You Are Not Invisible

I believe God speaks to me, really to all of us, as though we are preschoolers. He repeats Himself, over and over and over because we learn best through repetition. 

Quite some time ago, I saw Zephaniah 3:17 on a large screen during a church service.  The message in that moment was comforting, but I didn't think about it much beyond that. Later that same day, I saw it printed again, and just a few days later, I saw it stuck on a bulletin board in a friend's office.

Zephaniah 3:17
"For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

I saw this verse over, and over, and over.  So I paid attention.  I read it slower and I deeply personalized it.  

I wrote:

"Carol, your God is living among you. You aren't invisible, nor are the circumstances of your life. He is right there. He is mighty to save you. He's strong. He can handle all of this. He will take delight in you, Carol, because He adores you and you are incredibly precious to Him. With his love, he will calm all of your fears. His love is all encompassing, and it's the safest place you can go. So go. Find peace there. And when you get there, you will hear Him rejoicing over you with songs. He's singing over you. Remember when you used to sing over your children when they were little? Remember how that calmed them? They could feel how much you loved them. They felt safe. He's singing over you now, Carol."

All that to say, my Savior, He can move the mountains.

For the Love of Pink and Glitter, It's Give Friday!

I remember the first time I walked past Sweet & Sassy and saw a store full of pink and glitter, all I could think was, "Man, am I glad I don't have little girls!"

But . . . we all know how THAT turned out!

And yet, even once I had girls, I totally didn't get the attraction.  Okay . . . so you can take your little girl in there, let her get a pedicure, or a fancy hair do, have a party with all her friends, and ride in a pink limo?  "And why is that special again," I asked myself.

For the Love of Pink and Glitter

Complete outfit from Sweet and Sassy (oh my gosh!)
Then one day, we went in to visit.  And the magic of pink and glitter came to life in our household!

The stage, the runway, the costumes, the music . . . there was pretty much nothing they didn't love about Sweet & Sassy.  And the love affair was born.

Discovering the stage and the runway!

We have spent many, many hours at Sweet & Sassy. We've gotten our ears pierced, picked out our school backpacks, bought birthday outfits, had manicures,  (I know, but they're little girls was a special treat!) gotten haircuts; we've done it all (well, they've never ridden in the pink limo, but someday!)

And I have to confess, I used to have a real attitude about stores like this.  But there is something special about Sweet & Sassy, something magical.

So, when the girls are old enough (they're still a little young), I'm sure they'll want to have a birthday party there. And we probably will, because it's pink and it's glittery and they're little girls.

In honor of the goodness of pink and glitter, I am giving away an awesome gift package to Sweet & Sassy. When I asked the owner at Sweet & Sassy if she'd donate a package for my blog, I expected she would donate a sweet little manicure, so I was shocked at how generous she was!  And guess who benefits? (Sadly, neither of my girls . . .)  

But you do!  woot woot!

It's Give Friday!

What are you going to win? Something awesome! You will win the "Everything Spa Package" which is valued at $90 and includes:

  • mini-mani & mini-pedi 
  • mini-facial 
  • sweet hand treatment 
  • 2 nail arts 
  • ring & toe ring, and a 
  • create your own lotion and sugar scrub

But You Gotta Enter to Win 

I'm making it simple today.  Comment here and go like Sweet & Sassy on Facebook (I even provided the link for goodness sake!) And, because it's in The Woodlands, TX, you pretty much have to be fairly local to win or willing to drive a long way. :)

All that to say, I hope you love Sweet & Sassy as much as my girls do.  But be warned, you WILL come out all glittery.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  And have fun!


Wandering in the Desert

Sometimes I wonder why it is such a struggle to find a church.  I remember when I used to be on staff at a church,  I was always surprised at the people who would say things like, "We could just never get connected," or "No one really reached out to us."  I knew our church was friendly, so I didn't understand why they couldn't find community with us.

But here we are, 8 months out from me losing my job, still struggling to find a church.

We've been attending the same church for most of the time since we left, but just couldn't decide if it was the right place for us.  It's not that the people weren't friendly.  They were very friendly.  And it's not that our kids don't love it.  They do.  We just can't seem to get connected.

Maybe we thought we'd fall right back into our old "friend circles" (since we were members there for 10 years before we moved to Georgia).  But that hasn't happened.  We see familiar faces, and everyone is nice, they speak to us, but we aren't "in" if that makes any sense at all.  Maybe I'm just rambling.  Maybe I don't exactly know what I'm expecting.

Invites for lunch after church?

Get togethers with the girls?

People wanting us to join their small groups?

I don't know.

And maybe that's the majority of the problem.  I don't know what I want.  Or Mike doesn't know what he wants.  Or together we don't know what we want.

