Friday, December 12, 2008

Tis the Season!

Hello darlings! I just wanted to say a quick 'hi' to all you ladies ~ life is so very hectic this time of year... and as I was waiting in line on my second trip to walmart in one day, I started looking around and thinking about each person that was standing in line with me - how crazed they probably are over everything they have to get done before Christmas. And something that really struck me was how much we all need to be in prayer for each other! It is our duty to our Lord to care for each other, be there for each other, lift each other up, and just plain love each other. Let's not let this Christmas Season pass without showing some random strangers Jesus' love - through smiles, through a helping hand, in anway that we can - are you with me?

I love you dearly!
-Susan Elaine

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Adventures of Porky and Porkchop!

Hey All!!!

I hope that you have been having a wonderful Christmas Season! We just got a phone call from my brother yesterday who was telling us that his wife was leaving yesterday for Colorado, then heading to Iraq... and that he would be going back to Iraq today... so as he is flying through the air right now I ask that you fervently pray for traveling mercies and God's hand in every step that they take. Although I know that Ryan was sad for the loss of his father-in-law, I also know that he was giddy over being able to come home and see his wife! What a bitter-sweet reunion for them!

Anyhow, I'm sure that you are all wondering what is up with the title of this blog? Well... last weekend my darling Lisa and I took a girls weekend trip down to Washington D.C. and had a absolute blast! We flew through the museums and dashed through all of the memorials and were in absolute love with the blue skies that God provided us with! It was a very refreshing week - only a little bit of work done in the hotel room - and the rest of the time was spent enjoying how amazing that city is!

Anywho... while in D.C. we were talking about the fun that we were having and how great it would be to make an awesome children's book based on our D.C. Adventure!!!! Well... since our nicknames (from JD of course) are Porky (me) and Porkchop (Lisa)... we figured that we could call our series - "The Adventures of Porky and Porkchop" and then each time we travel and visit a new city, we can write an educaitonal, but hilarious, children's book about these two pigs (Porky and Porkchop) who teach us about the world through their traveling tales!!! Doesn't that sound like a blast!!! I know we had a blast with it! And after all... who wouldn't want to make a living by traveling around the world and having fun? Well... keep it in the back of your minds, and if one day you happen to see our books in stores - please purchase one and learn about our adventures! haha Oh how I love you ladies!

Here are some pics from our Big D.C. Adventure:

(Lisa wearing the Captiol Building as a hat)

(George is one of our favorite all-time men!)

(the White House! How beautiful it was at night!)

(accidentally cut off Abe's head - oops!)
(holding the washington monument in my hand)

(Madam President Suzi? hahahaha)

(the Hope Diamond - gorgeous)

(a capitol hat for me - yay)

I love you girls - please let me know if you have any prayer requests!

All My Love,
Susan Elaine

Monday, November 24, 2008

Flying Home from Iraq

Hey everyone. I got some sad news this morning...

My sister-in-law's father passed away this week from a 6 month battle with lung cancer. He was diagnosed last May (right around the same time my mother was also diagnosed with cancer). When they found the cancer, it was already in Stage 4 so we have known that his time with us was short. Within 6 hours of the time that he passed, they had the news to my brother Ryan in Baghdad... which is incredibly fast since it can often take up to 72 hours to locate and inform the soldiers.

Since he is my brother's father-in-law... Ryan will be flying home to the States within the week for the funeral. I want you to know though, that this is partially a blessing in disguise. You see, Ryan left for Iraq just weeks after he and Tracy got married last April... and haven't seen each other since. That's 7 months of being apart! I can't believe it has been that long.

Anyhow, Tracy is also in the military and is training right now to leave for Iraq. While in Iraq, she would be just miles from Ryan... but would not be allowed to see him at all! In addition, his tour in Iraq would end 2 months before her's would... so he would come home to the States while she was still in Iraq - I can hardly imagine how horrible that would be for them!

So while this funeral is a sad time for the family, it is a blessing that Ryan and Tracy will get to see each other again before she heads to Iraq. Please pray for safe travels for Ryan as he heads from Iraq to Texas... and for Tracy as she heads from training in Colorado to Texas. Also, please lift up the family in this time of grief and pray that the Lord works in His incredible ways!

Here are some pics of Ryan & Tracy's Wedding in April 2008:

I love you dearly and praise God for you every day!

All my love,
Susan Elaine

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Open Prayers

Hey ladies!!! I am really excited to introduce something new to you today...

I know it has been forever since I have posted, but life has been just absolutely crazy these past weeks! Just last weekend JD, myself, and a group of our leaders from 180 attended the National Youth Workers Convention in Pitteburgh. It was a wonderful time of being recharged and poured into by amazing speakers and some very anointed bands!

One band in particular really struck my fancy - they are called Worth Dying For. Part of what I loved so much about them was that their lead singer was a woman, a youth pastor's wife (yay for us!), and her voice is incredible!!! Anywho, they did something during their performance that I thought was a total God Stop ~ before their last song, they told the audience that every show they play, they want their listeners to know how much they care about them... and so they invited everyone to come to their booth after the show and give them your prayer requests so that they can be praying for us! I was almost literally floored when I heard them say that... it was such a different approach to music ministry and I absolutely loved it!

