31 August 2008

Mobile Blogger -- THANK YOU!

Well, it's 8:30 pm and we finally have wind and rain. It's not bad at all right now; actually, it's rather pleasant (breezy).
Should we lose power sometime tomorrow, I will hopefully be able to update everyone using my iPhone, thanks to Mobile Blogger.

After Katrina, we had no power and no phones. It was impossible to get a call out on cell phones because the lines were jammed with calls.
almost everyone could text!

So, should that be the case again, I will send mobile texts to this blog to let all of you know what's up (or coming down).

Ok, off to do the last of the laundry.
Thank you for all your prayers!!

30 August 2008

Hurricane Gustav

An entire state is holding its breath...

Please pray for us.
If you want to help:

29 August 2008

A *Little* Busy Here...

Emotions are rather strange here today.
Today is the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and here we are preparing for another hit.
This time, it's GUSTAV.
Can my state really handle this again so soon after her?

Praying this morning with the ladies at the Dream Center, I realized just how much recent history has impacted Louisiana.
Several of the women who come to THRIVE on Fridays are survivors of Katrina. The fear and anxiety is apparent not only in their eyes, but also in the behavior of most people in Baton Rouge -- the frenetic shopping trips, gas-hoarding, and highly-emotional traffic (read: a LOT of wrecks).

We have sensibly prepared, but are we ever really prepared?

Before Katrina, my family bought a ton of steaks and burgers and canned goods to grill and eat after the storm, only to find that the searing heat and devastation of our state completely erased our appetites.
Not that it mattered anyway; with no power for 4 days, we ended up throwing away nearly $1000 in food (fridge & full-size freezer).
We became vagabonds living in our car, spending the greater part of each day driving around from place to place, just to be in the cool A/C. Nights in our house were nearly unbearable.

But we were BLESSED.
No SERIOUS damage to our home.
No flooding.
No missing or injured family members.
We still got to sleep in our own beds and use our own showers and lock our own doors.

Even now I am filled with guilt when I complain about our plight during that time.
What plight?
We had friends who opened their home to us when it became apparent the power wasn't coming back on anytime soon.

And we have friends who lost everything:
EVERYTHING they owned.
Can my state really prepare for that?

That said, I will admit that there is a new strength here that has replaced the laissez-faire, pre-Katrina attitude -- a determination that we will NOT be knocked down again.
Not this soon.
Not yet.

25 August 2008


I LOVE This Song.
It's from the movie, FREEDOM WRITERS -- a true story -- which I also love.

If you have a child over the age of 10, you need to have them watch this movie!!
There IS some language in the movie, but even so, this movie's message is so important.
You can check out the movie's trailer below... it came out in 2007 & is now available on DVD.
Watch it to the end.
You will fall in love with it, too.

24 August 2008



Our all-day retreat/orientation for HEALING PLACE SCHOOL Of MINISTRY was yesterday and I can hardly contain my excitement for the coming year!

Just a brief recap:

The morning started with an amazing hour of worship followed by an awesome message from Pastor Dino on "The Power of Following Through."
In a nutshell, he said that over this next year, we will come up on something, or something will happen to us that will try to stop us in our tracks -- distract us from our purpose -- but we have to make the decision to "run it over," and keep going... to FOLLOW THROUGH on our commitment.

Life doesn't get easier when you take a bold step out for Christ; if anything, the devil tries to throw everything he can at you that could possibly divert you from your course. We have to know this, be aware, and keep going.

Next, we had a delicious lunch at the HPAC (Healing Place Athletic Center) -- THANK YOU "Cooking For Christ" team! -- followed by a home-run derby. We each got 5 hits and I hit 3 out of 5. Not too shabby considering I haven't held a bat in almost 25 years!

Next, we met back at the Sanctuary where JP gave us the run-down on our next assignment:

We were split up into 5 teams of 8 (or so) and each team was given $100.
We had 2.5 hours to come up with a new outreach idea, buy what we needed to accomplish that goal, and then perform the outreach and get back in time for our 4:30 meeting.

Now, our Church has some pretty AMAZING outreaches, so it was hard to come up with an idea that hadn't been tried before.
I mean, they have even done GUM give-aways!!
Our team had several great ideas: hand out blow-pops at the mall, pass out popsicles to people sitting in traffic... but we ultimately decided to honor our local law enforcement and fire-fighters with some cookies and Gatorade.

We were able to make 4 stops: 2 police stations and 2 fire stations where we blessed them with the snacks and gave them cards signed by each member of our group, thanking them for their service to our community. This was such a cool outreach and each one of us was blessed as much or more than those we hoped to bless!

