The pictures in my slide show are ones that I have taken in Tahiti, Ireland, Hawaii, and on 2 different trips to Australia. I love landscape photos and have been blessed to be able to capture photos of some of the most beautiful places in the world. Enjoy!

About Me

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Constant thinker and dreamer...just a girl livin for Jesus who wants to make a difference in the world.

Shame on YOU, America....

"Shame on you America: the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations."

I really can't believe people are posting such nonsense as what is above...

This is what it should really say:

Shame on the people who are only concerned about America. This is a WORLD created by God, not just a country. No wonder this world is going to crap, everyone only cares about themselves. Everybody is concerned about people in America not having this or having that. As a person created by God who created ALL things, we should not be so concerned with our own selves, but with those who are less fortunate. The standards that America deem poor are still MUCH higher than those of 3rd world countries such as Haiti. While America does have poor and homeless and orphans, they are taken better care of here in America than they are in Haiti.
Children who are in orphanages here in America actually get to sleep on beds each night and get to eat 3 meals a day and get to play with their friends. They get to go to the doctor if they are sick and they get to wrap up in blankets each night.
Children who are in orphanages in Haiti are many times sold as domestic servants and are often abused. Most of the orphanage homes are not inspected and they struggle to provide food, education and other necessities that are needed to provide for the children. Unless the orphanages are ministry ran, most of them are ran by child protection officers who are corrupt.
Haiti is the size of Maryland and food can sometimes be a rare find. Many orphaned children are fed rice for a meal and that is it. While orphaned children in America are running around playing with their toys, orphaned children in Haiti are sitting on dirt floors. They are drinking water that we wouldn’t even think about putting our hands in.
Many of the children that are in orphanages in Haiti are there because their family has sold them for money. That is how desperate the people of Haiti are. Selling children in Haiti is a bigger business than selling cocaine.

As God’s children, when we see a child, we see a soul. We see a soul that has been perfectly created by God for a purpose.
Shame on America for thinking we are so much better than the rest of the world. Shame on America for being self centered and not caring about the rest of the world. Shame on America for not doing the work of God as He has called us to do.

In a friend, you find a second self...

"Oh Holy God, I stay amazed...You are so much more than words could ever say..."

When we as non-believers come to Christ and are made new through Him, there are still moments where our sinful nature will prod it's way into our life.  We may be having the most amazing day ever in regards to blessings of God or just seeing His love on a completely new level, yet because we are human...we still slip.  We are still in the world, but we are not to be of the world.  

My senior year of high school, I was voted "class clown," "life of the party," "loudest," and "knows the gossip."  At that time (and in college) I thrived on that.  I was an only child until about the age of 10 and so I was used to being the center of attention.  It's never been hard for me to make friends, but for whatever reason I felt it was important that these characteristics defined who I was.  Because at the time, I didn't know who I was...I had to have someone else label me.  

Going to college was a completely different setting for me and even though I was only 2 hours away from home, it was still a new environment.  A new environment where people didn't know me, so I had to make it known that "this is who I am."  I am the loudest, knows everything about everyone and everything, life of the party class clown who can make everyone laugh.  That's what I wanted everyone to know.  Everywhere I went, for whatever reason, I always felt that my presence had to be known.  Who did I think I was?  

Moving to South Carolina has been a huge turning point for me.  After a few years of different family members living down here on and off, I am finally here alone.  For almost a year now, I've been completely alone and 14 hours away from anyone that knew me.  

This past summer, when I rededicated my life to Christ, I knew that there were so many things about myself that had to change in order for me to become the woman that God wanted me to be.  The biggest thing in my life is gossip.  It's not that I always start the conversation about someone, but for whatever reason, I'm always quick to jump in.  This is something that God has really been dealing with me about.  

Ephesians 4:29-30 says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."

As being someone in the world, it's very hard to fall back into the pattern of a worldly life.  It's something I struggle with and I know other people struggle with.  We aren't perfect.  I'm not perfect.  I've been on both sides of the field when it comes to gossip.  I've talked about someone and I've been talked about.  Neither one of these are pleasing to God.

In today's life that is full of chaos and commotion and confusion, it's easy to misinterept someone's actions or words or thoughts.  I've done this plenty of time.  When something happens, I have my own opinion about it and how I view the situation.  That's doesn't mean it's right.  Chances are, I don't have the entire story.  I learned that tonight more than anything.  

