the key.  When we remain close to Him we are molded to be more like Him.  And as we become more like Him, we see like Him. 

….then we see the lives of other through HIS expectations.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Garden Growing

Growing a garden is a lot like growing your faith.

As I cultivate my garden this summer, many things remind me of what I need to do to grow my spiritual garden.

Last year, I moved to a new climate.  As I started to plan my garden, I realized that it would not grow in the same way as my previous gardens had.  This climate is harsher and colder.  The season is shorter.  The ground is rocker.  The animal scavengers are bigger.

I had to rethink how my garden would grow.

My spiritual life is a lot like that.  The seasons of my life differ greatly and what encouraged and made my heart fertile ground in the past, might not work in this new season of my life. I need to be aware of that and be willing to try new things.

My new garden is built above the ground.
One because you can't till rock.  Two because that keeps the javelina out of it!  And I had it built in a specific location that maximized the sun (we live in a forest).

Once my garden was built, then came time to prepare the soil.  I couldn't just put any soil in it.  It needed to be rich with minerals, compost and manure.  I needed to prepare it the fall before spring so all those things could meld together into really great soil. 

Once Spring came, I added some rich top soil and watered it all down before I started planting my seeds.  I picked the best organic seeds to grow and planned out where and how I would plant them.  

But it didn't stop there.

The seeds just don't grow.  I had to put together a watering system so that they got plenty of water, but not too much.

I go out every day to check on my garden.
I look for anything it needs to produce healthy fruit..more water, a new trellis, pruning.  I look for bugs and any signs that my plants might be in distress.

There is a lot that goes into growing a beautiful, healthy garden.

And there is a lot that goes into growing a beautiful, healthy, Christ filled heart.

Just like my garden, I need to prepare the soil.  If my heart isn't ready to hear God's Word, it won't take hold and grow.  I do that through bible study, prayer, fellowship with other believers, reading God's Word.  All those things meld together and make my heart fertile ground for my faith to grow.

And just like my garden, I need to examine my heart daily and ask God to show me what it needs to grow strong and also what needs to be removed.  Daily I need to spend time with God allowing him to mold my heart to be more like Christ.  I also need to allow Him to daily show me things that are causing my heart distress....sin, anger, bitterness.  

My faith is very much like my garden.
When it is well cared for it is beautiful and everyone who sees it, notices!  And when well cared for, it produces wonderful and plentiful fruit...that can be shared with those around me.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stepping away from the window.....

I wrote this post a couple of years ago.  
God recently reminded me of it and I felt a nudge to repost it. 

It's easy to trust God when things are going well in our lives.

But what about when there is a storm....

..and you can't see how or when it will end?
...and you can't see how it could possibly end well?
..and you pray for God to intervene, but it continues?
..and you are tired, worn out and just want to retreat?

Can you trust Him then?
God tells us over and over in the scriptures who He is:

the One who created the worlds into order, by a Word
the One who placed the stars and knows them by name
the One who knit you together in your mother's womb 
the Beginning and the End

How could I not trust that He is able to take care of the storms in my little life?

Yet my human heart will time after time turn my eyes from Him to the storm....which causes fear......which causes me to doubt, panic, take things into my own hands, become anxious...

....and that never works out well for me.

As I have matured,  I feel like I am doing a better job of keeping my eyes on Him.....I am spending time with Him in prayer, studying the scriptures daily, bringing my thoughts to Him during the day through music and reminders...

These are all very good things.
They bring a sense of Peace and insight and direction

...but in a's not enough.

He wants me to trust Him....completely.....with my whole heart.
Which should be reflected by a calmness in my life, even in the middle of a storm.

Recently, He gave me a clear illustration of how this looks.
I am a visual learner and I love that He knows me so well!!

Easter Sunday I awoke to a very dark, stormy day.  We were having 11 people for lunch at 2:00, so I got busy preparing food before I had to leave for church.  The whole time it is just thundering and storming like crazy and Lily (our dog) was following me everywhere I went, right on my heels. So fearful of the storm.  I had some time to spare and sat down on the couch and Lily jumped up on the sofa and stood over my lap.  I tried to get her to lay down and let me hug her to calm her but she kept getting up and going to the other side and looking out the window at the storm.  Then she would freak out a bit and come back and stand over my lap.  I quit trying to make her lie down and just let her continue to go look out at the storm and then come back.

She knew I was her comfort, but she was so fearful seeing and hearing the storm, she wouldn't allow me to comfort her.  Even though I knew the storm would end soon....Lily didn't ....and that made her fearful and anxious.

As I sat there,  God just spoke right to my heart.......He said, "you are just like Lily, Sara.  You stay close by Me in the storms.  You know where your comfort is.  You are even in My lap at times.  But you continue to leave My lap and go look at the storm.  Just trust Me.  Stay in my lap and let Me comfort you.  I know this will end soon, even though you can't see it.  I am in control of it.  I know what is best for you.  Quit going to the window to look at the storm"

He's right.

Going to the window, just scares me or makes me angry or anxious.

So I am making a conscious effort to step away from the window in the midst of my storms....

...and trust HIM.

He is more than able.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


I have a lot of emotions running around in my head today.

My heart is hurting for friends that are struggling as they watch their children fight the battle of their lives with illness.  Or the ones that are fighting their own battles.

My heart is hurting for friends that are struggling in their marriages.  Fighting to hold on to the vows they made.

My heart is hurting for friends who are desperately praying for the return of a prodigal child.

And my heart is hurting for those in my life who have been deeply hurt by people that are supposed to love them and protect them.

It seems my prayer list is incredibly long these days.  I have even found myself thinking "how can I get through these each day" when I am asked to add another prayer for a friend.  Don't get me wrong, I will always pray when I am asked.  It just seems that there is more and more to pray for each day, more and more hurt, more and more discouragement.

I think the enemy looks at that and thinks he is winning.  He probably looks at our country and the decline going on and thinks he is winning.

But guess what?

God is still in control and God is still bigger than all these problems.

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

In my prayer time today I was reminded of two things....

One, this life is short.  In comparison to Eternity, it is just a blip.  
And in recognizing that, it helps me remember to look at each problem through Jesus.  If I focus on Jesus first, I see the problem "through" Him.  It doesn't make it any less of a problem, but it does put the problem into the right perspective and it seems smaller in comparison to Him.  

And two, I am so very thankful for my salvation and the Holy Spirit living in me.
My salvation gives me HOPE.  Hope that this life is not the end all.  Hope that God has a better place prepared for me for ETERNITY.  

It also makes me so very thankful for the Holy Spirit's work in my life....the restraining He provides.  His grace and power in my life restrains me, holds me back from acting out on what my sinful, selfish side would really like to do.  I am no better than anybody else. I just have relationship with God and because of that have the help of the Holy Spirit.  I know He restrains me and keeps me from a lot of trouble.  I am forever grateful for that.

I don't know what you are facing today, but don't face it alone.
   When you face it on your own, it's like a wave.  It looks relatively small at a distance, but as it gets closer and closer it grows bigger and bigger until you feel it will overtake you.

However, when you face it with Jesus, it is surmountable, manageable and you can even find joy and peace in the middle of it. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13