One more to go!

Worshipping together.

 As I reflect on the privilege it has been to grow in the Lord and to share these encouragements with moms over the years, I feel so very humbled and blessed. I am not the know all be all by any means. But there is something miraculous that happens when like-minded women who are committed to God's ideals for their lives gather all in one place and sing worship music, and listen to speakers who encourage us in our walk with God and eat and cry and talk and share hearts---God amazingly shows up through the body of fellowship--and all of us are changed. 

book tables--oh boy!  

The women in Dallas, being the oldest conference for Whole Heart, always bless me beyond words. Besides coming to the conference, they also send notes, sweets, food during the conference upstairs in our room that all the teens who serve gobble up;  give me mad money for my secret drawer that I sneak money into all year, so that when we need to splurge on something as a family--I have planned and saved for it. But they have blessed me in these ways to keep me going. Their love and grace in my life helps me to keep being grace to others.

And so, in "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" we have kept each other going over the years. 

Sweet Tracy Klicka 

I also love how God gives you friends as you serve Him in ministry. Many years ago, I met Tracy Klicka in Raleigh. It was soon after that when our family invaded her home and we shared sweet fellowship over meals and a passionate devotion that Chris shared one morning and heart conversations that knit our hearts together.

You can imagine how excited I am that Tracy will be sharing her heart with us in Raleigh. I love having women who have walked with God, through life, trials, seasons and still love Him--and so you will see that in her heart this next weekend as she shares more personally of her own story of walking beside Chris in his battle in MS and how she learned even in that place to see the goodness of God. So if any of you are still thinking about coming, it is not too late, but we will have to close registration soon. 

I look so forward to next weekend, being at Raleigh with many women from our very last mom's conference of the year. The hotel has made some special concessions for us and will have a continental breakfast buffet Saturday morning, two coffee breaks, a luncheon buffet and afternoon cookies along with the great speakers and music. I think it will be a wonderful getaway for any moms who come. 

I am so looking forward to being with all of my friends and speakers, but am especially blessed that Tracy Klicka will be joining us to share with us her story of walking with God through the journey of her precious husband, Chris, who so recently went to be with the Lord.  You can still register here


I so enjoyed many letters and encouragements and FB comments after Dallas as in the midst of some of our own personal battles, you all have kept me going!

 I thought I would share a few stories with you--and also to let you moms know that you are not alone in the adventures of what can happen in a day.......:)

 a great post here  with Debi Chapman at about the conference! (thanks for sending it to me.) 

 Also, a few stories from moms who also need some rest, as real life struck them when they returned home:

"I took my girls to drama class for the afternoon and I so looked forward to a much needed rest. As I lay down on my bed, I looked over and because my dog was at the vet all weekend, it was quite nervous and stood right in my eyesight and used my brand new carpet for the place to wet all over the floor. I took him outside to finish the job and just as I was finally resting in bed again, I looked up and he laid a package of pooh in the same place. After finally dealing with him harshly and taking him outside again, I went back into my bedroom, at which point, I lay down, and suddenly heard a "belch" and looked over and he had thrown up all over the carpet. Needless to say, I did not get to lay down and wondered why we had ever gotten this dog."


When I walked in the door from the conference, my youngest threw up all over herself, and I spent the night on her floor while she was sick all night. I literally felt so recharged from the conference that instead of being frustrated, I prayed over her and felt challenged to nurture the way I'm called to! You know it's a life-giving conference when even vomit is seen as a blessing :)

and another--seems a lot of stomach stuff attacked the sweet moms!

So, after spending a weekend being encouraged by Wholeheart Ministries on how to be a mom who loves Jesus.I came home.  At first, the welcome was perfect. Then as I walked in to put my stuff down I noticed just a few things that

weren't so perfect.  The dirty dishes (from before I left) were still in the sink.  Mud was all over the floor.and my boys.  A huge pile of miniscule legos flooded the kitchen floor that my 20mo old was putting in her mouth. Ketchup had glue-ized (not an official Webster word but should be) to the kitchen counter, and I found chocolate smeared on the seal of my refrigerator. Lastly, my sister was watching my children because my husband had to leave on a trip to work all weekend.  Oh, and plus, there were toys everywhere! a result of my Mom's conference, I decided to forget the mess, the dishes, the toys, the laundry, the mail pile, etc.  I went off to play with those bubble sets!  I spent time praising & rewarding my son for going to take a break instead of getting more frustrated.  We threw caution to the wind and had "Livingston Dinner Theatre" on our Twister mat dipping Octopus hotdogs into mounds of ketchup and mustard, and almost consumed an entire cantaloupe for dessert. I had plans for us!  I wanted to remember what it feels like to be grateful to be a mother, to relish having my three wonderful children all to myself, to laugh and be silly, and rejoice in the day that my Lord had made.

And in one second everything changed. It began when my younger son showed me where the dog bit him.  His thigh not only was swelling and bruising, but was red with a mark shaped like a mouth full of sharp teeth. Then my daughter began to become fussy, shake and run a 103 fever.  I could hear Sally in my head."You have to be a private before you can be a general." "You have to win battles before you can lead others in war."  "You have to be faithful when no one is looking."  Why did God only gave me a few minutes of harmony before the battles began?  And why did it have to be when no one was watching.literally? My husband and best friend still wouldn't be home for another 48 hours. 

But I just needed to hear Sally's gentle reminder that I have to trust God in the darkness.  I have to choose to fix my eyes on Jesus.not on my son's leg, not on the temperature on the thermometer, not on the absence of my husband, not on worrying if the breathing treatments will open her lungs or if I'll have to make an ER run in the middle of the night.  So.I will go to sleep this evening drawing near to God, full of hope that God will draw near to me, because He is faithful.And the last one, a sweet friend of mine from Colorado, had a great time in Dallas and then Saturday evening, she had a call from home, that her thoughtful husband had taken her kids skiing and had an accident and crushed both of his heals. He will be in bed in her home for the next 10 weeks! Please pray for her and her precious family.

I do think spiritual warfare can actually take place through the details--as the saying goes, "The devil is in the details." Let's ask God's grace to extend to all these sweet moms and others who are tempted to be discouraged in the midst of life. May He bring His light and grace even into these situations.

Thanks for all of your encouraging letters and emails--really, really! Please keep these precious moms in your prayers!

We are all (Clarksons who are at home!)  going to have a chocolate tasting event, so I will let you know how it turns out. The sun is finally out here, so I know a walk will also be in order. May God's grace and joy be yours in the midst