Our orientation dinner was held at a local restaurant where we went over our syllabi and discussed our various campus ministry assignments.
Then we headed back to HPC for another amazing message from "The Haminator," Pastor Mike Haman.
This was such a Word for me and so many others -- perfectly timed.
Pastor Mike spoke on "Life In The Spirit:" How we will be exhausted and unproductive if we are not constantly being refreshed from within. I love that he said this:

"Busy-ness produces Barren-ness. If your schedule is just getting busier and busier (no matter how noble the tasks), but your intimacy with God is decreasing, you will not be able to produce good fruit."

So very true.

I know this is going to be a year like no other; I can feel it.
In some ways, I am even more excited about the coming months than I was when I first began Elevate.
Have you ever been on the cusp of something HUGE -- and you knew that something really big was about to happen, but you weren't quite sure what, exactly, that was?

That's how I feel right now.
And I love it.

22 August 2008

Elevate Countdown!

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I KNOW it's now called:
Healing Place School of Ministry
but that's such a mouthful.
I think I'll stick with ELEVATE, at least for blogging purposes. ;>)

Only NINE hours until my second year of Elevate begins!
Tomorrow is our all-day/late-night kick off/Orientation.

I'll post something on Sunday and let you know how it goes...

Let the games (and the prayers!) begin!

New Video Posted!

You've got to check out this video from last Saturday's SERVOLUTION!

Servolution 2008!

19 August 2008

I'm Sorry

God has really convicted me about something...

I went to my first "Healing Place Church Life Groups" meeting today and I just sat there marveling at how far I have come in the past year. Here I am about to lead a life group for Christian weight-loss support and I have not even posted, once, about all God has done for me in this area!

First let me say: I have tried (almost) every diet out there -- Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Low-Fat, Low-Carb, you name it.

A few months after I started writing my book, I felt a still, small voice ask me,
"Are you just going to preach it or are you going to WALK IT OUT?"
So, in mid-February, I decided to put the tenets of my book into practice in my own life.

I have not been perfect; there have been moments when I stumbled and definitely times when I was less than faithful, but for the most part I have tried to be obedient to the message I was given when I first began thinking about writing.

The result?
As of a few days ago, I am down 48 pounds since February.

Uh, that's more than my 4-year-old weighs.
I've lost a small person!
And I can honestly say, that I am not following a diet.
Don't get me wrong; I know which foods are healthier choices for me and I know my "trigger foods," but for the most part, I am just being faithful in this walk.
And God has been MORE than faithful to me in return!

I have struggled with my weight off and on for more than 25 years (I'm 38) and this is the first time in my life that I actually believe I will succeed.
I don't just believe it; I KNOW it.

So, I'm sorry for not posting about this sooner and giving glory where glory is due. God has been so good to me and only He can take something that has been such a "curse" for me and turn it into an amazing BLESSING!

18 August 2008

Blogger Bits #1

I've decided I'm going to do these mini-multi posts for those days when I have a lot to say, but not much to say about any one thing. ;>)

First, I want to acknowledge how many "cyber-friends" I have found in this thing known as the "blogger world." If you have never blogged, you may not understand what I mean, but it is absolutely wonderful!
Take for example, a blog post I wrote a few weeks ago (We Cry Out) about something very difficult my family is going through -- something really hateful and mean, directed mostly at ME.

The most difficult part of getting through this trial has been sticking to my resolution to "let God deal with it."
There have been moments when I have almost convinced myself that God DOES want me to respond and "set the record straight" to those who have hurt me, but deep down, I know that is NOT God . I have given this issue to God and I need to stop picking it back up.
I have been doing really well lately... I've actually had days when I didn't think about the offense at all.
But TODAY, today while sitting in traffic, I start playing out a conversation in my mind... I stop it before it goes too far, but I sigh in frustration as I realize that "it ain't over yet."

Then, I come home and find this AWESOME, uplifting comment from a complete stranger!
How cool is that?
Isn't it funny how God always knows what we need even before we do??
And I smile to myself and think, "God DOES see me, even when I think He doesn't."

SERVOLUTION was a huge success!
I was SOOOO tired on Saturday night, but it was totally worth it.
Nadia and I went with a group of ladies to volunteer at the Battered Women's Shelter. Nadia held babies and played with the kids while I helped CLEAN.
The women there were so sweet and it felt so great to know that we were truly showing them Jesus.
Due to the sensitive nature of where we were working, I could not take pictures, but I do have a couple from our get together at our main campus at the start of the day:Jammin' with our AWESOME worship team -- getting pumped up and ready to SERVE.

Pastor Dino speaking before we head out to take on the city!

I finally have some auctions up on eBay, so check them out if you're interested. I will be listing more every day this week.

