I had a blast at the She Laughs Conference this past weekend in Henderson, TX and can’t wait to tell you all about it! The She laughs Conference I attended was hosted at First Baptist Church Henderson. I went to the conference with my friend and co-laborer, Missy Millspaugh. When we arrived we were instantly greeted by Pastor David Higgs and his beautiful wife, Kim. Kim has an amazing smile and her countenance radiates Jesus! If you are in the area be sure to visit First Baptist Church Henderson.
Katy McCown is the founder of the She Laughs Conference. Katy and I have something in common as we both left our corporate jobs to raise and homeschool our children. Katy is a retired television news reporter and her husband, Luke, plays football for the NFL New Orleans Saints, and they have six children. In her spare time, she writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries and hosts She Laughs.
She Laughs is based on the scripture in Proverbs 31:25.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
Katy is passionate about Jesus and seeing women walk in strength and dignity, and desires women to live a laugh characterized by laughter, without fear of the future. Her opening message entitled, The Path to a Passionate Life, discussed our preparation, position, and pursuit. My favorite quote from that session:
God is far less interested in our motions, then in our motives.
Next, we heard from Lisa Allen, founder of L.J. Allen consulting and coaching, and Executive Director of Ministry Training at Proverbs 31 Ministries. We laughed as we evaluated our personalities in the session, What Shoe Are You?, where I discovered that I am a combination of a Work Boot and a Stiletto—what a combination! I also discovered that God gifted me with a special combination of strengths in order for me to fulfill my calling.
We laughed for the rest of the evening as Shari Braendel of Fashion Meets Faith and author of Help me Jesus, I have Nothing to Wear inspired us to look our best for the King. In her session, Hairspray & High Heels, she reminded us that the King is enthralled with our beauty, and what we think about ourselves matters! Missy and I were both even brave enough to get up on stage in front of the women of Henderson and participate.
Speaking of brave, the ultimate bravery award goes to the men in the camera crew that came all the way from South Carolina from Meade Agency to film a congregation full of estrogen-filled women!!
Saturday morning, we learned ways to avoid burnout in our calling, igniting our passions to fuel our calling, and we were reminded why we need to laugh. The content of the topics discussed at She Laughs was relevant for women of all ages to help them pursue the good works of their calling.
The picture above was the grand finale. I don’t want to give any spoilers, so if you want to know more about the picture above, then you will have to visit a She Laughs Conference for yourself! She Laughs Conference
Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year? How is that going for you? I am not good at making resolutions, but I usually start the new year with great aspirations and intentions. Instead, we take stock of the past year and make plans to improve in the coming year. This year I choose the word Contentment and a scripture to focus on. Do you have a Scripture of the Year?
I love the fresh start the new year provides. This year our family is reading Psalms for Living: Daily Prayers, Wisdom, and Guidance by Mark Lanier as our daily family devotion.
Instead of making a New Year’s resolution this year, what would happen if we would all commit to delight in the law of the Lord in 2017? What if we looked to the Psalms for daily wisdom and guidance for the new year. Psalm 1 is a great guide for us to live by and the wisdom it provides us is all we really need as we begin the new year. Psalm 1 contrasts the way of the righteous and the wicked.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. – Psalm 1 ESV
Psalm 1 tells us that the man who genuinely worships God and embraces the law of the Lord is blessed, and that he will prosper. In contrast, we see that the wicked perish.
Psalm 1 tells us that the man who genuinely worships God and embraces the law of the Lord is blessed, and that he will prosper. In contrast, we see that the wicked perish. Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord. He will bear fruit and prosper. The Lord knows the way of the righteous and the wicked. The righteous prosper, and the wicked perish.
Will you commit yourselves anew to righteousness in 2017?
Have you chosen a scripture verse to guide you through the new year? Many people in the Christian blogosphere choose a word or a scripture to guide them through the year, rather than making New Year’s resolutions. This year I decided to incorporate both a word and a scripture. My word for 2017 the year is Contentment.
