And the Winner is…..

August 23, 2011

Congratulations to the Challenge 5 Winner, Gemma from PA! Gemma, thanks so much for your comment on my Challenge 5 – Who Am I? post.

Congrats Gemma!!! I hope you enjoy your Willow Tree ‘Happiness’ figurine.

Thank you so much for caring enough to comment.

God bless you!

Much love,

Carrie-Anne

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August 9, 2011

Congratulations to my first give-away winner, Toni from Texas! Toni submitted a comment on my Challenge 4 – Do It. Change It.  post and was entered along with several more of you to win this “Change your thoughts, change your world” bracelet!

Congrats Toni!

Comment on Challenge 5 – Who Am I? any time over the next two weeks and be entered to win this Happiness Willow Tree figurine.

You are all blessings to this world for your faith, your love and your beautiful souls.

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:12

Love,

Carrie-Anne

Challenge 5 – Who Am I?

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Here’s a question for you to ponder: Who Am I? (No, not me – you.)

Have you ever sat down and really thought about it? When I think about changing my world, I often find myself thinking about the world around me and looking for ways I can make a difference – ways I can spread a little happiness around.

In fact, here’s one of my favorite bible verses:

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:12

I love that “Be the change...” quote from Gandhi though because it reminds me that the absolute best place to start making a different is to look for things I need to change within myself.

Here’s another insightful quote:

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  – Anaïs Nin

Oh Perspective, you are a tricky one sometimes.

So in order to know how I see things – how I see myself in this world, I need to look at who I am.

I decided to make a list of words that describe who I am to this world. I sat down with a blank sheet of paper, started my list, and I stopped when I reached bottom of the page. I ended up with 30+ words after about 20 minutes.

The first several words came pretty quickly: wife, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, aunt, friend…

Then I thought about the role I play in my community: engineer, employee, co-worker, neighbor, member, customer, line stander inner, commuter, volunteer, blogger…

After that, things started getting a little more difficult. I began writing down words that I felt were representative of the type of person I feel like I am: listener, hard worker, observer, challenger, determined, focused (I started running out of words ending in -er)….

Then it got personal.

I sucked it up and wrote down words I didn’t like about myself. Unfortunately, those began flowing pretty steadily: selfish, greedy, scared, insecure, infertile…

Next, I took another sheet of paper and wrote “How Can I Be Better?” at the top. I then took each word from my list, wrote it down and began writing ways I could improve that aspect of my life.

The first thing I wrote on each line was: Pray for ___________ every day. Most words I ended up with between six and nine lines of improvements that I could make. Some even provoked additional questions that brought out some underlying issues I hadn’t considered about myself.

When you make a commitment to change yourself, make it a change that will push you to do more.

God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 

You give your own life the meaning you choose. When you stop making the effort to find meaning in your life, when you allow yourself to become indifferent, to become shallow, to become bitter, life loses all of its beauty.

Don’t be naive or careless, stay alert and be aware of the world around you. Let your presence be a comfort and your actions powerfully calming.

Influence your world. Be the change.

Challenge 5: I think you see where this is going.

Part 1 – Make a list of words that describe: 1) who you are 2) who you perceive yourself to be 3) who you don’t want to be any longer

Part 2 – Write “How Can I Be Better?” at the top of the next page. Pray over each word on your list. Consider it and write ways you can improve that aspect of your life.

And…tell me about it.

I would love to hear how your list turned out. Everyone who comments over the next two weeks will be entered in a drawing to win the Happiness Willow Tree figurine pictured above! Either leave a comment on this post, or submit your story here.


Now go forth and Change Your World!!!

Learn more about the Challenge.

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 07/29/11

…and His banner over me was love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Dear Lord, I visualize your banner flying protectively over my head. A brilliant flag of strength and of comfort, of unconditional acceptance and love. Help me to remember your banner when I need courage. Help me to remember your banner when I feel alone. Help me to remember your banner when my heart is breaking and the void threatens to overtake me again. I place my trust in You. Thank you for the blessings in my life. Thank  you for this wonderful community of women. Amen.

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday!

Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as you are doing. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

Today my heart is breaking for a friend. Please pray for K. Today she is miscarrying. Pray for her. Pray for strength. Pray for courage. Pray for healing for her body and especially for her heart.

