2020: The Year We’ll Never Forget

January: The month to rest and recharge. Even market normally slows down after the holidays. Not in 2020 tho. We saw record sales in January.

Ah, 2020, we should have seen the warning signs.

Plus we started renovations on our house. The goal was to be done by the end of February and have it on the market by mid March.

It was a crazy busy month.

February: Due to a busy January, we weren’t as far along on the house makeover as we hoped. We again saw record sales at market.

March: This month found us even farther behind on the house project but we contacted a realtor and moved forward with listing it while we tied up all the loose ends.

The first two weeks in March we again hit record breaking sales. Our sales increased so drastically that all year we had a hard time keeping enough food in the case.

Ah, 2020, if only we knew the tricks you had up your sleeve.

The second week in March, on a Saturday night when we once again sold out early I told the girls: ‘Next week we aren’t making just a bit more food. We’re making a lot more food!’

And so we did… we made ALOT of extra food. And then the drama started. We made all this food on Wednesday, and on Thursday Tom Wolf shut down the county.

Needless to say, we had an incredibly slow week.

Saturday morning we got there to find two of our employees (local girls who got there a bit before us) just kinda goofing off. Normally they got started without us. Their explanation: There’s so much food, we decided to wait for you, because we didn’t know what to do with it all.

Yea, I didn’t know either.

Ah, 2020, we were off to such a good start.

Saturday night we had quite a bit of food left and we peddled it for free to anyone who would take it. One person helped us out a lot by taking a lot of it and passing it out to their neighbors.

So, the next week we made a lot less food! March was definitely the most bipolar month our market stand ever saw as far as sales go. The last week in March was even slower, so…. (See April👇)

As far as our house… we got it listed and had at least 9 showings plus a great turn out for our open house, all in 4 days…

We even had a buyer and were almost ready to sign the contract…

Then the drama started.

Tom Wolf shut down the county and all real estate activity ceased.

Our buyer lost her job and therefore her financing so our house wasn’t sold after all.

Ah, 2020, is it your goal to make everything complicated?

By the end of March our realtor suggested taking our house off the market until real estate open back up because a house just sitting on the market for weeks isn’t good.

So that’s what we did.

April: At market things went downhill fast. Actually, our sales went uphill but I was never sure what to expect week to week so it felt like one big chaotic mess.

The first week in April we made less food again because we had a lot leftover the week before. You guessed it… we had a busier week and ran out of food early.

And that is how April continued… every week was significantly busier and every week we were running out of food. It seemed, no matter how much food we made it was never enough.

Ah, 2020, you’re driving me crazy.

To give you an idea… pre-pandemic we were turning 30 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week and by the end of May we were turning 60 lbs of beef into meatloaf each week. It really was insane.

We put our house back on the market at the end of April because our plan was to move to CA in June.

May: We had plans to spend a week in Redding CA, but pushed this trip back till June.

We had a few virtual tours on our house but nothing seemed to be happening there.

At market we ditched the masks and believe it or not we saw an incredible rise in sales. Yes, we had people tell us they’re never coming back but we also seemed to collect every single person within a 100 mile radius that was anti-mask.

Here’s some of my favorite mask stories:

  1. From day 1 we didn’t wear our masks over our noses. Why? It’s the weirdest thing really, but it turns out, I really like breathing fresh air!🤷‍♀️ So… I’m helping this guy and he says: ‘you forgot to cover your nose!’ I feel instantly defensive because some people weren’t very kind about these things. ‘Yea that’s because I kinda enjoy breathing.’ I said, as I shifted my gaze from my task to him. I find him standing there with laughter sparkling in his eyes and his mask very obviously under his nose as well.🙃 Later I’m talking to one of my employees and it really felt like she couldn’t hear me properly so I pulled my mask down to my chin. ‘Hey! You’re not wearing your mask properly!’ A customer hollered. My irritation rose slightly as I turned to find this annoying person. Instead I find the same guy that I had waited on before. He had a gigantic grin on his face and you guessed it… his mask around his chin.🙃
  2. Our stand was right inside the front door. It was funny watching people come in with masks on, then removing them when they realized the people working there weren’t wearing them. One guy came in with a mask on. He stopped right inside the door and looked around. Then heaving a huge sigh (of relief, I assume) he removed his mask and went about his shopping.
  3. Another customer told us she lives 5 min from a farmers market but they require masks there so she started driving 1 hour (1 way) each week to shop with us because we allowed her to shop mask free.
  4. I rung up a ladies items and told her the total. She pulled her money out but it seemed to be sticking together so she pulled down her mask and licked her finger in order to keep the money from sticking and then handed it to me. Thank goodness I have no faith in these masks.😅😂

This is also the month I got plagued by morning sickness worse then I ever experienced before. Just another side effect of the craziness of 2020 I assumed.

Trying to sell a house, no clue what to expect at market each week, when it had previously run like a well oiled machine, add severe morning sickness and I was about ready to lose my mind.

Miserable, might describe May pretty well.

Ah, 2020, I don’t think we can be friends anymore.

June: We sold the market stand and took a week long trip to Redding CA. Our moving plans got pushed back till July.

This was pretty much the most miserable trip I ever took. My morning sickness was at it’s absolute worse. I spent the flight there and back trying not to throw up while trying to keep an energetic two year old in his seat. (Someone should invent car seats for planes.)

The plan was to find a house to live in, set up bank accounts, meet Checkers boss etc.

We did most of that but every time we traveled anywhere I ended up feeling extremely sick. So mostly I sat in the corner of the couch with a blanket and went back and forth between being extremely hot to fighting off chills, while Checkers and the kids got bored with staying at the house but didn’t want to explore the city without me.🤷‍♀️
We didn’t find a house.

