Friday, December 28, 2012

You make me new.

Wow...2013 is right around the corner!!  How is it that the older you get the faster time flies by?  I had a tradition for many years of sitting down and writing out a list of new years resolutions/goals.  I haven't done this in awhile.  I do believe there is something very significant about reflecting on the year you just completed and having a vision for the year ahead.  We are not meant to remain, to be stagnant, to stay stuck...there is always room for growth, change, and newness to unfold in our lives!

Last December, I can clearly remember feeling so relieved to be leaving 2011 in the past and entering 2012.  It truly felt like a new beginning, a fresh start, a blank slate. 

I was wounded, hurting, weak, and had gone through most of 2011 with an unbearable weight of burdens, pain, and heartache on my shoulders.  2012 couldn't come fast enough and when it did...I felt thankful, relieved, and excited for the new year.  And what a wonderful year it has been!

Did you know God is a God of new beginnings, fresh starts, and blank slates?  Well He is...He really, really is! 

He can take old, dirty, worn down, broken, dark and rusted and exchange it for something new, clean, whole, and shining!  He can take sorrow and bring joy.  He can take filth and wash it white as snow.  He can take defeat and bring triumph.  He can take hopelessness and bring joy.  He can take our failures and turn them into successes.  He can and does bring life to the emptiest of places!

It's funny how last year I couldn't wait for a new year and now as 2012 comes to and end I am soaking up every minute I can, wishing 2013 could hold off for just a bit longer.   

I am thankful for so much in 2012!  A God who heard, who moved, who transformed, who blessed, who strengthened, who challenged, and who made me new!   But I know there is even more God has for me in the coming year! 

Here is to a new year!  I pray 2013 is full of newness in your life.  New friendships, new experiences, new opportunities, new successes, new attitudes, new perspective, new vision, new miracles, new discoveries, and new beginnings! 

For all you homeschooling moms, I also pray a fresh and new perspective with homeschooling.  If this past year has been a challenge, an adjustment, a chore and day to day homeschooling felt overwhelming, stressful, and full of frustration....I pray 2013 would be full of peace and purpose and passion! 


**photos were taken from Pinterest

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Monday, December 24, 2012


I was recently reading words being expressed by the family of Ana Márquez-Greene, one of the children who died in the Connecticut shooting, their motto during this very painful time is, "Love Wins".  On a website created to remembering Ana it says, "Love Wins! This is how we remember Ana Grace. Despite the sadness caused by the recent events, the power of Ana's spirit and love will pull us together and guide us through these most difficult of circumstances. Love will overcome, Love will provide strength, and in the end Love Wins!"
What an amazing statement to proclaim in the midst of pure evil and absolute heartache. 
Love wins, love wins, love wins!!
Christmas day we celebrate the birth and the life of our Savior! 
A Savior who would introduce us to the most amazing, unexplainable, sacrificial and unconditional kind of love ever!  A love deeper, wider, stronger, bigger, and more powerful than any thing on this earth!

  A love that is so powerful it is able to penetrate even the hardest of hearts!  A love so big that it can overpower the darkest acts!  A love so strong it can conquer over any evil.  A love that brings hope to the hopeless.  A love that gives joy to the sorrowful.  A love that brings forgiveness to the bitter soul.  A love that empowers the timid to boldness.  A love that sets a sinner free!

As you go about your day, opening gifts, laughing with loved ones, enjoying delicious food and goodies, may you be reminded of God's love for you! 
Merry Christmas - Let love rule and reign in your hearts today and everyday!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 14th, 2012

There are dates that will forever be etched in our memories, of those April 20th, 1999 - the Columbine Shooting and 9-11 when thousands were killed at the hands of a horrible act of terrorists.  And to add to those dates is December 14th, 2012, when a senseless and evil act by one human being took the lives of 20 innocent first grade children and 6 adults.

My heart aches and the tears come randomly and often in my day and at night when my head lays on the pillow.  Children who are the same age as my middle child.  I absolutely can not imagine what these families are facing right now.  I pray because that is all I know to do.  I cry out to God for his peace and mercies to pour out on those hurting and on the children who survived but will face nightmares and trauma in the coming days and years ahead. 

Many of us ask the question of "Why?  Why would someone do such a terrible act, especially taking the lives of precious children?  How could someone stoop so low and do something so evil, so dark, so senseless?"  We live in a fallen and broken world.  Go back to the beginning and you see Cain kill his very own brother.  We live in a world of sin, pain, hopelessness, and darkness.  There is a massive battle in the spiritual realm, one we can neither see or fully understand, but a very real battle for our souls.  The Bible says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

The man who did this senseless act, whose name doesn't deserve any credit at all, was living in a world of darkness.  It was a plan straight from the pit of hell.  He did not know God's love and He fumbled in the dark.  He knew no light. 

In John 8:12 it says, "Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."  We will continue to see evil played out for as long as we live on this earth.  But we can all be a light in this dark world and reach out to those who are in the dark.  Who do you know who needs to experience the love of God, to feel his embrace, to have the weight lifted, the darkness removed?  We all know someone.

Today we remember those precious children and women whose lives were taken abruptly.  "Lord, please shine in the midst of this darkness and tragedy.  Embrace those who are hurting deeper than they ever imagined possible.  Bring your peace and forgiveness to their hearts.  I ask you to comfort those moms, dads, siblings, husbands, children, grandparents, friends and an entire community who are mourning.  Help each of us across the nation and world who are struggling to wrap our minds around something so horrific.  May good somehow come from this tragedy as many turn their hearts and lives over to you.  Thank you for being our refuge, help and strength in difficult times.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen". 

