Monday, July 30, 2012

Enduring the Call/Hugging Destiny

I’ve coined a new catch phrase in the last week. “Have you hugged your destiny?” It might sound weird to some. But I think it’s a spark of divine inspiration. Most people have this crazy unscriptural concept that destiny is this some vague thing that’s out there somewhere, but they deep down don’t think they will ever find it. To them it’s equal in their minds to a banshee or Loch Ness Monster. But in truth Destiny is something physical. The word destiny is a noun! Jesus is your destiny, Heaven is the destiny God wants for you, and what he called you to do on this earth is your destiny. About a week ago I had a God moment in my garage. I was praying about a few things and if only for a few moments it was as if I could feel the heart God greatly saddened by the numbers of people that give up on their God given destinies. It was if I could feel the frustration of people for feeling they could never fulfill His purpose and at the same time I could feel God’s heart on the matter. It was as if I kept hearing in my spirit God saying, “Too many, Anna, Too many just give up, and live their lives feeling defeated.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” I personally know how difficult it can be to run the race that you know God has called you to do. I know what it’s like to get 10+ years of turndowns. I know what it’s like to have people look at you like your crazy when you try to tell them what you’re doing in life, and I know what it’s like being called to do something that you’ve been told time and time again you couldn’t do. I know what it’s like to appear to not have the finances that you know you need. I know what it’s like to see God dramatically show up on the scene and make it all work. Destiny is a REAL thing. It is obtainable, and through Him you CAN do all things! Miracles do happen! It’s never to late, nor or the mistakes too many. God will and CAN make a way! Trust Him! Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Our lives on this earth are so short. Sure we might whine and complain when it feels as if we’ve been in the same season forever, but we’ll all have to give an account for what we did on this earth. You have to determine in yourself that you won’t quit. Quit whining and move forward. You have to make the connect within yourself that you are moving forward and though your destiny may seem a long time coming you will move forward! You have to make the choice to continue to run the race. You have to come to the place that quitting is never an option. I know that pursuing destiny may not be easy, but it is worth it! So hug your destiny. Refuse to give up. Remember He DOES have awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Top The World With Both Feet

I’m getting ready this morning to go to a funeral. I have to admit I don’t like funerals. There is no fun in funerals. But I’m struck again with how fragile and fleeting life is on this earth. Pastor Hank served for several years as the associate pastor of Freedom. Dan and I were he and his wife’s armourbearers for five of those years. While he and I weren’t that close in the last few years of his life, I am saddened by his loss. Among some of Pastor Hank’s famous catch phrases were “I’m on top the world with both feet.” and “What’s happening good?” He was a man who loved being a pastor and genuinely loved people. His life was cut too short. Life is so short, and eternity is so long. I realize funerals are merely closure for the people left here on the earth. I know that Pastor Hank is now rejoicing in heaven. I know that my spiritual father, mentor and friend Pastor Arthur met him at the gates and together they are praising Jesus, and rejoicing once more. James 4:14 (NIV) “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Just a few moments ago I was going through my girls’ clothing trying to pick out what would be suitable for them to wear at this funeral. I found myself stressing out over the messes that they had created, and grumbling at what wouldn’t match. The futility of it all struck me. I understand the girls need to look decent, but is it really worth me stressing out over? Matthew 6:27 (NIV) “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?” So today I will remember the beauty of a life that was “on top the world with both feet.” I will try not to stress over the small things. I will try to find celebration in the ending of a life, and joy for where Pastor Hank is now. Life is so short. Wherever you are, I encourage you to make it a good one and to make it count. Remember God does have awesome plans for your life. Get Excited!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Story Behind My New Found Love of Headbands