Though I didn't ask for any prayer requests, I did get a CD... and it is amazing! I highly encourage all you ladies to check out their myspace and listen to their music - they are so very anointed!

*Worth Dying For*

Now... I want to send out the very same invitation to you ladies!!! If there is ANYTHING that you need prayer for (I don't care how small) I beg you... please respond to this post or shoot me an email... because I truly do want to be praying for you! I love you dearly and really believe that we need to be fighting for one another in prayer!

I love you ladies!

All my love,
Susan Elaine

*If my lungs can't sing... I'll sing with my heart, with my soul, with my mind.... I'll sing it for you!
~lyrics from "At Your Cross" by Worth Dying For

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Be Happy In Your Faith!

Hey darlings! I am so glad you have logged on to check out this totally awesome lesson - As most of you know, I often post my daily devotional readings on here... I treasure them so much and I hope you will get something out of them as well.

Today's lesson is straight from my favorite lady - Beth Moore herself! She is an incredible writer and I love the insight that she gives in the lesson that I am about to post. I want to encourage you girls to be happy, excited, refreshed, and ecstatic in your faith! Our God is so amazing and he wants us to boast in Him ~ how sweet is that?! Well... I won't hold you any longer, here is our daily devotion for today:

Be Happy in Your Faith
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-25

Today's Treasure: "Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually - always" (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Amplified Bible).

I want to shout hallelujah with you before I even have a chance to explain what we have to shout about! Dear one, when was the last time someone fairly balanced in Scripture told you that this faith thing isn't only about sacrifices and continually delayed gratification? The apostle Paul seemed to be saying in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, "For heaven's sake, be happy in your faith! That's one reason you have it!" Too many of us have somehow come to believe that we lack maturity if we wish that the Christian life wasn't just good for us like a bowl of bran but that it could also occasionally make us happy like chocolate malt!

That voice in your ear has been lying all the time. Guess what? You have complete biblical permission to be happy in your faith and also do the unthinkable - be bold enough to ask why if you're not!

Some of our dear brothers and sisters around the world are so terribly persecuted for their Christian beliefs that they may have a greater challenge being happy in their faith. Many of them live and die as martyrs and then enter their "master's happiness." If you live in a country with religious freedom, however, then being happy in your faith can be a reality more often than not. In fact, a primary reason we are vulnerable to the enemy's seduction after we have received the Spirit of Christ is that we misunderstand what we've been given. We continue to look for happiness outside of Christ.

You see, the greatest source of God-given power you and I have to abstain from evil is to be happy in our faith. Certainly many other things can add happiness to our lives, but they are detoxified and made safe to the believer when her primary source of happiness is faith in Jesus. Without happiness in Christ, any other source of joy can become a tool for seduction away from a sincere devotion to the Lord.

(Amanda writes) Furthermore, when the lost see Believers unhappy in their faith it does little to win souls to Christ. Recently I sat with three very godly women who were sharing reasons why they spent so much of their young lives resisting Christ. Each one said she did not want to be like the dull, boring Christians she saw around her. Yes, it is possible that the lost could see a fulfilling Christian walk in us and still consider by worldly standards that our lives are dull and boring. It is also very possible that hordes of Christians are really living quiet lives that scream out, "I'm unhappy in my faith!"

Beloved, Christ said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Let Him fulfill your life make you happy in your faith. Any other source of joy is unsafe when our main happiness is not in our faith.

Sweet Father, I praise you for who you are. I rejoice in the freedom to find happiness in my faith. I pray that you will be my first love and my most fulfilling joy. Thank you for your unfailing love. Amen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spoken Blessings

Good Morning Lovelies! I can't even imagine how beautiful you look on the other side of that screen! I pray that you are getting into His Word and feeling God's spirit as alive and active in your every day life.

We are so lucky that our house has these huge, glass, floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room - which looks out to our tree-filled back yard. It is simply my favorite place to be... looking out these windows at how amazing our God is and how he paints each tree with individual perfection. Do me a favor and take a moment today just looking around at God's creation before all the leaves fall!

In my Bible study we are talking this week about the spoken word and how powerful it is. Today's particular lesson is about blessing others, and I couldn't help but think of how much you girls would love to hear Today's Treasure... It comes from Ephesians 1:3 and says "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

How amazing is that? I feel truly blessed by a God who WANTS TO BLESS US!!! As my teacher suggests, and as I will now suggest to you, let's use this day to speak words of blessing to the people closest to us. Have you ever noticed that the people we love most are often to ones we take everything out on? Well let's take on a new habit together of lifting up, supporting, and speaking blessings to those that are closest to us. My hope is that if we can do it with those we are most real with, we will be able to speak blessings upon anyone and everyone!

I love you Ladies!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bible Study Tonight!

Hey girls! I am so excited for Bible study tonight! God has been working left and right in our little town and it is so refreshing to hear it straight for the horses mouth (and i do mean you!) haha-just kidding!

Before I head off to get ready for tonight and finish my last minute readings... I wanted to leave you with my daily devotion from Miss Beth herself - this one really spoke to me!