Last year when I attended She Speaks I visited the prayer room. For those of you who don’t know about She Speaks, it is a conference hosted by Proverbs 31 Ministries that equips women in their calling to write and speak for Jesus. The prayer room at She Speaks is indeed a special place. In the middle of this candlelight room, there is a table with a basket that contains hundreds of tiny little scrolls, each containing a scripture verse. Every woman that visits the prayer room has an opportunity to chose a scroll. Each woman in attendance of the conference has been prayed for, and the basket of scripture verses has also been prayed over.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.-Proverbs 31:25
The scripture I choose is Proverbs 31:25, and this is the same verse that I choose to share with the women in a small group I was leading for an event at my church a few years earlier. Then in December when I began planning for the New Year ahead, I decided to attend the She Laughs Conference. Do you see a theme here? Me too, and that is how I choose my scripture for 2017.
I love what the Matthew Henry Commentary says about the Proverbs 31 woman regarding verses 31:10-31, and I want to share a section with you here.
She is discreet and obliging; every word she says, shows she governs herself by the rules of wisdom. She not only takes prudent measures herself, but gives prudent advice to others. The law of love and kindness is written in the heart, and shows itself in the tongue. Her heart is full of another world, even when her hands are most busy about this world.
Michael Hyatt in chapter 4 of his book Living Forward says that as a part of the Life Plan you create, you must think about your legacy, how you want to be remembered and create your own eulogy.
Oh, how I long to be known as a wise woman full of love and compassion. Lord, help me to live my life by wisdom and give prudent advice to others. I don’t know what lies ahead in 2017, but what I do know is that I can look to future and laugh because I am clothed with strength and dignity.
I look forward to sharing my update with you all when I return from She Laughs next week, along with another scripture that I plan on using to define my year. Until then, I would love to know if you have chosen a scripture to meditate on in 2017. Leave a comment below with your word or verse for the year!
I love God’s timing! It amazes me the things that only He can orchestrate. When you answer the call to follow Jesus, you just never know where you may end up. Following Jesus is definitely not boring! During the Wednesday evening service this week, my pastor talked about how when God calls you, He will most likely call you to a place that is out of your comfort zone. God will never call you to mediocrity. If God called you to something that was easy for you, then you wouldn’t need Him, or have to rely on Him. Hmm… Interesting. Hold on to that thought.
I just finished reading the book Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life (David C. Cook 2016) by John Hambrick. Little did I know that the timing this book would correspond with a day I won’t soon forget.
Last fall, my Ladies Bible Study group wanted to do some kind of service project together. Today was our appointed day to volunteer at a local soup kitchen by the name of Fishes and Loaves. This soup kitchen feeds 200-400 hungry people in downtown Houston six days a week.
As we pulled up to the to the building, there is already a huge line of people waiting to be fed. For some of these people, this may be the only meal that they eat today. It is a cold day here in Houston, and the temperatures are in the 40’s and 50’s, and it is damp and overcast. Most of the men and women we served, live under the bridge near the kitchen on the east side of downtown Houston.
Our group today consisted of mostly men, and a few women. The people thanked us and said God bless you for serving food to us. However, one woman in particular caught my attention, and it struck a cord with me. She came in with a black eye, and I wondered what she endured to get her to this place. Life on the streets is messy.
The Houston food bank along with other generous sponsors help provide the food. Our family donates money to the Houston Food bank every year, but today I locked eyes with the hungry men and women of Houston and I will never be the same.
Magnificat Houses is the umbrella organization over Fishes and Loaves that serves some one the neediest people in the inner city of Houston. It has been serving the mentally ill, homeless and disadvantaged since 1968. Magnificat house provides hope, food, shelter, half-way houses and rehabilitative services to people in the Houston area. It is completly led by volunteers, and operates by donation. Visit Magnificat Houses to learn more about this incredible organization.
Julie Batsche at Fishes and Loaves was our tour guide for the day. Our group served along side some of the most joy filled people that I have ever seen, their countannce radiates Jesus! We began with a tour of the facility, the chaplin shared the history of the organization, and we started with prayer. Today we served fresh salad, and gumbo made by Cedrick Broussard the cook, and his assistant, along with a roll, crackers and dessert to 205 people.
