Mentoring Moments BlogCast published a new entry entitled "My Moment in the Hole" on 4/30/2009 12:23:26 AM, written by Carla Anne Coroy.

My Moment in the Hole

I stopped at Tim Horton’s on my way to cello lessons with three of my kids. (For all you non-Canadians, Tim Horton’s is Canada’s coffee shop of choice!) We’d just finished one and a half hours of violin, a stop at Costco and a quick run in at Petland in the afternoon. My morning had been full of grocery shopping, guitar lessons, voice lessons, a library visit and a quick trip to the Thrift Shop.

During the drive from violin to cello I vented my frustration at one of my kids. Instead of waiting until I got home, had cooled down and thought things through well, I opened my mouth and let loose.

That’s why I stopped at Tim Horton’s. I needed a nice cup of coffee to nurse during the cello lesson. I also wanted to treat my child… to let her know that I loved her even though her actions were less than honorable.

The drive-thru was a mile long – at least it seemed like it – so we parked and walked in. After using a gift card I’d received a few months ago I walked out with my cup of comfort and a few peace packages.

Moments later we arrived at the lesson. I rushed my cello player out of the van, checked to make sure the others had something to do while we waited, shoved my cell phone in my pocket, grabbed the keys with one hand and the large hot coffee with the other.

I swung out of the van, checked to make sure it was locked and followed my kids to the door. Or at least I tried to.

As I stepped toward the house my left foot stepped on the edge of a pot hole. My ankle went over and down I went! My coffee spilled out all over the road, my keys went flying and my very bright, orange purse landed in the coffee puddle.

It was devastating to see my 12 oz of solace pour out on the concrete. But that was nothing compared to the embarrassment I felt when a lady came running out of her house to see if I was alright.

Inside I had two tracks running. One said, “I’m so embarrassed! How come stuff like this always happens to me?” The other marvelled at the compassion and kindness of a complete stranger.

This fine woman brought me paper towels to wipe off my purse, pants and hands, which were stinging. She checked to see if I was okay before she went back into her house.

I was blessed by an incredible offer of a cup of coffee from my cello teacher. As I opened the door she met me with, “So would you like a cup of coffee to replace the other one? What do you take in it?”

This is out of character for her, but I loved every caffeinated sip! What a gift!

It’s interesting how God had to ‘take me down’ a peg or two. I was getting pretty high and mighty with my kids. I was letting them know “who’s boss”. It was quite clear who was in charge.

The problem was that I had forgotten Who that was. I had slipped into some old ways and thought it was me. Oh, I wouldn’t have said that out loud… that’s just how I was acting. Like an immature, brat who thinks she knows more than her Father.

God was gracious to me today. As I’m reading through the Old Testament I see how God teaches His people about His holiness, His authority and His expectations. He treats them like His own children and then disciplines them when they need it.

As I fell flat on my face in the middle of the road God was handing out grace and love in huge doses. You see, I needed that more than I need to be right, or to be in charge, or to be coddled by Him. He needed to get me back down to the place where I would look up to Him and see who He is and who I’m not.

It wasn’t fun in the moment, my ankle still hurts, it was embarrassing and my coffee money was essentially spilled out for the humbling of my spirit. I’m glad He loves me enough to discipline me.

I thank God for my moment in the hole.

My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 3:11-12, NIV


Today's message is from Nancy Leigh DeMoss, that intrepid lady of faith:

April 27, 2009

El Shaddai

(baby crying)

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A newborn baby can be so fretful and disturbed. It seems like you can’t do anything to comfort it. But when a mom pulls the baby close and begins to feed it, everything’s okay.

That’s the way God wants to relate to us. One of the names of God is El Shaddai. That’s usually translated “God Almighty” in English. But there’s more to this name than suggested by that translation.

El or Elohim speaks of God’s power and strength. But the word Shaddai is a tender, touching word that speaks of a nursing mother supplying everything a child needs.

The name El Shaddai tells us that God is the strength-giver and satisfier of His people. What do you need today? Instead of looking around for a solution or inward to your own strength, look to El Shaddai for everything you need.

With Seeking Him, I’m Nancy Leigh DeMoss

This transcript is taken from the nationally-syndicated
daily radio program Seeking Him with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

And the Winner Is......

Congratulations, Jody! But I also want to thank each and every one of you who became a follower of this blog yesterday and participated in the contest. I'm sorry you couldn't all win. However, I may get wild and crazy and actually give each of you a book. In fact, I will! That's right--each and every one of you, since only 13 signed up. This is what I'd like you to do, though. Since only Jody rightfully won the contest by drawing, the rest of you can have a book for the cost of shipping. Leave a comment with your email address and I'll send you a link where you can simply pay for shipping. Fair enough? That's less than $2.50 for a book that retails for $13 or $14, and Jody is still the only one who gets the book for nothing at all.
The rest will get a copy of The House in Grosvenor Square. But please leave a comment today or this weekend, while I still have enough books around to do this!