Wholehearted Devotion
Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 28:9-10

Today’s Treasure: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

David’s words to Solomon apply to us in every area of potential success. David gave his son three vital directives we would be wise to obey:

Acknowledge God. Acknowledging God first thing every morning transforms my day. I often begin my day by reconfirming His authority over me and submitting to Him as Lord in advance of my daily circumstances. I try to accept the words of Joshua 24:15 as a personal daily challenge: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” When I fail to begin my day by settling the matter of authority, I am often a mess by noon! Remember, any day not surrendered to the Spirit of God will likely be lived in the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17). Spiritual living does not come naturally—sin does. The first step to victory is acknowledging the authority of God in our lives.

Serve Him with wholehearted devotion. The Hebrew word for “wholehearted” is shalem and means “unhewn, untouched stones.” In the Old Testament shalem often referred to rocks that were uncut.* Notice something quite interesting about the temple God commanded Solomon to build. First Kings 6:7 tells us, “In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” Do you see the significance? No stone could be cut in the temple. The uncut stones represented the kind of devotion God was demanding from His nation—Shalem, wholehearted devotion, uncut hearts. David was used of God to describe shalem perfectly in Psalm 86:11: “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me and undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Do you have a divided heart? Or does God have a piece of your heart, but the rest belongs to you? Or someone else? If you’ve given your heart wholly to God, perhaps you remember a time when your heart was divided. A divided heart places our entire lives in jeopardy. Only God can be totally trusted with our hearts. He doesn’t demand our complete devotion to feed His ego, but to provide for our safety. God uses an undivided heart to keep us out of trouble. David learned the price of a divided heart the hard way. He lived with the repercussions for the rest of his life. Let’s just take his word for it and surrender now! Never forget, God’s commands are for our good.

Serve Him with a willing spirit. The Hebrew word for “willing” in this reference is chaphets, which means “to find pleasure in, take delight in, be pleased with, have an affection for; to desire; to choose; to bend, bow. The main meaning is to feel a strong, positive attraction for something, to like someone or something very much.”* Do you see what God is saying? He wants us to serve Him and honor Him because we want to! Because it pleases us! Because we choose to! You see, the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts! Hear the beat of His tender heart as He says, “Choose me because you delight in me!”

Many motives exist for serving God other than pleasure and delight. God wants us to serve Him with a willing spirit, one that would choose no other way. Right now you may be frustrated because serving and knowing God is not your greatest pleasure. You may be able to instantly acknowledge a divided heart. Your question may be, How can I change the way I feel? You can’t. But God can. Give Him your heart—your whole heart. Give Him permission to change it. The words of Deuteronomy 30:6 have changed my life and my heart. “The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live” (Deut. 30:6).

I pray daily that God will circumcise my heart to love Him. I know we will never be men and women after God’s own heart with halfhearted devotion. A heart wholly devoted to God is a heart like His.

My God, I praise You because You are the same God today as You were when David was king. You still desire wholehearted devotion from Your people. I pray to acknowledge You and submit to You daily. I pray to serve You with wholehearted devotion. Please show me where my heart is divided and make it whole again. Finally, I pray to serve You with a willing spirit. Please purify every motive I have for serving You. I pray these things in Jesus’ name, Amen.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sweet Dreams!

Hey girls! I must get to bed, but I just had to get on really quickly and let you know what a blessing you are to me! Life would be so much harder without you - know that you are loved deeply by not only myself, but also by the LORD who created the heavens and the earth! Oh how awesome is our God!

-All My Love

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God Is Your Guaruntee

Hey there ladies!

I only have a few moments before we head out off to church, but I wanted to check in with you this morning and leave you with my morning devotion. Right now, we are doing a womens Bible study called Believing God by Beth Moore... and our purpose is to increase our faith so that we might be closer to Him and better servants of His! It is such a wonderful study and I think this morning's online devotion that I do fits with the theme perfectly. Check it out and let me know what you think:

What is the Basis of Your Faith?
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 55:8-9

Today's Treasure: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

Do you ever tire of riding the roller coaster of faith? We can exercise our faith in God one of two ways. One leaves us at the mercy of life's constant ups and downs. The other is the key to steadfast faith—the way off the roller coaster to begin walking with God and practicing a faith that can't be "greatly moved" (Ps. 62:2, KJV). Every believer falls into one of these two categories on the basis of her answer to one simple question: do you base your faith on what God does or who He is?

A person with faith based on what God does lives by the unspoken motto: I believe God as long as He does what I ask. Her faith is built on how often and how well God answers prayers. Such "faith" depends on results and is fueled by sight.

Faith in what God does is your ticket to ride a roller coaster that ascends the hill during times when God's activity is obvious and then barrels down the hill the moment God seems inactive. The process never stops.

What is wrong with basing your faith on the obvious works of God? on what He's doing? Aren't His works wonderful according to His Word? Absolutely! Isaiah 55:8-9 says, " 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.' "

What about those times when God does not work according to your requests or expectations? What about those times when He obviously allows your loved one with cancer to glorify Him through restoration in heaven and not on earth? What happens to your faith when a child dies? If your faith is based on what God is doing, you are in for the scariest ride of your life.

We will rarely be able to perceive God's actions, though they will always and ultimately be wonderful. They are beyond our earthly understanding. In the times when He seems inactive, He may be accomplishing more than ever! You see, a "what God does" faith is really not faith at all. Although it is focused on God, it is still born in the realm of the obvious, or that which is seen. The faith of the faithless says, "If God is not obvious, He is obviously not God."

Genuine faith, which is based on who God is, walks steadfastly with God for the pleasure of His company, not for His results. God does not call upon us to seek His works, but to seek His heart!