2020, I blame you!

Once we were home again, my goal was to start packing. However, I was still so miserable that I would pack a little bit then sit down. Then I’d repeat the cycle. There was days when I wondered if I’d ever manage to complete the task.

July: Our house finally sold. Since we couldn’t find a house to live in we bought a camper and a truck with plans to live in that for awhile and find a house once we were actually in CA.

I continued packing and while my morning sickness eased somewhat, I still felt really miserable and had zero energy.

Checkers picked up the camper and had mentioned painting it just to brighten it up. I remember stepping into the camper and it all just looked so overwhelming. I told him: ‘You’re welcome to do whatever u want to this thing but you might be on your own because, I just don’t think I have the energy for it.’

A week later I musta felt slightly better because I had this sudden urge to renovate this camper after all. So we tore the thing apart and started putting it back together.

We spent 1 full day painting. And I paid a hefty price for it. The next day I found myself feeling a lot worse again and spent the whole day under a blanket on my chair again.

The next day I still felt miserable but forced myself to continue packing and cleaning. Although I stated very far away from the paint. Checkers kinda got stuck with that task on his own but I wasn’t about to risk the misery again.

2020, What have I ever done to you?!

Settlement for our house was on July 31st. That week was another extremely miserable week. Monday morning I woke up with a bad head cold on top of already feeling miserable. I pushed myself to be productive because we had things that needed to be done but by mid morning I found myself back on my chair with my blanket. My energy was completely zapped.

Tuesday morning I felt a little better and headed to Walmart for material for curtains then went to my parents house to sew them. I made it till about 1:00 before I headed home to my chair. The misery was real.

Wednesday my head cold had mostly cleared up and although my energy was still non existent, I managed to finish the curtains and get some more packing done.

Thursday we had family come to help us move our stuff out and do some cleaning. I was going to finish up the packing and cleaning but by 6:00 I was so dead on my feet that I just quit. I felt exhausted and wrung out like I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.

2020, Please know that I am plotting my revenge!

Friday morning, I did a quick clean over the rooms that hadn’t been done yet. We packed up the last of our things, said good bye to our home of almost 9 years. The first house we lived in as a married couple and the house we brought each one of babies home too.

Our settlement was at 1:00, then after stopping in at my parents house, we headed out. First stop: Dauphin county, to see Checkers family before leaving.

August: We spent 10 days traveling across the states. Final destination: Redding CA!

My morning sickness was slowly fading but there was a couple days of driving hilly, curvy roads that were pretty miserable.

We got here on the 10th and Checkers started at his new job on the 12th. Kenzie started school on the 13th. We spent the rest of August settling in and finding a routine.

Mid August I actually started feeling better and realized for the first time just how awful I had felt.

2020, your schemes will not control my life.

September: I finally found a midwife and scheduled a consultation with her. Since I was already at 20 weeks she sent me for an ultrasound and we found out we’re having twins!

Suddenly, all that afore mentioned misery made sense.

Ah, 2020, always bringing the unexpected.

Turns out it’s illegal for a midwife to deliver twins in CA do I was back to where I started, only this time I was looking for a DR instead of a midwife.

We also joined a house church. (Since Bethel is closed, their members opened up their homes to host small amounts of people.)

October: Finally found a DR. That felt like a lot accomplished.

We were also looking for a house. We looked at quite a few and even put a couple offers in. Turns out the housing market is insane and all the houses seemed to slip through our fingers.

2020, I do believe it’s time you moved on.

November: A month of frustration due to no progress. We still didn’t have a house and we’re having twins sometime in the next 6-8 weeks.

Before November Ended though we finally had a house that was looking like it might work out.

December: This month was spent working out the details on our house and trying to make Christmas in a camper fun.

The plan is to move into our house on January 2nd.

2020, I’m not sad to see you go. I’m believing that 2021 will bring redemption in all the areas you have let us down.

Popcorn: The Source of Our Biggest Dispute In 2020

It was just a normal Sunday afternoon.

Calm. Cool. Collected.

Just, you know, lounging on our easy chairs while the kids got some video time in.

It was all going so well.

Until

The kids video time ended and they wanted a snack. So I made them some popcorn.

Don’t worry, everyone is still getting along at this point.

Then I sat down again.

Checkers: “Where’s mine?“

Me: “I didn’t know you wanted some. But the popcorn’s in there.” (I pointed to the cupboard.) “And the microwave is right there. (I pointed to the microwave.)

So, Checkers got up and made himself a bag of popcorn, then he sat down again, right beside me, with this whole bag of warm, buttery, delicious smelling popcorn.

I innocently reached over and got a handful.

The glare I received was quite devastating to my fragile emotions.

But as Grace does when she thinks someone is being rather ignorant… she reached over, not so innocently, and got an even bigger handful.

Ah, the feeling of satisfaction. There’s something so rewarding about refusing to back down if someone is being unreasonable. I MEAN HE HAD A WHOLE BAG!

BY HIMSELF!

All I wanted was a couple bites. (Although I will admit, my appetite increased dramatically once I realized I wasn’t supposed to be eating any.)

Yup. Glare two was more devastating the glare one. Which is pretty much the only reason I went for the third handful.

Guys, he had a whole bag! By himself!🧐

Checkers: What are you doing?!😡

Me: Eating popcorn.😁

Checkers: I made it for myself, go make your own.😡

Me: You have a whole bag, surely you can spare a few bites. Why exactly is that a big deal? 🤨

Checkers: Because I made a whole bag and I was going to eat the whole bag. Why don’t you make your own?