Jody, I need to know which of my books you prefer. (Before the Season Ends, or, The House in Grosvenor Square). Contact me so I can get your mailing information to send your book. Email me at Linore (at) LinoreRoseBurkard (dot) com. Thanks and congratulations again.

Congratulations again to all of you; you are a winner in Christ for sure, and I hope this little
giveaway helps you to feel like one. : )

I have a devotion for you today from that wonderful lady, Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Remember, I "borrow " devotions when I'm writing on deadline--not every day, but when I'm in a time crunch. Enjoy.

April 24, 2009

Keep the Commitment

“Please leave your question at the tone.” (beep)

“My quiet time seems like something to check off my to-do list every day. If I really loved God, wouldn’t I jump out of bed every morning and run to spend time with Him?”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Not necessarily. You don’t want to live by your emotions, but there is something to be said for maintaining any good habit—even if we’re not full of warm feelings.

A lot of times when we’re faithful to carry out a discipline, the desire follows. For instance, even if a woman doesn’t feel warm toward her husband, she can act in a loving way. And she’ll probably find that her feelings for him will grow.

The same is true in our relationship with God. As Charles Spurgeon said:

“We should pray when we are in a praying mood, for it would be sinful to neglect so fair an opportunity. We should pray when we are not in the proper mood, for it would be dangerous to remain in so unhealthy a condition.”

With Seeking Him, I'm Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

This transcript is taken from the nationally-syndicated
daily radio program Seeking Him with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Adoration that Offends

(Author: Tyler Kenney)

There is no other name [than Jesus]
by which men can be saved.

These words from Acts 4:12 filled the screen in worship as we sang "There Is No Other Name." And it struck me again how incredibly exclusive they are.

I thought to myself, "Man, what a strong thing to say! In singing this, I'm immediately dismissing every other religion in the world. If they could hear me, no doubt I'd offend billions of people."

Paul commands the Corinthians,

Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:32-33)

So why would I sing something in worship to Christ that I know is causing others (who I want to be saved!) to be offended?

Here's why:

Offense is only one result of my singing, not the aim. I'm not singing in order to make other people upset. Nor am I trying to gloat over them or "seek my own advantage."

We sing "no other name" because it is the truth. And we sing it with joy because it glorifies our Savior. It is a beautiful expression of his worth and our love for him. And to refrain from singing it so as not to offend others would instead be an offense to him.

We show more love for others than we do for Christ if we don't say that his is the only name by which men can be saved. And that's wrong! Jesus is our first love.

We shouldn't stop singing humble, honest lyrics to our Savior that happen to offend others. But with our singing, we must also spread the good news that no one needs to remain offended. God is still gathering a choir of people reconciled to him from every tribe and tongue.

Note from Linore: Thanks to today's "Desiring God" (John Piper) blog post for this message. When I'm working on a current book, I can't always write my own messages each and every day. I'm thankful for all the gifted, intelligent people who post wonderful, faith-filled content!

Are you using a devotional in your quiet times?
Today's reflection comes from, 365 WWJD?, a daily devotional by Nick Harrison.

"Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again." Proverbs 24:16

"James says, 'We all stumble in many ways' (3:2)....For most of us, I'm sure the number of times we've fallen far exceeds seven. Yet up we stand, dust ourselves off, and move on."

"Never let your humanity discourage you. Jesus knows us quite well and He is our greatest advocate. If He is still for us, who can be against us? Certainly not ourselves with our tendency towards self-condemnation. Stand up straight today. You are God's child, doing what Jesus would have you do."

Just a quick reminder that we are loosely following along with this book (365 WWJD?) in WOW_Women_of_the_Word, a Yahoo group aimed at encouraging and empowering Christian women. Of course, due to copyright issues, I can't transcribe each day's devotion for you, for which reason I recommend getting your own copy. Now and again I will post excerpts, such as today's; But whether you choose to use this devotional or some other, I definitely recommend using something. With one caution:

Your reading of anything other than Scripture, no matter how brilliant or edifying should only be a starting point for your own prayer and praise. To live as vibrant women of faith, we need more than a daily reading of anyone's good thoughts or devotional writing. We need to take what is meant for us from this reading, meditate on it in light of Scripture, and then turn our focus to Jesus.
The danger of using a devotional is in thinking that once you have read the day's portion, that you have "done your duty," spent your time with God. This can be true, but often isn't. Never lose sight of the fact that it is only the Word of God--and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ--from which we can really draw sustenance to grow on.

I love to use devotionals, and I enjoy writing them; but I need to guard that I never allow them to displace real connection with my Saviour! And I suspect that you do, too.

Got a thought or comment? Post it; Once a month I'll be choosing from among commenters to win a copy of one of my novels. (To see them, click here)
April 17, 2009

The Unbroken Religious

(A Guest Blog Spot)

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: After studying God’s Word, I’ve had a sobering thought. We know that God is offended by people who don’t even pretend to be godly, such as adulterers, fornicators, abortionists, pornographers.

But it seems that God’s even more offended by unbroken, religious people—those whose spiritual-looking outside covers a proud, unteachable spirit.

