Friday, June 27, 2008

She Vacations:)

I cannot believe that it's been a full week since the first day of the She Speaks Conference. We plan all year for this and then it comes and goes so quickly. And with it, goes tearful good-byes and fond farewells.

First, my She Speaks Conference team. The Proverbs 31 Gals. My great and fabulous roommate Melanie Chitwood. The speakers I only see once a year. We are all so close and the week of the conference is like a reunion. I miss my family, but I wouldn't trade this time for anything. It's exhausting for sure, and this year I was exhausted like no other. But after each day of work, I had the pleasure of going upstairs and having funny, meaningful, crazy, and serious girl talk with Mel.

Second, the She Speaks Conference attendees. All I can say is "Wow"!!!! They were amazing. There were a few women I was really looking forward to meeting. I'm a very relational person, I love to hug, and once you've become my friend...well you mean something to me! I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Brooke on Thursday. And I about cried! Amy and I connected through blogging. She has always been so encouraging to me and I was absolutely thrilled to meet her in person. And then there is Joy. I personally met Joy on Friday. Joy is my sweet and loving friend from Canada. When I set my eyes on her, well, I about cried! I also met Joy through blogging. She has this amazing timing. She seems to know when I need prayer or a word of encouragement. It was no different this weekend. And then on Saturday. I was taking orders for CD's and looked at the name on the form and it said Sharon Sloan. Well, guess what? I about cried! Again! Sharon has been so kind to me and everyone in our office. She and her Gather and Grow Group often send gifts to our office and they sent me a gift when I had my foot surgery last February. There was a counter separating us and I jumped up on the counter just so I could hug this sweet woman. I've been touched so many times by her cards and gifts and I was so grateful to be able to touch her and hug her myself. I think everyone thought I was crazy getting up on the counter like that, but I didn't care. Finally, my evaluation group. What a great group of women. All loving the Lord. All wanting to be used by Him to change the world. I enjoyed them immensely!

You can see why the end of the conference was bittersweet. Bitter because of the good-byes and sweet because of the Incredible Way that God Showed Up:) He was all over the place and it was evident. Another sweetness to the end of the conference was going back to work in the office on Monday. It was nice and quiet and we were able to share stories from the weekend. We also received numerous calls, emails, and cards from conference attendees sharing what the Lord had done in their lives. Lovin' it! It's been that way all week!

So, you've read this far and are probably beginning to wonder why in the world this is titled, "She Vacations". Well, it's because I'm going on vacation. Yeah! Tomorrow I leave for the beach. I'm not taking my computer and I won't be doing any work...well, not much. I am going to do some writing, but that's not really work for me. And I am really planning a vacation. I want to walk a lot on the beach with my sweet husband. I want to play in the sand building Cinderella's Castle with my sweet daughter. And I want to ride the waves with my sweet boys. I want to look for sea shells. I want to listen to family stories from my husband's grandmothers, go shopping with my mother in law. I want to sit on the sand, staring over the sea...thinking...reflecting...praying...praising...and being very thankful for my blessings. This will be a true vacation.

Yes, She Vacations...beginning now:)
Blessings and Much Love,


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Friday, June 20, Servant Friends

Happy Friday! As I write, I am sitting in the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. Today, close to 600 women will be arriving for the Proverbs 31 Ministries' Annual She Speaks Conference. There is excitement in the air as we anticipate all that God has planned for the weekend. In the midst of all of this, I remembered I had a devotion running today. The topic of "Encouragement for Today" is one near and dear to my heart.

If you are visiting my blog because you read my devotion, welcome. It's my pleasure to share with you some pictures from that story. Today's devotion, which you can view by going to, is titled "Servant Friends". It was inspired by my daughter, Hayley Grace and her friend, Sydney. Together they worked to raise money for a very worth while cause, Compassion International. The picture above is from the first time they set up a stand to sell rocks for the "pore". The money they raised, they decided to donate to Compassion International.

Here is another picture from another time selling rocks. I am amazed that people actually bought rocks, but they did. Well, kind of. They really bought more than rocks. They bought an opportunity. An opportunity to do something good. An opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child. An opportunity to make 2 little girls trying to raise money feel really good about themselves.

Here you see Sydney and Hayley Grace. They are holding pictures of the girls they sponsor through Compassion. Yes, with the help of their families (and selling rocks), they give money to help these children. More than that though, they are building relationships with these girls. They write letters
and draw pictures for each other. They are making an inpact and changing the world for the lives of these girls. And in the process, they are changed as well. Their bond of friendship has a deeper meaning because it has a greater purpose.

Hayely Grace on "Rice and Beans Night". This is the night we eat a meal similar to what our sponsored kids may eat each day. After the meal, we write letters, draw pictures, and gather special photos to send.