The murals on the wall were painted by one of the homeless men who used to come the shelter many years ago. Below is a depiction of the miracle of the fishes and loaves from the gospels that the kitchen is named after. The workers here today see this miracle played out before their very own eyes, because God provides daily for Loaves and Fishes to feed the hungry.
Our world is full of lost and hurting people who desperately need to know the love of Christ. In Move Toward the Mess, John Hambrick challenges American Christians who are bored sitting in the pews each Sunday, to get up and follow Jesus into the mess to minister to the lost and hurting in the world. I found this book to be both challenging and exciting.
In the first part of the book, John provides several examples of people that live their lives right smack in the middle of the mess, and in the second half of the book, he outlines practical ways for us to move toward the mess. There is a nice flow from chapter to chapter, and each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions that would make this an excellent book for individual study or small group discussion.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from Move toward the Mess:
What gives Paul peace in the middle of the mess is God’s outrageous, unconditional forgiveness.-John Hambrick
Move toward the mess is a love story. It is the ultimate love story of a mighty Savior who came to earth to bind up the brokenhearted, wipe every tear away, save the lost, and lavish his amazing grace on us.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”U46xi” via=”yes” ]Jesus is on the move today are you willing to answer the call and move toward the mess?[/ctt]
There are lots of different ways to move toward the mess. Last Spring when our community experienced devasting flooding we mobilized hundreds of church members into the community to help flood victims. You can read about how we moved toward the mess in The Church Has Left the Building. It is time for the church to leave the building, and move toward the mess.
I love the message of this book, and would love its message to go viral! Share this post on social media for a chance to win your very own copy of Move Toward the Mess between now and January 15th!
John Hambrick is no stranger to the mess. He is the Director of Starting Point and Staff Development at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA – one of the North Point Community Church campuses in Atlanta that bestselling author Andy Stanley founded. John has served in other churches as an associate pastor and pastor. He has also been a staff member for Young Life and was one of the chaplains at Kings College, University of London. John and his wife, Patty, have two children and reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.
Happy New Year! The new year is a time of new beginnings—a do over so-to-speak. The new year is a time to make changes and improvements. As I reflect on 2016 and contemplate 2017, I think of all the things, both good and bad, that marked my life in 2016. One of the things that continues to swirl around in my mind is my attitude this year at Christmas.
This year as Christmas approached I was content. Things were not perfect, no it was far from it, and I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list, or buy everyone the perfect gift. What was really hard this Christmas for our family was that this was the first year that our family wouldn’t all be together. Now that our eldest son is engaged, we have to share the holidays with another family. I understood this going into the holidays, and I had no expectations. I made plans, but because I had no expectations, I wasn’t disappointed.
You see I was content.
In Philippians 4 the Apostle Paul talks about God’s provision in verses 12-13.
12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – ESV
Just before Paul says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” He talks about contentment. Being content regardless of his circumstances. Whether he was rich or poor, whether he was high or low. That is because he knew the source of his contentment, it was not his circumstances, it was Christ.
This is the place where I want to start this year. In a place of contentment. A place where I can do all things through Christ, because He is the one that strengthens me to do his will for my life. I joyfully anticipate the New year, and whether I experience Mountain tops or Valleys I want to be content, with no expectations.
I love the holidays! There is excitement in the air, and for most people, the holidays are filled with peace, love, and joy. For some, however, the holidays can be a time of great poverty, sadness, and loneliness.
This year I am burdened with a loved one, a dear one who is lost and scared, and in need of a Christmas miracle. It is easy to get caught up in our own little worlds and miss the fact that there are hurting people all around us.
Take heart, there is hope, and we have good news…
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the prophecy of the good news is given.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.- Isaiah 9:6
This is the beauty of Christmas, a message prophesied so long ago. The Light that breaks the darkness is the Word made Flesh in John 1. The Christ child—fully man, fully God come to save the world. His name is Jesus, and He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. He is our Savior, and the only one who can take away our sins, and reconcile us to the Father.