Dear Lord, We ask you to bless her with strength and courage. When she is weak, lift her up. Comfort and heal her spirit. Renew her hope. Today and everyday, we will turn to You, Father, for strength, for wisdom, and for salvation through Your Son. Amen

Please pray for all women who are experiencing the anger and void left behind by a miscarriage. Pray they find comfort in knowing that God is sitting next to them, His arms wrapped around them, mourning their sadness right along with them.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.~Psalm 34:18

Infertility forces you to re-evaluate your life and your lifestyle and ask yourself what you are willing to do, to go through, and put your body through. That includes testing the limits of your beliefs, your finances and your relationships and these are all very emotional and stressful decisions. It’s so hard to go through so much with absolutely no reward, only to watch friend after friend and countless family members along the way have success after success – often without even trying. The bitterness that settles in always seems to sneak up on us, until we find ourselves once again devastated by loss and void.

Dear Lord, I want happiness in my life. Give me direction as I loudly stomp down this path on which my life is headed, kicking rocks and stirring up dirt and making as much noise as possible in the hope that you will see me in my struggles. But I know that you see me. And I know that you hear me. I know that you love me and mourn with me and comfort me when infertility overwhelms me. I know that you have a plan for me. Help me to find peace, maintain hope, and stay on constant vigil for every opportunity you place in my path. Help me to lean on you and on those who love me and understand me before bitterness has a chance to bite. Go before me and light my way. In your blessed and holy name, Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.~Romans 15:13

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

Challenge 4 – Do It. Change It.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I’ve heard this quote said a time or two before and I guess I never really thought much of it more than to think that it was “nice.” Probably because it was attached to a recycling article or a debt-free financial advertisement. But I recently came across it again and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how profoundly wonderful this statement is.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. ~ Ephesians 4:22-24

It’s no secret that how we view our circumstances shapes how we respond to them. And when we decide to change our thoughts and thereby our attitudes, it takes proactive actions on our part to actually see a change in our world.

The day I changed my thoughts about my infertility was the day I started writing the devotionals in this blog.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

There are countless times in our lives when we have the opportunity to proactively work to change our world. Sometimes it takes rising above simply thinking happy thoughts or allowing our negative thoughts to settle into apathetic actions, thinking that’s good enough.

I once had a co-worker that we all felt went out of her way to make our lives miserable.  It got to the point where she was the sole reason for a lot of the problems in the office. Some days the shroud of bitterness and animosity that hung in the air was unbearable.

It had to stop.

I began praying for her and I began praying about my attitude toward her. I made a conscious effort not to join in conversations when others were complaining about her and felt pretty good about myself for it. However, my lack of response to my fellow co-workers wasn’t taken as a positive change, but rather an attitude of apathy towards her on my part. Even though I’d decided to change MY thoughts about her, it didn’t do any good to anyone else, or to her for that matter.

So, I started interacting with her more than I ever had before (because I had previously avoided interacting with her). I asked her opinion on things and I told others about her ideas and about her help on things, or mentioned something funny she might have said. One week I’d noticed she’d had a particularly stressful few days so I left a flower on her desk with a note saying I knew this had been a tough week and I hoped she had a nice weekend. Slowly, a few of my friends began changing their attitudes toward her too. It turned out she was a very fun loving and sincere person. Certain events had occurred over the years that slowly hardened her heart toward co-workers in general. New co-workers would show up and be told by current co-workers what a horrible person she was, so naturally they treated her that way and she responded in kind. The old vicious cycle routine.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2

It wasn’t long before the entire feel of the office went from heavy and sneerful to light and almost cheerful (almost…it was still work). I’m not taking credit for the overall change in atmospheric attitude, but I do believe that my intentional actions to improve my relations with her did a lot to influence others in the office and her reactions to them as well.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8

When you see a part of your world that needs to change, pray about it, change your thoughts, change your attitude, then change your world.

Do it. Be proactive. Be a solution.

Challenge 4 – Change your thoughts, and you change your world.

Part 1 – Is for me. God has placed it on my heart to start a bible study in my community for women struggling with infertility. I have met and interacted with more and more women who are bitter, who are angry and who need someone to offer understanding – women who need to find comfort in God and hope in the plan that God has for them. It’s time for me to stop being afraid of failure, and to start being pro-active in my community. Over the next two weeks, I am pledging to make contacts and arrange my first bible study.