Jesus had strong words for these people: “Woe to you hypocrites, for you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

I think that proud, hypocritical Christians have done more damage to the church than any unbeliever. By looking down on others as “less spiritual,” we’re missing the heart of the Gospel and the grace of Christ.

So, whether you are a thief and adulterer or a whitewashed tomb, remember the grace of God is available to those who lay down their pride and come to Him with a repentant heart.

With Seeking Him, I'm Nancy Leigh DeMoss

To follow Nancy's teaching on a regular basis, click on the "Revive Our Hearts" button on the left side of this blog!

Today I'd like to point you to an encouraging broadcast for mothers,
which you can listen to through Nancy Leigh DeMoss's website.
Click HERE
or, cut
and paste this into your browser:

This is a great reminder of the work and faith of moms from the Bible.
If you're ever prone to wonder if motherhood is not a noble calling, you need this.
Until next time,


Beautiful flowers are always a welcome sight to my eyes. In fact I love the Spring for its profusion of blooms. We always rejoice to see the first signs of new growth--those precious little shoots that raise their brave heads even while the wind is cold, and the earth seemingly still in the sleep of winter. It seems so miraculous that these new tiny green things are able to sprout at all.

And then there are the birds. Suddenly flitting about from tree to tree. Yesterday I watched a pair of robin red breasts as they played and dived and flirted with each other. "We'll be seeing some baby robins for sure," I told my daughter Grace, while we watched their antics, not more than a few feet from our back sliding doors. "If we watch carefully, we can see where their nest is."

You know where this is heading, don't you? The old adage of "Stop and smell the roses" is close to my point. From today's WWJD reflection, Harrison reminds us that "Jesus said that the Father takes note of a falling sparrow and that He clothes the lilies of the field." For one moment, consider this: None of the beauty of spring, the new life, the new growth, happens by chance. God has not wound up the world like a sort of toy and then sat back to let it all unwind. He has His hand on it, still.

Harrison adds, "[Jesus] also said that our Father cares much more for us than His works of nature." What a profound statement! Jesus said this, KNOWING it to be fact. No one ever before could have known this the way He did. He had a communion with the Father that no mere human has had--for Jesus is very God.

As you enjoy the thrill of beauty in your area of the world today, and throughout this season, remember that you are of far more value than the flowers, to Your God. He who "clothes" them so sumptuously, will He not much more "clothe" you? To be clothed means much more than merely having things to wear. It refers to the entire fabric of our lives--the "soil" we are planted in; the nutrients which support our growth, and even the water we need to sustain us.

God is concerned greatly with every aspect of your life.
Can you rejoice today for being His planting, His work, His child?
I can.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for the care You give me, individually, and for how You plant me collectively with others. I am Your child, Your handmaiden, and my growth and blooms are
products of Your mercy and grace. Let me raise my head bravely where you send me, and do the work of Him who sent me, just as Jesus did. In Jesus' Name! Amen.

Devotions Take Devotion

Are you fully committed to having a devotional time with the Lord each day?
Devotions take devotion.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus must be done purposefully. In order to take in the Word,
you must empty yourself; or how can he fill you?
When I spend time quietly in Scripture in the mornings, I am continually awed at His
faithfulness in teaching, rebuking, correcting, leading, or encouraging me.

Last year, I started with an empty notebook, and each day, after reading a portion of Scripture
(mostly the Psalms and Proverbs at that time), I would jot down the thoughts and ideas
that came to me. It was astonishing even to me, a writer, how quickly the pages
filled up. Each and every day, I had new ideas to record; new thoughts or reminders of old
lessons that I needed to keep in mind, or to share with others.

Nowadays, instead of writing down all my thoughts I record them as devotions. Occasionally I keep them to myself, if I feel they are only meant for me. But
the focus here is not me or what I do with the gleanings from the Word; the idea I want to
convey is that you, too, can have daily communion with the Lord, and "hear" his thoughts.
That's what reading the Bible is all about.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss says:
"Each of us has the opportunity to cultivate the beauty of a daily devotional life. Time
spent alone in the Word and prayer each day will bear fruit in our lives as we experience an everdeepening intimacy with the heavenly Father.
Those who are willing to come apart from the clamor and demands of each day’s activity
in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His words will experience an intimacy that most
believers will never know. The fruit of that devotion will be manifested in an orderly, peaceful
Should you choose to cultivate your heart as a garden of the Lord, you will be blessed
and others will be blessed. And it is all, all, all for the Beloved."

Having a nice little devotional to write is fine and good; but living a godly, ordered and peaceful life is even better and both result from time spent in the Word and prayer.
So, I'll ask you again--Are you spending time with God each day?
Are you devoted to having devotions?
If not, determine in your heart to become so. A better life is only a closer walk with Jesus away.

PRAYER: Lord, Grant that we may come humbly before You each day, seeking Your wisdom,
leading, correction or encouragement-Your strengthening. We need You. It is not a sacrifice to
come to You--it is a great and miraculous privilege, forged for us through Jesus' Sacrifice. O, thank you for it! Speak to our hearts until we all reach a unity of the faith. Start with our lives, and affect the culture as You see fit. In Jesus' Name.