Those that want the gospel, walk in darkness, and in the utmost danger. But when the gospel comes to any place, to any soul, light comes. Let us earnestly pray that it may shine into our hearts, and make us wise unto salvation. – Matthew Henry Commentary of Isaiah 9:6
This Christmas season, let us earnestly pray that the gospel shines through us to bring hope to a lost and hurting world. We as believers are anointed to bring the good news to the weary, the poor, and the lost.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound -Isaiah 61:1 ESV
Jesus Christ came to bind up the brokenhearted, to liberate those who are held captive by Satan and sin. My heart is heavy and burden for those I know who are lost. My prayer is that the Light of Christ will come into their darkness, and they will be saved.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Acts 2:21 (Berean Study Bible)
When my boys were very young, I would snuggle up with them in a blanket in my comfy chair and would read aloud to them. We created the sweetest memories in those early days of homeschooling when I read out loud all the time. Forever etched on my heart is the excitement and thrill of reading The Chronicles of Narnia out loud for the first time. So many amazing books! When I started homeschooling, my dear sweet husband told me that he would never tell me no to books. That is a very dangerous thing to tell a homeschool mom!
I was always on the hunt for quality books that were full of beauty, wisdom, and truth. Trips to homeschool conferences and bookstores would result in the purchase of many bundles of books. We quickly outgrew our little book shelf in our school room.
I not only wanted to read good quality books to my kids, I also wanted books that would teach them about their faith and be theologically sound. This is one of the reasons I created the apologetics booklet I talked about in (Un)Apologetic Parenting. Because I am passionate about finding these good books to read to our kids, today I am so excited to share this giveaway with my readers!
It is difficult to find quality books for children that teach sound spiritual concepts…
I wish I had a copy of Bible Basics when my boys were young! Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer incorporates beautifully illustrated pages with sound theological principles in a sturdy hardback book for little ones.
I was impressed with the beauty and simplicity with which this baby board book handled difficult concepts, such as Jesus’ nature being fully God and fully man and the Trinity—both which were explained poetically and artistically through quotations from Scripture, hymns, and early church writings.
Baby Believer Primers are designed to grow with children, from early infancy through early elementary school. By reframing abstract, but vitally important Biblical content into manageable concepts such as numbers and letters, the Primers expose children to the vocabulary of basic theology in a format that will help them categorize and retain the information.- www.catechesisbooks.com
I am excited to give away a copy of this special book just in time for Christmas! This would make a perfect gift for your grandchildren or for any parent with a baby and or small children!!
This is the first book in the Baby Believer Primers series, and I look forward to the other books in the series! Author Danielle Hitchen (left), a mother and talk radio producer, and the illustrator, Jessica Blanchard (right), a mother and an award-winning graphic artist, have created this artistically-designed and eye-catching board book that is pivotal for children’s spiritual formation.
After years of living in a testosterone-filled home and raising boys, it is a joy to spend time with my son’s girlfriend Jane, doing “girlie stuff.” My husband and my son both work at the same consulting firm. For the past two years, we have enjoyed getting dressed up and attending the annual corporate holiday party together.
Jane and I spent the day talking and laughing and prepping together for the party. We enjoyed a day of pampering. Our first stop was Blush and Brush where we enjoyed a blowout and style. Then we went to Saks Fifth Avenue, where Michelle at the Dolce and Gabanna counter made us look beautiful!
Jane and I talked a lot about family, the upcoming holidays, kids, and friends. My son Jacob and Jane are planning to be engaged soon, so we talked a lot about graduation, her career, and having children. Jacob and Jane were both homeschooled, and have very similar ideas about family. Our conversation turned to fulfillment, and thoughts that girls her age have today about being fulfilled.
