Thursday, November 7, 2013

God is doing BIG things

"The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father's God, and I will exalt him."
Exodus 15:2 (ESV)

These PRECIOUS children want their daddy to come HOME.

Please SIGN THE PETITION if you haven't yet. Please continue to FAST (it doesn't have to be food!), PRAY, and continue to SHARE this desperate situation.

I don't have time to update on all that is happening, but this situation is far bigger than you could ever imagine. Both physically and spiritually. God is doing amazing things through is courageous family. I cannot wait to worship my God and my King with them one day in Heaven.

God is SO good. My passion for Christ and hope in God's Word have EXPLODED as I have stood alongside the Abedini family and sought the LORD for His mercy and grace. He is SO faithful!

Friend, my prayer for you today is that you may know not only how much you are loved, but also how valuable you are in the Kingdom of God.

I know that life can be so wearing that it's easy to get stuck and complacent. Believe me, I have been there. More than once. But, it's time for us to WAKE UP and truly embrace this gift of LIFE and FREEDOM in CHRIST we have been blessed with. God has BIG jobs for us to do. The most important is to allow His love for us flow through us to those around us. Especially those who don't yet know His love.

I have so much more I want to share, but today, my heart and mind are focused on praying that God will protect Saeed and bring him home safely to his beautiful family. Please keep praying with us.

So incredibly humbled to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With faith, hope & love,

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

URGENT - Please sign the NEW petition to SAVE SAEED

Time is of the essence. 
This is a matter of life and death.
Your help is needed. Stand with us and use your voice.
Please read the latest update on Saeed at
Sign the petition here.

Naghmeh felt a battle was coming and asked over the weekend for her friends and family around the world to join her in fasting Monday-Wednesday of this week. She then received this devastating update. Only God.

Please join us in praying and fasting for this amazingly courageous family. God is good. He is faithful. His will always prevails. Every one of His promises has been - and will be - fulfilled.

I have been so encouraged by the Abedini Family's heart for Jesus, heart to share God's love and Word with others, and their perseverance through severe persecution.

Truly, they are a beautiful example of LIVING A BLESSED LIFE. Trusting God especially now.

With hope and faith,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Days Like These (book review) by Kristian & Rachel Anderson

"Finding the unshakable in the 
midst of the midst of the unthinkable"
(inside book cover, Days Like These, Zondervan)

I received a complimentary copy of Days Like These: Even in the Darkest Moments Light Can Shine Through from Zondervan Publishers through their BookSneeze Blogger Review Program. Unfortunately, it has taken me far too long to write my review as I've had (more) unexpected, difficult, life challenges come my way. That said, I finished this book shortly after reading it, and while the topic is difficult for many of us to face, the book and its authors, are amazing. This book is well-worth the read.

On the inside of the book cover, the publisher shares, "When Kristian wanted to show his wife, Rachel, how much he loved her after learning he was terminally ill, he ended up winning a million hearts around the world thanks to the now-famous YouTube video he made for her 35th birthday. The heartfelt and moving tribute by this young Australian father of two who battled cancer and drew attention to a much larger story--terminal illness is an ordeal many families face alone..."

(grab a box of tissues and watch the sweet video I posted below, or click here. You may have to be patient as it loaded very s.l.o.w.l.y. for me on Panera's free WiFi. Hopefully, it will load quicker for you. But, I promise you, it is most definitely worth the wait!):

Still with me? Gotta love Hugh Jackman, eh? Alright. Wipe your tears and read on...or, better yet, first go order your own copy of Kristian and Rachel's book from Amazon, and then keep reading...

"...Kristian touched lives, passed on hope, and left behind a precious legacy that will mean a better quality of life for thousands of cancer suffers. His story, told in his own words from his blog entries, with additions from his beloved Rachel, will inspire you to embrace the love and light surrounding you." ( Zondervan)

When I first read this book, it touched me deeply. The painful reality of cancer affects so many of us, whether personally, or through those we know. For myself, I'm on the" two-year watch for breast cancer." A suspicious (and very tiny) lump found during my first mammogram has me returning every 6 months for a recheck. Just in case.

