Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing

Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.

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Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…

Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…

These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.

I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.

What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.

However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.

God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.

The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.

I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.

I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart. Continue reading “Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing”

Lego-building vs. God

One of my favorite things about God is His ideal timing…

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God’s Word always provides the answer to our problems; we just have to be willing to go there.        

I’m perpetually guilty of getting caught up in the crazy-business of life and losing focus on the things that really matter. Attempting to search for the bottom of a to-do-list just to realize the rest of my calendar is filled with activities, deadlines and appointments, sometimes just doesn’t settle well with me. Raising children, planning meals, a demanding job…the list goes on― these are things that keep my husband and I and most other grown-ups on the go. Let’s face it, sometimes “adult-ing” is tough… in the heat of the moment we often forget to breathe and allow God to direct our steps.

So far homeschooling my son this school year has proved to be somewhat stressful and difficult…second grade started and my boy has brought to the table not only his school books, but an exasperating attitude nearly every day.

Recently I sternly but rationally discussed with him the possibility of maybe focusing a little more, in light of finishing Math in an hour’s time, rather than three hours. And it’s not that he struggles with the work or expectations, he’s perfectly capable, he’s just preoccupied with other interests and therefore it distracts him from the matter at hand.

Needless to say the conversation didn’t appeal well to him and it left me feeling helpless and as a result I slowly walked away from the table and plopped down on the sofa and sighed, most likely dramatically. Continue reading “Lego-building vs. God”

Marriage is an Adventure

God is faithful in the good times and bad, sometimes we just can’t see the mountains of beauty surrounding a rocky marriage or trial until we submit and allow Him to intervene.

20170924_092316.jpgI’m sitting at a round wooden table in a cozy loft-condo as I write these words and the view— it doesn’t get much better in my opinion. From the glass doors leading out to the balcony, the scenery is not only inviting, but breathtaking as well. Situated four stories below and cascading outward are attractive rustic shops and welcoming lodges to accommodate the many visitors, which surely outnumber the locals. This little rural town is encircled by a display of boundless mountains. Evergreens thickly cover the slopes and golden shades of Aspen trees experience the effects of Autumn. At the summit of the taller mountains, last year’s remaining snow can still be seen and heavy gray-colored clouds graze the tops in a steady manner while the sun occasionally makes an appearance.20170923_065521

Our family makes it a point to take in God’s impressive craftsmanship by venturing to the Rocky mountains in the heart of Colorado annually. Only this time the kids are back home entertaining grandparents which leaves just my husband and I. We took a trip to Mount Rushmore this past summer which we enjoyed as a family (so no worries the kids aren’t feeling too left out) plus I’m sure they’ve considered the fact that we’ll come back with a surprise of some sort for each of them. This year, and even more definitively- this week, marks thirteen years of marriage for my sweetie and I. And as an effort to celebrate we decided it’d be just the two of us on this adventure. It’s the first time we’ve been on a get-a-way without children or another couple, so to say we were a “little giddy” months before this retreat arrived would be an understatement.

I could carry on about the desire of coming to this remarkable place for a number of reasons…the cool crisp air, the Aspens that I’d love to scoop up and transplant to my backyard if it were that easy, to the comfortable warm fireplace just feet away from where I’m sitting, but the most appealing piece of this moment is seated directly across from me, my husband, with his Bible laying open on the table as he reads and studies God’s word. It’s something I witness often and it never grows old. It’s something I prayed over for months with our children- to see their father come to faith. Tears well up in my eyes as I consider God’s answer to prayer and His loving faithfulness. To see our family grow in the Lord humbles me and leaves me wanting more of Him.

It wasn’t always this way though… Continue reading “Marriage is an Adventure”

Teeth and Faith

I’m in braces…again…for the second time in my life. The last time was eighteen years ago when I was a teenager and having braces was considered sort of “cool” at that age.

There’s a reason you don’t see many adults parading around with braces on their teeth. Advanced technology has allowed individuals the option to replace a mouthful of wires, brackets, and a rainbow of colorful bands with Invisalign, which corrects your teeth using clear aligners that fit tightly and gradually shift your teeth into the right position and provide little to no evidence of visibility. Also I’m pretty confident someone out there considered the fact that most adults aren’t going to want to wear a mouthful of metal while verbally training their young children. Plus I’m not sure about all thirty-something year olds but I feel like once I hit thirty my body showed a few signs of aging and apparently my mouth must be drooping somewhat these days because I now have deep cuts on the inside of my lip…caused by…braces.

Continue reading “Teeth and Faith”

‘A Strike at the Head’

You may not want to read this if you’re an animal rights activist, particularly for snakes…

15053272196551994263595.jpgMy little daughter let our puppy out for what seemed like that thousandth time and also what’s be coming more of the regular routine, thankfully! Potty-training a dog is never much fun, but I’ll take many trips outdoors over cleaning up puddles on the floor inside any day!
A typical outing with the new puppy includes sniffs, perhaps a little cat chase, and then the business— which is ultimately the reason we ventured out in the first place. However this particular outing proved to be a little more adventurous than normal.
I could tell there was panic in my girl’s voice when she beckoned for me from the front patio…

Continue reading “‘A Strike at the Head’”

The Effect of Words

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14

allowing the world’s words to speak louder than God’s Word only brings hurt…my story of learning the hard way…

It’s amazing how the simplicity of a word can cause such a bold effect. Words have the potential to separate a satisfactory writing from an accomplished writer. Combining the right words holds the possibility of creating a beautiful story, but what about single words? Words on their own, words that describe:

Beautiful, confident, humble, ridiculous, inconsiderate…

These are words that not only describe, for better or worse, but can define and in some cases they define one’s character.

At age fourteen, just an insecure new teenager trying to overcome sexual abuse I’d experienced as a young girl, I remember being referred to by a certain intimidating boy as prude. Having not a clue what this word meant at the time and feeling verbally threatened I quietly, but quickly searched out the meaning.

prude (adj.)- one who is too concerned with being proper or modest; a derogatory label affixed most often to girls or women who are not forth coming romantically

As I studied my peer’s behavior it was considerably prominent they were not a description of the term, prude. In fact they were quite the opposite. And in my vulnerable submissive mind this became a problem—for me. In a matter of months I turned someone else’s accurate representation of myself in a complete one-eighty due to fear of acceptance. Continue reading “The Effect of Words”

Bottles Down, Bibles Up

the moment when you finally realize life is so much sweeter with Jesus involved makes even candy seem bitter when compared- my story of redemption, grace, and hope…

1505255808990-1565157331Embarrassing, ashamed, regret, guilt…we all have felt those emotions at one point or another whether we care to admit it or not. Negative situations do not show favoritism to certain individuals, instead as a ramification of sin we’re all at risk of being held objective to negativity. It can come from poor self-made choices, an innocent accident, or even someone’s misconstrued idea of us.

I’ve been there, more than once, more times than I care to acknowledge. I’ve felt those negative moments of despair where you feel so lost and broken that you’ve almost become numb to feeling anything at all. Sometimes recalling those shameful experiences means revisiting dark corners where deep memories hide.

Too often we vacate the idea of “speaking up” about a difficult encounter we’ve struggled with or currently struggle with. We cower to the idea of becoming vulnerable to someone else’s opinion of us if we would happen to open-up regarding a particular situation that seems less than favorable to ourselves and society.

One of my most disconcerting memories occurred when I was just a few years over the legal drinking age. Little did I know at the time it would serve as a humbling experience and a much-needed building block for my faith to grow a few years later…

Continue reading “Bottles Down, Bibles Up”