Later that evening, we attended the Christmas party at the St. Regis Hotel in Houston. We had a wonderful time in visiting, eating, drinking, and dancing. A couple of hours into the party, Jane and I snuck off to the ladies room where we found a couple of comfy chairs in the dressing area. We kicked off our heels and began laughing and talking. Then, a beautiful young woman who was also at the party walked in. We made small talk for a few minutes when our conversation turned to Jane. We talked about her upcoming engagement, and this young woman proceeded to tell to Jane the importance of pursuing her career and being fulfilled before she had children. There was that word again, FULFILLMENT. This young lady in bathroom thought the way to be fulfilled was through a career. This got me thinking. What is fulfillment, and how are we satisfied?
What is fulfillment?
According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, fulfillment is the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted:winning the championship was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.• Satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character:she did not believe that marriage was the key to happiness and fulfillment.
I am concerned that young women today are being misled about how to achieve fulfillment. True fulfillment doesn’t come from things, people, or a career.
When I was young, I dreamed of becoming a wife and a mom. I had a career, but I couldn’t wait to quit as soon as I could to stay home with my children. I made the decision to quit work and devote my life to raising and homeschooling my boys. I would not have wanted it any other way. I didn’t struggle with being fulfilled. Like the second definition in the Oxford American Dictionary says, my satisfaction and happiness were a result of fully developing my abilities as a wife and mom, and further developing my character. There is nothing like being a young mother to develop and try your character! From sleepless nights to diapers, and from vomit to screaming toddlers, Motherhood is not for the faint of heart!
How are we fulfilled?
First of all, fulfillment does not come from being married, having children, or having a career. True fulfillment comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for him. But here is the rub: we will never be truly fulfilled here on earth, because this is not our home. We have a God-shaped hole in our heart that only He can fill.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has placed eternity in our hearts, and He is making us beautiful in His time. As we get to know Jesus Christ and spend time with Him reading His word, and praying we are transformed. Regardless of your age, don’t look to the world or to the things of this world to make you happy or to fulfill you. Fulfillment does not come from things, a house, a job, a car; it doesn’t come from people, a boyfriend, husband or children. You won’t find fulfillment wrapped in a box under your Christmas tree. True fulfillment comes from knowing and walking with the Lord.
May you know His love and feel His Presence afresh this Christmas Season!
Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. This is simply my favorite time of the year, but this can also be the most stressful time of the year for me! Holidays can be so full of joy and excitement, and other times they can be hard. Unmet expectations, families problems, the loss of a job or missing a loved one can all cause stress and heartache.
A few years ago, I began dreaming and planning for Christmas in October. I set everything up so that it was ready before Thanksgiving. I am so thankful that I did. We enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and the following Monday, my dear sweet Mother-in-Law unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord. I am so thankful that my house was ready for Christmas, because I can’t imagine being able to try to get everything together for Christmas in the stressful grief filled days that followed.
I know most people wait until the day after Thanksgiving to begin setting things up. I used to be one of those people, but I found that if I waited until after Thanksgiving, then I started my favorite time of the year stressed, exhausted, and to worn out to enjoy it!
I told y’all about my friend Debi Chapman, who wrote the e-book Holiday Happenings, I love how her books begins. If you missed that post check it out here! Debi begins her book by saying,
“First, we dream.”
“List people whom you want to serve in your home this holiday season.”
I love that!
Who do you want to serve in your home this month?
When I began dreaming of the holidays, I knew I wanted to have a brunch with the ladies in my Bible Study group. So I began planning, and I love that way it turned out. With some planning and creativity you can set a lovely table.
Here I use my china with these gorgeous red placemats, and poinsettia napkin holders. I found these holly glasses at the dollar store several years ago, and use them every year for all of my December gatherings. Setting a beautiful table doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Use what you have, and be on the look out for inexpensive or sale priced items to add to your collection each year.
To the right of the plate is a bookmark with a pen that I purchased for each of the ladies.
For the coffee station I found these fun stir sticks!
The best part of all of this is the connection made, and the fellowship we experienced.
Who are you planning to serve in your home this month?
Start dreaming now of how you can make this a special time. The Holiday season is a perfect time of year to hone your hospitality skills. Once our homes are decorated for Christmas, why not enjoy this excellent time to invite friends into our homes, and share the good news of the gospel.