Part 2 – Is for YOU. I challenge you to proactively seek something in your life that you need to change your attitude about. Change your thoughts and change your world. Whether it’s breaking the ice with a new co-worker, making amends with an estranged friend, facing a difficult obstacle in your life, starting a support group, or finding common ground with your spouse. If there is something in your life that is out of control, acknowledge it, change your thoughts about it and change it.

And…tell me about it.

I want to hear what you have done to change your world. Everyone who comments over the next two weeks will be entered in a drawing to win this bracelet! Either leave a comment on this post, or submit your story here.

Now go forth and Change Your World!!!

Learn more about the Challenge.

Running and Screaming

At the beginning of the summer, Josh and I took a much needed vacation to Orlando, Florida.

According to fertility folklore, that means I should already be about 8 weeks pregnant. Alas, no.

We’d been planning and paying for this vacation since January and it was just as wonderful as we’d hoped it would be. We stayed in a resort hotel, rented a red Mustang convertible and took a water taxi to and from Universal Studios.

One of those gorgeous sunny days, we drove over to Cocoa Beach and spent a glorious afternoon soaking up the sun and playing in the waves.

When we first arrived at the beach, we walked along the shoreline, enjoying the water rushing back and forth over our feet – until we noticed the hundreds of small mauve colored jellyfish lying all the way down the beach. A closer look into the water washing in and out revealed hundreds more in the water.

Ok. So we need to watch out for jellyfish.

We lined up our beach blankets and flip flops and enjoyed the day. It wasn’t overly crowded and there were several families with kids and teenagers hanging out around the docks. When we were in the water, we kept an eye out for each other for those mauvey jellyfish and never had a problem. There were several kids plopped down in the shallow waves with moms and dads and they didn’t seem to be too bothered by the jellyfish either.

Josh and I had just laid back down on our towels to get some sun when we heard screaming just down the beach from us. We see a young boy, probably about 6 years old screaming and high tailing it down the beach as fast as he could run. His stunned dad stood there for a minute and yelled out, “Hey Buddy, where ya going?” The upset kiddo never paused for a second – he just kept screaming and running in the opposite direction from his dad. A moment later, his dad was running after him, finally caught up to him, scooped him up and began hugging him and looking him over. As he started walking back holding the poor dear, we could clearly see the jellyfish sting marks down his back and on the backs of his legs. They were swelling up quick and looked really painful.

Two lifeguards arrived within moments to look him over and treat the stings. We felt so bad for the little guy.

Josh and I both agreed that if it had been one of us who got stung, we probably would have reacted the exact same way and high tailed it running and screaming, arms waving overhead, in whatever direction we were facing, as long as it was away from the scene of the stinging.

As a matter of fact, I can think of several times when I’ve wanted to do just that – leaving a Carrie-Anne shaped hole through the nearest wall:

Found out “she” was mocking my infertility depression behind my back and saying I just wasn’t “doing it right?” – Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

Just opened an invitation to a sixth baby shower in four months? – Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

Your friend is now pregnant with her fifth baby? – Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hurt. Anger. Bitterness. Longing. Sadness. Envy.

Living with infertility, we try so hard to avoid these stingers in life, but they inevitably strike and it’s always when we least expect it.

And when we’re hurt and angry, it’s so hard not to let that lunatic basket-case come screaming out of us as we run away cursing the world around us. It’s also during these times of weakness and vulnerability when we not only turn and run from the pain, but also from those who are running after us, trying so hard to understand what’s happening to us – wanting so badly to scoop us up and love us and make the pain go away.

Josh once sat me down, looked me in the eyes, and told me that he wanted to share this burden with me – that this was his burden too, that we were in this together and that he never wanted me to think that I was going through the pain of infertility alone. I healed a little bit that day.

My mom and dad both told me at different times that they didn’t understand what I was going through because they couldn’t understand the void I must be feeling. I think that is one of the most understanding statements that anyone can make. It opens the door of communication and invites the one who is hurting to be completely free and open to share why it hurts so badly. There is healing in explaining your feelings to someone who loves you unconditionally and wants to understand.