A Final Note: From Ms. DeMoss again, comes the following quote:
"S.D. Gordon said, 'Prayer wonderfully clears the vision, steadies the nerves,
defines duty, stiffens the purpose, sweetens and strengthens the spirit."
I couldn't agree more.
Amen, and Amen.

©2009 LinoreRoseBurkard

"God is always testing us, and his testing does not come when we are
warned and ready. Anyone can pass a test then.
God's tests catch us unprepared, off guard. It is when we are confronted
with some simple situation no one will know about that the tests of life
really come. When you are relaxing at home and the phone rings and
suddenly you are confronted with a call for help, or a demand for a
response--and you had planned to relax and enjoy yourself all
afternoon--what happens then? That's the test."
Ray Stedman (from 365 WWJD?)

Instead of a phone call, I could just substitute the needs of my
children, which sometimes arise with sudden intensity. My youngest
is particularly prone to stampede into my study with a need, large
or small, and my lap must be instantly available. I could be in
the middle of finally writing the portion of my book that had been eluding
me--or answering an important email; No matter. My child wants
first place in my attention, and I have to confess that it is not always
easy to give.

I remind myself that her needing me is not something I HAVE to
put up with--it is a privilege! I am honored to be a mom. I am grateful
for my children. Each of the "interruptions" are really just reminders
of my true life. I am here first of all as a daughter of God, wife, and mother.

What area of your life do you sometimes perceive as "interruptions?"
It may be that your interruptions, like mine, are little tests to see whether your
heart is where it should be.

When I manage to turn from my pc and fully embrace my daughter, or whatever
child it is needing my attention, I am richer for it. They are richer for it.
This is what my life should, and must, consist of. Putting people first.
Except me.



Considering Treasure

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and
rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
Matthew 6:20

Today's verse reminds me of the vanity of possessions. I don't mean
the necessities of life--shelter, food and clothing. I mean all the extra
"stuff" we surround ourselves with to be comfortable, or to enhance
the appearance of our abodes.

I constantly challenge myself to rid the house of some of my "stuff."
(Usually books). I am pitiful at getting rid of any. No matter how ruthless
I determine to be, I end up with maybe four or five that I can part with--
out of hundreds. We have bookcases all over the house.

As a habitual bargain-hunter (with five children, you sort of have to
do this!) we also have plenty of clothing. I find it much easier to give
away bags of good clothing that has been outgrown, or not worn much,
to those who can use it, or to GoodWill or the Salvation Army. Actually,
I love to fill bags of stuff for young families, and there is one way that
I can even give books and godly magazines with no misgivings--
that another mom or dad will use them.

But even though I do this regularly, we still have/ too much stuff./
Stuff in itself is not sinful; but am I also careful to store up treasure in
heaven? It is counter-intuitive to do this, as what is stored in heaven is
precisely that which we do /not /keep: it is what we give away in love.
And not necessarily all of our giving even qualifies for heavenly treasure--
as Jesus pointed out at the Temple, it is when we give out of our own
need, our lack, that we give the most.

When I make up my bags of stuff for young families, I am giving out
of my abundance. That is no big deal, and what the world often does, too.
Lord, help me to give even when it hurts. Help me to give in faith. Out of
need. And let me let YOU be my treasure--now and forever.


A Chat with Sara

T'was an eventful time last night. Scott went home on American Idol & some 'precious' students left a toilet on our lawn. Ah, well. It's a new day, am I right?

Today I'd like to introduce you to writer, Sara Mills, author of the Allie Fortune Mystery Series.

Booklist had this to say about her current release, Miss Match: Full of adventure and suspense, and thick with intrigue, this book is impossible to put down. The sense of danger that permeates the work, especially in the bleak European setting, gives the book a film noir feeling.

Friend and author, Cara Putman recently interviewed Sara about her unique series. Let's listen in...

Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me: One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.

(Julie here: We’re kindred spirits, Sara...that’s my kind of trip…!)

Here's a bit more about Sara's books:

Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1
By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

In 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fianci disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.
Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances-if only she knew whether her fiance was still alive.

Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.
A child finds important documents that everyone in the city - Soviets and allies alike - want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.

You can visit Sara at


"You will make known to me the path of life;
In your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."
Psalm 16:11

Here we see that God promises to make known to us
the "path of life." It is not, in a sense, the big mystery that
we often make it to be. Yes, there are mysteries of life,
and things we will never fathom; to do so would be having
the full knowledge of God. But in a sweeping, all-encompassing
sense, the "path of life," is truly quite simple:
It is a journey towards God.

"You will make known to me the path of life;

The path of life leads to God's presence, and in that
presence is fullness of joy.

The path of life leads to the pleasures He holds for us, which
last forever. In a word, Heaven.