Me: 🤷‍♀️ Maybe because I don’t want a whole bag… besides this is a lot more fun.

More glaring was sent my way.

Me: snickers a little but am wise enough to keep my hands to myself. (I do after all value my fingers and getting them back in one piece was looking rather questionable if they wandered into the popcorn bag again,)

Checkers ate the rest of his popcorn in peace.

(Although, I may or may not have asked if I could have more a couple times, just because, you know, it was kinda fun.)😁

Yup, you guessed it. There was more glaring, while he munched on his whole bag of popcorn.

You’d think this was the end of the story…

Nope.

Turns out we’re both holding a popcorn grudge.

And periodically when the need arises I might remind him that he didn’t share his popcorn, or he might remind me that I deliberately ate his popcorn when he asked me not to.

We finally decided to agree to disagree, but it turns out we can’t even do that.

Because I’m still fully convinced that he had zero grounds to claim a whole bag of popcorn and not allow me even a bite.

Turns out he’s just as convinced that he has a right to eat a whole bag of popcorn by himself. There was after all more in the cupboard if I wanted some.

🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️

Don’t worry. We’re fine. I’m fine. He’s fine. Our marriage is fine.

We just can’t eat popcorn together.😎

Myles Moments

Myles: Mom can I go outside?

Me: No.

Myles: Why not?

Me: Because you went on the street.

Myles: Whaaaat? How’d that happen?!

Me:🤨🙄🤦‍♀️😂

*****

A conversation I overheard Myles having with himself.

He’s playing with a lego creation that Kyna had built earlier.

His crazy zooming of this LEGO creation ended with the thing falling apart in his hands.

Myles: Uh,oh Myles.😳

(Important side note: Ruining Kyna’s things is a pretty large problem if he (Kyna) finds out.)

However, Myles is pretty used to being the bad guy so he simply consoled himself.

Myles: It’s ok Myles, you didn’t try it.

President Trump and The Spiritual Warfare Surrounding Him

2020. The year we probably won’t ever forget.

If there’s one thing I wish everyone would understand about what we’ve seen in 2020, it’s this:

“The battle we’re fighting isn’t physical. Although it does have physical aspects. I don’t believe it’s political, either. Although there’s a lot of politics wrapped up in it. I believe the battle we’re fighting is 100% spiritual.”

I don’t for a second believe that this is about Covid, BLM, riots, murder hornets or whatever else they’ve tried to distract us with.

Is Covid real? Yea. It is. But I think we should be more concerned about the agenda behind the virus then the virus itself.

There is a major demonic agenda going on here. I’m sure of this, so sure that you probably won’t change my mind. I can feel it. I can see it, smell it, hear it…😜

Although I cannot fully explain it.

The thing is, I am all to familiar with the demonic side of the spiritual realm.

In a normal argument between two people either person can win. Feelings might be hurt, unkind things might be said but the playing field is fairly even.

However, if demonic influence is present during an argument, one person will damage the other emotionally and spiritually. The playing field is not even. One person will feel victorious while the other will walk away with unexplainable psychological pain or damage.

I wish I could explain it better but outside of the Holy Spirit speaking through you, it is impossible to have a conversation that benefits both persons if demonic influence is present.

It is equally impossible to stay calm or sane in this type of conversation unless you are fully immersed in the Holy Spirit.

Guys, I’m not talking about simply being a Christian or saying a prayer before entering these conversations.

If you enter a conversation, with demonic influence, on your own terms, you will walk away looking very unchristian. You will react instead of responding. You will say things you’ll regret. You will unintentionally give out information that will be used as ammunition against you.

In a conversation like this, you will possibly feel physically ill. You will feel disoriented. You will walk away unsure of what just happened. You won’t even be sure anymore what the conversation was supposed to be about because the devil is a pro at speaking in circles until nothing makes sense anymore.

I’ve been in many of these, I have left them all in tears, feeling attacked emotionally and spiritually, physically exhausted, everything I said got used against me and nothing I had to say seemed to matter.

Except one.

This one conversation I fasted before I entered into it. I had someone praying while I was having it and I had one Bible verse as my guide.

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. Matthew 10:19

In case you’re wondering, that’s actually not easy to do. If you know that you’re going to be verbally attacked, every fiber of your being wants to be prepared to defend yourself.

I saw first hand though that if I operate in the spirit, the devil can be silenced but if I operate in the flesh, against the devil, I will be destroyed.

Here’s my point…

It is my opinion that the presidential debate between Trump and Biden was heavily influenced demonically.

I didn’t watch the debate but after all the things I heard about it, I googled it and watched bits and pieces of it.

I know a lot of people were disappointed with how Trump handled the debate but here’s my challenge to you.

Put yourself in his shoes.

How would we respond, if we had walked through the spiritual warfare that Trump walked through this year?

He can’t do anything right.

They say he handled Covid badly but in the beginning they said he was stupid and racist for shutting the country down early.

The world and Christians alike say that he is too brash, too opinionated, too loud mouthed and I can’t say I disagree, but do you realize that those are the very traits that make him capable of doing the job?

Mike Pence is the epitome of what a Christian should look like, right?

I can agree to that, but I would also like to point out that I’m not sure he would have the backbone to stand against the backlash that Trump has endured.

After considering all that Trump has endured this year, put yourself in his debate chair and ask yourself how you would have responded.

Guys, the world isn’t just judging his presidential skills. He has been attacked on a deeply personal level. The average person would possibly have committed suicide by now or at the very least caved to the demands of the left.

Yet, Trump hasn’t.

To take a stand for truth against absolutely the worst odds, isn’t an easy thing to do.

Im not sure it’s even humanly possible to look evil in the face and refuse to back down. This is the kind of fight that is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

That is why I believe that Trump is God’s man in this hour. I believe that he is highly anointed for such a time as this.

Sure he makes mistakes and the whole world has seen his every imperfection. But he values the things that matter to God.

He’s pro life. He prays. He’s for the church. He stands on the Godly side on most of the decisions he needs to make.

I’ve heard the comment often, that our presidential options are so bad that the best we can do is pick the lesser of the evils.

Guys, I think that is an awful statement to make. I think it’s insulting not only to a Trump but to God as well. I believe that God put Trump on this earth for this precise season. This is his time to shine, to make a difference.

As humans, we aren’t capable of seeing everything that God sees. That is why we cannot form our opinions on what we see physically. We must instead put on our spiritual glasses and see things from a spiritual perspective. We’ve got to see it from Gods perspective.

Back to the debate… did you know that a demonic Attack on a person can lead to physical problems? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Trump ended up with Covid mere days after the debate.

Again, I don’t believe he was debating against just Biden, I believe the real debate was happening in the spiritual realm.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

I am well aware that Trump isn’t perfect and that he has a fairly messy past.

However, I do not believe that any of that makes it impossible for God to use him now. It’s one thing for the world to judge him but for Christians to see him as less than, or to say God can’t work through him because Of his flaws or because of where he can from is seriously unbiblical.

Here is a list of the people that God chose to use. It’s in the Bible guys so I’d say Trump qualifies just fine.

Before you say you (or someone) else isn’t qualified…

NOAH got drunk.

ABRAHAM was too old.

ISAAC was a daydreamer.

JACOB lied.

LEAH was ugly.

JOSEPH was abused.

MOSES was a murderer and couldn’t talk.

GIDEON was afraid.

SAMSON had long hair and was afraid.

RAHAB was a prostitute.

JEREMIAH and TIMOTHY were too young.

DAVID was a murderer and adulterer.

ELIJAH was suicidal.

ISAIAH preached naked.

JONAH ran from God.

NAOMI was a widow.

JOB went bankrupt.

JOHN THE BAPTIST ate bugs.

PETER denied Christ.

The DISCIPLES fell asleep while praying.

MARTHA worried about everything.

MARY MAGDLENE was demon possessed.

The SAMARITAN WOMAN was divorced…more than once…

ZACCHEUS was too small.

PAUL was a murderer.

TIMOTHY had an ulcer.

and LAZARUS was dead!

Remember the words of the apostle Paul:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (1 Cor 4:6-7)

I love that so much!🙂

In conclusion, I think we should focus on what God is doing through Trump in this season rather then focusing on where Trump is messing up.

I think as Christians we should be warring for him in the spiritual realm.

I believe that we should be interceding for him 24/7.

I believe that the prayers and the worship of the righteous is what will get Trump re-elected and turn our country around.

Surprise! But Wait, There’s More…

When Myles was born we had our hands pretty full with 3 kids plus running a market stand.

3 years we decided. We would wait three years before we even started thinking about maybe adding a fourth child.

Those plans didn’t change, especially when we decided to move across the country to California.

However, it has always been our goal to allow space within our plans for God to adjust them as he sees fit.

I can honestly say, though, that we didn’t see this one coming.

In May 2020 we realized that baby #4 would be joining us in January 2021.

This wasn’t our plan and in my opinion the timing was pretty horrific.

But a baby is always a blessing and we were excited from the very beginning.

Fast forward to August 2020 we finally made it to Redding CA. It took a couple weeks to get settled in. Kenzie started school and Checkers started his job.

Then I started researching midwifery practices in Redding. I found one I liked, set up a consultation and left there pretty excited about them. They seemed to operate much like the midwifery practice I had used in PA.

Then I had an ultrasound done.

Are you ready for this??

They said there’s two babies!

So basically, God decided to surprise us with not only one addition but two!

(Also these babies are due to arrive about 6 weeks after Myles 3rd birthday. So, roughly a year earlier then we had planned.)🤷‍♀️🙂

This is the point where I learned that it is illegal for midwives to deliver twins in California.

Seriously?! 🤦‍♀️

So, all my previous research was a waste of time and I started all over again, this time in search of a DOCTOR. I did find one.👏

In case you’re wondering… yes we are quite excited to add two more little people to our clan.

We might have been surprised but we also know for sure that we are blessed beyond measure!❤️

Denouncing Lies, Changing Mindsets and Becoming Whole

I’ve said it before but since it hasn’t changed, I’ll say it again.

I find Psychology extremely fascinating.

Getting to the root of wrong mindsets is the key to living a life of freedom in Christ, in my opinion.

If the mind is the battleground between good and evil, then isn’t it important that we untangle the webs of lies that the devil has planted there?

Have you ever considered that the way you feel, the way you think, the things you believe in general and about yourself might actually be incorrect?

Is it possible that you are viewing the world not as it is, but as your life and the people in it have taught you to view it?

A couple weeks ago, in a class we’re doing, Steven Dasilvo shared part of his testimony…

He was actively involved in his church, served in a lot of positions and was living a passionate Christian life.

Yet, when God challenged him to say that he (Steven) is good, he couldn’t do it.

He literally couldn’t say that he himself was good.

As he wrestled through this, he realized that he thought of himself as good only when he was serving, but when he wasn’t serving (and not doing good) he didn’t think of himself as a good person.

As I listened to his story I thought back to a quote I read earlier this year. ‘Busyness is a false sense of importance.’

This phrase stuck with me and I felt like it applied to me somehow but I wasn’t sure how or why.

Here and now, though, is where the pieces all came together.

#selfrevelation

I love to ‘accomplish things.’