 In Loving Memory of:

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Newtown shooting victims
Daniel Barden, 7
Newtown school shooting victim
Rachel Davino, 29
Josephine Gay, 7
Newtown shooting victims
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeline Hsu, 6
Madeleine Hsu
Chase Kowalski, 7
Newtown shooting victims
James Mattioli, 6
Newtown shooting victims
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Jack Pinto, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Newtown shooting victims
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Newtown school shooting victims
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6

(photos courtesy of
The one thing that brings me peace is to know that Jesus has embraced these children and women in His arms!  They are safe now!

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Isaiah 40:31 - Running Mamas!

I did it.  I really did it.  I ran my first half marathon this past Saturday!  If you would had told me 6 months ago that I'd be doing something like this, I would have laughed so hard.  "Me??  I don't think so, I can barely run around my block."  Well it's amazing how much things can change in a matter of 6 months!  You could be saying I am done having babies and in a matter of 6 months be well on your way to having another one.   You could be sending your kids to public school and in a matter of 6 months time find yourself homeschooling.  Yes alot can change in 6 months. 

I recently started a running Facebook page called, "Isaiah 40:31 - Running Mamas!"  I did so because I have seen how much running has brought such support, encouragement, and friendship amongst myself and other women who run!  I wanted a place to be that inspiration, support, and encouragement for women everywhere!  So if you run, or even enjoy walking, check out my new page!

Pre-race photo (from left to right - Sarah, Anna, me, Sandi, Rachel, and Elizabeth)
The night before the race I laid in my bed and listened to the rain coming down so hard. "Lord", I prayed, "Please let it not rain tomorrow for my race, and it would be even cooler if the sun was shining." I know, a pretty big request right? But I serve a BIG God! "Oh and another thing Lord, my leg, it's been bothering me alot lately, please let my leg do well tomorrow." 

Me - #407 and my friend and running partner, Rachel - #322
 My alarm clock woke me up at 5:15 am...ok not really, I was already wide awake just laying there...waiting and waiting for that darn thing to go off!  I took a nice warm shower, got dressed in all my running gear I had laid out the night before, ate a little muffin and drank some coconut water, then headed out the door to meet 2 of my friends so we could carpool to the race.  As we arrived into the town of St. Helens, OR raindrops began hitting the windshield.  NO!!!  "Oh Lord, please let it not rain today."  I said out loud for the other gals to hear.  As we stood inside the building waiting for the race to start a bright glare outside caught my attention.  I poked my friend and said, "Look the sun is shining through the clouds."  It was breathtaking and glorious and I absolutely could not believe it.
At 8:30 on the dot the race began.  Here I go, ready or not!  I had my iTunes half marathon playlist going.  I started my run out with the song, "Good Morning" by Mandisa.  I chose that song purposely because 3/4 the way through the song there is a line that says, "Give me like a half a marathon"!!  I kept waiting for my leg to start giving me problems but it never did, not once the entire 13.1 miles!!!  I was at the back of the pack of all my friends and at the turn around point as they came running back in my direction I high fived every one of them!!  By mile 11 I was so done, that was the farthest I had done in training and I hit a road block.  It was ALL mental those last 2 miles.  "You can do this Andrea, you can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength.  You can get through any challenge, any hardship, and difficulty with God at your side.  You got this girl.  Just keep going.  Just get to that next mile marker." 

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon!
My legs felt so heavy, I honestly don't know how I kept going, maybe it was the sun shining down on me and reminding me of God's goodness!  As I turned the final corner I saw my parents car in the parking lot.  I wasn't sure if they'd make it or not and there they were standing at the finish line with cameras in hand.  I totally started to cry.  As I got closer I saw ALL my amazing homeschooling mama/running friends standing there cheering me on!  I crossed the finish line at 2:30:14 (2 hours, 30 minutes and 14 seconds).  My goal time was 2:20-2:30!!

Post race photo: 5 homeschool moms and 1 dad!
I felt like my legs were going to collapse under me.  As soon as my body stopped I felt the soreness, I felt weak, tired, exhausted, and amazed and overjoyed all at once!  What an incredible feeling.  I accomplished something huge!  But it wasn't just for me or all about me....this was a group effort.  Friends who all came together to accomplish something none of us had ever done before!  Our training time involved moments of wanting to give up, feeling so mentally/emotionally drained, running in the wind/rain, and for some, injuries.  But we were there for each other to support, encourage, motivate, challenge, and see that each one of us finished what we had started!!  I certainly could not have done this alone!
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us RUN with endurance the RACE God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne." - Hebrews 12:1-2

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the RACE, and I have remained faithful." - 2 Timothy 4:7

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14

"Don’t you realize that in a RACE everyone RUNS, but only one person gets the prize? So RUN to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I RUN with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

"Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not RUN the RACE in vain and that my work was not useless." Philippians 2:16

"Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” - 1 Timothy 4:8
What journey are you starting that may seem bigger than life, overwhelming, too much, too difficult, absolutely impossible?  Running/getting in shape? Homeschooling? A move?  Fighting to save a marriage?  Unexpected pregnancy?  A death of a love one?  You CAN do ALL things through CHRIST who give YOU STRENGTH!!
To: Anna, Rachel, Sandi, and Sarah.  I love you ladies and treasure your friendships!  Thank you so much for being apart of this race day with me!!  I am proud of each one of you and your individual successes!!  Looking forward to running through life with you gals!

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