30 November 2008


For more than two weeks, I have been waiting to see the "70" pound mark on the scale.
I have been more careful with my eating and I have tried to not eat late at night.
But then God reminded me that HE is doing this, not me. And every time I try to retake control of my weight struggle, I will fail. So, I repented & gave it back to Him & just tried to be obedient in the things I know He wants me to do...

And you know what?
ON THANKSGIVING WEEKEND(!!!!) I stepped on the scale and saw that God had completely skipped over "MY" goal.
I have lost SEVENTY ONE pounds since February!
That is almost surreal for me... I have NEVER even come close to losing that much before -- no matter how strict or disciplined I tried to be!

Don't misunderstand me:
I am NOT suggesting that we should not strive to have self-control.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and evidence of a faith-filled life.
But what I (and many like me) struggle with is not "self-control" (despite what the world assumes about us),but rather we lack Spirit control.

In the past, instead of using discipline to make me healthier, I have made it a religion of sorts.
I have made dieting and eating and food and exercise -- my "gods."
I have idolized the perfect number on the scale, the ideal body shape, society's idea of what "beautiful" should look like.
And none of that worked.
No matter how hard I tried, how disciplined I was, or how many diets I attempted: I never achieved success.

That is, until I quit trying to do it all myself.

What a lesson I have learned!
The same grace that is extended to us for our salvation, God offers us for EVERY failure in our life! For every weakness, for every trial, for every temptation: He is there to lift us up & guide us out of the mess in which we keep finding ourselves. What an amazing picture of His never-failing mercy and grace!

All that is truly required of me is obedience and faith.
And I see it so clearly now in 2 little numbers...

What are YOU believing God for?

27 November 2008


Sleepy, exhausted, & content.
That pretty much describes how I'm feeling at the moment.

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner for some of our friends & family today & and I have been on my feet since 7:15 am (after going to bed at 2 am).
But this is what I love to do!
It was a wonderful day and sitting here in the glow of my Christmas tree, I find so many things for which I am thankful.
I am so happy to have my family here with me this year!
And some very dear friends joined us as well. We had a full & happy house.
And now, it's a very SLEEPY house! (thank you Tryptophan!)
Seriously, I think I could go to sleep right now and sleep straight through until Sunday!
At least I won't have to cook again for a couple of days.
I made enough food to feed a small army!

I will try to upload some pictures tomorrow.

I hope YOUR day was equally wonderful.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!
Let the shopping begin!
Well, maybe after a little nap...

25 November 2008


Next week we are having a special Midnight Outreach.
The awesome Anne Jackson (FlowerDust to the blog world) will be joining us. I'm so excited to meet her! It's really great to have her join us on one of our most significant outreaches.

I will go next Wednesday and pick up the roses -- 100 long-stemmed, red roses -- to pass out to the ladies we encounter Thursday night.
I am thrilled to have been given this responsibility; the roses are symbolic of the message we want to send to these girls:
You are LOVED.
You are a daughter of the KING (and therefore, a Princess!).

To see the look in their eyes when we hand them the roses is priceless.
If they've never experienced our version of a "drive-by Jesus," they look at us incredulously, and with unguarded curiosity.

Who are you?
Why are you doing this?

We are Healing Place Church.
Because you are loved.

And you can see in their response -- by the look in their eyes -- that they just might believe you.
That is our hope anyway.

And that's what it means to be
"A Healing Place for a hurting world."

23 November 2008

F * R * U * S * T * R * A * T * I * O * N

If you are long-time reader of my blog, then you probably remember THIS POST.

My last PC was a Hewlett-Packard (HP), and it lasted for approximately 3 years. Well, my less-than-1-year-old HP computer crashed YESTERDAY.
The final diagnosis last year was: DEFECTIVE HARDRIVE
Guess what the diagnosis was THIS time?
Just guess.
C'mon, you know you know it...

For the second time in ELEVEN MONTHS, an HP computer has wiped out my files.
Last time, Geek Squad was not able to recover ANYTHING; I am praying -- PLEADING -- that they will have better luck this time.
I have the really important stuff backed up this time, but there are still hundreds of pictures and other files that will be lost forever if the extraction is unsuccessful.
But the really frustrating part is this: If I end up getting another computer (which I surely will), what kind of computer should I get? I would LOVE to get a Mac this time around, but that will cost double the value of the now-defunct HP.

And WHAT is going on with HP???
Really, they used to be so reliable!
There was a man at the Geek Squad counter just in front of me. He was there with his HP laptop (& it looked VERY expensive!!); he told me it's the 4th time he's had to bring it in, in the 10 months that he has owned it!
Then, as I was leaving, a woman came in to pick up her HP laptop (also very nice & new-looking); the Geek Squad guy had to tell her that her hard drive had crashed & they were not able to recover ANY of her files!

Something is up here.
This cannot be just a coincidence!
Is HP outsourcing to China, by any chance?
And does anyone know if there is a class-action lawsuit against HP currently in the works?
I might want to testify for them!

Seriously though; please say a quick prayer for this situation.
I need to get my computer (and my files!) back so I can finish my book!

19 November 2008

Lions, and Zebras, and Hippos, OH MY!

Time again for another unsolicited round of movie reviews!

Clay & I took the girls to see Madagascar II last weekend & it was pretty cute. There were some hilarious moments, but overall, I still like the first one best.
Raisha, however, is in LOVE with Melman -- the giraffe!She has a little stuffed Melman that Nick Prestridge gave her almost 3 years ago & she sleeps with it every night! Indeed, if Melman is not in the car when we leave, we must spend at least 5 minutes looking for him.
My favorite is Marty the zebra, primarily because Chris Rock does the voice and I LOVE Chris Rock. Yes, I know he can be rather tawdry & irreverent at times, but he is still really funny!
I don't know why he has to do the crude stuff; he is equally funny when he is not.

Tonight, Nadia & I went to see Secret Life of Bees and it was even better than I had

I read the book several months ago when my good friend, Tongua, recommended it. It is a powerful film & full of sharp, historical reality. I bawled like a baby.
I highly recommend it.
Plus, it features Queen Latifah, who I admire greatly. =)

I'm looking forward to next month's movie releases, in particular:
*Marley & Me
(I REALLY hope they don't do a stupid, over-glorification of him -- but they probably WILL)
*Seven Pounds
(Even if it does star that ding-dong, Tom Cruise)

Which movies have you seen & loved (or hated) recently?
Which movies are you looking forward to seeing?

15 November 2008

Do You SMELL That???

MMmmmmm.... You know what that smell is, don't you?

There is a fresh, crisp feel in the air tonight.
I think it's going to be a cold year for us in Looozeeana.

I love when the weather starts turning cooler.
When I was younger, I only liked summertime, but the older I get, the more I like Autumn.
Really, (besides friends & family) it's the only thing I REALLY miss about living in Arkansas.
Arkansas has GORGEOUS Autumns!
And EVERY winter holds at least the promise of snow!

So when the air starts smelling like this... I start to think of all the other fine scents we will be smelling soon:
  • *Steaming hot turkey & dressing
  • *Sweet pecan pie (YUM!)
  • *Popcorn & hot cocoa on chilly winter nights
  • *Smoky scents of fireplaces crackling
  • *Pine sap
  • *Holly & Mistletoe
  • *Christmas trees!
  • *Egg Nog (HUSH; I happen to like egg nog)

And the scent of PROMISE that is found in the approaching new year...

For now, I'm just content with the smell of it all.

12 November 2008

And Turning Blue...

Continued from yesterday's post.

Not good news.

Please read HERE for the latest update.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE be praying!!!

11 November 2008

Holding My Breath

You know you really love someone when the things that happen to them elicits a physical response in yourself.

One of my bestest friends, Carole, is waiting on some very big news today & like her, I find myself edgy & anxious.
Carole & Dean are adopting a sweet, little boy from Ethiopia & today is their SECOND court date! Someone didn't show up at the first court date & it has delayed things even further.
They are waiting to hear if they will be approved & if so, they will travel mid-December to get him.

Truth be told, we ALL thought he would already be here by now.
But God sees the big picture & there may be a very good reason why it hasn't happened yet.
Even so, I want so bad for him to get here.
Carole & Dean are like family to us so we are incredibly excited about this new addition.

I know that today my friend is suffering, silently, while she tries to be patient & wait upon the Lord... and I just want her to know that I am holding my breath, too.

Please PRAY.

10 November 2008

A Very Sad Day...

In the world of music.

One of my all-time favorite singers, Miriam Makeba, has died.

She was also known as "Mama Africa" and "The Empress of African Song."
Her music was featured in the soundtrack to the movie, SARAFINA (one of my favorites).

If you are not familiar with her beautiful voice, then take a listen here to one of my very favorite songs (from the movie); Makeba plays the role of mama with Leleti Khumalo as her daughter. You can skip ahead to about 6:25 minutes on the clip to hear the beginning of the song.:

You can read the article about her HERE.

07 November 2008

What Are Friends For?

Maybe I'm getting sappy now that I've hit the big 39...
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, it seems.

I feel sorry for people who don't have friends.
Especially women.

Everyone needs friends, but we women, especially, thrive on friendships.
When a woman has no real friends, there is something very wrong.

I am grateful for the women in my life who hold me accountable & who encourage me. These women are my closest confidants. They are the glue that sometimes keeps me from falling apart at the seams... They can cut me deeper or lift me higher than anyone on the periphery of my life. They are gifts from God, each and every one.

When I was younger, I took a lot of my friendships for granted. Several of them fell by the wayside because I was too "busy" with life to maintain them.
Others were almost destroyed by the evil intentions and jealousies of others... by things I should have never allowed to enter in...

But as I get older, the more I value my intimate friendships.
I have many "friends," but there is only a small handful of women with whom I can spend hours talking on the phone. When something really bad happens or I have incredibly GREAT news, there are just a select few who I want to call...