Like market… setting up the showcase with lots of fresh foods on Thursday mornings was so satisfying to me. #Accomplishment.

Cleaning everything up Saturday nights, washing all those pans that were now empty was equally satisfying. #Accomplishment.

Counting money, paying bills on Monday And taking the cash to the bank on Tuesday was also satisfying. #Accomplishment.

I thought of myself as a ‘good’ person when I was accomplishing things.

Can you guess what my biggest challenge is?

Being just a stay at home mom.

Sure it has its moments of accomplishment, like when I actually get the whole house cleaned in one day, or cook an exotic meal or do something fun with the kids.

Overall, though it can be a pretty mundane thing. Projects half finished because of interruptions due the kids having needs. #Unaccomplished.

Ending days feeling like I snapped at them more then I loved. #Unaccomplished.

Unfortunately, my children don’t rant and rave about our great customer service or our delicious food. They do enjoy letting me know though if they disapprove.😬 #Unaccomplished.

Do you see the problem yet?🤨

If I only feel good about myself when I’m accomplishing something, that leaves an awful lot of time when I don’t feel good about myself.

Also, how will I do the things well that do not make me feel accomplished?

In order to solve this problem, I need to be able to see myself as a good person no matter what I’m doing or not doing.

I’ve learned that easiest way to change the strongholds or lies in my thinking, is to get to the root of the problem.

So, over the last two weeks I’ve prayed about this and pondered over why I find my identity, in my doing.

Today it finally clicked.

Growing up, I often felt like I wasn’t good enough. I asked too many questions, I had the wrong personality and it felt no matter how hard I tried I still managed to do it wrong.

I tried so hard to be good, to do the right things, to be the right person, to simply be good.

Can you guess when I managed to feel good about myself?

When I was accomplishing things.

When I was doing laundry, washing dishes, cleaning up or changing diapers. These were the times when I was affirmed and therefore they became the times I felt like a good person.

The devil used this experience to plant the lie in my mind that I am only a good person when I’m accomplishing things.

This lie, followed me into adulthood and has to some degree dictated my actions and I have been absolutely oblivious to it.

I share all that to challenge you to think about the things you do or don’t do simply because of how they make you feel.

What lies do you believe? What is your identity planted in?

Do you feel like you’re not a good person even though you’ve fully surrendered your life to Jesus?

Do you feel like you need to prove yourself to the whole world or maybe it’s just to your family, your friends or just a random Person here or there?

Ask yourself why. Why? Think about it. Think about it alot.

If you are a born again, Jesus following Christian, who is secure in your identity in Christ there won’t be a single person out there who can make you doubt wether or not you’re a good person.

(BTW this is not the same as justifying your sins. If you have things in your life that need repenting of, please do not use this as a way to justify your actions. This isn’t about how others make you feel, this is about taking a good, hard look at yourself.)

Once you’ve identified something you do to feel good about yourself, I challenge you to not stop there. Pray about it, ask God to take you to the root of it.

Don’t stop till you understand why you believe this and what incident in your life allowed this lie to be planted.

This is the place, where you now have the ability to change that wrong mindset.

  1. Renounce the lie. Do it verbally. Declare the words out loud: ‘I am a good person because I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb. I am not defined by the things I accomplish.’ (Use your own words though, whatever it is you struggle with.)🙃 Declaring something verbally breaks the chains holding you captive,
  2. Confess it. Bring it into the light. Tell someone. James 5:16 says: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Confessing to someone else and having them pray with you also breaks the chains holding you captive. Keeping silent on something gives the devil power, but he loses that power when you bring it into the light.
  3. Change the way you think. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,(A)and we take captive every thought to make it obedient(B) to Christ. Do this literally. When those old thought patterns surface, silence them immediately and allow only the things that God says to be true to have a place in your mind. ‘I am a good person because I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb…

It’s amazing really. Our life experiences teach us to believe things that aren’t always true.

However, through the power of Holy Spirit all things can be made new. God can and will change all your wrong mindsets if you simply bring them to him.

Carrying these strongholds of the mind is more exhausting then we realize, and digging back through your past in order to get rid of them can be a painful process, but on the other side of the pain, the scars and the ugliness lies a freedom of mind that is exhilarating!

Again, I’m challenging you today to not be content with mediocre freedom. Because Jesus didn’t die on the cross to set us kinda free.

He died to set us fully, completely and totally free!

Why would we reject this gift he has so freely given to us?

Today is a good day to start pursuing the complete freedom he has made available to us.

Be blessed and be free!

California And How God Brought Us Here (Part 2)

If you haven’t yet, you might want to read part 1 to this, that way it will make more sense.🙂

After we established that moving to California Is something that we are going to do, we started making plans.

Me, I’m a list maker. My brain works better when everything is organized and planned. Things make more sense that way.

So, I made a couple lists. Things to do before our house is ready to sell. Things that need to happen to start a life in CA.

This list consisted of:

  1. Find a job for Checkers.
  2. Find a house.
  3. Find a school for Kenzie.
  4. Plan a trip to CA to iron out the details of the first 3.
  5. There was more, like setting up a bank account, switching over our drivers’ license, vehicle registration etc. but those first 3 looked the most daunting.

How does one find a job, a house or a school when you know no one and nothing about the area?😳

A quote I love: ‘When God brings you to it, he will also bring you through it.

We decided to start with a house, because if we don’t have a house, the job and school are pointless right?

Guys, there is lots of online resources to finding a house. Plus, there’s this thing called realtors.

Finding a house should be a breeze, even if it’s on the other side of the country. Right?

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Here’s the thing: We still don’t have a house!!!🤦‍♀️

I read a couple of Dave Ramsey’s books a couple years ago, so I knew that he has ELPS (Endorsed local providers.) Basically if a realtor meets certain standards they can become an ELP and you know they’re seasoned, experienced realtors or they wouldn’t be on the list.

So, we went to Dave Ramsey’s website and filled out the form requesting a real estate agent in Redding CA.

Not much later, Checkers’ phone rang and he ended up talking with this realtor for 25 minutes. He learned that this guy and his family attend Bethel church. He also said he would text Checkers some numbers of construction people that might be hiring.

Guys, these things don’t just happen. This was one of those moments when God showed us that if we follow him, he will always make the impossible, possible.

Our realtor supplied Checkers with three numbers to call for job opportunities.

Construction guy one said, “Not hiring right now.’

Construction guy two said, “We’ll, I am hiring BUT I’m kinda looking for someone with experience.”

Checkers, “Oh, well I have 16 years experience in construction.”

Construction guy two with great excitement, “You’re hired!”

He did end up getting some references to call from Checkers but he pretty much had the job at that point.

Side note: Checkers’ boss also goes to Bethel. (Not that everyone we associate needs to go to Bethel church but like I said 👆 thes things don’t just happen.)

Find a job.✅

Enrollment for Bethel school opened March 1st, (I think) we got Kenzie’s application and submitted it ASAP. However Bethel fills up fast and she did not get in.

Bethel administration was extremely helpful though and recommended a couple of schools for us to look into.

Their first recommendation was Redding Christian School, so we found their website and were excited to learn that they have elementary and high school, unlike Bethel who just has elementary. They also offer a variety of sports, music etc. options that Bethel does not. So in many ways this was actually a step up!

Again, God brought us exactly what we were looking for before we even knew what we were looking for.

Finding a school for Kenzie.✅

If you want to read the story on selling our house and finding a house out here to buy, read my blog ‘California Bound.’

Long story short… we put our house on the market and it sold less then a week later for over asking price.

After this, a lady from our church came up to us and said: “I was praying for you guys and God said to tell you that you are on the right track! No matter what happens, your plans are not to change! You are on the right track!”

I’m thinking, ‘oh shoot, what is going to go wrong? I mean everything has nicely fallen into place so far and I haven’t doubted even once that this might not be the right move… so…”😳

Well guys, Covid happened.

Need I say more?🤨

Our house sale fell through, because the lady could no longer get her financing.

However, God was one step ahead of it all and I can honestly say we never doubted our decision. Because when God so clearly makes a way and has a hand in the tiniest of details it’s pretty easy to keep your eyes on the end goal even if the road there, takes a few unexpected detours.

I’m not saying it was easy though. I am a planner, therefore I like to make plans and then execute them perfectly.😎

But when God tells you that this is going to be a journey of faith in ways that you have never yet experienced…

Well, let’s just say, you probably should not take it lightly because he will teach you how to follow him even when it doesn’t make sense and you don’t know why he’s taking you in seemingly the wrong direction.

Through our journey this summer, God moved a lot of my head knowledge to heart knowledge.

If you know something with your head you might not fully believe it, but if you experience something, you will know it with your heart and this is the information that no person, no words and no circumstance can take away from you.

One thing that became heart knowledge for me was this: ‘If God closes one door, it’s because he’s opening a better door.’

Not an easier door, a nicer door or more fun door but a better one. A door that will prune away your rough edges, a door that will mold you more perfectly for the path he has set for you, a door that will lead you in the direction he has called you to and a door that will meet your needs better then you could have planned for yourself.

I have faith like never before that he knows what I want and need better then I do. So why fight it when he changes my plans?

He has challenged me so often this summer with these words: “You can go after what you want and you can have it, it’s your choice, or you can wait for what I have and know that it will fit your needs even better.”

It isn’t always easy but there is peace in knowing that I don’t have to figure everything out perfectly because if I let it in his hands he will set the perfect plan before us.

Summer 2020 was not an easy one for us. It often felt like we got stuck in the transition phase. When churches shut down we followed Bethel online (our future) then Threshold opened back up in a different building (we were in a school before) and it didn’t feel right or normal anymore plus it was hard to get started there again since we were leaving soon anyway. Yet, we hadn’t left yet and didn’t even know when we would for sure…

It wasn’t all that much fun to be honest but every time my frustration threatened to take over God would remind me that he has something for me to learn in every season. So, I have the option of pressing into him and letting this season refine me or I can simply endure it and miss so much of what God has for me.

And if we press into him he is there and he sends these little bits of encouragement along the way.

We had so many people speak life into our journey as they shared words of what they felt God saying about our journey here.

Most times it isn’t that God is silent, it’s that we aren’t listening.

There you have it. The story of how God made a way for us to move to CA.

The closing of one chapter, however, is also the start of a new one and we are excited to see what God has for us in this next season of life.

Moving across the country, Covid-19 and all the other things this crazy year of 2020 has thrown at us is not the end but the beginning of new things.

I read this meme recently: ‘Anyone else nervous about the 2020 finality?’🙃

California And How God Brought Us Here (Part 1)

Awhile ago I wrote a blog titled ‘California Bound.’ That was basically the steps we took to get here while this blog is focused more on the part God played in all of it.


Summer of 2018. I had this insatiable desire to know God on a deeper level. I spent hours listening to audio Bible, podcasts, YouTube sermons and I read an insane amount of books.

This is when I found Kris Valloton on YouTube and I listened to almost every message he has on there. And there’s a lot, guys, like a lot a lot!🙃

He was and is one of my favorite speakers because I can relate to so much of what he says. He teaches a lot on the spiritual realm and it’s a subject that causes a lot of people to raise their brows with a look that says, “Uh, I think you’re taking this too far.”