One last note: It is less than one week until my second year of ELEVATE (Healing Place School of Ministry) begins. I could really use some prayers to get my heart, my mind, my home, my spirit -- everything in line, where they need to be before next Saturday. I am so excited, I can hardly wait!

15 August 2008

S - E - R - V - O - L - U - T - I - O - N


So, I clicked on the Servolution website to get a new link for this blog entry & this is what I see!
It's my oldest daughter, Nadia, from last year's SERVOLUTION!
How cool is that?

Last year, Nadia and I had the privilege of doing manicures at the inner city block party. Tomorrow, we will go to the battered women's shelter and do a little pampering on the ladies and a bit of cleaning on the shelter.
We are SO excited to be a part of this amazing experience once more!

This will be the second, annual "Servolution" for
Healing Place Church -- a term coined by our very own Pastor Dino Rizzo.

So, WHAT is a servolution, you ask?
Think HUNDREDS (maybe a thousand this year??) of volunteers -- all in RED "Serve" shirts -- dishing up some love to the Greater Baton Rouge area.

There will be block parties and car washes and free water bottles handed out on street corners.
Some of us will visit hospitals and give snacks and cold drinks to the staff.
Many will visit local nursing homes & one group is going to make the local foster home sparkle!
Various groups will simply go from neighborhood to neighborhood in the inner city and "adopt-a-block" in which they pick up trash, mow lawns, do minor repairs, whatever they can to show love to the people on that block.
There will be grocery give-a-ways and free medical screenings and free dental care for the kids.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

I absolutely LOVE being a part of a church that does something like this!
Don't you think the WORLD could use a little

You can read about LAST YEAR'S Servolution
here and here.

11 August 2008


My bedroom looks like a boutique exploded inside...
I'm serious.

This is the start of eBay's biggest selling season and I am trying to list my items as quickly as I can before ELEVATE (ahem: Healing Place School of Ministry) starts up in 2 weeks.
I know my life will become even MORE insane after that (if that's even possible).

Mostly I just sell stuff that my daughters outgrow; I'm too impatient to do a garage sale. ;^)
Here are a few of my cuter pics from previous selling seasons. Enjoy!

Oh, and if you want to check out my auctions, you can do so here:
I should have some items up later this week and over the next several weeks, so be sure to check back often if you're interested!

Yes, I know this is a shameless plug,
but hey, it's MY blog, right? *wink*

09 August 2008

I Blog Your Pardon?!

Ok, so I have been mulling this over for a few hours... On one of my favorite blogs, WhittakerWoman, someone (seemingly helpfully) pointed out Heather's frequent grammar and spelling mistakes posted on her blog.

Now, in all fairness, I will admit that I am one of those grammar nuts that notices every spelling error and grammar mistake I encounter. I subconsciously edit everything I read (in my head).
I have always been this way.
Ask my mom.
I used to drive her crazy with it.
That said, now that I am an adult, I would NEVER publicly correct another adult's grammar, spelling, or punctuation.
It's condescending and it's rude.

Even "Miss Manners" states in her writings that it is one thing to commit a faux pas, and quite another to publicly correct one. She considers the latter to be a far worse offense than the former.

But this (seemingly helpful) comment got me to thinking...

Do we really have a right to "edit" or "correct" anyones blog, ever??

This is not the first time I have encountered this. It's actually a rather common phenomenon on several blogs I read:
Someone reading another person's private thoughts and musings takes it upon themselves to point out the blogger's mistakes.
Or correct their parenting style.
Or make snide comments about their lifestyle choices (Christian vs. Atheist, for example).

If someone allowed you to read a portion of their diary, would you correct that, too?

I know, I know, "They put it out there to read (publicly) so they should accept the criticism." or "No one forced them to discuss their personal beliefs online, but since they have, it must be an open invitation to dispute them."

Uh, NO.

How about this: why don't YOU write a blog -- put yourself out there for all the world to behold -- and see how YOU like it when someone starts critiquing you?

Doesn't blog etiquette dictate that we "move along" if we don't care for what is written on the page we are viewing?
Why do some people feel compelled to openly criticize others in a public forum? Is this a form of narcissistic preening?

I don't know.
Maybe I'm too sensitive on this issue.
What do you think?
Is it really OK to critique another person's blog?

DISCLAIMER: Lest any obsessive-compulsive, grammar-loving lurkers are reading this, I am fully aware that my posts are sometimes filled with misspellings and grammatical errors, despite my own OCD nature for correcting them. But I'm a very busy mom with 3 kids and I don't always have time to proof before I post, so cut me some slack, k?

06 August 2008

Bon Qui Qui at King Burger

I'm sorry; this is soooo bad, but so funny!
Especially in light of my many "adventures" in fast food!
Honestly, I don't know how they got away with this, but check it out: