Tuesday, November 30, 2010

40 days

I can't believe this is the last week of my 40 day concentrated journey with Jesus. I didn't plan it this way, but it seems fitting that I'll end just after the first week of Advent. Such a peaceful transition for a heart currently flooded by His love.

It's been hard and it's been wonderful. There have been several mountain top moments and a few cry my unworthy eyes out that He is faithful to me realizations. Equally good for the heart that wants nothing more than to be all His.

So far the most obvious awareness has been whatever the cost, it's my responsibility to maintain peace on the inside. I've had to make some big changes. I've had to make room for some things to stay and for some to go. I've had to disappoint a few people (already) and I've had to settle with being okay with that. It's not selfish to keep my relationship with the Lord priority 1. Period. I don't believe we can be effective in our areas of ministry without caring for ourselves well. As an aside-this goes against everything within me, but I know it's true.

I've been through the hard things with the Lord in recent weeks. Some I promise to blog about and some I may not. Certain things should be just between the Father and His child-agreed? But I think the greatest lessons and realizations will unfold over time.

I am already in such a better place with Him now than I was 30 days ago. If you seek Him-you will find Him. His promises are true.

Monday, November 29, 2010


In the struggle of the night, the quickest way for anyone to reach the light is not to chase the sun into the west where it last was. Rather one finds the rosy fingers of dawn earliest by paradoxically heading east into the darkness itself. -Anonymous

Friday, November 26, 2010

Advent 2010-Starting This Sunday

I couldn't settle on a single advent devotional this year so I have 3. I'm convinced already that this one will be my favorite. Everything Henri Nouwen has ever written has passed through these hands at least once. His books have changed my life in 100 different ways with his tender, pure heart for a loving, forgiving Savior.

This book takes the reader through Advent and Christmas. 28 days of Advent/12 days of Christmas concluding with Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.

Let's face it-It's a busy time of year and this book is perfection for those short on time. It includes the option daily of an excerpt by Henri Nouwen, a scripture, a prayer, and an activity for the day. I have every intention to cover all 4 every day, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Happy Advent!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I don't know how to write this in less than a million pages without making a list so here you go......

This thanksgiving my heart overflows with thankfulness for

-A God who loves me. The parts of me that look like Him, the parts of me that may never, the good days, the bad days, the strengths and the weaknesses-Accepted in the Beloved.

-For a rough spiritual year. For lots of tears, for lonely moments, for unanswered questions-all of which have made me run to Him and cling to His heart with fresh certainty that He is faithful.

-For The Virtual Abbey. Praying the Daily Office with people from around the world is just the beginning! They are genuine people who love God and care for each other. Meeting some of them IRL this year will forever live in my memory bank as a true God thing. And plans to meet more in January??? I cannot wait!!

-For 3 dogs who care that I come home at night, who snuggle with me, who make me walk more than I want to and who love me unconditionally. I want to be like them.

-For friends near and far of all ages. I couldn't do it without them. And for family.

-For a best friend who makes me do crazy things like run a half marathon this year!

-For Starbucks-my daily dose (or 4) of happiness.

-For yoga which keeps my mind uncluttered.

-For the people in my life who live like Christ. People who are not just His hands and feet but His heart to me and so many others. You inspire me. You remind me that there is more to this life than even this life. Your eternal outlook is peace for the journey. You know who you are.

For all this and more - I'm giving thanks this year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I had this conversation with a friend the other day.

Friend: "I don't know, I'm just a peaceful person. I take life as it comes. God will take care of it."
Me: REALLY? (recalling the shouting match I lost with the Almighty just moments before.) What's the secret?
Friend: I'm just wired for serenity.
(That must come in handy)
Me: Medicine?
Friend: Nope.

I had to go. I don't have space in my life for delusional people.

To be fair-she really is like that. Anyone who spends that much time on their knees deserves the serenity she possesses and I want to be her when I grow up. Or tomorrow.

I want to be a good representation of who He is. Now. When I say I trust Him I want that to be true all the time. When I say He's my everything I want there to be no doubt. When I say I'm sure of His love for me, I want to live like someone who is loved unconditionally by eternal love.

And I think it starts with trusting God today. By giving Him what we can give him. By trusting Him first with what's in our hearts today. By remembering we are always somewhere between the dreaming and the coming true. Learning, growing, trusting, stretching. It's maddeningly necessary to mess up on the way to figuring it all out.