I've also learned that in friendships, sometimes someone has to be the bigger person.  Friendships require a lot of forgiveness.  When we have friends, even best friends, it seems like they are the ones we hurt the most.  Even when we don't mean to.  One of my really great friendships started by forgiveness.  Forgiveness that was necessary because someone very close to both of us at the time, for whatever reason, did not want us to be close.  Therefore, there were always actions and words being said that caused a rift between me and this girl.  As time went on, I knew God was changing me because after 2 years of literally having so much hatred for this girl, God softened my heart for her.  This led to me sending her a message on facebook apologizing for whatever I had done and letting her know that there were things in her life that I could actually relate to.  When it was all said and done, we have become really close and have helped each other grow closer to God.  In the meantime, we have also realized that our differences were mainly caused by someone elses words and actions, and not so much by our own.  In the meantime, I still knew that I had to forgive her for any wrong doing that I thought maybe I had done. 

Going on in Ephesians 4, the Bible tells us in verse 31 and onto verse 32 to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  

We have a God that we serve that is so fair and just and so forgiving, that we should be molded into His likeness.  If He can forgive us for ALL of the sin and dirt and shame in our life, why does it seem so hard to forgive our friends or people who are around us?  

Ephesians 5:1-2 says "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  

Instead of tearing our friends down and gossiping about people to them or in front of them, let's remember to bring our friends up.  Each of us go through different times and trials in our life where we NEED our friends.  We need these people that God has placed in our life.  I need these people that God has placed in my life.  Each person that God has put in my life, has been put here for a reason.  Sometimes their duration in my life is not that long, but that person has still left an impression on me that has somehow shaped and changed my life.  Everyone makes at least one decision in their life that is based on a friend.  Whether it's making a decision of what to wear, relationships, other friends, work, etc., our decisions are influenced by our friends and what they think.  

I know I have hurt people.  Probably a lot of people and for that I'm sorry.  If I have ever hurt you, or said something about you or to you that was hurtful, I'm sorry.  If I have ever degraded you in anyway or made you feel less valuable than you really are, I'm sorry.  If I have ever looked down upon you for anything in your life that I didn't agree with, I'm sorry.  If I have ever failed you, I'm sorry.  Please forgive me, just as Christ has forgiven me.  I promise to do better and please know that I love you with my whole being.  I love each and every person that God has put in my life.  I don't know where I would be without you.  

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

-Casting Crowns

Your presence is a treasure I am seeking...

I took this picture 2 years ago when we were in Clearwater, FL.  Heaven...that's all I can think about when I look at this.  I believe that God gives us glimpses of what Heaven will be like, even though it's not even a tiny piece of how it's really going to look.  

How can you look at this picture and not believe in God.  That someone so much greater and more powerful could create something as beautiful as this.  The creation of a sunset appears in just seconds.  Imagine how beautiful Heaven is going to be knowing that right before Jesus died, He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them (and us).  That was over 2000 years ago and even though God's time is not our time, it is still awesome think about how absolutely amazing paradise will be.  We can't even fathom what the paradise of Heaven will be like.  Our minds can't comprehend it.  

This picture of Golgotha was taken while I was standing in the Garden Tomb area.  This is Skull Hill, the site where  Jesus was crucified.   After they took Him down from the cross, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carried Jesus' body to the tomb and lay it inside.  The tomb is only a meer 100 meters away from the site of Jesus' crucifixion.

As you can tell, there was a huge line waiting to go inside of the tomb.  The Bible tells us that the tomb that Jesus was placed in was in the side of a mountain, this is why based on area and location of Skull Hill, this tomb was the only place where Jesus' body could have been taken.  Inside the tomb to your right, it is gated off.  This is where they say that the body of Jesus lay.  You can not touch the spot because of the gate, but to just be inside the tomb is amazing.  The door of the tomb has a sign on the back of it that says "He is not here, for He has risen..."  Those words send chills down my back.

