Tuesday, January 29, 2008

She Speaks Conference 2008

Oh, the She Speaks Conference by Proverbs 31 Ministries. Where to begin?

I have been to this conference twice over the years. The first year was right after God reignited my desire to write. I went with high hopes, and wasn't disappointed. The writers' critique wasn't as bad as I thought, and the classes were great. I pitched two book ideas to two different editors, and was well received. That kind of opportunity is rare. All I know is that it was amazing!

I couldn't afford to go the next year, as I'd just had a preemie in NICU. But last year I went again. This time I took the Leadership track, hoping it would be of some help to our women's ministry director at my home church, Pinnacle Church. Again, the classes and teachers were top-notch.

That's where I took a blogging class, taught by the beautiful Marybeth Whalen, and after the conference, this blog was launched. It has blessed me beyond measure, and my prayer is that others are blessed by it as well.

The Next Generation track for youth girls is just an amazing idea, and I'm so glad they started it. If I had daughters, I would have them there for sure! I hope that program flourishes. There's such a need for it.

Even though I wasn't in the writer's track, I met with another editor last year, and was also well received. I was pleasantly surprised at the speed of her response to me after the conference was over. I hope that if I make it this year, I will have a finished product to share! (Pray for that please?!)

Last year's conference came at a very stressful time for me. My five year old had been diagnosed with heart murmurs, and we were waiting for our cardiologist appointment. I tried so hard not to let Satan steal my joy, and for the most part he didn't. This conference is a place full of fun, laughter, and our Lord! It really is a place to "refresh," and was just what the Great Physician ordered for me.

One of the most memorable part of She Speaks was Lysa's "real me" presentation last year, when she came out with no makeup, hair pulled back, in her comfy clothes. She shared her testimony, and it was so powerful. I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Real people, real life, real God. That's what Proverbs 31 Ministries is all about.

So, that's my She Speaks story. I love this conference! It is so uplifting. The time may be packed with classes and events, but it is so valuable. These ladies at Proverbs 31 truly want to bring God's peace, perspective and purpose to today's woman. If you are reading this and have any desire to speak, write, or lead, I hope you will prayerfully consider attending this conference. It's worth every penny.

That's why I'd like to win the scholarship. I need to go see my Proverbs 31 girls!

And speaking of pennies, go here for a chance to win a scholarship to She Speaks 2008!

To learn more about the conference and to register, click the She Speaks button in my sidebar...

Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Having a Giveaway!

Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival: Winter '08 Edition.

Bloggy Giveaways Carnival

I've decided to play along, and I wanted my giveaway to reflect me and my blog. I know how important our prayer lives are, but it is an area where I often feel like I'm in a rut. Beth Moore (I love her!) introduced me to her own prayer journal on her blog. It comes from Debbie Williams and Hill Country Ministries. I ordered one, and although I've only had it a short time, I can see how it's going to be a big blessing. It's going to be a wonderful tool to help my prayer life flourish!

And I want to share it with you! So, I'm giving away another copy of that very same prayer journal, as well as a set of "Praying God's Word" notecards.

Just leave me a comment telling me about your prayer life, good or bad. I just want to know where you are in your journey. I will use a Random Number Generator to choose a winner. Contest closes at Noon EST on February 2. Any comments placed after that time will not be considered in the drawing.

So leave me a comment, tell all your friends about the cool new blog you just found :-), share a little linky love, and Enjoy the Carnival!

Giveaway is now closed. Thanks for stopping by! Check back for the post announcing the winner!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Impact Day - The First One!

Today, Pinnacle Church had it's first Impact Day. The church was invited to cover the community and spread a little kindness. We had 1,000 winter care bags prepared by our youth, which contained lotion, tissue, hot chocolate and popcorn. We had 4 groups spread out after the service, and we joined our "hometown" group in Candler. Here we are, except for the little kids and me (I'm taking the picture):

We decided to branch out over Candler, so we went with Jody and Diane, their son Tyler, and two of their girls, Gracie and Hayley. We decided to go to a local nursing home, since the grocery stores wouldn't allow us to hand out our bags on their premises.

Jeff and I had noticed a couple on the roadside as we drove in, so we decided to see them first. Funny how God puts people in your path, isn't it? Anyway, they have been homeless for about 2 weeks, as they couldn't pay their rent. I felt so inadequate as my husband handed them a bag and a few dollars. We wanted to do so much more! They blew off our talk of God, but were grateful anyway. And as they spoke, another vehicle pulled up and handed them two bags of food. Praise the Lord, someone else was led to help them, too!

So, we went to the nursing home. It's a little hard for us, because we are NOT extroverts. And I'm not a big fan of nursing homes since I had to visit my grandmother in one when I was a kid. But, out of the comfort zone we went!