Friday, November 19, 2010

When Virtual Becomes Reality

It all started when a mutual friend followed @TamiHeim on twitter.
She posted great spiritual stuff every morning-so I followed her too.
I posted a blog about funny things overheard at Starbucks.
She commented the next day about something overheard at Starbucks.
I suggested she read my blog post by sending her the link on Twitter.
She did.
We became facebook friends.
We chatted back and forth on line on occasion about important things like Jesus and coffee.
One of us thought it might be fun to meet for coffee. (MOI!)
I was in Nashville last summer.
We did meet for coffee. And lunch. And a trip to the chiropractor. And the bookstore.
And dinner. And chatting.
It was wonderful.
She was a part of @Virtual_Abbey.
I loved following them.
So I offered to help lead prayer.
Which I do. On Wednesday nights. (You should come)
Over time all of these people got added to my daily influences on line.
A lot lot lot of wonderful people.
And I realized my prayers at night often times covered people I'd never met.
But I knew them.
Our relationship foundation is fun facebook wall posts.
And a running joke about pink highlights.
Virtual good night hugs and a whole lot of Jesus.
We met in real life last week.
It's a God thing. For real.
Just this week we've shared some heart things by e-mail
And my life is better with her in it.
It's God's grace she lives relatively close to me.
I don't honestly remember when @SandraHeskaKing got added to the mix
But she did. Big time.
Michigan started feeling REALLY far away the more I knew her.
And then the chance came last week to meet her.
When I told her I was coming she screamed. On twitter.
It was funny. I'm keeping it forever.
I didn't know if the relationship would translate.
I like me better on-line sometimes myself.
But from the first hug I knew.
This was a God thing.
And I miss her more than I thought you could miss someone
you've only known in real life for a few hours.
And plans this spring are to have virtual visitors to Georgia
Can. Not. Wait.
When a single tweet leads to big real life hugs
you know.
It's God.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

40 day update-falling apart for good

Let's be real-this life isn't held together with cement. AT BEST it's held together with some old sometimes not so sticky duct tape just waiting for the chance to break free. I started this 40 day journey to make Jesus a priority in this life. If I would have known it would mean removing so much of the duct tape to let Him in I might have reconsidered. Honestly.
Here's a few things I've realized (so far).
I don't think I'm outside of the will of God necessarily. This is a huge relief to a soul that constantly tries to figure things out. I've re-established faith in a God perfectly able to get me from point A to point B safely. The journey Home is a long one and by midnight tonight I don't have to have all the answers. (Now living this out should be a challenge in itself!). I'm convinced there's peace in the trusting and it's worth pursuing.
I will forever support the idea of church and suggest to people that they attend, go every time the door is open and get involved. But in my opinion, church is hard on your own and I'm pretty much at a place where I don't want to do many more things by myself. I've made the right decisions with church in recent months because it isn't healthy to have relationships that cross all boundaries of your life. Jesus or not, it isn't healthy. It still kinda breaks my heart that everything so quickly fell apart (most of it-my own fault) but time does heal and the further away I get the better it is. So, I'm seriously praying about where to be (if anywhere) and the possibility that a spiritual community becomes less about a building and more about support when you need it.
And there are other things I'll blog about later, but those have been the 2 weighing heavily on this heart in the past few months. I feel my soul scrambling for the duct tape to patch over the exposure, but knowing there is truth in the light I'm leaving things open. If it means falling completely apart for His sake-then that's what I'm prepared to do.
All I know for sure at the moment is I'm a complete mess WITH Jesus-I have no idea how people take a single breath or step without Him. Unbelievable.
Still up on the 40 days posts-the practice of meditation, the power of community, private yoga lessons, reflections from the iPod, guidelines for your own retreat, and where to go from here. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Be Still and Know

It was a chance to hear myself think and determine if my thoughts were good. Breathing space. A view where bringing a book leaves one certain God can say more than any mortal ever could. To feel the breeze and remember we were made for something more than this world. An eternal moment. A hope filled embrace by a Father that cares for the overwhelmed moments of a single life.A reminder that He is enough. A reminder that this life does not turn on the axis of my own predictability. A destiny ordained before "Let there be Light" was spoken into the great expanse. Created not just for something greater-but Someone.

A day that closed in this chapel, in complete darkness except for a single candle. Prayers whispered from the faithful on behalf of the struggling. 15 minutes of incomparable reverence reverberating in a heart longing to be Holy. Marveling at the number of prayers prayed in these walls I added my own, knowing from age to age I AM remains faithful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

And the Winner is...........

Congratulations to Sandy King the winner of my top ten books of 2010 giveaway!!! Thank you all for entering. Had tons of entries which made me want to do another giveaway soon. Stay tuned!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Here They Are!

Wanna win these books??? Enter to win here or on the previous post, on twitter or e-mail or call me! (Can you tell I want YOU to win? It's true-I do!)
Enter today! Drawing on MONDAY!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Want Free Books??????

Everyone knows I LOVE to read. When my friends come over they always leave with a stack of books and I always tell them the same thing, "You can take them-just don't bring them back!" I love when books get passed around over and over and over again until they are dog eared, well loved and missing covers.

I am fortunate to get a TON of free books. By my bed right now are more than 70 unread just waiting for the calender to change to January so they can officially make next year's list. I like to read in my comfort zone, out of my comfort zone, fiction, non-fiction, christian, secular, and the cereal box! :)

So, to celebrate another great year of reading I'm giving away my top 10 books. I'll post the list later this week. Trust me-it's a great group of books!