And as I get older, the more I begin to realize that maintaining friendships takes real work sometimes.
Life gets busy: work, school, marriage, kids, bills, volunteering,... all these things begin to drain us of time & energy. It becomes very easy to start to take those friendships for granted.
We think, "Oh, they will always be there," but sadly, it's just not so.

Real friendships -- friendships that last -- take effort.
Calling to say hi, even when your "to do list" is a mile long. Checking in with a friend you haven't seen in a while... Remembering a friend's birthday.
Some friendships are so old & deep they can sustain a few "casualties of time..." others are not so lucky.
Offense sets in and a chasm of separation grows between you & eventually, you find you no longer have anything to talk about. That old, comfortable casualness is gone.

I fully acknowledge that there are seasons of friendships in life, but now as I draw nearer to the end of my 4th decade, I am more aware of the passing of time & opportunity in my own life.
I mourn friendships that are no longer & I regret things I coulda, woulda, shoulda done to salvage them.

To all my girl friends: I love you & I can't imagine life without you.
Thank you for being a friend.
(now banish the "Golden Girls" theme song from your brains!)

05 November 2008

A New Day Dawning...

Our new President of the United States:

My friend, Carole wrote an excellent post on her blog.

Everyone should read it.
Especially Christians.

No matter how you feel, personally, about the outcome of this election, we should ALL be praying for our new leader.

For me, I feel an intriguing hope...

While I opposed Obama on SEVERAL issues (abortion, taxes, health care...), I do NOT think he is the anti-Christ.
I am not in a panic nor am I dismayed.
But I am praying!

I pray to God to give our new President wisdom and guidance, discernment and discretion.

I pray that our new President will unite this country as never before... that he will bring healing to race relations that have borne the anger and hostility from generations of abuse and prejudice.

I pray that our new President will give hope to American children of EVERY heritage (Asian, Hispanic, African, European, Persian, etc) that they, too, could one day rise to the office of
President of the United States.

I pray that our new President will once more restore this great nation's good name and reputation with the rest of the world, and that he will do so not by subservience to un-American ideologies, but through good example & noble intent.

I believe a new day is dawning in our great country & it is a day that no Christian should fear.

Our God still sits on His throne & He is still in control. We have only to do as we have been commanded:

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." -- 1 Timothy 2: 1-4 NIV

God Bless the USA.

03 November 2008

The Hope of America

One of the BEST messages I've ever heard Pastor Dino preach... I'm gonna do my best to summarize, but I couldn't write fast enough to keep up.
He was on FIRE!

Fact: By TOMORROW, this Presidential election alone will have cost nearly 2.4 BILLION dollars.

Where did all that money go?
Travel Expenses
Speaking engagements
Political fees

Couldn't there be a better use for that money?

The HOPE of America is not a candidate, not a false "messiah," not a budget cut or medicare overhaul. It's not about who is the better speaker, the better comedian, the most handsome, or most charismatic. It's not about race, creed, partisan politics or religion.

It's about what WE, as a Church, are doing to make a difference in this country.

That is the hope of America.

Because no matter how much faith you put into your candidate -- how much you believe (or want to believe) that he or she is going to be your nation's "salvation" -- they will eventually disappoint.
It's not about DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN; Both parties have failed miserably, historically.

The REAL Hope of America is about REAL CHANGE -- Not change that is just talked about: rhetoric designed to placate the masses without offering any REAL example of actually DOING ANYTHING.
Think about how much money has been wasted already on political nonsense...

How many meals for hungry children could have been bought?
How many medical treatments provided for those who have no access to hospitals?
How many children sold into sex slavery (human trafficking) could have been freed?
How many orphans could have been adopted by couples who cannot afford the cost-prohibitive adoption fees?

You want to talk about real CHANGE -- real HOPE?
How about...
--> 1 MILLION water bottles given to the thirsty
--> 15 THOUSAND Thanksgiving meals given to the poor
--> 5 MILLION meals to sub-Saharan African AIDS orphans
--> 2 DREAM CENTERS serving the people of the inner city on a DAILY basis.
--> THOUSANDS of roses and chocolates given to prostitutes and strippers to show them real LOVE.
--> HUNDREDS of yards mowed, houses painted, tree branches cut & cleared.
--> HUNDREDS (Thousands?) of blue tarps provided to homes with damage from hurricanes Gustav & Ike
--> THOUSANDS of FREE medical checkups, immunizations, teeth cleanings, & tooth extractions

This is what my church has done in just a few short years with only a fraction of the cost of this ONE presidential election.
And we've done so much more that is not listed here!

"We, as a people, have provided CHANGE to the world that government could never provide!" -- Dino Rizzo

That's why we can't get discouraged by a few numbers, a candidate, or all the media hype... We have to continue to sow into the future of our nation! We have to step up and be the Church that Jesus called us to be.

WE (God's Church) are the real Hope of America.