Why is faith based on who God is a faith not greatly moved? Because it focuses on a God not greatly moved! It increases our understanding of His ways. Prioritizing Who He is will help us more accurately interpret what He does.

We must prioritize who God is over what he does for another crucial reason. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ does not change from day to day. You see, what God appears to be doing changes constantly from our perspective. He may heal one person while He calls another home. He may be glorified in the poverty of one and the riches of another. He will likely exalt you one year and humble you the next. Our entire lives are lent to change. But who He is will never change. As He reveals Himself to you, His heart remains the same. In the midst of a society where the only thing you can count on is that you can't count on anything, God is your guarantee. His faithfulness flows from who He is. To please Him, our faithfulness must do the same.

Lord, search me and show me whether my faith is based on what You do or who You are. I want to have genuine faith that pleases You. I praise You, for You are worthy of putting all my hope and faith in. In Jesus' name, Amen.

I love you ~ Keep trucking along in your faith!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Compulsory Praise

Hey Girls! I changed up the blog look... and I am so interested on what you think?

Some Spiritual Food For Thought From My Daily Devos:

Compulsory Praise
Scripture Reading: 2 Samuel 7:17-29

Today's Treasure: "How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears" (2 Samuel 7:22, NIV).

Have you experienced a time when you were so overwhelmed with both the person of God and His actions in your life that you simply had to praise Him? Imagine for a moment the emotions coursing through King David when, after years of struggle, he found himself seated on the throne in Jerusalem with rest from his enemies all around. Then Nathan the prophet delivered the message that God would bless not only David, but also his children. He must have been overwhelmed. No wonder he "went in and sat before the LORD" (2 Samuel 7:18) and poured out his heart. In a wonderful and expressive portion of Scripture, 2 Samuel 7:18-29 records David's response to the promises of God.

Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:

"Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? And as if this were not enough in your sight, Sovereign LORD, you have also spoken about the future of the house of your servant. Is this your usual way of dealing with man, O Sovereign LORD?" (2 Samuel 7:18-19, NIV)

Few Scriptures allow us to dive into the depth of his passionate soul more deeply than this prayer. While others were prone to wander, David was prone to worship.

What more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Sovereign LORD. For the sake of your word and according to your will, you have done this great thing and made it known to your servant. How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears (2 Samuel 7:20-22, NIV).

Have you ever responded like David? Have you experienced a time when someone told you something you knew was an answer from God, and you wanted to run as fast as you could and sit before Him? Moments like those represent an indescribable intimacy in your relationship with God. When those moments occur, you can't even explain how you feel. You can only go and sit before Him.

When I am overwhelmed by something God has done for me or said to me, I often find that I have to sit a moment and wait for my heart to write words on my lips. Sometimes I weep for awhile before I can begin to speak. David might have done the same thing. So intimate were the words God spoke to him through Nathan that he left the messenger's presence and went straight to the One who sent the message.

"Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" I have asked the same question more times than I can count, but not for the reasons you might assume. Yes, for reasons I will never understand, God has given me opportunities for ministry in this season of my life, and I praise Him for that. Yet the moments that most often move me are extremely intimate and private. Because they are so personal, I will probably never share in a testimony some of the most wonderful things God has done for me. What David was feeling was not about grand positions; it was about personal petitions. We each have countless opportunities to be overwhelmed at the goodness of God on our behalf.

Every now and then we enjoy a moment void of doubt and full of mystery, when we're overwhelmed with humility yet stunned with possibility. Moments when we realize with every one of our senses that God stands alone. "No one—no mate, no child, no preacher, no teacher, no ruler, no principality - no one is like You." Nothing is quite like suddenly realizing that nothing is like Him.

Almighty God, You stand alone and I praise you. Thank You for the goodness and kindness You show man. Your love is better than life. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Stay in the Word.
Stay in His presence.
Stay blessed.

I love you Ladies!

~Susan Elaine

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

5 Things...

Hey Ladies!!! I found this on a friend's sight and throught that it was so cute! (*Also, I found some amazing things in 1st Timothy last night that I can't wait to share when I have more time!) Until then... check this out:

5 things under $5 I couldnt live without:
post-it notes
black pens
lip gloss

5 favorite movies
father of the bride
the notebook
how to lose a guy in 10 days
the fox and the hound

5 life changing moments
the day i accepted Christ
getting baptized
the day we hiked the glacier in Alaska
when JD asked me to marry him
when I peaked Mount Redcloud (14,037 feet baby!)

5 baby names i love

5 songs i love
father will you come - unhindered
lead me to the cross- hillsong united
mighty to save - hillsong united
the word is alive - casting crowns
sea of faces - kutless

5 current obsessions
the archeological study bible
Beth Moore
dark brown hair (haha - there is a reason for this :)

5 places i want to go
New zealand

5 appliances i could not live without
hair straightener
curling iron
hair dryer
^^^do those count?? :)
washing machine

I love you ladies!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Take a hike Ike

Hey ladies... I just wanted to ask really quickly for you to all pray for those who are in the path of hurricane Ike. It hit last night and as I'm watching the news, there was obviously a lot of damage done. Some of my favorite Bible teachers live in the Houston area... as well as many of my friends. If you could please keep them in your prayers! I know that Beth Moore and Living Proof Ministries is located near Houston... Ron Luce and teen mania are also located in Texas (closer to Dallas, Fort Worth area)... and Joel and Casey Johnson as well. Please keep them, and Texans in general in your hearts and prayers!