In the next Psalm, the psalmist asks God to deliver him from men
"whose portion is in this life." But, "as for me," he says, "I shall
behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your
likeness when I awake." (Psalm 17: 14b, 15)
Awake from what? From the sleep of death.
Our portion is not in this life. This is not to say that we don't have
A portion--God is so abundantly good that He blesses us right here
and now. But our truest, biggest and best portion is reached by
following the path of life to it. To God Himself. To God and His

How do we know if we are men or women whose portion is only
in this life? See what the psalmist says: "I shall behold Your face
in righteousness." We have the righteousness of Christ when we
believe in Him, and in His work for us on the Cross. The work of
redemption. We can then wear His righteousness like a robe,
and we are accepted in the Beloved.

How good God is! How much He has waiting for us!
I don't know about you, but I look forward to beholding His face,
having fullness of joy in His presence, and enjoying the pleasures
of His right hand forever!

Lord, thank you for showing us the path of life; thank you
for your goodness, for sending Your Son, that we might awake to see
Your likeness and dwell in your goodness forever. Thank you for
Jesus, who died for us precisely so that we could share in this joy.
Help us to lead others to your salvation, that they may know it, too.
We love you, Lord! We bless Your name! Amen.



©2009 Linore Rose Burkard
Image: "Pathway to Spring" Oil on Panel by Scott Baltz
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable
in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19: 14

Imagine for a moment if every word you spoke was pleasing to God;
if every thought of your heart was "acceptable.
" Would you not be
doing what Jesus would do? This morning as I meditated on this
verse, it occurred to me that if we could only control our tongues
and thoughts, we would live constantly in God's will, and by
extension, be living the life He approves of. It suddenly seemed so

But alas, the same Bible tells us that "the heart is deceitful and
desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Notice the emphasis
is on the heart more than the tongue. Jesus explains: "For out of the heart
come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false
witness, slanders. These are the things which defile a man." For,
"The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and
those defile the man." (or woman.) Matt.15:19-20, 18

This is not to say the situation is hopeless, however! Jesus is the ultimate
As we go about our day today, I encourage you to pray with the psalmist,
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable
in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer." (Ps.19:14)
Let the Redeemer redeem you! I certainly need the filter of the Holy Spirit
as I speak, answer email, and interact with my family. What about you?

PRAYER: O Father, let us today speak and even more, /think,/ as You
would have us do. We pray that you would guard the door of our lips,
be our "filter"-- and sprinkle our thoughts and words with salt and
light so that
we, in turn, may show such to the world. Even better, we will be
acceptable in Your sight. We know that You accept us in Christ, Lord--no
matter how short we fall, or how easily beset with sin; But speak to our
hearts when we err in our thoughts; bring truth where are lies, and shine
Your light upon us so that we may reflect that light to a dark world.
In Jesus' Name, and by Your mercy , Amen.



I am pleased to note that I've been given an award by another historical author, who also
edits a monthly e-magazine. Rita Gerlach sent me the following "framed" Award: (see right).

Thank you, Rita!
If you haven't seen Rita's site or e-mag, stop by.
The beautiful artwork she posts is worth the trip
alone, but there's much more than that.
It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Real Solutions for Busy Moms

Howard Books (April 7, 2009)


Kathy Ireland is a former supermodel and the Chief Designer and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide. Kathy is also a busy mom who raises her three children with her husband.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $23.99

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Howard Books (April 7, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1416563180

ISBN-13: 978-1416563181

AND NOW...An excerpt:

Chapter 2: Every Home Needs Happiness

Lately, it seems like our family time at home is depressing and tense, just one frustration after another. What's a better way?

Recently, during a furniture convention at the World Market Center in Las Vegas, our team was having a pretty exciting evening. We were surrounded by friends, family, our manufacturers, and retailers. My friend Erik Estrada was master of ceremonies for the party. My friend Anita Pointer was headlining a concert for us. You can imagine my surprise when she dedicated one of the Pointer Sisters' most exciting songs, "Happiness," to Kathy Ireland Home. My jaw dropped, and it got me to thinking: every home needs happiness.

When you and the rest of your family are happy, your day goes more smoothly, your problems are resolved more quickly, and your life flows like a fresh and beautiful spring. As world champion boxer and entrepreneur George Foreman has said, "You just can't beat ol' happy." Happiness is something we all desperately want and need. In childhood we learn about the Declaration of Independence and the phrase "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We Americans consider happiness an inalienable right, and we pursue it with passion -- but often, sadly, without success.

Happiness seems elusive for many of today's families. We're overwhelmed, underpaid, and under pressure, and the results in many homes are tension and conflict. Too many parents and their kids turn to destructive habits to get through their days: alcohol, drugs, inappropriate sexual activity, overspending, and more. In these as well as less dysfunctional families, bickering is a standard mode of communication. Families turn to counselors, therapists, and church leaders to mediate disputes between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, yet frequently the conflicts remain unresolved. Divorce, to a staggering degree, has become commonplace: more than half of today's marriages break up. In extreme cases, parents physically abuse their children, a terrible tragedy. But are we aware of our kids' vulnerability to emotional abuse? A thoughtless, cruel, or sarcastic comment at an unguarded moment can cripple a young life forever. Both forms of abuse take place every day.

