Monday, August 31, 2009

What I Learned at LPL

Living Proof Live was so powerful! Some very sweet friends I met there wondered if the spirit was stronger up close... yes, yes He was to me, in the second row!Beth taught on our hearts desire. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you your hearts desire. (Psalm 37:4) There are days I have been afraid to hope; it can be so painful. But, because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness! (Lamentations 2:22-23)

I learned so much! What I love about Beth is that I always see Him in her. She's a lightning rod for His word, and gives me such a deep understanding of it. The most important thing she taught me, was that "wait" is not an idle word, it is a verb. In Hebrew, wait means to be in anxious expectation. Yes Lord! She also said if we are praying, by the word and are not receiving our answer - don't give up! There is Glory or Destiny at stake.

Travis and the worship team brought it. I really have no words. Worshiping God there, in that way... let's just say I wound up on my face at the altar, crying out for mercy and when I rose I knew I had it. God and I met to do business this weekend.When the event was over, I did get to meet Rich, LPL's amazing photographer. He was funny and totally down to earth.Meeting Travis Cottrell was surreal. He's so gifted and so... normal, praise God! It was like hanging out with a friend. Did you know he blogs?I did meet a new friend, Jamie, there too. She was such a blessing to me!Check out the Living Proof schedule; if they're even remotely close to you, GO!


For the Love of Girlfriends

When I was in the Twin Cities last weekend, I got to go to church, briefly! see my friend Sara and stay with my friend Meagan. Ladies I love you to pieces!

Here's me and one of my best girls, Sara from Interpret Sass. We've only "met" twice but she's already family.(I don't know why we didn't take a picture of ourselves that night Meagan, we were up til 2:00!)

Can't wait to see you again soon!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going Under

This weekend I'm going back to Beth Moore, this time in Green Bay! (The video is the recap of when I saw her speak in Minneapolis last summer.) Unbelievable.

LPL Minneapolis from Rich Kalonick on Vimeo.

I can hardly wait to enter in again. Have you ever worshiped with thousands of women? The authenticity and abandon is second to none. Tell me you know about Travis and the Praise Team! The anointing on the entire Living Proof Live ministry is amazing. And have you read their blog?

Last summer I was in the 3rd row. I'll never forget it; I said, this woman has a word from God for me and I want it! I want to smell her perfume! Let me tell you, when God sends a messanger... she taught on being between a rock and a hard place. 3 months later when X walked out with a note, there I was, in that deep dark space. But when I started seeking answers, because God help me, there were so many questions, I returned again and again to her lesson. Yes it was dark... but it was the shadow of His wing. Between a rock and a hard place, I pressed into The rock and have held on for dear life. Best dang advice I ever got.

I left a comment on their blog this week and about fell of my chair when I got the email inviting me to Green Bay. Just about died y'all. So after the shrieking stopped, the joy has spread through like wildfire. It's downright uncontainable! And I remember, this, is what it's supposed to feel like. This, is what God wants for us.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemia 8:10)

When the event in Green Bay is over, I'm heading west, to the Twin Cities. Anyone up for a bloggy breakfast (lunch or dinner)? :) I'll be in the Cities through Sunday - do you know what this means?? I get to go back to my church!!

Tonight I remember what it feels like to have my cup overflow. My children are doing great. My new job rocks the party. I got a little sanity and quit one of the part time jobs = I took control of my priorities. I can feel a holy fire bubbling up. I missed this. The Lord has been so faithful to me. Through tears and tantrums, in the darkest night and the brightest dawn, He is good.

Last summer when I was baptized, the feeling of going under and coming up new changed me. Father God, water mark my spirit and take me under this weekend.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Spread the Love

This is my pal Jonathan Thulin (from my home church in Minnesota) singing, "Spoken For" which will be on his next album (released in October). He's recently started blogging, you can check it out by clicking here.

He has a huge heart for Jesus; swing over and welcome him to the blogosphere! Want more? Check out his MySpace.

Sing It,

Reminding Myself

God grant me the Serenity to
Accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
and the Wisdom to know the difference.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

War Paint

It sure is nice to get hugs out of the mailbox. I love fun mail, which is everything but bills. I've been lousy at getting cards out this year but it's high on 2010's resolution list. I got a package in the mail from my pal Keri at Forever Folding Laundry yesterday; I won her giveaway, check out the adorable beauties in her Etsy store! I also got the sweetest card from my Mom this week, thanks.

My friends at Three Bay B Chicks sent me fun mail last Christmas that I still use and treasure. Sparingly, but I'll have you know, Este Lauder is my war paint. Some days being a single mom of 3 means don't waste your make-up. You're gonna run too hard, move too fast, put out too many fires and barely keep your head above water; the last thing on your mind is an eyelash curler. Really.

But there are days that I pull out my gifted fancy bag of make-up and I remember why they sent it. Because they believe in me, and want me to see what they see. Every morning I stand in front of the mirror and tell my reflection, "you are a good, capable, woman. You will make it through this day, even if by the skin of your teeth, but by God, you will make it, head held high." And at night when I'm facing myself again, I think of something to be grateful for and say it out loud. Honestly at the beginning I was just grateful for teeth to brush. But now I like who I see.

Sure that woman needs to lose some weight and do something about the bags under her eyes. But her shoulders are pulled back, there's light in her eyes and I trust her.

Does it seem funny that something so small can make such a big difference? Not to me. Some people say don't sweat the small stuff, but life is in the details. A friend once told me, "the amount of spiritual warfare you'll encounter is in direct correlation to the impact you're having on the Kingdom." When my feet hit the floor in the morning I want the enemy to say, uh-oh she's up again.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)

Every gal knows the finishing touch on any outfit is the accessories Mine just happens to be war paint ...made by Este Lauder.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Kyrie Eleison

A week from today, life will change again when my sons start school and I start a new job. It's been one "new normal" after another since last November. Sometimes I wish it would just be... but we're not there yet, we're not where God is taking us to.