But it’s real guys, I know this as surely as I know my name. I can’t always explain it, but I can feel it and I know for sure that the spiritual realm is much closer then we think. It is effecting our life in ways that are hard to comprehend and even harder to explain.

Fall of 2018: Our life felt crazy busy, plus there was life problems to walk through that we had no idea how to navigate.

Life felt rather overwhelming.

Me: “Let’s move to California and go to Bethel Church.” (This is the church where Kris Valloton, Bill Johnson, Sean Feucht and more people that I found through my Youtube searches attend.)

Checkers was all in. It’s funny, really, I’m always the one to come up with the crazy ideas, like doing a DTS, foster care and moving to California but it’s Checkers that makes it happen. I would probably spend the rest of my life thinking about it, but he has a game plan in action before the words are even fully out of my mouth. (Ok, that might be stretched a little. Just a little tho!)

We talked about it for awhile but in the end we decided not to. We had a life in PA: market, Checkers had a good job, we owned a house, Kenzie loved her school and there were many more pros to staying where we were.

Summer of 2019: Life was still too busy, life’s problems we’re still unresolved. We felt trapped in the cycle of work and payments with little time for our family. Religion, strongholds and little acceptance for the choices we made felt like a noose around our necks.

We longed to break free, to live life to the fullest, to live the life we feel called to live, to have time for ministry, to be free from the judgement, to pursue more out of life then making money and paying the bills.

We revisited the dream of moving to California. We started praying about it.

Guys, it was crazy how quickly and completely God confirmed that moving across the country is the right move for us.

  1. In music class Kenzie was learning the song ‘Burn the Ships’ by King and Country. Every time it was her turn to pick the song for Worship she picked this song. After Checkers and me listened to the lyrics repeatedly, we finally googled it so we could read the words. Guys. It is crazy how much the words fit our feelings and emotions at that time, despite the fact that it’s actually talking about addiction.

Burn the Ships…

How did we get here?
All castaway on a lonely shore
I can see in your eyes, dear
It’s hard to take for a moment more
We’ve got toBurn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back

Don’t let it arrest you
This fear is fear of fallin’ again
And if you need a refuge
I will be right here until the end
Oh, it’s time toBurn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah… 

It’s time to burn the ships, cut the ties, dry your tears and wave good bye.

Confirmation from God, from an unexpected source (our 6 year old) doesn’t get much more specific then that.

2. A mentor of mine told me: “Life is harder when you stay in what’s familiar to you.”

This made so much sense to me but I’m not sure if I can accurately explain it. I’ll try tho.

You see, different regions have different strongholds. Different spirits that are ruling the area.

The spirits controlling the realm you grew up in, the ones you’re familiar with, will effect you more then those you’ve never experienced.

Therefore they will have more power over you and it will be harder to live the life you’ve been called to live, in that region. (Note: it’s harder but not impossible.)

3. This verse was highlighted to me over this time. Mark 6:4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”

Nope, I am not proclaiming to be a prophet but I think there’s truth in this verse for every person, prophet or not. Our families and closest friends know the ugly details of our pasts. They know it all, the good, the bad and the in between.

How often do we hold people to those memories instead of giving them grace to change, to grow and to become who God has called them to be?

However, in a new region a person is often free to be who they are called to be without the hindrance of people keeping them tied to their past.

Again, you can be free anywhere, not everyone is called to move across the country. But for us, this was all confirmation that moving to California was the right move.

Those were the main signs of confirmation that we had but there was also many small, almost insignificant things, such as a random quote on FB, scripture verses that stood out that we never noticed before, different sermons and so much more that confirmed this to be the right move.

At this point we had already tentatively started moving forward with plans to move to CA. We laid out a basic plan and timeline.

To be continued…

What If Revival Looks Differently Then We Expect

America’s conservative people are suddenly shocked at the moral decay we see all over our country right now.

They are outraged, and they should be.

But I can’t help but ask…

Where have we been? Why did it take something extreme like Covid-19 to wake us up?

Everything that’s going on right now… this isn’t new guys. This agenda has been promoted for years. The spirits at work now are the same ones that have been controlling our media, entertainment and government for a really long time.

And yes, they’ve been slowly taking over the church too.

Why didn’t we see it before?

Why did we wait till our freedom and our children’s lives were at risk to stop turning a blind eye to the evil that has been infiltrating our country, our government, our entertainment, media and sports?

We made no effort to stop it until it permeated every inch of our society. Why?

The even bigger why that I have is this… Why are some Christians still trying to turn a blind eye to it? To the point where we shame other Christians for taking a stand.

(Sean Feucht says the online trolling is coming from mostly Christians.)

Seriously guys, Why?

Netflix is being cancelled by many conservatives right now and they should be.

But guys… Netflix should have been canceled a long time ago.

Yes, they took it to the next level with the ‘cuties’ movie but the majority of their shows before this weren’t exactly Christian material either.

Do we realize that if conservatives had banded together before and took a stand against Netflix, we probably wouldn’t be here now?

Do we realize that our government has been playing us for years?

Covid isn’t the first political scam that they have used to farther their agenda.

If you take a good look at the cold, hard facts of 9/11, it is blindingly obvious that it was not a terrorist attack but probably an inside job.

Where were we?

I’m not entirely sure what my point is here…

Maybe it’s this: Our country and our freedom is being threatened by people with evil intentions.

That is the facts.

I don’t know what exactly their end goal is but I do know that it isn’t what God has in mind for America.

A lot has been exposed this year but I don’t think we’ve yet seen just how deeply this evil agenda runs.