I found peace with my infertility the day I stopped running away from God and blaming Him for my suffering. I found peace the day I allowed Him to comfort me and renew a hope inside me that He did in fact have a plan for me. That was the same day I started writing these devotionals that have reached all of you. It was healing for me to begin thinking of my infertility as a blessing – because it gave me an opportunity to reach out to other women to offer comfort, encouragement and understanding. Seeing it that way it allows me to channel my anger, bitterness and desperation, and to create something meaningful and beautiful as a result of it. I heal a little bit every time I write a new post.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to talk about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

I can do all things through Him, who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:13

In the day when I called, You answered me; and You strengthened me with strength in my inner self. ~ Psalm 138:3

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 07/22/11

Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as you are doing. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

I’d like to start this Prayer Vigil Friday with a beautiful prayer submitted by a new friend:

Dear God, Please help me, and those who are in this silent plight, to walk through this challenge with faith, strength and hope so that we can grow and become better people. Help us accept your will serenity and light up our paths so that we make choices that benefit us. Amen.

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday.

Every single day, no matter the day I’ve had, I thank God for the community of women I have become part of. I have gained more strength, more understanding, and more reason to hope than I ever thought possible. I pray that God will bless all of you. I pray that you feel His comforting hands on your shoulders.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7

Heavenly Father, help me to feel Your presence in every situation and every circumstance. You are with me, Lord, in times of celebration and in times of sorrow. You never leave my side even when it seems to me that You are far away. Today and every day, let me feel You and acknowledge Your presence so that others, too, might know You through me. Amen

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.~ John 16:33

Please pray for couples who are struggling with infertility. Pray that God will bless the marriages of these couples and the bonds that have developed between them. Pray that God will strengthen their marriages as they share the burden of disappointments and losses – and also as they provide hope and encouragement for each other. Pray they remain strong in their faith, and that together they lean on God for support, and remember His strength when they are weak.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence my help cometh. ~Psalm 121:1…The visualization this verse brings is incredible. When you feel you’ve hit a wall, when you feel you’ve been beaten, that you’ve lost the fight, when life feels at its darkest, you lift your eyes to the hills – and just as the glorious light of God breaks over the grassy top of the hill, your hope is renewed, His power overwhelms you, and you find your strength and your passion for life renewed.

But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. ~Psalm 71: 14

We rejoice for those who have won their battle against infertility and who have received their confirmations of pregnancy this week! Pray that God bless our friends who are so excited, yet still live with that twinge of fear we have all become accustomed to in our struggles. Pray that their bodies remain strong and their babies healthy.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. ~Psalm 16: 9

Please pray for those suffering from endometriosis. Pray for strength and perseverance as they continue their battle against this disease.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ~Ephesians 6:18

Pray for those of us just coming out of our two week wait, knowing that we have another month of trying ahead of us. Pray that we not lose our faith, our hope, our hearts nor our heads. Pray for healing and for strength.

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope. ~Romans 15: 13

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

Reach for Healing

Luke 8: 43-48

A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said,” Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.

“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

There is a painting by Simon Dewey depicting this scene from the New Testament. In this painting, you see the lower half of Jesus, wearing white robes and brown sandals, walking ahead of a number of people. You see the hands of several of these people – some hanging by their sides, others appearing to reach downward, toward a woman lying on the ground behind Jesus; a look of longing and of pure desperation on her face as she reaches for the fringe of Jesus’ robes before he takes one step further away.

You can see it on her face, within her grasp –

I am about to be healed.

For me, the beauty of this image is that I know the desperation this woman has faced. All of my hope, all of my pain, all of my desire is captured beautifully on the face of this woman. There is a definitive desperation that belongs to a woman who is trying to get pregnant. Longing for a child is one of the loneliest feelings I have ever faced. Every single month, every single day, every single breath – the desperation can be consuming to a suffocating end. I see myself as this woman, faced with a longing to be healed – with the belief that if I just tried hard enough, if I just reached far enough, if I could somehow grasp the robes of Jesus, I could be blessed, my body could be healed – I will be blessed with a child.

The reality for this woman is that she was, in fact, healed. Jesus said, “I felt healing power go out from me.” This woman’s powerful faith actually touched Jesus as she reached to him with all that her body could physically allow.  This woman had risen above mere hope, she had passed the point of thinking such thoughts as maybe… possibly… I hope…She was literally reaching to Christ with the absolute knowledge that Jesus Christ was her Savior and that he was there to heal HER.