Some time ago I heard a story I will never forget. A woman was describing how miserable her life was with her husband. When asked what she could do to change her circumstances for the better, the woman answered, "I'll never leave, and we'll never be happy, because my revenge on my husband is not complete." This bitter attitude toward life is scary, and it's likely more common than we realize.

What's wrong with us? We may be pursuing happiness, but we're not catching it. Are we sacrificing happiness today because of hurts from yesterday? Are we going to be discontented, or, worse, miserable for the rest of our lives? Do we have to live this way? The answer to that, of course, is no. In fact, you may be surprised how easy it is, after a little strategic thinking, to bring real happiness into your life and home. Keep reading, and I'll explain what I mean.

Defining Happy

By now you've probably asked yourself, "Am I happy?" Before you answer, I suggest you ask yourself another, far more important question: "How do I define 'happy'?" Go ahead, pull out a piece of paper or open up your laptop and record what comes to mind. What does your happiness look like? Feel like? How do you touch it? How do you experience it? Your answers to these questions will be more profound than you might think.

I once was a guest panelist at a speaking event with Barbara Walters and Dr. Maya Angelou, both women I greatly respect. We were speaking at the conference at different times. Ms. Walters made the statement that women can't "have it all." Later, when it was my turn to communicate, I politely disagreed with her. I said that women can have it all but that we may not be able to have it all at the same time. Marriage, career, motherhood, household CEO, commitments to church and other nonprofit organizations, and other life responsibilities are enormous challenges that can drain even the mosthighly skilled and motivated among us. Trying to fill all of these roles successfully as well as simultaneously is like juggling three balls while riding a bicycle across a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Sure, you might be able to pull it off, but it's far more likely that sooner or later, something will be going over the edge -- and it will probably be you!

My point is that you don't need to have it all at the same moment, with the pressures that go along with that. What does having it all really mean, anyway? Your "all" needs to be just that -- yours. You need to define it. Don't allow your perception of someone's fantasy to become your blueprint for living. Your life, like your fingerprints, will be different from someone else's. It's your unique gift from God. For me, that means following the path I believe God has set me on. That path is a wonderful place, where we can be happy.

If you're a mom who's trying to be everything to everyone, are you doing it because it brings you happiness or because it's part of someone else's agenda? As moms we aim to please. We want to meet and exceed the expectations of others, whether they are our children, spouse, friend, neighbor, or our own mother. We may buy into someone else's idea of a successful, happy life without ever really thinking about how it will impact our own. Be careful that you don't let another person's definition of happiness substitute for yours.

Letting go of others' expectations can be extremely freeing. Suddenly you don't have to work crazy hours each week to make payments on a car you don't really need. You don't have to prepare the perfect meal every night -- your family will survive the occasional tuna sandwiches and vegetable sticks. You don't have to have every item of clothing washed, folded, and put away at the end of the day. It'll wait until tomorrow. If taking off some pressure gives you greater peace in your heart -- and more happiness -- then allow yourself the freedom to be less than your image of perfection.

Knowing What's Truly Important

Let's take a look at what you wrote for your personal definition of happiness. Does it match up with the way you're living your life? When can you make changes to move closer to your definition of happiness? Don't put it off until tomorrow -- let's start today. If you aren't quite sure how to answer these questions or are simply feeling overwhelmed, make a list of your priorities. What is most important to you? What people and activities and attitudes bring you the greatest joy? Are you thinking "big thoughts" about your life and your future? Do you have a vision for fulfilling your goals? It's tough to be happy if your daily life and priorities aren't aligned. If you spend most of your time focusing on your priorities and passions, you'll probably be much happier.

When I write out my own priorities, my faith in Jesus Christ tops the list. He is my foundation. He is my daily source of purpose and joy. The Bible says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" ( James 1:2). We can find joy even when the state of our lives isn't all we're wishing for. Since God wants us to find joy even in our trials and tribulations, I believe He expects us to celebrate the good times even more. That's a great encouragement to me.

One of the little things I do to remind myself about my priorities is to take a sheet of paper and write, in big capital letters, JOY. After each letter, I fill in a word: Jesus, Others, You. I keep one of these JOY signs on my bathroom mirror and another in my kitchen. On days when I'm feeling more stressed than joyful, those signs stop me in mid-step. I'll think, Okay, wait a second...maybe I need to rearrange my priorities at this moment. And when I do that, the joy returns. It's a simple technique, one anyone can use to help remind him or her of what's important. Your list will be different from mine. Whatever it is, keep it in front of you so that your eyes are focused on the prize. The key is to stay attuned to what matters most to you so you can maintain a joyful atmosphere in your life and home.

What matters most to the moms I talk with is time with their families. Kids, especially, change quickly and move into new phases of life. We don't want to miss anything. Our sons and daughters need our guidance and steady presence. They also need us to be happy so we can bring happiness into their lives. Yet unless we are vigilant in protecting our family time, it disappears. It's easy for seemingly important events to intrude on this precious resource.