A few months ago I found myself loving the new trends in headbands. Throw some tulle, feathers, and bows at this girl and watch her automatically jump on the fashionista bandwagon. As much as I found myself loving the new trends, I kept telling myself that I didn’t look good in headbands and therefore it wasn’t for me. Suddenly one afternoon I had a breakthrough moment. As I was telling myself why I wouldn’t look good in a dashing peacock feather look with a bow, suddenly I thought what is my issue with me against headbands? Then like a flash out of my memory I knew exactly what my issue against me and headbands were. I hadn’t thought about it in years, but suddenly like a movie screen in my mind I saw the scene play out before me. I was in the 6th or 7th grade and these girls that were supposed to be my friends, used to steal my headbands and make fun of me for them. They used to tell me I looked horrible in headbands, and should never wear them. I can remember they claimed they were the “fashion police” and them stealing my headband and hiding them was really a service to society. Yes, kids especially girls can be mean. It’s funny though I hadn’t thought about that in years, and it seemed the stupidest thing in the world to me that this was my reasoning that I didn’t think headbands look good on me. It was some silly incidents that happened over 20 years ago. Call it therapy, or maybe fashion genius, but I have quickly developed just a minor obsession for headbands. Now that I know I’ve spent years avoiding them over this stupid incident, I’m going out of my way to sport the fashion now. I’m not going to let some childish encounters dictate to me, what fashion I will and won’t embrace. Philippians 3:13 (NIV) “ Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” Don’t live your lives stuck in the past. Your life is precious and too short. While I’d long since forgiven these people, it seems to me now that maybe subconsciously I was still carrying around the burden of what happened. Let those burdens go. It’s baggage you just don’t need to carry. So now I confess that I don’t have a headband obsession or addiction really, but I may need to make more room on my dresser for the growing amounts of sequins and feathers. Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shoeless on International Drive

As I had mentioned in my last blog that I have spent the last several days at ICRS or CBA a very large Christian retailing convention that was awesome for me to go to. I was able to network with several publishers, and from here I’m continuing to believe that God opens the doors he wants opened. But I have to tell you of a mistake that I made on the first day. But really it wasn’t just my mistake. It was the honest mistake of most girls everywhere who simply are trying to look cute. It was the dreaded footwear mistake! (Cue overly dramatic nightmare music) I had thought I had a planned this, I would wear not so cute heels and therefore my feet would be able to walk for the miles I needed to walk. My friend who’d gone to the conference with me did what most girls do. She reasoned in her mind that she could do this and opted for the cute heels. Together we set off to network. In about an hour I was in pain but trying not to show it and my friend was looking longingly to the scooter rentals. I know she was trying to reason in her mind why she needed one, and perhaps we both would have been game for a Segway race through the event. Both of us were near tears, and I knew my feet were about to go on strike. They were going to simply refuse to go any longer. Neither of us brought better footwear, and while we both hated to leave this event we both knew if we didn’t find better shoes to wear soon a security guard would have to carry us out off the event floor like a sack of potatoes. Truthfully, at that point I wasn’t sure I would care. That would at least mean I didn’t have to wear those shoes. Being that we were in the Orange County Convention Center I could think of nothing really close to buy some cheap shoes. We needed something quick. OCCC is the center of some of the touristiest sections of Orlando, and sits on International Drive. My only solution was get to the Walgreens that I thought was just down the road. I knew Walgreens would at least sell flip flops and we could only hope for a decent looking pair. Neither one of us wanted to walk all the way back to the car nor I thought the Walgreens was fairly close. As we began walking neither of us could handle it any longer. Now shoeless, the pain of our feet was like walking on nails embedding in the sidewalk. Perhaps had we been on a normal sidewalk it wouldn’t have been so bad, but this sidewalk was at least 1000 degrees and glowing from the heat. We kept jumping in the grass for moments of respite, silently begging for any kind of relief. The hot Florida sun had baked the sidewalk to a crisp. Our feet now in shoe torture pain had merged into a knee jerking, face squinting, anguish walk. We experienced our own minor ‘Trail of Tears’ in the sun beaten, barefoot walk, on I- drive. Finally we opted to go get the car, run across the black top (that was 1001 degrees), and got to the Walgreens. Where we did find some decent footwear, and eventually made our way back to the event. But in the meantime I had two texts that I was supposed to go meet people at the event, our time gone was eventually made up for but the pain in our feet was still a reminder of our folly. Honestly I remember thinking briefly that morning I should take my flats and put them in my bag, just in case. If only I would have listened to that thought. I keep jokingly thinking of the scripture in Matthew 25 about the 10 virgins. 5 had the lamp oil and were ready and the other 5 had to run out and buy the oil and missed the bridegroom. The parable speaks as a reminder to be prepared. You must learn to live your life so prepared that when the time comes you are ready for it. As I mentioned everything worked out, and our time gone was made up. But I will laugh at this memory and try to always carry a pair of flip flops or flats in my carryon bag just in case. You have to be prepared in life. You have to go with the flow, but be ready for the unexpected. Perhaps just maybe I should have listened to my gut reaction and brought the flats in the first place. It is true we have to be excited for what God has for us in life, but we also have to be prepared! Remember He does have awesome plans for your life. So get excited & carry flip flops!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CBA Favor