I have one more(!) recheck until I receive the "all clear." I wish I could say that it's 'no big deal.' The doctors have seen nothing to cause them concern. For this I am extremely grateful. And yet, every time I go for an appointment, fear and concern start to cloud out my faith and trust in God's will for my life.

I hold my breath until they release me to get dressed and leave the hospital. While I know and believe God's will is perfect for my life and He alone holds my life in my hands, I can't help but get swept up in the nightmarish-tidal wave that the word 'cancer' stirs up. It always feels like I'm standing on a precipice and could fall either way. I will either be deemed fine (for now, as my medical report generically alludes to); or, I will receive the dreaded diagnosis of cancer. In the moment, it feels like such a fine line separating one blessed reality from one (possibly) deadly reality.

(Please know as I write this, I am writing from my own, limited perspective. I know we all have our own stories, experiences, and perspectives. In no way do I mean to make light of another's painful journey through cancer or any other life-threatening disease or diagnosis.)

One would expect to feel relieved to know "all is well." The reality, however, is that the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach sticks with me for days. I am usually completely exhausted by the end of my short visit to the St. Vincent Cancer & Wellness Center. (By the way, the team there is beyond incredible.) While I have received good news thus far, I know many, many other women (and men) aren't so fortunate. I carry a heavy burden in my heart for them and their families after my ever-so-small brush with cancer.

We all walk through the same doors, change in the same dressing rooms, nervously leaf through the same outdated magazines, pose in the same awkward mammography positions, lie on the same tables while the same sweet technicians gently re-check our suspicious lumps with their ultrasound wands, and lie under the same heated blankets waiting for our technicians to return with any number of results and news. We have so much in common, and yet our situations are all so unique. One can feel incredibly alone and vulnerable as we walk through the well-calibrated, necessary steps to rule out-or diagnose-breast cancer.

Months have passed since I first "met" the Anderson family. I have an even greater appreciation for everything they have endured. A former co-worker has walked through (and survived) a breast cancer diagnosis. A dear friend has recently lost her brother to cancer. And, another close friend is supporting several friends through their battles with cancer, while grieving the loss of several other friends. After awhile, cancer begins to feel like an epidemic.

While my situation is vastly different, I understand what it's like to make repeated trips to the hospital to have labs drawn (unrelated to cancer.) Watching the clock and waiting for the doctor's call can be excruciating. Hoping and praying the new numbers will bring positive news, but preparing yourself for bad news (just in case), is beyond wearisome.

At this point, I feel I have earned a Master's Degree in patience and waiting. Unfortunately, I have a feeling God isn't convinced my education is complete yet. (Sigh and a quick side conversation..."I love you, LORD, but do You REALLY think I can endure much more of this 'stuff'?" Grin. "OK, I trust You. Always. I know You have always brought me through. And, I choose to trust You will never fail or abandon me. And, for that, and so much more, I am humbly and eternally grateful.") OK...moving on...

Although I don't personally know Kristian, I thought of him every time I had blood drawn over the past few months. (I promise, I'll share my own story soon...) Like Kristian, my final lab results brought the news I had been dreading. Again, I cannot even begin to compare my situation to the Andersons, but there is that familiarity of struggle and hope that resonates with me as I try to imagine all they endured.

Kristian's faith in Christ and fight for his life further inspired me just five short weeks ago when I literally found myself fighting for my life. While I know God holds the number of my days in His hand and His will always prevails, I felt this deep need within myself to do all I could to stay alive. I wasn't ready to leave my precious family. They have already been through so much devastation. I hated seeing them so stressed and worried about me. But honestly, I wasn't quite sure how things were going to end. As God would have it, we arrived at the ER in time and an unexpected surgery saved my life. (Thank You, LORD!)

But, there were moments during those frightening hours where I honestly felt, "This could be it. Is God calling me home? Am I ready? Is this His will?" I felt myself slipping away into darkness as Geoff raced us to the hospital. He held tightly to my hand and tried to focus on getting us safely to the hospital. The fear he was fighting was impossible to to ignore. For my beloved husband and and my precious children, I felt the desperate need to fight and hold on to this fragile shell I am dwelling in. And my temporary life in this world.

Please forgive me if I sound overly dramatic. Perhaps I am, but my recent experience was such a poignant moment in my life. I haven't viewed life and my purpose the same since. This life, or the next.