Often in the last eight months I have prayed for the destination. But God is about the journey. Beth Moore says, "... God will forever be more interested in you knowing your Healer than experiencing His healing, and knowing your Deliverer than knowing your deliverance."

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5)

Do you know what Kyrie Eleison means? In Greek, "Lord Have Mercy." ...down the road that I must travel, through the darkness of the night, where I'm going will you follow... Lord have mercy.

In moments of patience, I know had He taken me straight to the destination, I would have missed so much. Remember when I put my license plates on by myself for the first time and it felt like reaching the summit? What if I had missed even that one small victory? How could I have built another on the back of it, until my shoulders straightened out, until my eyes finally met yours?

I'm not afraid anymore. That alone, is worth the journey, no matter how high the climb.


Monday, August 10, 2009


When I flew out of Florida last month it was gray and raining... until we broke through the clouds. Right above the rain was blue sky - we just had to climb past the line to find it. There are good things for my children and I, just above the clouds. We're climbing up to the line and I am beginning to see.

I love this video (mute the volume on the youtube link) because it reminds me of my prayers.

See how the seeds start growing right away? But notice the first growth is below the surface! Do not be afraid... since the first day you set your mind to gain understanding and humble yourself before God, your words were heard (and action was taken)... (Daniel 10:12) but remember the Angel with the answer was detained 21 days. I heard this week the Bible says 366 times - Do Not Fear - 1 for every day and an extra in case we forget.

God has been quiet, but I do not believe he has been deaf to my pleas. And even in the quiet, he has been close. My seeds are growing, but they had to put down roots.

Action is being taken on my behalf in the heavenlies. And it is coming together down here. Jobs are coming, child care is set, school is starting, blessings are on their way. I can't write about all the details yet, but things we have prayed for together for months, are starting to break through. Thank you Jesus. And thank you, the walk has been hard but never alone out here.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

I Can See a New Horizon,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Remembering Grams

Tonight my family gathered around the dinner table and celebrated, not my sister's 32nd birthday, but the 7th anniversary of her 25th birthday, because she's fabulous like that. She picked the menu, porcupine balls and twice baked potato casserole. I made the potatoes, but the meatballs I haven't had in 20 years.

They were a specialty of my Grams. She's been with Jesus for 10 years now. Her loss is still deeply felt. As I was serving my children a dish she served me as a child, the aroma alone brought her to the table and tears to my eyes. I miss her.

She is the reason I named my blog Willow Tree; she was my first sanctuary, the tree in her backyard was the image of it.

On hot summer nights like this we used to sit on her front porch in the swing with our coffee cups. Of course I was eight, mine had water, but she always made me feel special. She would scratch my back or play with my hair while the big band music came through the open windows and I wished even then, to stop the clock, draw it out.

She fostered my love of the theater, with Phantom of the Opera. She taught me how to play solitaire, use liquid rouge and that rubbing fresh mint from her backyard in my hands smelled like heaven. She taught me things I didn't know until she was gone; strength that shone like beauty, love so pure it was potent, and because of her, I know the meaning of Grace.

She suffered at the end, Alzheimer's was an ugly, mean, disease that forced us to watch her go for years before she left. I regret not being there for her enough. I regret fearing her disease.

But oh, how merciful God is to me, that He allows me to dream of her; to put my head on her chest again. I've had the best conversations with Grams under the willow tree in my dreams. I wish my children could have known her. I can't wait to make introductions a lifetime from now, in Heaven. But I have told her of them. She knows. And she waits.

I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)

She returns to us here, in dreams and red patent leather shoes I know she would have loved. In meals and memories we still share. And while she took pieces of my family's hearts with her, she left pieces of her own, with us.... and we are better for it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Be Near

Your fullness is mine, revelation divine. But oh to taste, to know much more than a page, to feel Your embrace... For dark is light to You, depths are height to You; far is near, but Lord I need to hear from you, be near Oh God.

My fourth interview (same company) went great, but I wasn't chosen. The recruiter fell all over himself about how perfect I was for the position, but the other candidate knew lawyers in the firm and was chosen because of an established report.

Be near oh God.

Habitat for Humanity called today, it's a No. For at least two years; I don't meet their financial requirements.

Be near oh God.

In this economy, I am more qualified to check your groceries or deliver your pizza. Never mind a dozen years of administrative experience, I don't have a degree and the 50 other people applying for the same job, do.

Be near oh God.

Weeks like this could empower the enemy's words as he laughs in my face and snarls, you never should have left.

Be near oh God.

The public at large feels entitled to say, why don't they just leave? And this is why. Because not every mother is blessed to have a family waiting with open arms. Because many don't have an education that enables them to stand alone. Because door after door is slammed in her face.

Be near oh God.

The enemy has been very loud today. Don't you see? You're that girl. That uneducated, white trash, divorced mother of three. ...but I'm not who he says I am.

Only Almighty God Himself gets the privilege to define me - because He made me.

The enemy can't shame me, he can't touch one hair on my head. He can snarl and hiss, but I can shake the gates of Hell with faith. The night X walked out, I went back to church and even though I sobbed, I raised my hands in praise to the One who knew.

Though the road has been long and hard, though my arms feel like lead from the weight they have borne, I will raise my hands again to Him tonight, and praise Him in the valley. I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

The Word tells me I am...
No longer a slave, but a child and an heir (Galatians 4:7)
Chosen, Holy and Blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4)
God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)

and the one that drove me to my knees tonight as I seek Him... But now in Christ Jesus, you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)

His nearness truly is our good.

With Gratitude,