I couldn't imagine being in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' death.  With Him being up on the cross and people standing by on the streets, shouting at Him.  It's bad enough to be going through a public death, but to be insulted at the same time, Jesus didn't stand a chance.  Jesus had to rely on His Father's love to get Him through His suffering on the cross, because that is the ONLY way He could have endured the pain for as long as He did.  In the book of John it talks about Jesus' mother being close enough to Him while He was on the cross to talk to Him.  Could you imagine? Watching your son hang on a cross, knowing that He came into the world to die that way.  Jesus was mocked by the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders and after hearing them yell at Him to come down off the cross if He was really the King of Israel, could have have been a temptation for Him.  He could have very easily done just that, but He didn't.  He had to endure the pain and suffering to carry out God's plan.  He had to finish what He started and what He came on earth to do.  He cried out "It is finished."  (John 19:30)  

Jesus went through all of the pain and suffering and literal torture to pay the atonement for our sins.  I mean He knew how He was going to die, yet He still carried out God's plans.  How many times do we not do something because we don't know the outcome OR we do know what the outcome is going to be, which REALLY makes us steer clear of the opportunity.  

I can't even begin to imagine what Jesus looked like after He was raised up and appeared to Mary Magdelene.  I mean she was there during the crucifixion and it was only 3 days later that He appeared to her when she was at the tomb.  She couldn't have possibly forgotten what He looked like, yet the very sight of Jesus, stopped her in her tracks and she didn't even recognize Him.   She was standing there in TEARS over the thought that someone had taken Jesus' body.  She wanted to annoint His body.  She was so thankful for the freedom that Jesus had given her when he drove the seven demons out of her body.  

Mary Magdalene was truly passionate about Jesus and knew that He had saved her from the pit of hell.  She was there when His disciples were not.  She watched the agony that Jesus endured and I believe that He honored that by appearing to Her first at the tomb.  I believe she was exactly where she was supposed to be at that time and place.  She possessed the same attitude that we should have when it comes to Jesus.  She had a childlike faith that allowed her to just obey instead of questioning Jesus.  How many times have we questioned God?  How many times have we chartered our own course instead of letting God handle it for us.  

So many times we forget that this life is not our own.  I'm so thankful that God loves me enough that He would send His ONLY son down to earth to live a short life and die such a horrible death so that I could have eternity in Heaven.  God has given us a free invitation to Heaven's party.  Don't throw away your invite, do something with it.  We are all called at some point in our life.  Everyone goes through a time in their life when they go through conviction.  Jesus is standing at the door of your life and knocking.  Are you going to let Him in or are you going to turn Him away?  

I'm so thankful that I have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Jesus.  A relationship that can never be compared to anyone or anything in this world.  My heart has changed so much over these past few months and it has only came from God.  My life has nothing to do with me.  Unfortunately, that is the type of world we are living in these days.  A me, me, me world.  

Now is the time to realize that "me" could have never been possible without God.  He created "me" which means this life is not my own.  It's time to obey instead of asking questions.  It's time to get down to business.  In God's eyes, there isn't much time...don't waste the time that is left.  Remember that all of the materialistic things in life are not going to matter when it's our time to give up our bodies.  We will be going to a new heaven...a new paradise.  One that is being prepared for us.  One that will never see darkness again...

Thank you Jesus for finishing what You came on earth to start.  Thank You for Your obedience.  Thank You for bearing the sin of the world on Your shoulders.  I can't wait to worship and praise You for eternity...

You are enthroned above the heavens
The earth and all creation bow before You
You are crowned with strength and glory
The angels crying holy all surround You
For you will stand
Your kingdom has no end

Oh Holy God
I stay amazed
You are so much than words could ever say
Oh Holy God I pour out my praise
On the One who never ceases to amaze me

You are loving beyond treasure
Your presence is a treasure I am seeking
You are all consuming fire I am Your desire and You are mine

Im pouring out my praise on You
Im pouring out my love on You 

"Stay Amazed" by Elizabeth Clark & Klaus Kuehn

It's time we start living up to our name...

January 1, did you come so quickly?

Exactly 10 years ago, I was a senior in high school and going through one of the most amazing moments of my life.  Conviction.  Big word, so much meaning.  New Years Eve 1999, my mom and Jeanne Ann and I went shopping in Peoria, IL and the entire trip there and back was spent talking about the end of the world.  I was freaked out.  I literally thought that because of Y2K, the world was actually really going to end at the stroke of midnight that night.  It seemed I only had a few hours to live.  Not so much.  I spent that New Year's Eve sober, which shocked a lot of people.  After all, I was always the one having "euchre parties" at my house and let's not forget the $350 worth of alcohol that I got busted with during half time of our WC vs. Winamac game only 3 months prior to NYE.  