We thought maybe we were just wanting a service with a more contemporary flair (we've been in that style of church for over 9 years, so we thought maybe that's what we needed).  And yet, we visited a church for the last two weeks that has a very contemporary flair and it wasn't "it" either.  And honestly there was a much stronger sense of the Spirit of God moving at the less contemporary service.

Clearly the music style has nothing to do with it.

The girls love the church we've gone to for the last two weeks. And the people are very friendly. Someone even invited us to join their small group (on our very first visit, and it was a Facebook friend, no less! . . . Thanks Todd.)

And yet, I still feel lost.  I miss my community.  And at the core, that's my problem.  I know it is.  I'm just not really sure what to do about it.

All that to say, perhaps I am being overly transparent today.  I think I'm just tired of wandering.  I don't know how the children of God did it for so many years.  (Jesus, I'd like to not do it that long, please. It's exhausting.)  

How to Save a Life

Bea, Tony & Me in Hawaii
(You'd think I would look happier! HA!)

When Mike and I were first married (and for many years afterwards) he worked with a really great group of guys, the leader of which is a man named Tony Smith.  

There are a million great stories I could tell you about Tony (and his sweet wife, Bea) from those days, but today's story far outweighs any from our past.

4 years ago, Tony became suddenly and gravely ill. Were it not for the compassion of complete strangers, he would not be here today.  It really is that simple.  Here is his story in his own words.

"This journey started over 4 years ago, 3+ years trying to figure out what it was.  Finally I went to MD Anderson and they ruled out everything but Cirrhosis.  There was no cancer at that time. 

I have never been a drinker, no illegal drug use, no tattoos, no hepatitis, . . . they had to name it non-specific cause Cirrhosis.  I ended up at St Luke's.  They  told me in one year or about, it most likely would move from Cirrhosis to Carcinoma of the Liver.  One year to the month, it was diagnosed as cancer. I was accepted on the transplant program, and waiting began . . . going each quarter for bone scans,  blood work, and MRI's.   If the cancer had ever moved from the liver, I would have been out of the program and sent home to make final arrangements.
Thanks to the prayers of everyone I knew, and many I did not, and the love of Jesus Christ, it did not move, (the cancer), and the liver came in time."

Tony underwent an incredible liver transplant that required St. Luke's to use 12 units of blood, another gift of life given to him by the people who donated that blood. 13 strangers gave Tony life.  13 complete strangers.

I think sometimes we take for granted how simple it really is to help save someone's life. 

You can two very simple things.  

1.  Indicate that you will be an organ donor on your driver's license and make sure your family knows your wishes as well, and

2.  Give blood  

I asked Tony what we could do to help him, and he said that he would love to replace the blood that was given to him.  Well, we can't give 12 units of blood ourselves, but I told him I had an awful lot of friends (generous friends) that might want to give the gift of life to someone.  (Don't make me a liar people.)

If you would like to donate, you can go to the blood center at St. Luke's and donate in his name, Anthony G. Smith, 08/14/1952.  Maybe we'll run into you there!

All that to say, it's Give Friday. Would you please do me a very personal favor today and give blood in Tony's name?  And if you do, will you email me at and let me know you did?

Update: I was asked if people could give blood at any St. Luke's.  I'm not sure, so just call them and ask before you go!  

A Million Dollar Yes, A Million Dollar No

I recently had the opportunity to make millions of dollars.  I'm not even kidding. (I kind of wish I was.)

It's hard to turn down millions of dollars.  Trust me, I know.

I know because I didn't turn it down. I said yes.  I said, "Hell yes."  (Sorry.  I did.)

But I didn't say yes without running it by some very important people.

I asked my husband what he thought.

I asked my friends what they thought.

I asked some really great business gurus what they thought.

And they all said "Do it!"

So I jumped in with both feet.  But then I started second guessing myself.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but I had a pretty compelling feeling that I wasn't "supposed" to take the offer.

But I pushed forward and kept going.  Soon, the "feeling" became a loud pounding in my spirit.  It got so loud that I finally just shut down, curled up in my bed, and asked God what I should do.

I felt like he said to me, "Great question, Carol.  Maybe you should have asked me in the first place."

Ummmm . . . yeah . . .


Truth hurts.

Funny thing about asking God what HIS plan is.  Once you know it, and relinquish your control  (and possibly millions of dollars) to obey it, all the questions, all the second guessing, and all the wrestling is over.

I'm not telling you it was an easy decision, but obeying God's will is always, always, always, the best  and only real option.

All that to say, I guess I won't be buying the house of my dreams out in the country, with a pool and horses (two things I've been told would be GREAT for the girls).  But hey, if God wants us to have a pool and horses, we will.  And if not, that's okay too.  He's probably got a better plan. Probably.