The last several days have been intense and it would take too long for me to write everything down. However I’ll write another blog sometime this week on something else that happened at CBA. Most people don’t know what CBA is. It’s the Christian Retailers Association. I realize that doesn’t sound like a big deal to most people, but they have these big conventions and anyone who is anyone in Christian publishing and retailing show up. Which means under one roof was a mecca of people and publishers (Including my own). Many of them that I spent hours trying to get them to give me the time of day for my books, and to me this was like being a kid in a candy story. To say I was a bit overwhelmed was an understatement. My nonfiction is with Destiny, but I am still seeking prayerfully a home for my fiction. At first I wasn’t even sure if I would go to this event. I had several tell me I should and wasn’t sure if I’d even be in town. However a very dear friend of mine decided she would fly down for it and we decided to go together. She recently started a publishing company and it would be beneficial to both of us. On Saturday night she texts me telling me she wasn’t sure either of us would be able to get in. That she was told over the phone it may be too late because neither of us was registered. While I know these things are not public events I refused to believe that. We agreed to just show up and see what happened. When I filled out the application to get inside it appeared at first I may have to pay $175 just to get in. I wanted to sigh loudly. That wasn’t money I wanted to spend. However, once I waited my turn that wasn’t the case. Because I am a Destiny Image Author I got in for $20. After my friend got her paperwork straightened out, we took off meeting people and networking. While I had some situations that were a tad discouraging, I also had some amazing connections made. While I’m not going to go into detail yet at some of these situations, I was given the email addresses of some major publishing acquisitions editors and to people that aren’t normally given out. I got to speak personally with the people at one publishing company and already have several emails sent. I keep praying Rev 3:8 over the matter, that God opens the doors He wants to open. God had made it so clear to me time and time again I needed to be there. I believe for more and more fruit from this convention. We have to learn in life to stop thinking so small. I kept thinking this was something I wouldn’t benefit from, and God kept nudging me to go. It turned out I needed to be at this event. We can’t let our own thinking and ideas stop us from stepping into places of destiny that God has designed for us. We have to allow ourselves to be flexible with His spirit to move and to step where He is leading. You all know I speak this scripture often. Isaiah 30:21(NIV) Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it." I cannot emphasize enough how important it is in life to learn to just go with the flow of what God is doing. You don’t have to understand everything, or attempt to make sense of any of it. You just have to learn how to go with it and trust Him. You must always remember that He does have good plans for your life! Get excited!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Detour Ahead