You have this faith within you dear sisters. Through the frustrating and disappointing ends of every two week wait, through the heartbreaking phone calls from doctors, through the darkness, anger and defeat of a miscarriage, you still have your faith. You still have your strength. You still have that sheer determination to reach out and touch the very essence of healing through every prayer said with your hands lifted high, your face turned upward in a desperate plea – reaching up to touch the robes of Jesus.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ~ Mark 11:24

Believe this.

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. ~ Psalm 6:9

Believe this.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. ~ John 15:7

Believe this.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. ~ Matthew 7:7-8

Believe this.

Challenge 3 – A Smile and Some Change

…and His banner over me was love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

What would a day be like without someone offering a smile and a hello?

Several years ago, I was at a low point in my life. I was in a very bad relationship that had damaged some of my family relations and a few friendships along the way. I was working full time at a job I hated and taking night classes three hours a night, four nights a week. I was completely broke, financially and literally – every credit agency under the moon was after me, I had broken my ever so useful right hand and was in a cast up to my elbow, and when I was at home, I was completely miserable because of the jerk waiting to break my heart and my spirit at any given opportunity.

I remember one day, I had to run by the junior college bookstore during my lunch hour to buy scan-trons for a final I was to take that night. I only had one five dollar bill with me and my checking account was drained. I had been having a particularly bad day, I won’t go into details, but I felt like it had been a really long time since I’d even smiled. It was a hot day, no a/c in the car…I think you get the picture.

As I was pulling up to the last stoplight just before the school, I saw a man standing in the median, holding a cardboard sign and asking for money. Naturally, he was standing right where I would be pulling up to stop. I glared down at my steering wheel, willing the light to turn green. He saw me veer into the left hand turning lane, and as I came to a stop, he began walking toward the car. I continued staring down, doing my best to avoid making eye contact with him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him walk right in front of my car, holding his sign out in front of him. He stopped directly in front of me and stood there. I couldn’t believe this guy! I lifted my eyes to give him a “Get-away-from-me-and-my-car” look of annoyance. But when my eyes met his, he held my gaze for just a moment and then he flipped over his cardboard sign. On the back of the sign, he had drawn a big smiley face with a purple marker. He smiled at me and made a funny face.

I melted.

A huge smile slowly spread across my face. He gleamed. As the light turned green and the traffic started up again, he took one step aside, leaned in toward my window and said, “You’re going to be okay.”

I continued the drive to the school in sort of a daze – I couldn’t stop smiling. I was almost giggling. For the first time in a long time, I felt an internal warming of my soul. For the first time in a long time, I felt the slightest twinge of excitement about my future. I had been given a message. I had been given hope!

At the bookstore, I found the pack of scan-trons I needed and took them to the purchase counter. The clerk was a fellow student who said that a girl had come in just a few minutes before and bought a pack of scan-trons, but only needed a few. She’d left the remainder of the pack at the counter and said to give them out to anyone who only needed a few. I only needed one. So the clerk gave me three.

And I still had my five dollars.

I left the store and drove back around the block to the intersection. With tears streaming down my face, I pulled up to the man and told him that he was the first person who’d made me smile in a very long time. I thanked him for giving me a glimpse of hope, and I gave him my last five dollars.

I think too often we are in such a hurry to live our own lives, that we forget the warmth and peace that can be offered just by taking a moment to acknowledge the people rushing by us. Maybe they need to slow down and remember to smile. Maybe they need someone to give them a reason to smile. Maybe we need to make more of an effort to become that reason to smile – that reason to have hope and to make a change in someone’s day.

So this brings me to my next Two Week Challenge:

Challenge 3:

For the next two weeks, make a conscious effort to acknowledge every person you pass by. Make eye contact with them, smile and say, “Hello.”

It may seem easy enough, but I have a feeling it may be more difficult than you think. Have you ever noticed just how many people walk with their heads down in an effort to avoid everyone around them?

Encourage others to lift up their eyes and smile.

I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence my help cometh.~ Psalm 121:1

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. ~ John 13:34-35

God bless you all and enjoy the challenge!

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 06/24/2011

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40:31

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday! This week’s is a little different. How long has it been since you’ve prayed for yourself?