Wanna win? All you have to do is send an email to asburyspeech@yahoo.com or comment right here on the blog and tell me why you LOVE to read. It doesn't matter what you say, the winner will be chosen randomly, I just want to hear why you like to read :)

Good luck and Happy Reading!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


If you LOVE to read and want a chance to win my top 10 books of 2010............check back tomorrow!!! I'm giving away 1 set of my favorites and I want YOU to have them!!!! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Safe now

A year ago I went to the pound to add an outdoor dog to my little family. I wasn't prepared for the number of animals needing a home and the horrible smell. I went into several kennels and could not decide. I asked the lady which dogs were next to be put to sleep and she showed me. I couldn't look them in the eye.

I turned the corner and there was this beautiful lab mix spotted pup about a year old. It's vain, but I instantly wanted her because she matched the cocker spaniels (SUCH cute Christmas cards!!). I asked the lady what her name was.

"Yeah, Shine, like sunshine."

Put. Her. In. My. Car.

I told the lady I would take her and she looked at me like I was crazy. "She isn't housebroken. She was badly neglected and abused. She has a torn meniscus in her knee from the abuse. She's never been loved-by anyone."

Put. Her. In. My. Car.

I drove her the 20 minutes to my house, put her on the back porch and left to go to a meeting. When I came back she was sound asleep with her face plastered against the patio door. She still goes outside some, but I wouldn't exactly call her an outside dog :)

The lady at the pound was right-she knew nothing. I tried to take her for a walk, but she had never been on a leash. We spent hours walking up and down the driveway, then to the end of the block and now 3 miles a day next to her 2 best friends.

Last week I came home and she had tipped the garbage can over. Papers were EVERYWHERE. I was a little bit irritated, but I'm the human that left the lid off so there ya go. I couldn't find her anywhere. Finally I heard her shaking in the guest bedroom under a chair. I tried to talk to her, but she refused to come out.

Finally with the coaxing of a pup-corn I eased her out from under the chair and pulled all 60 pounds of her onto my lap. I took her sweet little face in my hands and said, "Listen. I know humans hurt you and to you we're all human. But I think you should know that you are on my watch now. Nothing is going to happen to you again. You will be fed. You will have water. You will have treats and toys and a comfy bed to sleep in. You will be loved unconditionally. If it takes you awhile to heal emotionally-take your time, but just know you're safe now right here with me. Okay?"

She licked my face, I gave her a Dingo bone and she ran off with the other two. I sat there in the guest bedroom and couldn't help but hear the voice of God in that whole scenario. "You should know you're on My watch now. Nothing is going to happen to you that I don't allow. You will be loved unconditionally. You're safe right here, right now, under the shadow of my wing both now and for eternity."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Singles Anonymous

I really don't write much on here about being single because it's honestly not that interesting to me. I can't stand when people whine on and on for hours on end about not having a spouse. I'm glad to listen and at times I can relate, but personally, I would not like to be labeled ONLY by my marital status.

I read a blog this week that said, "I don't write a lot about being single because I'm not that good at it!"

I understand that.

Just this week at dinner my friends asked me to pray. I said, "If I have to hear myself pray one more time I'm going to throw up. The only person I ever hear pray-is ME!" Not my finest spiritual moment maybe, but I meant it. I do get bored with me :) (And they blessed me with THE sweetest prayers-sometimes you just have to point out what you need. Just sayin)

Here's my take on it since so many e-mails lately have mentioned it and several people younger than me have attempted to make me the Spokesperson for Christian singles.....not really.....and......uhhh no.

I believe in a bigger God than to think because I went to Chili's last week and not Applebee's I have missed a divine appointment in my life to meet my future spouse. I can't live like that. It makes me nuts.

God certainly knows I've been on this earth for 30 years and just because people get married every day at 18 doesn't mean that's His perfect will for this life. Period.

I believe with all my heart in the call God has on this life. I may not know how it will all play out and the twists and turns that it will take, but I do know I'll do everything I can not to interfere with His perfect will.

I'm not going to marry someone because I'm older.
I'm not going to marry someone because I feel like God has kept me waiting long enough.
I'm not going to marry someone to fit in better socially.
no no no

I'm not going to marry anyone until I'm sure that God has positioned that person to come alongside this life and help me be in Christ more than I could ever be alone. Not a perfect person-just a person in love with an amazingly perfect God.

And if he doesn't come?
Then he doesn't come.
And it won't be because I'm not at the bar tonight tracking him down-just sayin.

It doesn't change that I get bored with me. It won't help some lonely nights and long days and the inescapable feeling sometimes that you just wish SOMEONE was there for you unconditionally. It won't change that sometimes you do want to come home and tell someone what happened today. It won't change that sometimes it is hard when you feel like everything falls just on you. It won't change that a whole lot of the time you feel like you're doing a whole lot of life all by yourself. And it is hard. Really, I get it.

But I wouldn't trade any of it for knowing I'm in God's will for this life at this moment in time.

I don't want people to see me as single. I want people to see this life as one that trusts God enough to know He is enough. I wasn't there before the foundation of this world when he laid out the plan for this life and what happens tomorrow is up to Him.

I'm loving Him more everyday. Trusting in His sovereignty. Relying on His strength.

Single minded.
Single focused.
On Him.