We met very sick ladies who weren't having very good days, very energetic ladies who were a hoot, and even a modern grannie who was surfin' the net while watching her flat screen TV when we came in!

Tyler was snagged as soon as we got there. This sweet little lady wanted him to help her send an email,and he was too happy to help. See?

She was so happy, she was giving high fives and hugging everybody!

There was Becky in the pink room, who thought the gift (and the tissue box!) was beautiful, but didn't like it when the nursing home's cat wandered into her room because she has asthma. I hope she didn't have an attack after we left!

Then there was Mrs. Blankenship. She was in bed when we first saw her, but I spotted her speeding down the hall in her wheelchair once the gospel group showed up as the afternoon entertainment! She loved hugs, and insisted that Gracie and Hayley both get in her lap.

Those little girls (and the rest of us I guess!) made lots of little ladies very happy!

We still had bags left, so we hit two laundromats. A pair of women gushed out their prayer requests. Funny how the words "How can I pray for you?" can open people up.

The second laundromat was predominantly Hispanic, and very few of the people spoke English. But they gladly received our bags anyway. The final few bags were given out in the parking lot, and that was that. All fifty bags were gone.

It took about two and a half hours, but I think several people were touched in that time. And that's only what our little group did! I can't wait to hear about the IMPACT the other groups had!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

No, I'm not dead. Yet.

Wow, I can't believe it's been a whole week since my last post. Which, by the way, was for a contest by Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa Terkeurst. I didn't win, but I got lost of nice comments. So I think it must have meant something to a few folks. Sweet!

I really wanted to comment about one of them in particular, but I'm afraid that between working every day but one since my last post and suffering a maddening, debilitating case of acid reflux, it just hasn't happened. It never fails that sickness comes after normal hours of operation. Or on a weekend. Or when you're the only swing shift person on the schedule and you have to go to work. Even on the government holiday.

Yep, that's me. I feel like I've had something stuck in my throat for a full week now. And it just sucks. Period.

It's making me nauseous. It made me try to sleep almost sitting up in bed. Not good for curled-up-in-the-fetal-position sleepers like me. It made me skip my morning coffee 2 days in a row, and even that didn't help. So I won't be foolish and skip my coffee again. The headache is MASSIVE! Ahh, sweet caffeine, how I love thee :-)

Some over-the-counter stuff hasn't really helped, so I finally broke down and went to the doctor today. More pills and an order for an Upper GI. If you don't know, that means that they want to stick a tube with a camera down my throat and have a nice look around. Um, not fun. No no. Might make for some fun blog pics, though. :-)

So, last night my caffeine-less headache sent me to my bed early. My hubby said that he knew I felt bad because I didn't even knit OR turn on the computer. Yeah, it was bad.

That was after he told me how big the dark circles had gotten under my eyes, too. Ain't he a gem? :-P He really knows how to make a girl's day. That's OK, my poor boss keeps giving me the sad face and telling me how obvious it is that I feel bad. That's just a sweeter way to tell me that I look like crap. I love her!

Anyway, I think I'll try the new pills for a few days and see what happens. Because blog pics or not, I don't really want a camera shoved down my throat. And if I don't get better soon my supporters just might kill me with compliments...:-)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When the Quest Becomes the Idol

Recently, I took a step into the 21st century and started a blog. I had been curious about blogging, and after a class about it, I finally took the plunge. I enjoy writing, so I was excited once it was set up. I researched promoting your blog, getting paid through your blog, finding other blogs, and everything I could about the "blogosphere."

I had been searching for my purpose, a way to glorify God with the talents He had given me. I felt that my blog was it. It would be my own little ministry! I wanted it to be an encouragement to whoever might stumble across it on the Internet. I would be very honest about my faith. I would write devotions, handle prayer requests, and share how God was working in my life. I just knew God would use that for His good.

I was so eager to see how God was going to use my blog and me. So, I signed up for a free service that tells you all kinds of information about the people who visit your blog. Things like where they are, how they found you, and most importantly, how many of them there are. Each time I logged in, I was disappointed to see only one or two visitors on my graph. “Where are they, God?” I became so consumed with the numbers that I found myself checking it out several times a day. Eventually, I spent more time checking the stats on my blog than I did actually contributing to it.

What about you? Have you ever been so excited to do something for God that you were just on fire? You worked at it; you shared it with others; you thought about it all the time. Then, you got discouraged because you weren’t seeing the results you wanted. And suddenly you realized that it had stopped being about God, and had started being all about you.

Here’s what God tells us in John 15:4: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (NIV) He’s reminding us that we need to stay focused on Him. All our efforts will be in vain if we don’t include God in them. Just like fruit on the vine is nourished through the branches, we are nourished when we maintain a relationship with God. Once the fruit is removed from the vine, it stops growing. The sustenance has been cut off. The same is true for us, too. We will only be fruitful when we keep God at the center of our efforts.

Those numbers I was looking for? Those would reflect what I did in my own power, not what God had done. I didn’t give God time to work. I was too busy looking at my graphs! I was not remaining in God. I was trying to bear fruit all by myself. And all it did was frustrate me.

When I realized that the focus had shifted from God to me, I felt so ashamed. Instead of quitting, though, I decided that I would not check my numbers every day anymore. God would direct whomever He wanted to my blog, and He may only use it to touch one person. All the statistics in the world won’t tell me that. I know one day God will reveal to me what He used me for.

So now, I check out my stats occasionally. It really isn’t a big deal anymore. My focus is back to the right place: glorifying God. And you know what I find now? That even though I don’t advertise or do any extra promotion to drive traffic to my site, my numbers are steadily increasing. It’s thrilling now because I know that those numbers are truly an indication of God at work through me. I’m back on the vine!

My quest to find purpose and glorify God turned into my own idol: something that distracted me from God’s assignment for me. But when I shifted my eyes back to the God who called me and stopped looking at myself, I started making progress, and knowing the exact purpose I was created for just isn’t that important. What is important is that I stay focused on God.

I certify that this is my own writing. If selected by Proverbs 31 Ministries, it may be used in any printed or electronic media for their purposes. The Word Count is 725.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This is my husband and his sister this past Sunday. My 14 year old begged me not to post pictures of him :-(

Monday, January 14, 2008


My husband has just started teaching a new small group study called "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp. I have heard it's good, so naturally I was curious exactly what this new study would involve. What it would ask me to do as I "shepherd my child's heart?" After reading the introductory stuff and the short first chapter, I know one thing: change is imminent in my household.

It's not like an "A-ha!" moment exactly, but a light bulb did brighten a bit. I've never thought about my child's behavior being based in their heart. At least not in the midst of a tantrum, or the times my parenting skills and patience are being tested. I can certainly see the logic, that my child's behavior is an overflow of his heart, like Luke 6:45 says: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

When you're angry, you lash out. When you're happy, that shows, too. But I guess when I have to discipline my kids I'm just thinking, "Don't do that again! Haven't I told you..." I have the feeling that now, I will be examining how my child may be feeling that has caused his actions to be what they are.

This could get interesting...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Big Sports Day for the Ingersoll's

Tonight, I bid a sad farewell to my Indianapolis Colts, who were defeated by an injured Phillip Rivers (from NC State) and also an injured LaDanian Tomlinson. I hate to say it, but if you can't beat a team with their 2 star players on the bench, maybe you don't deserve to win. And believe me: it pains me to say that. I adore Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. Watching them lose is NOT fun...

Tomorrow will be a long day at work, as I'm sure I will be harassed mercilessly by those Patriots fans, who shall remain nameless. Sigh.

On a better note:
Today, my husband and oldest son have gone to Durham to watch their beloved Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team. They got tickets for Christmas, and let me just say that the tuition isn't the only thing that's expensive! (But I would totally try to pay it if my kid could get in!)

So Jeff's sister called, and she will also be at the game with her husband. She's driving up from Fayetteville. She's a nurse, and one of the doctors she works for is a Duke grad and couldn't use his tickets, so he GAVE them to her. $$$

We laughed and said how much better her seats would likely be, and if she had a heart she'd let the "boy" sit in the good seats.

They are all sitting together.

They met for dinner before the game, and when they compared tickets, they were not just in the same section (1M). Or even the same row. They are sitting in 4 CONSECUTIVE SEATS. Is that crazy, or what?

So, in my best cheering voice.....GO DUKE!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'll Be Back...

Sorry I've been away. My church newsletter, Compass Magazine, is in the midst of final editing, so I've been a bit busy. No time to blog!! But I'm almost done, so hopefully I can report something good in a day or two. (Like getting my tires replaced for free!)

Back soon!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Low Pressure....NOT!

I left work today, and while driving down the interstate my "low tire pressure" light came on. I stopped, and my tire was splitting open. Like, COMING APART! Afraid to drive it, and unable to change it myself (without an air gun!), I called the dealer for advice:

Me: My low tire pressure light came on, and my tire appears to be coming apart. But, it isn't flat. Do you think it would be safe for a few more miles so I could make it there?

Service dept: I'd have to see it before I could judge that. If you could bring it in, I could look at it.

Me, to self in disbelief: What? Did you just hear yourself?

Me, out loud: Um, that's why I'm calling. I don't think I can drive it in.

Service dept: So you need a tow?

Me: Uh, no. I don't need a tow for a flat tire. Thanks anyway.

Service dept.: I don't blame you...

Are you kidding me?!

And of course, it had to be today. Today, when my husband was just arriving in Raleigh for the one day he's out of town. Ugh...

Turns out that it's a tire defect and I actually have 2 damaged tires. They'll luckily be replaced by our wonderful tire guy Mike at Candler Tire tomorrow (NOT the service dept. I spoke to earlier!)

My tires may have low pressure, but MY pressure level was SKY HIGH!

Calgon, take me away...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

God Sees Me - Thank Heaven!

"The LORD will keep you from all harm -- He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8

Today has been a struggle. Well, the past few actually, but especially today. My nephew has been in serious trouble and really, really needs our prayers. Please say one for him. For the whole family, really. That's all I'll say for now. It's pretty serious, and it has been an emotionally charged day.

And, I'll be honest here: my editorial struggles continue, too. Leadership is not one of my highest spiritual gifts. Yet, here I am trying to lead a publication team. My husband is usually right when it comes to reading me (annoyingly so) and he says that, in no uncertain terms, I am NOT a leader. (He's just being honest, not mean. He really is a sweetie :-))

But needless to say, that doesn't exactly boost my attitude or motivate me to try harder. Often I just want to throw my hands in the air and say, "I QUIT!" I'm very much a by-the-book kind of girl and when others don't play by the rules, it drives me crazy! Which is what I am now. :-P

Whatever struggles I face, God is watching. Psalm 121 says that he watches my coming and my going (even going crazy!). I am not alone. He knows what I'm facing. And He's waiting patiently for me to remember that and ask Him to help me, guide me, comfort me.

So, I remember that saying that "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." I guess I'm in my qualifying time right now. I may not be a good leader now, but maybe He's training me to be one. Maybe He wants me to stop being so anal and learn that there's more than one way to accomplish a goal.


But whatever His plan for me is, He's watching it all unfold. Today, He is "El Roi," the God who sees. And even though all the problems are still there, it really does make me feel better to know that.

Next time you feel alone, I hope you remember that our God is a God who sees you, wherever you are, in whatever you're facing...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Stupid hat.

If you don't knit, many of these terms will be unfamiliar to you. I apologize. I promise to return to my normal language in the next post :-)

This was supposed to be a chemo cap for a child: a donation to the Jan./Feb. Caps for a Cure group. It was great, or so I thought. No tinking. No frogging. I cast on 104 stitches, like the pattern said. I did K2P2 rib, like the pattern said. I knit for 3.5 inches to the decrease, like the pattern said. I followed the pattern, to the best of my knowledge, to a T.

And this stupid thing is so small, it won't even fit my three year old. It looks like a stinkin' yamulkah.


I won't even bore you with my complete and total inadequacy in color work. Half of my carried yarn was somehow carried up the outside of the hat. I had to creatively engineer it with a reasonable facsimilie of duplicate stitch to hide it.

Stupid hat.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him." Romans 8:28

So, maybe this was God's way of having me make a baby hat instead of child-sized? I had the pattern for both :-Z

As you can see, I'm trying to rationalize the value of this darned hat and find the good in all the time it cost me...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm Not the Resolution-Making Type

I follow several blogs, and many are posting their resolutions for 2008. I've given up on resolutions. I just feel like a failure when I break one in the first three days :-)

Well, I made it two days on the Jennifer-Garner-3-day-detox/fat flush-liver thing. And kept off the three pounds. And then I quit. Because I had to have my black-eyed peas and collard greens :-)

Thank goodness God gives us more than one chance to fail. All we have to do is ask His forgiveness and we are washed clean, new like the freshly-fallen snow I drove through on my way to work today. I can mess up as soon as I get there, and ask forgiveness, and I have it. I can say something ugly, and ask forgiveness, and it it is forgotten by God. He doesn't hold it against me. I can focus on myself, which I frequently do. And when the Holy Spirit convicts me of my self-centeredness, I fall at His feet, begging yet again. I yell at my kids in anger or frustration, and my Father doesn't yell at me in return. I just cry out, "Father, I'm sorry!" And I am redeemed.

Having this knowledge doesn't give me permission to sin, but it frees me from the need to be perfect. Free from feeling like a sinful failure. Sinning after being "saved" isn't like breaking a resolution. We aren't going to be locked out of heaven, and God isn't going to forget about us or hold a grudge.

Thankfully, this is one truth that I have learned. But there are many more that God still has to reveal to me. I know that I still have much spiritual growth ahead of me. I want it. I need it. My very soul craves it.

So that is my goal for this year. Not a resolution to spend more quiet time, or to read the Bible in a year, though I am going to try that. I'm not going to exercise more or weigh less. Not going to "try" to do anything, except be the girl God made me to be. I simply want more of Him this year.

So, all of you with resolutions, I wish you the best. Good luck. I'll still love you if you flop in three days like me. :-)

As for me, if you need me, I'll be curled up in my Daddy's lap, trying to get to know him just a little better.


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