I truly felt like things could go either way. But, for what it was worth, I chose to fight against the darkness I could feel closing in on me. I chose life. I chose faith. As time wore on, the reality of my fragile humanity won out. I let go of my own wants and desires. I surrendered, not to death, but to life. To the Creator and Giver of Life.

I clung desperately to my Savior and entrusted myself fully to Him. (At least as much as I possibly could.) And, as it always does, God's will prevailed for me. As it did for Kristian. The outcomes, of course, are polar-opposite. And yet, we are both equally blessed because God has granted each of us what His perfect will is for both of us. And for our families-at this point in time.

Kristian chose to fight. He chose life. He chose faith. He chose to fully surrender himself to his Heavenly Father's will. And God, I believe, has granted him eternal life and has allowed Kristian's life to bless and encourage all who knew him, and all who will hopefully come to know him.

God used Kristian's life and legacy to bless me. I'm forever grateful for the humbly honest and real example Kristian left behind. He wasn't a saint in the sense of being perfect, but he clearly was one of God's precious children. God used him to make a huge splash in this crazy place we currently call "home." And, He used Kristian to stir up a desire within each of us for our true home, Heaven.

My heart's desire is to glean as much as I possibly can from the painful journeys others have walked through. I believe it honors the pain and loss they have experienced and allows good to be birthed out of heartache and suffering.

The same is true for all of the trauma, loss, grief, and pain I have endured. I humbly share my life and stories with you, my Friend, in hopes of pointing you to Christ. I share my stories to encourage you and give you hope. While I would never choose the painful paths I have walked, I feel so blessed that God has allowed me to share in a minuscule piece of His Son's suffering. I find true joy in knowing my journey and ever-being-refined-faith may bless you and inspire you to press on and press in to the One who loves and created you.

We have so much to learn from each other-both in our strengths and our weaknesses. Kristian and his beautiful wife, Rachel, have greatly inspired me. And yet, I know I have only had a tiny glimpse into the painfully-rewarding road they have walked. I am so thankful Kristian left a legacy of faith for his precious sons. His family continues to work through the tremendous loss they have experienced. And, as Rachel shares periodically on Kristian's blog, There is a Crack in Everything...That's How the Light Gets in , they are also living life to the fullest. They continue to trust God with the days they have been given to live on this crazy and ever-deteriorating planet we live on.

I finished reading Days Like These late one night in May. Geoff woke up to the bed shaking and found me sobbing while I watched Kristian's beautiful life celebration on video. It's an hour-and-half long, but incredibly touching. (Click here if you are unable to view the video I have posted below:)

Days Like These, more-so, Kristian's testimony, has blessed me immensely. This book is a definite "must read." It's full of both joy and grief. Laughter and tears. Courage and fear. Faith and doubt. Through all of his pain, struggles, and raw, messy humanity, Kristian does an amazing job of pointing us to the Giver of Life. If you haven't met this precious soul yet, I feel honored to introduce you to Kristian Paul Anderson, and his beautiful, grace-filled wife, Rachel. I pray you are not only blessed, but changed, as I have been through Kristian's life and legacy.

~ Taken to his eternal home, January 2, 2012 ~

I know this is a very l-o-n-g post, but I hope you have stayed with me, Friends. Life can be so painstakingly hard. It's so easy to take our eyes off our goal and get stuck in all the negative things this world offers. I pray that whatever you are walking (crawling?) through today, you will know that

He.Loves.You. Friend. GOD.Loves.YOU!!!

It may come across as incredibly corny, but I'm borrowing Hugh Jackman's enthusiasm and tone, for impact. I encourage you to watch the video again, and imagine his words being spoken to you about the One who loves you. 

GOD, the Creator of the Universe, LOVES YOU

He loves you with a sacrificial and everlasting love. May you rest and flourish in that glorious truth. No matter where you've been, or what you've done, YOU ARE LOVED.