But at this moment of my life, I was going through something.  Something I didn't talk about to anyone because I didn't really know what was going on and I just had a feeling that everyone would laugh at me.  Needless to say, I made it through NYE 1999, clearly past midnight and onto 2000.  

About a week later, it just so happened that my uncle Red was heading to a basketball game and asked if I wanted to go with him.  It was just our high school games, but nonetheless it was complete divine intervention for me.  God's hand was clearly pushing me to go.  Do you ever just have moments where you know you need to do something and you can't really figure out why the opportunity presents itself, but when it's all said and done, it becomes an "ah ha" moment?  Well that's what happened the night of January 7th, 2000.  By the end of the 20 minute ride to North White High School (its amazing that I can recall details like it just happened last week) I was bawling.  It was at that moment that I realized that the emotions I had been feeling for the past couple weeks, weren't just emotions.  It was completely God and He was putting me through His amazing conviction.  The first work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is conviction.  The power behind it can only come from God. It's the only way to understand it.  On the way home from the basketball game that night, my uncle told me that his church was having a revival the following 2 nights and that I should come.  

January 8, 2000 is a day I will never forget.  During the revival, there was an evangelist there named Jerry.  I think he was from West Virginia.  As I'm standing in the pew next to my grandma and singing along to the songs, my heart is just full of despair and longing.  Apparently it was written all over my face, because next thing you know Jerry points to me (never met the man before in my life) and he proceeds to tell me that it's time to turn my life over to God and that God is speaking to him to pray with me.  Whoa....immediately tears came streaming down my face.  How did this man know so much about my pain and agony, yet had never spoken a word to me before that?  I went up to the alter, sat on my knees, put my head down and literally poured out my heart to God.  I can't remember ever crying as hard as I did that night.  The weight of the sin in my life had literally took me to a place that was so dark and cold.  A place I never want to go near again.  Then here I was crying out to Jesus to bring some light to my life.  He heard me.  He answered my call for help.  He embraced me as I dropped to His feet.  

That day, God saved me....He literally saved my soul and every part of my being.  He pulled me up out of the darkest pits of my life.  It was at that moment, I saw a glimpse of Heaven.  I saw what my Creator was about.  I felt Him.  I felt His presence...and from that moment on, I knew I would never be alone. 

One week from today will be 10 years since the day I first met Christ.

I've had so many ups and downs in my life since that very moment.  Some of them, I included God, many of them I didn't.  At least I didn't think so at the time.  For some reason, I was always leaving God out of the equation in my life.  Besides, it is my life right?  My decisions?  Well....not so much.  What I have been through though, has brought me to this exact moment in my life.  I wouldn't change that for anything.  Through the hurt and pain of losing friends, loved ones, life changing decisions, moving 900 miles away from my family, etc...I wouldn't change a moment of it.  And even though I thought I was making all of the decisions, it's awesome to look back and see that as I was taking the pen and writing the story of my life, God had His hand wrapped around mine, guiding the pen in His direction.  

As 2010 begins, God, I just ask that You teach me patience.  Patience with my life.  This life seems to go so quickly, and our moments soon become memories.  Each second has a past.  God, I pray that when it comes to my own longings and desires, you give me the strength and courage to turn them over to You.  After all, You created them.  You know my heart.  You know my yearnings.  I just need more patience to know that there are certain moments for everything.  And those moments shouldn't be rushed.  

I'm the girl who always wants to know the outcome before the beginning even gets started.  I'm thankful that in my life, I already know the outcome.  I already know what the end looks like.  Now it's time to just enjoy the pre-show.  This life is not a rehearsal.  This life is serious.  It's time to get serious about our walk with Christ.  What are we waiting for?  Are we waiting for someone else to get the blessings that God has promised us?  God wants Christ Warriors that are going to fight for His kingdom.  

I won't back down, I'm on a mission....

In the name of Jesus, we will change this city and this world.  Words can't describe how utterly amazing it is that God drew each line of my life that led me straight to REFUGE.  He brought this family to me when I needed it the most.  When I thought I was alone and no one understood what I was going through.  I had to realize that my walk with Jesus is WAY more important than any plans I have.  

My love for Jesus has changed me.  He has awaken my soul.  To be a Christian is to be Christ-like.  It's about time we start living up to our name.  

Here is to 2010!  I'm praying for a change.  I'm praying for a revolution.  I'm praying for REFUGE!  Let's do this!