I love you girls! Keep me posted on how I can be praying for you!

With All My Love,
~Susan Elaine

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hello Darlings! I hope your day is going amazingly well ~ I am praying for each and every one of you who take time out of your day to read this blog! I love you all!

I was doing my morning Bible study and I just had to share with you a part of the study that we are doing. It is a Bible study called Believing God by Beth Moore. In the study, she talks about our faith and how a good way to reassure you faith every day is to always be looking for ways that God is showing His glory in our every-day lives. She calls these "moments where you notice God" GodStops (yup, one word).

Every morning I do devotions on my back patio. It is such a beautiful sight! The sun shines through the trees and the birds go crazy and it feels like God is painting a new picture for me every day. Here is a pic of what I look at every morning:

I want to encourage you girls to spend time, 5 minutes will do, each morning praying that God will rule over your day and that the two of you can get closer as each minute passes. Sometimes it seems so hard to get up and do devotions in the morning... we convince ourselves that we are more awake at night and will have better quality time with God in the evening. And although that may be true, I urge you to start off your day with God at the front line. And try your hardest to look for GodStops during your day... it is overwhelming how much He really is present in our lives!

I love you girls!

~Susan Elaine

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vaca Pics

Here are some of the pictures from our fabulous vacation to Deep Creek... as promised!
I love you girls ~ please keep us in your prayers!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finally Home!!

Oh I am so glad to be back home with you girls! Our vacation was wonderful, don't get me wrong... but there is just something great about being home!!! It was about 4:30 in the morning on Thursday night (our last night in Deep Creek) and as JD was getting out of the tent to go the bathroom he asked me if I needed anything. I rolled over and said, out of a deep sleep, "I want to go home." I must have been dreaming about my bed or something - because I really wanted to go home!
Well, we are finally home and happy to be here. Last night we watched The Prince of Egypt... and I started thinking about how much it makes me dream of our heavenly home and how much I cannot wait to get there and see our Heavenly Father! But... as JD reminded me... until then, we have work to do! So lets get down to the business that we were put on this earth to accomplish! I love you girls ~ and I cannot wait for the day that we can all get together and do a Bible study or a night of praise and worship. Who knows...

Keep up the prayers - the Lord is certainly listening!

With My Love,
Susan Elaine

*pictures from our vacation are coming soon :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Vacation & Valentine

Hey all! I am so glad to be writing to you this morning. I have to be quick because JD and I are leaving for vacation in a few short hours - YAY!!! Unfortunately, we are not going to be backpacking in Tennessee like we had originally planned. L Instead, we are going to be car camping in Deep Creek, Maryland J. We are very excited because it is supposed to be beautiful with tons to do! I am nearly jumping out of my skin, I am so excited.

Anyhow, I want to leave you with a picture of a man named Hal Valentine – a man who our mission team worked with while in Tennessee…

While on our trip, we were able to hear Hal’s story and how he is living his life in dedication to God – a completely inspiring man! He takes people whose lives have gotten out of control and helps them to put everything back in order and get back on their feet. He does this without being paid… and if anything, spends most of his own money trying to help them turn away from their addictions and turn toward our Holy God! I have been praying fervently for Hal and I am asking that you girls add him to your prayer list. He is a true example of someone who is using his whole life to grow the kingdom! Let’s pray him into oblivion!!

Well, I am off to vacation – I will miss you girls and will write in a week… pray for traveling mercies! I love you ladies!

Much Love,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Womanly type of Wise

Today’s Treasure: Proverbs 14:1

“A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Oh how excited I am to show you what the Lord has given us in today’s treasure:
As I read through this verse, my eyes really stuck on the word “wise” and what it means to be a “wise woman”. You see, I love this verse because it is so broad and can be applied to anything, but today I want us to be very specific with it.

Are you ready to think UP? Okay, here we go!

The transliteration for the Hebrew word “wise” used here in Proverbs is the word chokmowth. And this word is used only 5 total times in the Old Testament (4 of which are in Proverbs). Within these 5 mentions, it seems as though the author connects wisdom to two things – (1.) building and (2.) words

My dear sisters… I wonder how often we truly realize what our words can do – how our words can build up or tear down some of the most important things in our lives – our relationships. You see I really believe that the Lord is trying to tell us something through Solomon that is so obvious, something that we so easily pin point in others, but rarely apply to ourselves – that our words actually mean something! Darlings, if we are going to say something, anything… we better wise up and learn to think before we speak. How many of us women today have relationships that have been broken by words. I know I am a victim of my own words – so many times I have hurt and been hurt simply because I didn’t have the wisdom to think about my words well before I actually spoke them. Let’s use this day as a spring board to a new way of life – a life that is focused around wisdom that builds up… not tears down. I ask you to think of one person who you often tear down (who oddly enough, is usually the people that mean the most to us – family, spouses, etc.), and use every opportunity that God gives you to build that person up. When we can start living a lifestyle of building, who knows what kind of openings the Lord will put in front of us! I hope that you are as blessed as I am by this incredible view of wisdom.

Today is a building day… lets get started!