Dear God, Thank You for friendships.  You know the people in my life and the needs of my heart.  Please help me to grow as a woman in my ability to pour into the lives of my friends.  Help my heart be open to godly, constructive feedback that a friend might speak to me, and give me the capacity to love my friends as You love them.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9

Heavenly Father, I know that there is no such thing as co-incidence in my life. My eyes are watching.  My ears are listening. I don’t want to miss one single opportunity that you have laid out for me. Help me to be alert and aware of all that you have prepared me for, so that I don’t overlook the path you have laid before me that will lead me toward the life you have planned for me. There is always hope because God has a plan. Use me Lord.

Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. ~ Psalm 63:7-8 

Dear Lord, Let me turn to you for strength and for courage. When I am weak, You lift me up. When my spirit is crushed, You comfort me. When I am victorious, Your word reminds me to be humble. Today and everyday, I will turn to You, Father, for strength, for wisdom, and for salvation through Your Son.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ~ John 8:32

Heavenly Father, You are all-knowing and all-powerful. You know every decision I need to make and every challenge I face. Please forgive me for the times that I try to figure this life out on my own. I need You. I need Your Holy Spirit to give me strength, wisdom, and direction.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27

Most Holy Lord, please take control of my life and my will so I may be wholly yours, not just in word, but in thought and deed as well. I’m grateful for what You’ve provided for me. Fill me with Your peace so that I may be truly content in Your blessings.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 06/17/2011

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:13

Our walk here on earth is a path. God is going to lead us, direct us. We need to go to God in prayer, get into His Word and trust and follow his direction. Welcome to this week’s Prayer Vigil Friday.

Encourage one another and bulid each other up, just as in fact you are doing. ~ 1Thessalonians 5:11

Infertility can be so tough on a marriage. The stress, the timing, the calculating, the planned rendezvous, and more stress can take a toll on the healthiest of marriages. One of the problems my husband and I have is that he works evenings and I travel quite a bit. When you’re looking at a specific window that doesn’t fit in well with your schedule, it presents a problem. So I can’t imagine my infertile friends with military spouses who are gone for long periods of time. Or long term business travelers who are only home a couple of days a week for months at a time. Please pray for these couples – for the military couples whose TTC planning comes to a standstill for sometimes 18 months at a time, and also for the couples with scheduling conflicts whose strict schedules don’t often make for fun baby making times. These circumstances only cause more stress and often sadness and depression with the knowledge that this month won’t work simply because their loved one can’t be home.

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you or abandon you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:16

We all struggle so hard to fight the depressed, angry, bitter infertile woman living inside us. Some of us have reached a point where we can talk about our infertility without breaking down. Some of us cannot even breathe the words to another soul without crumbling inside. There is so much healing that has to take place over and over and over again. It doesn’t take much to undo what one has worked so hard to build up inside. I pray that we all find our strength to grasp infertility and overcome it with the faith, the courage and the pure determination to continue living  fully satisfying lives as the beautiful, sensual and womanly creatures we are.

Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. ~ Psalm 102:2

Dear Lord, When I am troubled, You comfort me. When I am discouraged, You lift me up. Whatever my circumstances, Lord, I will trust Your plan for my life.

Please pray for the countless couples who are going through the devastation of a miscarriage. Pray that the mother finds comfort in knowing that her brief yet precious encounter with this tiny life form will never be downplayed or forgotten by any of us in this wonderfully woven family of women. Pray that she finds the strength to continue on her journey.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7

Adoption is an option that many infertile couples find new life in. There are many couples who have been considering adoption but one or the other spouse has certain fears and doubts, which keeps them from moving forward. Please pray for couples who are considering adoption. Pray that they find peace with their doubts. Pray that they lift their fears and doubts up to God and trust in his beautiful orchestration of life. Please pray for all involved in the adoption process.

I know all of us have had times in our lives when our faith has been tested. Some of you may be going through that season in your life today, where everything just seems to be going wrong and no matter what you do, life just doesn’t seem to be going in the right direction. As children of God, we know that our faith will always be tested. God never said life here on Earth would be easy. He did say He is here for us always. So, when life is turned upside down, the only thing I know to do is get on my knees, pray without ceasing and trust that God has total control. The outcome I may be hoping for is not always what God has in mind. I need to trust that His outcome is always better than what I could have ever dreamed of!

Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You. ~ Psalm 143:8

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this. ~ Psalm 37:3-5

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~Philippians 4:6

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!