I pray you will keep pressing into Him, and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With love and hope,

Note: As I said at the beginning of my post, I received a complimentary copy of Days Like These: Even in the Darkest Moments Light Can Shine Through from Zondervan Publishers through their BookSneeze Blogger Review Program. I have received no compensation for posting a positive review (aside from a great read and a forever changed life). All views expressed are my own.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

good to me

"I put all my hope
on the truth of your promise
And I steady my heart
on the ground of your goodness
When I'm bowed down in sorrow
I will lift up your name
And the foxes in the vineyard
will not steal my joy
Because You are good to me"
Audrey Assad, Good to Me

If you are unable to view the above video, please click here. Unfortunately, I was unable to find original videos by the artists of the two songs I'm sharing. However, I do hope you will be blessed by the photographs in the two I found. 

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest, Chelsea, and I were hanging out in our tent during our annual camping trip. I put on Audrey's song (above) and we both sang along. A sweet memory, indeed. Since then, the words have stuck in my mind and ministered to my heart.

This weekend, I find myself allowing my body and heart to grieve a tremendous loss. It's one that I had thought I would keep to myself. But God. He continues to give me the words, and the courage, to share. I'm not quite there yet, but I will share as soon as my heart allows. Until then, I wanted to share these two songs (see the 2nd below). I pray they minister to you, wherever you are and whatever you are going through. 

Every year we go camping for a week at our favorite lake with our close family friends. On the last night, all of the kids put on an annual show. This year, the parents got brave and joined in. Chelsea agreed to accompany me on her guitar (and with her beautiful voice) to give me courage to sing. Together we sang JJ Heller's song "Your Hands," a song that has ministered to both Geoff and I over the past several years. It has taken on new meaning for me these past two months. May you be blessed as well.

"I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away...
When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands"
JJ Heller, Your Hands

If you are unable to view the above video, please click here.

May God's "goodness and mercy follow (you), wherever you go" and may you "trust in His promise." He loves you with an everlasting love.

"When (your) heart is breaking" may you trust that you never, ever leave your Heavenly Father's hands. He is with you - when life is good...and when life stinks. (Trust me. I know what I'm talking about! Grin.) He is there, always by your side.

My prayer for you, my Friend, is that God will minister to your heart and fill you with all that He is: peace, joy, grace, goodness, mercy and LOVE...and oh, so much MORE!

I am so thankful that my God is SO good to me. Always. May you feel and experience that goodness as well. There is truly no other way to survive in this world than with our Savior.

Keep pressing into Him and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With grace and undying hope,

Friday, May 3, 2013

you are loved

"Freedom comes in letting go
Open up the window to your heart
Freedom comes in letting go
Open up your heart"
JJ Heller, LOVED

We all have heart wounds. We lived in a fallen world where hurt people, hurt people. I've been on the receiving end - and I've watched those I deeply love be hurt by others. It stinks. It's painful. At times, it can be downright overwhelming.

But God. While He may allow our lives to be touched by sin, darkness, and pain - He never, ever leaves us. It's amazing the strength and JOY that can come through facing life's wounds.

Healing takes time. And, it takes surrender. It can be so incredibly scary to take the chance to let Love in to begin the healing process. Sometimes the pain gets worse before it gets better. But hold on to your faith and press into the hope that things will get better. Don't give up. Please.

Keep your eyes on Jesus and allow Him to be your all. He knows pain in ways none of us can even begin to imagine. And, He conquered it! He is enough. More than enough. He knows what you need and He's right there with you, just waiting for you to open up you heart and invite Him in.

Take a chance, today, my Sweet Friend. Let Love in. You'll never regret it. And, one day, you'll be able to encourage others to do the same.

I pray you are blessed by this sweet video that JJ Heller made with her 4 year-old daughter, Lucy.(If you are unable to view it, click here to go to JJ's site.)

I absolutely adore JJ's voice and songs. She has ministered to me through some of the most darkest months (ok, YEARS!) I've downloaded all of her albums and listen to them while I'm driving, preparing meals, getting ready for the day, cleaning, exercising...well, pretty much all.the.time. (Grin.)

Geoff and I were blessed to be able to see JJ and her husband in concert last Summer, along my other favorite, Audrey Assaud.

I bought JJ's latest CD, LOVED, when it was first released - but honestly, this song didn't really stand out to me until I saw this precious video. Every single word resonates deeply within my spirit. I pray you are touched as well.

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a free copy of Rebekah Lyon's Freefall to Fly! Thanks to all who have participated so far. :-)

Wherever you are, and whatever life situations you are dealing with, I pray you know how deeply YOU are loved by the One who created you. Keep pressing into Him, and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With joy and love,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

take 2 - FREEFALL to FLY giveaway

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
for His steadfast love endures forever!"