I love you all!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

God-Given Talent

Hello Darlings! I am writing to you on this beautiful morning and am just amazed at the awesome gifts that we have all been blessed with. With the Olympics in full swing, I am in heaven – ever since I could understand what it was, I have absolutely loved watching the Olympic Games! I can remember being really young and thinking to myself as I watched the women’s gymnastics team, “I could do that – that’s nothing special… I am definitely going to be in the Olympics some day.”

Well, as the years have gone by I have slowly and reluctantly come to the conclusion that I just might never make it to that incredible blue podium where they give out the gold medal. L And I am convinced that when I do get to see my Savior in Heaven, that He will have some kind of Olympic welcome for me! Oh how funny that would be!

Now, back on topic (I am so easily distracted today). As JD and I came home last night and were getting ready for bed, we turned the TV on just to see what was happening with the Olympics and if we had missed any exciting news. As the channel darkened and the announcer’s voice became clear, we realized that the camera was focused on none other than Michael Phelps – our absolute favorite Olympian of the year! He and three other teammates were about to compete in the 400 meter freestyle relay – there is no way we were going to miss this! We huddled up by the TV like the puppies off of 101 Dalmatians and waited for the event to start. When it did, we cheered on our team like crazy and were so excited for them. As the US drifted behind in the race, our cheers got quieter and we found ourselves praying silently that God would perform some miracle that pushed our team into the lead. Low and behold, He did – as Jason Lezak was swimming the very last leg of the race, and looked at first to be in a distant second place, something amazing happened. In the last 50 meters of the race it was almost as if Lezak turned on a power jet and quickly made his way to the front of the pack – winning the race by 8 hundredths of a second! JD and I both let out these monstrous screams, which I am still quite embarrassed about, and jumped up and down in excitement for our team! It was an absolutely incredible race – one that I will never forget in my lifetime.

As I crawled into bed after all that excitement, I started thinking about how I used to truly believe that I could someday be in the Olympics. Then the Lord so softly spoke to my heart and said “Child, I have given you talent to do great things – you are mine and I have incredible things in store for you.”

Today my dears, my prayer for us comes from John 14:12 where Christ says “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

It is mind-blowing to think that we will do greater things than Jesus himself – but He not only says it, He promises it by saying “I tell you the truth” – Ladies, He is not lying… He is not even exaggerating – If we let our Father in Heaven work through us and give Him complete control over our lives… we will certainly do greater things than Jesus Christ himself (and most definitely greater things than any Olympian).

You have no idea how you brighten my day – I love you and I cannot wait to hear what amazing things God is doing through you on your journey!

With Incredible Joy,

Susan Elaine

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back and Forth to Tennessee

Hello Darlings! I just wanted to hop online real quick and let all of you know that our Tennessee mission team has made it safe and sound back to western PA! We had a long day of traveling yesterday, but it was worth all of the amazing work we were able to do down south. The Lord blessed us with an amazing trip and I can’t wait to give you all of the details (as well as some incredible pictures). For now, I am trying to catch up on my ginormous (my favorite word from Elf) loads of laundry as well as some much needed sleep – siesta here I come!!

Remember to boast in the Lord!! I love you girls – we’ll talk more soon!

With All My Love,
Susan Elaine

Monday, July 28, 2008

Locked and Loaded

Wow - I simply cannot believe that it has been 26 days since my last post! Life has been crazy ~ JD and I have gone on a mission trip to San Francisco, California, done a backpacking trip to the PA Grand Canyon, and finally finished our fundraising for our summer mission trips! This summer has just flown by... but I am so very excited for what is still ahead. This week's ABLAZE should be awesome, as JD will be giving his message titled "Don't Play Fair", and we leave in exactly 1 week for our second mission trip of the summer to Newport, Tennessee with our Junior High group.

Anyhow, getting to today's devotion - I am so excited to share this with you!

So as I said above, JD and I took a 4 day backpacking trip to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon in northern PA. It was wonderful... very difficult, but well worth the work! We did a 30 mile trail, called the West Rim Trail, which ran from Ansonia to Blackwell... and used this smaller get-a-way as a sort of "test run" for when we go backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains this August. This turned out to be a wonderful introduction (for me) into what backpacking is all about. The hike started off great and we were working our way along the trail. I had a 35lb. pack on my back... which is (according to other, more experienced hikers) not a lot of weight in the world of backpacking.
( me with my pack on)
But none-the-less, it seemed like a lot of weight to me. At about 3 miles down the trail, we came to a vista with a look-out point, where we put down our packs and took in the view. Coincidently, we did not want to put our packs back on and keep going... and then I started to think about our Christian walk (I'm such a preacher at heart!) and how we always try to carry everything on our backs all the time. I thought about how we, especially us women, just keep taking on and taking on - how we truly believe that we can get everything done on our own. After finishing our first day, I went to bed that night praying that God would use this trip to seriously show me insight into his desires for my life.
When I woke up the next morning, my first thought was about my pack and how badly I did not want to put it on for our 12 mile hike that day. After a great breakfast and some much needed encouragement from JD, I put my pack on and headed down the trail. After about 2 more miles of hiking that day, JD and I ran into none other than a huge rattlesnake... sunning himself along the trail!!! We literally started running in the other direction when we head that thing start to rattle!! It was so very scary... and quite difficult to run with a 35lb. pack on my back!
And that my darlings, is where I discovered today's devotion. You see, its so true that we often try to carry life on our shoulders. Not only do we carry our sins, but we carry our responsibilities, and our worries, and thoughts of our loved ones, and the list goes on and on. However, when I saw that snake and tried to run... I got a real glimpse of how much my pack was hindering me from freedom and how heavy it really was. Psalm 55:22 says “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Have you ever noticed, dear ones, that Satan seems to strike when our load is heavy? He picks times when we are weighed down by our sins and our "to do" lists, as the most opportune times to work us over and scare us half to death! But if we really cast our burdens upon the Lord, as it says in the Psalm… He will not let us be moved! We can stand firm in our lives – like having concrete poured over our feet to keep Satan from pushing us down.