I remember a wonderful offer that came to me several years ago. I was invited to participate in a short-term project that would pay three times the annual salary I was earning at that point. My advisers thought it was a great opportunity and strongly encouraged me to say yes. The problem was that it was scheduled on the same day as my wedding anniversary, it couldn't be changed, and I'd already made plans with my husband. I'd decided early in my marriage that celebrations on special days such as anniversaries and my husband's and children's birthdays were too important to postpone. I do admit that I have worked on my own birthday, and that's probably not the best boundary. When I considered what to do about the conflict with our anniversary, it was no contest. I turned down the project and enjoyed my time with Greg instead.

Husbands and, even more so, your children, will intuitively sense if they are cherished and if they are your priority. When you set aside other important and pressing issues to make time for them, it sends a message that they are first in your life. You may miss out on a business opportunity, a fun time with a girlfriend, or that haircut you really need. Sometimes you'll even miss out on your daily shower (we moms know that perfume is shower in a bottle). Yet by letting go of other priorities, you'll be honoring your family and cultivating a happy home. In the long run, it will be more than worth the sacrifice of any other opportunity.

The Power of Place

Another key to a happy home is maximizing the impact of our physical environment. For most moms, even if we work outside the home, our house or apartment is our primary "office." For better and worse, it is the space that communicates how we're feeling about ourselves and our lives. Never underestimate the power of place to either lift your spirits or take a toll on your emotional well-being. I urge you to step back and consider how your home is making you feel. Years of living in the same spot can have a numbing effect on your senses. You may not even realize that the atmosphere of your living space is making you tense, anxious, and depressed when it should be leaving you relaxed, at peace, encouraged, and happy.

You may sense that your physical surroundings are draining your energy but aren't sure why. It could be that your furniture feels hemmed in and out of balance. It's possible that the colors on the walls, which once felt exciting and enlivened your decor, now appear out-of-date, stuck in the past. If your life has changed, why haven't your colors? Or are you overwhelmed by one of the most common culprits of all -- clutter? With tons of clutter, you may not be able to even see the colors of your walls.

Is your home filled with things you no longer want or need? Are you hoarding to compensate for or cover up some emotion? Are your tables and floors covered with toys, clothes, dishes, and unread magazines? These are signs that clutter is taking over your life. It's easy to get weighed down by possessions. In some cases, the desire to acquire becomes a disease. People have closets and rooms full of things that weigh them down. If that's your situation, don't hesitate -- it's time to act. Attack your home one room at a time. As you come to each item, either put it to use or get rid of it. If it's a ticket from a movie with your kids that evokes a special memory, put it in a scrapbook to preserve the memory, design a Christmas craft with it, or throw it away. Learn to let go. As you do, you'll rediscover the inviting home you once knew and loved.

I don't mean that every item and scrap of paper in your home has to be out of sight. That's certainly not the case in our home. My desk, which used to be my kitchen table, is covered with paperwork. You might call it a mess. Yet I know what each piece of paper is and where it goes. It's an organized mess! So I'm not suggesting that your home has to pass a white-glove inspection. On the other hand, if your bedroom doorway is blocked by boxes of Christmas cards from people you haven't talked to in ten years, it's time to step in and "clutter bust."

I am a firm believer that we are influenced by our environment, usually more than we realize. You may be reluctant to put much energy into transforming your home into a more welcoming place. I understand. However, once you acknowledge the far-reaching impact a positive living space has on your spirit, you can begin making changes for the better. We'll talk in this chapter about how relatively small steps, such as adding a touch of aromatherapy or setting out candles, can make an enormous difference in the atmosphere of your home (it's hard to have arguments by candlelight). We'll discuss fun ideas for displaying personal items that celebrate your unique personality and make you feel comfortable and honored. We'll also explore ways to establish a cozy little nook in your home that is just for you, a private place you can turn to for tranquility.

If you're anything like me, you'll need help -- expert help -- to make all the changes needed to transform your house into a happy home. I freely admit that cooking and gardening are not among my strengths. That's why I often turn to my good friend Chef André Carthen of ACafe and renowned landscape designer Nicholas Walker of J du J for advice. In this chapter Chef André and Nicholas will offer you solutions for entertaining and for developing a refreshing physical environment outside your home -- as well as enabling some of that outdoor refreshment to come inside.

You may not be an expert on kitchen, garden, and living spaces. You are, however, an expert on you and what your family needs. Even if you have limited time and financial resources, with a little bit of help, you can develop a style for your home that reflects who you are and what makes you happy. We'll talk more about that, too. What is crucial is looking for opportunities to allow your surroundings to flourish. It can be the magnet that attracts the joy hidden inside your heart.

Looking for Joy in All the Right Places

We've talked about how many families are pursuing but not finding happiness. Some moms, though, are tired of the chase. They've tried for so long and have become so discouraged that they've given up. They're waiting for someone or something to come along and rescue them. They feel empty. They have a void in their hearts that desperately needs to be filled.

I remember the day one of our children wanted to run away from home. I'd read all the manuals and instruction books that said parents should question the decision but then allow their child to pack. The key was to never let the child see you panic or allow him to think he could intimidate you. Yet when my child was the one announcing plans to run away, my response was the complete opposite of what I'd read. As soon as I heard the words, I dissolved into tears. Not a good example of parenting! So believe me, I do understand how overwhelming, intimidating, and even frightening it can be to have mom responsibilities, and how that can leave mothers with an empty feeling that cries out to be filled.