So, it turns out my first blog giveaway was a total flop. (Sad face.) But, Rebekah Lyon's book has been such a tremendous blessing to me, I'd like to have a do-over and try again. This time, hopefully, I'll be able to make it a bit easier for everyone using the ever-so-famous Rafflecopter (see the app at the bottom of this post). This time I'm adding more options on how to win - you can even come back each day and add more entries. Hopefully we'll have a winner this time!!! :-)

It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me. My precious family took me away for a long weekend to celebrate my birthday! We rented an awesome cottage at our favorite vacation getaway up in Washington and had an AMAZING time! God is SO good. We got in lots of swimming, biking, walking, hanging out, reading, talking - all encapsulated with my most favorite things LOVE and NON-STOP laughter! We had a BLAST. Geoff and I even snuck in a date night and hung out listening to some live music at the local pub -thanks to our teenager! (BIG smile.) I told her it would make the best birthday gift ev-ah. It did. The kids had fun, and so did we!

Geoff and I came home sick. Bluck. But hey, if you're gonna be sick, sometimes it's nice to have a buddy who understands and isn't afraid of your germs. ;-) Thankfully, his cold wasn't too bad and he's back to feeling healthy.

Sadly, I'm on DAY 11...ack. But I'm still smiling, despite being stuck in bed with a raging cough. We've had some gorgeous weather in Oregon, so it's hard to be down, even when I'm under the weather. My son has been a SPECTACULAR helper - and my family has been blessing me with tons of grace.

All that to say, my initial efforts with this AWESOME book were not my shown by the lack of even one entry. However, as an aspiring author, my heart's desire is to support other authors/writers in their giftings. Will you please help me out and enter my NEW and IMPROVED giveaway, Sweet Friends?

If this is your first time to my blog. Welcome! It's nice to have you here. Following this post is my initial giveaway with more links. There is also the review I posted sharing my thoughts on Rebekah's labor of love.

A special shout out to my friend, Susan, who said to re-post my giveaway as she forgot to enter. Thanks for your support, Friend!

I'm hoping to feel better soon, because God has been doing some AMAZING things in my life and my family. I am so thankful for His ongoing love, grace and compassion towards me. I'm really excited to share what God's been doing and reconnect with all of you. I'm so sorry I have been out of contact for so long.

So, please enter this fantastic giveaway; I promise this is a MUST have read. And, as always, keep your eyes on Jesus, and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

With joy and grace,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ENTER TO WIN a free copy of FREEFALL TO FLY!!!

"Rebekah Lyons writes a vulnerable story of her 
unexpected winging into the light and dark 
of mothering, womanhood, and visionary living..."
New York Bestselling Author, One Thousand Gifts

I have some very exciting news! After reading my review of her new book, author Rebekah Lyons offered to send a FREE COPY of her new book Freefall to Fly to one of my blog readers! This is my first giveaway, so I thought I would keep it simple. Please leave a comment below and share one of the giftings God has blessed you with. Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you win. For additional entries in this giveaway, add additional comments if you shared this post on Facebook or Twitter, or if you liked Rebekah's Fan page on Facebook. The deadline for this giveaway is Sunday, April 28th at 11:59 PM (PST). Thanks for spreading the word...this book has been such a huge blessing in my own life. I hope you win!

In the meantime, feel free to sign up for Rebekah's newsletter to receive the first chapter of Freefall to Fly for free in your in-box. Also, if you order your own copy of the book, Rebekah is offering three gifts (shown above) for a limited time.

To view a video intro about the book, 
visit Rebekah's website by clicking here.
(I removed it as it kept starting on it's own,
regardless of the post you were reading.)

I pray you are all doing well, Sweet Friends! I'm thankful to say that God has been doing some AMAZING things in my life. I'm looking forward to sharing very soon. Until then, keep your eyes on Jesus and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With grace and JOY,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

freefall to fly

"If women aren't empowered to cultivate their uniqueness, 
we all suffer the loss of beauty, 
creativity, and resourcefulness 
they were meant to inject into the world."
Rebekah Lyons
Freefall to Fly
Freefall to Fly - Rebekah Lyons
I received an email from Handlebar Publishing asking if I was interested in receiving a complimentary copy of the new book Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons to review. I have to admit, the cover of the book drew me in first, followed by the title. I was intrigued and immediately requested a copy. I am so very grateful for the offer, because...

this book as blessed me beyond words!!!