My encouragement to you today is to lighten your load. When JD and I get out of the car, for some odd reason, we always say "locked" (meaning that the doors are locked) and "loaded" (meaning that we have all of our stuff out of the car). Are you locked - secure with Christ, knowing that He can and will carry ALL of your burdens? Are you loaded - with Christ on your back, or the weight of the world on your back? Girls, don't let this day pass without giving something, anything to God. Just let Him know that you are ready for some help... and He will be there, like our knight in shinning armor! Oh how awesome is our God!

I love you ladies!!!

With All My Heart,
Susan Elaine

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The God Of Yes, Even Our Coffee!

Good morning sisters! I am so excited about the day ahead of us... JD and I are running ABLAZE tonight, and cannot wait. Tuesdays are so long for us, but in a way they re-energize me because I get to see all of my girls! Oh, how I love you ladies. I don't have a ton of time this morning, but I just had to share this with you - how blessed I am by the fact that God gave us coffee! Sounds a little crazy right... well, let me explain:
You see, almost every morning when I wake up, my first thought is "coffee". Now, as I have been diving into and studying scripture so much more lately, I have had a true conviction about my desire for my morning coffee. And as a result, I have been and will continue to be praying that my first morning thoughts will be about God way before coffee. Are you with me on this one, are you getting what I'm saying? There are so many things in life that are so important to us, and that we make into a daily routine or habit, and I am suggesting that we work together sisters to put God ahead of all that - to want Him, and need Him, and make Him our daily routine or habit. I want to get to the point in my life where I can wake up with my mind of Jesus, not coffee! Oh what a step that will be! :)
So girls... lets do it - lets praise God for creating coffee... lets not praise the coffee (or whatever external item it is that you place extreme value in). Remember that I love you and am praying for you!

Always With Love,
Susan Elaine

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Godly Smack Upside The Head

Wow... today I have found myself completely in awe because I have just been smacked upside the head by the One and Only! Let's explain... I haven't written for the past couple of days simply because I have let life get too entirely hectic for me to handle, and above that I've let Satan himself start making his way into my daily routine. I wasn't getting into the Word or spending enough quality time in prayer with the Lord... and I began to feel an overwhelming sense of "I can't do it." You know what I'm talking about - when life seems to get so hard that you simply can't do it. When Satan is attacking so much that it feels like you just might fall over and croak!

Well sweet things - I'm here and so excited to show you how the Lord's Godly smack has helped me today (especially in the last few hours). As I was reading through different daily devotionals I found an excerpt from my favorite author, Beth Moore, which clearly prescribed my Biblical medication for going through hardships - actively giving thanks.

Here is the devotional:


Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-25

Today's Treasure: "Thank [God] in everything - no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks; for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). (Amplified Bible)

One way to fortify our lives from sin is to live lives of active gratitude. Dissatisfaction is a stronghold waiting to happen. An unsatisfied soul should never be ignored. Ongoing or chronic feelings of dissatisfaction are waving red flags that need to be well inspected. Such feelings may mean something vital is missing, and we need to seek God without delay.

Other times, nagging feelings of dissatisfaction can be little more than the byproduct of living in such an overindulged society. Think about it. Countless millions of dollars are spent annually by advertisers whose only goal is to convince Americans that we are not yet satisfied. Since our hearts are deceptive in their natural form, sometimes our feelings are telling us we're less satisfied than we really are.

How can we know the difference? Apply the phrase Paul supplied us: "Be thankful and give thanks." Active gratitude will cure self- or society-induced dissatisfaction. Often we know what our problem is . We even know what the remedy may be. If we're going to continue on in our sincere and pure devotion to Christ, we're going to have to start taking the medicine the Word prescribes when we're spiritually feeling under the weather.

Many times we don't have a knowledge problem; we have an obedience problem. Be thankful and give thanks. Do you hear what Paul is saying? Just trying to sit like a thankful-looking bump on a dead log won't cut it. Actively give thanks.

When I'm feeling down or a little like a brat, I often sense God speaking to my heart, "Name 'em, child." I don't even have to ask what He means. He means start naming a mere twenty or thirty of the thousands of ways He's shown His goodness to me. God has had such mercy on my life, I ought to be among the most grateful people on the earth, and that's exactly what I want to be.

God has taught me another way to actively give thanks. He has shown His goodness to me in innumerable ways through other people. I sense Him saying to me, "Give thanks to me first and foremost, but, Beth, I want you to be one of the most genuine and vocally grateful people others know. I have caused many people to show you kindness and help you accomplish your calling. Thank them continually." I am sure the same is true of your life. God is teaching me not just to be thankful for the love and support I receive from my family, my staff, my friends, and my church but to actively tell them.