For me, that void is filled by the Lord. When I take my troubles to Him, I find comfort and strength that give me an inner joy and allow me to keep going even when I'm discouraged by my circumstances. I appreciate that you may not share my faith. If you don't, you won't find your support in the same way I do. I will tell you this, though: if we wait for happiness, we are likely to find ourselves paralyzed by the waiting.

A mother once wrote to me and said, "I want to be happy. I'm waiting for something to happen to help me be happy." I wrote back and encouraged her to begin moving toward joy that day. We corresponded further, and I urged her to start with simple steps: Organize a junk drawer. Discard things she didn't need. Visit her children at school. Decide that rather than argue with her husband over their differences, she could realize that they each had their own visions for their lives, and she could focus on what they had in common. Today this mom leads a much happier life. She has stopped waiting for happiness to come to her and is starting to look for joy in the right places.

I don't mean to imply that discovering happiness is easy, especially for anyone struggling with genuine depression. Without doubt, there are circumstances and medical conditions that require professional help, including prescription medication. Emotional illness is as real as any physical illness. If you find yourself in a place of depression that you can't break through, or if you're overwhelmed to the point of danger to yourself or another human being, please put this book down immediately and get help. Too often, however, people turn to chemical substitutes -- even from our own physicians, who may be quick to prescribe them -- rather than attempt to solve the core problem. If you're unhappy, there is much you can do to change your situation. Life is too precious to go through it without joy.

One of the best ways to discover joy is to reach out to others. When we see beyond ourselves and observe the needs of the people around us, we open ourselves and our children up to all kinds of opportunities for joy. Years ago I worked in a convalescent home. It was a pleasure for me to deliver meals to the elderly patients, many of whom had no one else to visit them. Many were not happy. Their health was poor, and they were lonely. Yet the simple act of giving them a smile and hug and of serving them a meal brought heartfelt smiles to their faces. When my shift was done, I felt joy over the fact that basic acts of kindness could cause someone to feel a small difference in their life.

When you reach out to others, the impact goes beyond you and the person you're helping. Imagine the lessons your children will learn if, from an early age, they see you volunteering once a month to read to the blind or serve in a soup kitchen. Better yet, if your kids are old enough, encourage them to volunteer with you. In Santa Barbara we have a program in which we bring flowers to people who otherwise don't have access to them, so that they can experience one of God's wondrous creations. The program serves women and men who have limited mobility or are confined to their living space, including those in convalescent homes. Even people at our local mission, who may be temporarily homeless, benefit from the program and can enjoy the scent and beauty of a flower. This is something we've participated in as a family. I believe our children have learned powerful lessons from seeing firsthand the impact of kindness. No matter how much joy they give out, they receive even more.

I'm not suggesting that you should volunteer at the expense of your family time or your own overwhelmed schedule. It's important to set boundaries and establish what you can and cannot do. Still, when you make it a priority to focus on others, you may find that other, more trivial concerns will begin to fall away.

If you're reading this and thinking that you have very little time or money to give to others right now, I understand that. If you are a person of faith, however, you always have the option to pray. I'm reminded of a time when I learned that two boys at school were bothering one of our children. My first reaction wasn't very loving. I was upset. Later that evening, though, when I calmed down, our child and I prayed for those two boys. Just leaving the matter in God's hands was a blessing. Knowing that He hears and answers every prayer created a sense of peace and happiness for both of us. And the next day I found out that the situation had indeed improved.

Put simply, compassion leads to joy. In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote, "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love...then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love" (Philippians 2:1-2). Any time that we follow the example of Jesus, we radiate joy. Everyone around us will see it, receive it, and most often, reflect it back.

Beginning Today

You can be happy today. Remember when I said that some people have a void they want someone or something to fill? It's as if they're stuck in an "if, then" mode. If I can just have a baby girl, then I'll be happy. If we can make enough to afford a new house, then I'll be happy. If my boss gives me that transfer I want, then I'll be happy. They're always waiting for some external event to bring joy into their lives.

You don't have to wait. You can choose happiness right now. God tells us to be patient in our trials and in waiting for the return of Jesus (see Romans 12:12 and James 5:7), but He doesn't say we have to wait for joy. On the contrary, He wants us to always celebrate our lives and faith: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4). Remember Paul and Silas, who were severely flogged and chained to a prison wall (Acts 16:23-24)? They seemed out of options, yet they raised their own spirits and those of their fellow prisoners by offering prayers and hymns to God.

Yes, we will have moments of sorrow in our lives; but real joy isn't based on circumstances. Real joy is something that cannot be taken away. Even in the midst of crisis or grief, deep in our hearts, we have the joy of knowing that we're not alone. We have God, the people we love, and the precious gift of life. No matter what else is going on around us, those are blessings we should never take for granted.

Real Solutions for Busy Moms © 2009 by Kathy Ireland Worldwide