I read Freefall to Fly over the course of two days–it was THAT good. Partway through the first day, I put the book down long enough to contact the author via Facebook to offer encouragement and thanks. Within minutes she requested my friend request and I responded by writing the following post on her wall:

"Thanks for accepting my friend request, Rebekah!
I'm reading your book to write a review for 
Tyndale and can't put it down.
A book hasn't inspired me this much since I 
read Francis Chan! [Crazy Love]
Bless you for sharing your heart so beautifully." 

A few pages into the book, I grabbed a highlighter. So much of what Rebekah shared resonated deeply within my heart. While our life experiences are vastly different, (although she is also a parent to a special needs child), I knew immediately that she was a kindred spirit. She has gone through the fires of refinement and still loves God. I would gather to guess that she is even more in love with Him, just as I am. Not only that, she has found her own unique calling in life.

I greatly appreciated Rebekah's vulnerabilityit's not easy to put oneself out there. I also appreciated her authenticityshe didn't sugar coat her struggles, nor did she share them in a way that would depress the reader. That's definitely not something that is easy to do. There was an underlying thread of hope woven throughout her story. While Rebekah wrote about her husband and children, she did so in an honoring way which allowed her struggles to be her own. Her honesty and humility brought a gentle conviction to my own spirit.

What I treasured most about Rebekah's book is that not only did she invite me in to experience a small part of her own heart journey, she also graciously made room for me to uniquely explore my own journey.  This is a rare gift to find within a book. I have read countless books in the past that have ministered to me. 

Some books, unfortunately, have caused me to feel inadequate or less-than the author. Not once did I experience any negative emotions as I read this book. It is helpful that Rebekah does not leave us feeling as though she has reached completion or perfection. She very clearly articulated that God has brought her through many, many difficult days and months, and, her journey is very much a work in progress. I found this extraordinarily refreshing.

While Freefall to Fall is very much a memoir with personal anecdotes shared, it's so much more.  The author gently includes statistics, adding substance to her story while also making it relevant to readers. I would have to say this definitely isn't a "how-to-fix-your-life-or-get-free-from-anxiety" type book. There aren't detailed directions or lists of things for the reader to work through. And, from my viewpoint, that's a really good thing. 

I didn't feel pressured to do anything. I felt inspired to be and ruminate. That said, the author doesn't leave us hanging, wondering how to get to where she ended up. She does provide some simple questions for personal reflection; as well as uplifting encouragement to seek the unique giftings that God has instilled within each of us. So often we read books that end up unfinished and collecting dust on our shelves because we feel bogged down by more things to do. This book is life-giving, not energy-draining. 

After reading some of the first few reviews of this book, I was surprised to see that others were offended by the author's personal views on depression and the use of anti-depressants. As with all things, I believe it's important for each of us to give each other grace. God is bringing each and every one of us on very unique journeys. What might be the remedy for one person is certainly not the answer for all. Rebekah's approach in her book was very welcoming. Her heart has most definitely been tenderized by the experiences God has brought her throughboth the blessings and the trials. I think that is why her words and story touched me so deeply.

It is with great joy that I highly recommend Freefall to Fly to all women. You don't have to have children or be married for this book to minister to you. Menhusbands in particularwill definitely benefit from reading this book as well. It's just that good. For myself, I'm looking forward to posting this review so I can start reading the book for a second time. This time, I'm looking forward to savoring every sweet word.

Well done, Rebekah! May we all embrace the giftings our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon us as graciously as you have. I pray many are blessed through your perseverance, honestly and beautiful gift of words.

If you do buy a copy of this book, Friends, I would love to hear your thoughts. Until then, Keep pressing into the LORD and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With grace and joy,

Disclosure: I received this book FREE from the publisher, Tyndale House, through the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

your help is still needed!!!

"Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate
and spiritually prosperous
(in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys
and finds satisfaction in God's favor and salvation,
regardless of his outward conditions)
are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake
(for being and doing right),
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!"
Mark 5:10 (Amplified Bible)

So much has happened since my last post. Geoff and I had the privilege to share the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini with our church family. I will tell you that I am much more comfortable expressing myself through writing than I am speaking publicly. BUT, my small discomfort is NOTHING compared to the brutal beatings and torture our faithful brother is enduring in Evin Prison in Iran. Our hearts' desire is to do everything we can to help spread the world and bring AMERICAN Pastor Saeed home to his family.

While Saeed's family is no longer able to communicate with him, the UN reported last week that he is enduring internal bleeding due to beatings to his stomach region. He has yet to receive medical care. Thankfully, our God can heal Saeed and that is our ongoing prayer.

I have been extremely blessed to connect with Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, via email. In the midst of all that she has going on (caring for her two precious children who desperately miss their daddy, while also doing everything she possibly can to help save her husband), my Sweet Sister took time to ask me to share my personal testimony of Christ's faithfulness with her. She took time to encourage me in the struggles my family continues to work through. This, my Friends, is what the Body of Christ is all about. I was deeply humbled and blessed. I encourage each of us to do the same to those around us who are struggling...even in the midst of our own suffering, let us reach out in love and support each other.

My heart is so very heavy and hurting. I am grieving the torture and abuse Saeed is enduring. I am grieving with his wife, children and friends who desperately miss him. I am grieving the sad reality that while other nations are speaking up on Saeed's behalf, our very own government refuses to address this injustice publicly. I am grieving that human rights and freedom of religion are so wrongly being perverted all across the world. 

BUT, I am rejoicing that other countries are standing up for the rights of our fellow American and brother. More-so, I am rejoicing in the strong conviction both Naghmeh and Saeed hold in their obedience and love for the One who called them His own. I am rejoicing that Saeed was able to embrace a fellow inmate who physically assaulted him when he sang worship songs in their cell. I am rejoicing that despite what the world sees and thinks, the God of the Universe is still very much in control. He loves every single one of His children, in every single country. And His plans are good!

As I write this, the petition has over 465,000 signatures. Naghmeh will be pleading her husband's case before for the United States Congress on Friday. She hopes to have well over 500,000 signatures. Can you please help make this a reality? If you haven't signed the petition, please do. I also ask that you would please help spread the word. Share this story with your pastors, churches, families, friends and co-workers. Even if you aren't a believer of the Christian faith. The freedom to choose what we believe and how we live that out is a right given to every human. The right to be treated with justice and goodness is a right every single one of us deserves– regardless of our skin color or nationality.

Naghmeh has completed countless interviews with news media and churches. Her grace and strength are incredibly inspirational. As she shares with CBN in one of the videos below, this has not been an easy journey for her, but God is faithful. Please keep praying for this precious family.

Below are a few of the videos that I feel most compelled to share:

Naghmeh speaking with Pastor Darren Tyler of Conduit. It's only about 10 minutes long. I had tears streaming down my face as I watched this. So deeply blessed and convicted. If you can't see the video, go to:

Naghmeh Abedini At Conduit from Darren Tyler on Vimeo.

Naghmeh also did an interview yesterday with Martha of Fox News, click here to view the five minute interview. 

A six minute interview Naghmeh did with CBN. REALLY insightful. Click here.

Another interview Naghmeh did with Fox last Friday, click here to view the four  minute video.

I encourage you to research this story and learn as much as you can. Fellow believers around the world are jailed, tortured, threatened and murdered daily. This is but one story of many.

Please, Friends, speak up. Please pray. For it is in Christ and through Christ, (especially in the midst of persecution and suffering) that we are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With great hope,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

URGENT: Save Saeed

"The righteous person may have many troubles, 
but the LORD delivers him from them all..."
Psalm 34:19 (NIV)

Saeed and his family are close friends with one of my dearest adoption friends. I have been deeply blessed by countless stories shared of their faith and obedience to the LORD. Please watch the videos, sign the petition, share his story and PRAY.

If you can't watch the above video click here.
Here is the link to sign the petition.
If you are unable to view the news video below, click here.

Time is of the essence. Please join together with believers all across the world and pray. We can do all things through Christ! Keep pressing into Him, and KEEP LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With faith & hope,