On Sunday morning I had the awesome privilege of getting to minister in Payne, OH at Living Water Ministries. But getting there wasn’t without issues. The entire town of Payne had been without power for a week and up until the night before I wasn’t sure how this meeting was going to happen. I had spent the night in Bellefontaine, OH according to MapQuest my destination was only 1 hour and 40 minutes away. However for some crazy reason the GPS kept insisting it was 2 hours and 40 minutes away. Sometimes I wonder how anyone got anywhere before GPS and MapQuest. I’m not sure I could have done it. I have a personal pet peeve of being late so even after double checking MapQuest I left a little early for its time, hoping the GPS was wrong. I took a few wrong turns but I was so excited. With 20 minutes to spare I turned down the road to reach to my final destination. I wasn’t going to be late but on time! Until I saw the big orange detour ahead sign! What?! No! I wanted to pound my forehead into the steering wheel. This couldn’t be happening? With only 4 miles left the sign informed me that the road was closed three miles ahead. Sigh! So I called the pastor trying to get directions and set off to change the course of my trip. The GPS recomputed as I found myself breaking a few speeding laws. Ok, I admit to it! I was taken 10 miles out of my way. Finally on the corner of one road I saw an old one room school house. I admit I have a love of these old buildings so I had to flip the car in reverse and quick take a picture and then speed onward. When I arrived to what the car said my destination it wasn’t my destination. I couldn’t find this place anywhere! I started driving back and forth on the street. Surely I could find this place. Finally out of desperation and now only a minute to spare I started to call the pastor again. But every time I called the call was dropped. The cell phone had turned useless. I pulled up to a gas station. I needed to get to this church on time. I was the guest minister. I couldn’t be late. I opened the door to see a line of at least four customers waiting to be served. NO! I wanted to scream. Don’t these people know I need to get somewhere? Finally I asked. “Does anyone know how to get to Living Waters from here?” It’s funny I didn’t notice it before but the last customer in line was wearing a Living Waters T-shirt and smiled when she realized I was the guest minister for the day. “Follow me.” She smiled. It all worked out in the end. It was a good service and despite the craziness, I think I was only 10 minutes late. If anything I just felt it was a divine connection that I got there. Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. It could have been worse, but it worked out. There was a joke that was formed while I was preaching. I was joking that Christians needed to start acting like Fonzie from the Happy Days. That when storms come Christians learn to be cool. That when the waves of life come they walk in that Fonzie anointing. Realize that waves coming against you may get frustrating, but they work together for good to those that Love the Lord. You don’t need to lose your peace, you just need to learn to go with it, and continue to declare God’s will to come forth. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get Excited! ***I am only going to be writing one blog this week. Sorry guys. I’m flying back to FL this week, my birthday is this week, and in the chaos of trying to settle myself and kids back into our house when we’ve been gone for almost 6 weeks is something I need to focus on. But I’ll be back at you next week with two blogs. Dan and I are currently praying about some big decisions regarding ourselves and our family. I would appreciate that when you pray, continue to pray that God would lead us to His perfect will. Be blessed. We love you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Surprise Birthday Purse