I had the privilege of traveling to Ecuador last August with the Proverbs 31 Team. Meeting Maria, our sponsored child, was one of the most special times in my life. I was able to see first hand exactly how Compassion International is working in the lives of the sponsored kids and their families.

I hope these pictures and this story have inspired you and moved you in a way that you will take action. Maybe you are considering sponsoring a child through Compassion. If you'd like to do that, just click here for more information.

Or maybe you've been inspired to get with a friend and together choose a cause that is special to you and team up to make a difference there. It's a way to take your friendship to the next level by adding a impacting purpose.

Or maybe you don't know how to get involved serving somewhere. Well this is your opportunity to pray and ask God to open doors for you. Your life can be used in a mighty way. You were created for something way special. And sometimes it can be a simple as selling a few rocks:)

Blessings and Happy Serving!


****If you have a story of friendship and serving, please share. By sharing your ideas, you may give someone else an answer to their prayer of how they can serve! Also, if you decide to sponsor a child, let me know that too. Thanks a bunch! Love to all:)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

She Speaks (with wisdom)

Proverbs 31:26 says, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."

This is the verse I use as my guide in my speaking ministry. It describes the words of the Proverbs 31 woman. Am I a Proverbs 31 woman? Well, I do my best. I'm not perfect, not anywhere close to it. But perfect is not what the Proverbs 31 woman is all about...thank God!

The Proverbs 31 Ministries "She Speaks" Conference is only one week away. This is a conference where dreams come true, God's calling becomes real, ordinary women realize their extrordinary purpose.

When I first began speaking, I truly wanted all of my teachings, talks, and messages to be filled with wise words and faithful instruction. I tried so hard to make them perfect and I wanted to appear flawless. And I failed.

I learned that there was no way to appear flawless because I'm not! I have a messy past. In fact, I have a messy present! But I love the Lord and I know He loves me too, NO MATTER WHAT! And He has used every bit of my life, successes, failures, flubs, celebrations, fears, mistakes, marriage, motherhood, friendship, etc. I've learned that I don't always speak with the best "wisdom", but I'm willing to share what the Lord teaches me. Often when I share with the intention of teaching others, I'm the one who ends up getting the greatest lesson. Sometimes I wonder if God has me sharing messages for me or for the audience I'm speaking to. Either way, it's okay. He works it for good. I pray that I will speak with wisdom. I pray to be faithful and instruct others according to God's Word. I want so badly to be a woman who speaks with wisdom. I am the vehicle. I allow God to use me in that way. I don't have the wisdom, but He does.

This conference teaches that "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." And that's the truth. It's not up to us to have the wisdom and faithful instruction. On our own, we have none of that. With God, we have it all.

If you are reading this and are attending this year's She Speaks Conference, welcome! I can't wait to meet you. I am excited for what God has planned for you. If you are in my evaluation group, I know we will get to know each other. We will be divinely brought together next week for a purpose that only God knows. I can't wait for that either. And if you stumbled to this blog and are not going to She Speaks or know nothing of it, that's ok. I'm glad you are here too. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Please take the time to comment, ask questions, post encouragement. I'd love to hear what "She speaks with wisdom..." means to you.

The conference is only 10 days away. 10 days and counting.....



Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend Fun

Oh, what a fun weekend I had!

My friends Layne and Jenny are turning 40. To celebrate they got two condos in Blowing Rock, NC and we had a fun girl's weekend. We had dinner, went for a hike, went shopping, had dinner again, listened to a band, sang, dance, talked, laughed, talked about old times, met some new friends and I got food poisoning...that's right, food poisoning.

In the midst of all this fun, I ate some bad crab cakes. Within 30 minutes I was in extreme pain and racing for the bathroom where I got violently sick! I'm sure I lost weight this weekend...probably 5 pounds in 3 minutes. Fortunately, it didn't ruin the whole time. Once I got it out, I was ok. I didn't eat any more, but I felt okay.

Jenny is married with kids and so are the friends she invited to join her. Layne is single, no kids, and so are the friends she invited to join her, except me:) So I was in the "single girls" condo. What a grand experience for me. They were getting dolled up Saturday morning (while I was just throwing on shorts and a t-shirt)....we were going hiking! Who knew you needed makeup and a shower before a hike! I looked like the old frumpy one of the group! I did get a little more dressed up for dinner though....for all the good it did, since I was throwing up in my nice clothes!

The mountains were absolutely gorgeous! God did a beautiful job with this creation. The views are just breathtaking. I would've loved to have spent more time there. And more time with my sweet friend Layne. We so rarely see each other since we live in different cities and have very different lifestyles. It made me really miss her. Seems like just yesterday we were in school at Appalachian State together. Now we are in our 40's!

Now that the weekend is over, I'm back home with my wonderful family. Hayley Grace, Princess, and I are getting ready to go up on the golf course to run and play. Life is simple here and I love it. Hot, but simple. Then I'll do a lot of laundry and call it a night.