If our selfish hearts are trying to trick us into feeling a false sense of dissatisfaction, a good strong dose of thanksgiving will cure what ails us! If it doesn't, we've got a more serious issue, and we must diligently seek the wisdom and remedy of God.

Spend time giving thanks to God for the spiritual and physical blessings He has given you.


I love you girls and I hope that this Word has done as much for you as it has for me today! Never forget to seek His face and pray constantly that His Word will jump off the page and right into your hearts!

With Love,
Susan Elaine

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mothers Day in Full Bloom

Hola Girls!!! Today has been insane, but I wanted to stop by for minute and give you an update on the craziness.

First off, I want to show you how proud I am of my Mother's Day gift! (the picture to the right) My mom really wanted to plant climbing roses out by our pool so that they could climb up the fence and become some oh-so-beautiful landscaping. And when I was looking at the roses yesterday morning, I realized how awesome they are - that they will climb almost anything and reach as far toward the sky as they can. Then I realized how much that is like our walk with the Lord and how we should be acting - we should always be reaching higher and trying to do/be our best for Him. How incredible is our God that makes roses that climb! Let me delight you with this - the beginning part of 2 Peter 3:18 says "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." I want to encourage you today to spend a little bit of time each morning looking around and marveling at God's creation. Speaking of creation - is anyone going to Creation this year? We aren't - tear! I'm so sad we can't go, but I will definitely be interested in hearing how awesome it was.

On yet another note... JD, Jenna, and I were in rare form today. You'll see by the picture below just how out-of-control and ridiculous we were. Let's just say that today was the perfect day to go sailing... but we didn't seem to have a lake or a boat... so we made do with what we had!

Please know how much I love you all and will pray for each and every one of you each time I look at this blog! You are a blessing!

All My Love,

Susan Elaine

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Raise the Praise

Hello Darlings! I hope today has been as wonderful for you as it has for me. I woke up today with a little bit of a different outlook on my day ahead, as last night JD and I watched a movie called "The Peaceful Warrior". Now, please know that I wasn't a fan of some of the language they used and there were a couple parts of the movie that I would definitely cut out ;) - but all in all, the movie had a decent message and some awesome quotes. It basically said that if you focus too much on your final destination, then you will forget how you got there... pay attention to the journey. And I got to thinking of how often I do that! I can't count how many times I have been driving to a friend's house, or running a certain path, and when I finally pull in or stop, I can't for the life of me remember how I got there! Our minds get so cluttered with all of the things we have to do, or all of the things that people have said to us or about us, and we loose all of our Godly focus. I want to encourage you darlings to keep focusing on the Lord in every single step of your day. Take a moment every hour or so and look around at where God has placed you. "He knows the plans He has for us" (Jeremiah 29:11)... but we don't often know the plans He has for us because we are too busy trying to finish our own plans. I am so guilty of this! My prayer for both you and myself today is that we are not only blessed by the Lord, but that we can stop and recognize those blessings.
JD and I are particularly excited about tonight, because we are going to be heading to his parents house for a family dinner... and it just so happens that his mom is making our favorite meal - sweet & savory roast! mmmm I am seriously having trouble waiting until 7pm tonight!
As I close up for today, I want to leave you with a devotion, written by Beth Moore, that struck my heart in a major way:

Read Luke 1:39 - 40

*Then ask yourself who you look to for wisdom and advice, and how far are you willing to go to seek council from that one special person?

When Mary found out that she was going to bear the world's Savior... one of the first things that scripture tells us she did was run to her relative Elizabeth, who was also "with child." Now I always knew that this part of scripture urges us to seek council from others who are more mature and farther along in circumstances than we are... It is obvious that the Lord wants us to glean wisdom from others and learn from their mistakes. However, I guess I never realized the lengths that Mary went to in seeking council from Elizabeth. You see, Elizabeth lived fifty to seventy miles from Nazareth - that means that Mary, newly pregnant, had to travel fifty to seventy miles (BY FOOT) just to see her! How insane does that sound, and what a dedicated woman! And then I began to wonder if I, myself would have had the audacity to travel such a distance. I am truly praying that I will have such a desire to know the Lord's plan, that I will travel any length of miles to experience what He has for me & do His good work!

Good evening darlings, until we meet again!

Much Love,
Susan Elaine

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome to Anastasis Agape!

Welcome Ladies... to the launch of our very first Anastasis Agape blog! I am so very excited to share this blog with all of you. I have been praying about setting up a place where all of us ladies can get together and see what the Lord is doing in our lives ~ after all, fellowship is one of our greatest assets. I picked the name Anastasis Agape because when I was in college, there was a women's group that had that very same name and I always loved it. After doing some exploring, I thought that no name could be more fitting for what we are going to embark on ~ the word anastasis means "resurrection" and agape means "unconditional love". This site is all about God's resurrecting love - how each morning His mercies are new and we can experience a resurrection in Christ anytime we want. We will be letting you know of the wonderful things going on in our area, as well as devotions that strike our hearts and sharing our love for the Word of God. Praise God for everything He is doing in the lives of you ladies ~ this is going to be one ridiculous adventure together!

All My Love,
Susan Elaine