My oldest daughter’s birthday is fast approaching, and as part of her present I made her a purse out of duct tape. I know it sounds odd, but it’s actually a very cool thing. I had made one for myself, and she loves it. However what she doesn’t know is that I went out of my way to pick out a roll of duct tape with a pattern that I knew she would really like. The purse has been made and even made its way to Ohio so that she could get it on her birthday. It’s been tucked away waiting for her special day. Today I decided to make a duct tape purse for one of my nieces too. So I could put it with her birthday present as well. They share the same birthday. I knew immediately what pattern of design duct tape I wanted to use. It was a different one than the one I used for my daughter. When we went to Wal-Mart to pick up the tape, my oldest daughter took one look at the different colors and patterns and picked out the exact one that her purse is made out of, but she doesn’t know that yet. She picked it up and sweetly said, “Mom, I really like this one.” “You do? That’s nice” I took the other roll toward the register and had to turn away from giggling to myself. I know now that I was exactly right in the one she would like for herself. Later in the day after I’d made my niece’s purse, I gave the left over duct tape to my daughter and told her she could play with it. “Mom? Do you think I’d have enough left over to make myself a purse?” “No babe. I don’t think so.” Again I had to stifle my smile because I know she wants a duct tape purse. I know she wants one with the pattern she’d picked out and little does she know she already has one waiting for her. Many times in life, we find ourselves disappointed. We think we want something or are waiting for something, and don’t see it happening. But often God works in the realm of the unseen. He could be already doing the very thing you’re crying out to him about, and you just don’t see it yet. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:3 (NIV) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. You might be surprised, that just like I am with my oldest daughters purse…that God might be doing something in the unseen for you. You might not see it yet, but I’m sure God is setting you up for a big surprise. Just because you can’t see it yet doesn’t mean it’s not there…maybe it’s just that God’s getting ready for the right time to surprise you. Maybe, just maybe you have to wait for the right timing….(Hab 2:2-3) God’s surprises are the best! Just like my daughter who will open up her birthday present and think ‘How on earth did I manage to do this without her knowing’, you’ll be just as excited if not more to see how God has set you up for an awesome surprise. Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited! ****NOTE: This is not a pict of her purse but of one I made awhile back. :-) ***I have two more events in my current Northern Tour: Sat 7/7 in Columbus, and Sunday 7/8 preaching in Payne, OH….email me if you’d like more info

Monday, July 2, 2012

No Electricity, Jackson, and a Broken Key

This weekend I had several events in Jackson, OH. It was an awesome weekend that wasn’t void of issues. But I thought I would share. I arrived at the Tea Caddy (a very cute shop in the heart of Jackson) in the downtown ready for a book signing only to realize that the storm the night before in the OH area was a little more vicious that I had realized. The storm had not only wiped out people’s power all over the community, it had left a world of storm drama in its path. The Tea Caddy lost power for about a half an hour in the book signing. Thus not a whole lot of foot traffic came into the store and the signing was okay, but I thought it would go a bit better. But the people were awesome and I had to learn to just go with it. Course I could have chosen to get annoyed and bugged by this, but really that wasn’t going to help. It was what it was, and I can honestly say I’ve had my first book signing in the dark, and really how many people can say that? Then, I was so excited to get to spend the weekend with one of my very best friends in the whole wide universe who lives in Jackson. Megan and I have been friends since the 5th grade and being friends for over 20 years is pretty awesome on any friend scale. I enjoyed visiting the town with her, and while I can admit even if I was a tad tired, I was just so glad to see her and her family. When we arrived back at her house and discovered the key wasn’t going to open the door to get into her house, sure I could have gotten bothered and annoyed. But it wasn’t worth it. I found it kind of comical to watch her daughter while she tried to find someone to help us get into her house. I found it even more comical when we ended up staying with her next door neighbors for several hours, until her husband came home and managed to get us in the house. In fact, I couldn’t help but think how blessed she was to have such awesome neighbors, and in the end we all just found it a funny story. You have a choice in life to either get bothered when things don’t go as planned or you can choose to just roll with it. Life is an adventure, and you have to live it. That doesn’t mean everything goes as you expect it, but it just means you don’t sweat the small stuff. You choose not to worry, because worrying just won’t help anything. Matthew 6:27 "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Worrying and fretting doesn’t help anything. I just makes situations worse. Enjoy your life! It is a gift. Learn to roll with it! Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited! …..Also in my weekend I was able to meet fellow Destiny Image author (His book The Power of Forgiveness releases the end of July), and mighty man of God, Dr. Brian Adams and visit The Rock, a church in Jackson. I enjoyed meeting them and going to the church. I highly recommend that ministry to anyone in the area! *I have one more weekend in my Northern Tour before I head back to the South. If you’re in the Columbus area I will be at the Barnes & Noble on Sat (7/7) 2-3, on High Street across from The Ohio State University, and I will be preaching in Payne, OH on Sunday 7/8 service starts at 9:30, please email me for specifics.