I think ‘cuties’ is mild compared to what these people are capable of.

So, the question is: ‘Are we going to see it, or are we going to continue to ignore it?’

It is time for Christians to take a stand. It is time for Christians to get involved in politics, entertainment and it’s high time we highjack the media and start using their platforms to promote truth.

We have seen the influence that these platforms have. They have people wearing masks and social distancing over a virus that isn’t much worse then the average flu. If it’s even worse at all.

Can you imagine how far we could spread the gospel and how many lives could be impacted positively if we had Christians running these platforms?

It’s time for us to step up and be the voices that are being heard. It’s time to drown out the hopelessness and be the voices of hope.

Sean Feucht’s massive ‘Let us Worship’ events have proven that people are desperate for hope, for worship and for Jesus.

It is time to stop following the world’s ideas and focus on what God is doing in this season.

It is time to be ‘the light of the world.’

I believe with all my heart that God isn’t done with America yet. I believe that what looks like evil taking over is actually revival being ushered in.

Here’s the problem tho…

How will we respond if revival doesn’t look like we think it should?

How will we respond if God does things differently then we expect?

How will we respond when God uses people like Donald Trump, Kanye West and Justen Bieber to bring revival to our land?

I don’t know who God plans on using but I do know that if you read through the Old Testament he often choose people who were far from perfect.

God isn’t looking for perfect people, he’s looking for those who (like David) are ‘men after his own heart.’

Did you know that the Jews were expecting and waiting for a Messiah?

Did you know that many of those same people rejected Jesus?

Why?

I think there’s two main reasons:

  1. God didn’t send the Messiah in the way they expected.
  2. The Messiah challenged their beliefs and their systems.

I believe this is where we are right now.

I believe that revival is coming but it doesn’t look like we expect it too.

I believe that we are seeing the end of church as we know it.

Because when Jesus came to earth, he didn’t come to applaud them on their organization skills or their perfect, smooth flowing systems.

He came to separate good and evil. He came to bring light, deliverance, healing and hope.

Matthew 10:34. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send [or bringpeace, but a sword.”

Considering how long the church has not only tolerated but also participated in the evil in our land, I don’t think God is going to applaud our man made systems either.

I think he’s going to bring the church back to his design. A people that is focused more on the heart of the father then on creating a perfect system.

A church that cares more about laying down our lives and about true repentance, then we do about keeping everyone happy.

The question is: are we going to get on board With what God is doing?

Are we willing to lay down our ideas, our wants and our wishes for his will?

Are we willing to be moldable, to be fully surrendered to his plan?

Are we willing to let go of everything we hold dear, for the better life of complete and total surrender to the gospel?

Threshold Church: A Gem In Lancaster

We’ve been with Threshold Church for almost exactly five years.

Since we’ve moved to CA we can no longer be a part of their physical gatherings but Threshold will always hold a special place in our hearts and I thought I’d share about our time spent there.

For us Threshold has been a place of healing, of renewed hope and it’s deepened our understanding of the spiritual realm.

A bit of my story…

At 19 years old I knew that my life held childhood pain that needed to be dealt with.

I went for counseling as this was the only form of ‘sorting out my issues’ that I knew of.

I lasted all of 2 sessions… I wanted answers, solutions and ideas on how to move past it all. I did not want someone looking at me with pity in their eyes while I shared the mucky pain of my past.

(I’m not completely anti-counseling but I think it’s important to recognize that not all counselors are equal)

Plan B involved self help books. I was randomly introduced to the book called ‘D.I.S.C.  Positive Personality Profile.’ I realized for the first time that my personality wasn’t wrong. There is simply different personalities and we aren’t all expected to be the same.

My research led me down the path of learning about psychology which was and still is an interesting study to me since mental illness runs in my family line tracing back many generations.

Yet, it didn’t matter how much I learned, there was still a missing piece that I just couldn’t find.

Then we started attending Threshold Church. We weren’t  going there long before I realized that Jake Kail seemed to have all the answers I couldn’t find.

Deliverance from demons was the missing link.

(Side note: The medical world can diagnose mental illness somewhat accurately but they are not equipped with the right tools to set people completely free.)

My testimony…

During a deliverance service one Sunday I was set free from the spirit of rejection. After the service Jake asked for a show of hands from anyone that felt something physically leave them.

I wasn’t going to raise my hand because I hadn’t actually felt something leave I just knew that it was gone. However I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to raise my hand.

You see, when God does something he does it completely. I was raised to cover my emotions and to ‘look good’ no matter what. Covering up pain, problems and short comings was preferable over admitting to being less then perfect.

I was fine with being set free secretly but raising my hand and admitting that I had a need to be set free was almost impossible. However, I wanted that freedom more then I wanted to look good and as I raised my hand God broke off the ‘fear of man’ that I carried.

I was also set free from anxiety. This was a postpartum thing for me and not something I dealt with on a regular basis. It did however last from my babies’ birth to around their first birthday usually.

I prayed endlessly for freedom from this thing that overwhelmed my mind at times.

On a Saturday night before Threshold’s annual baptism service I felt God say that baptism was my key to freedom in this area.

Again God tends to get to the root of a problem. I avoid the spotlight at all costs. Being front and center is not something I enjoy. To be honest it’s terrifying to me.

I would have preferred a less dramatic approach here but I was pretty desperate to be free as well.

Yet as I stood on the bank of that pond, fear reared it’s ugly head, I felt it’s claws wrap around me, my mind was consumed by chaotic white noise (not sure how else to explain it.) I knew that physically, there was no way, I was going to move myself into that water.

One thought filtered through the noise in my head. “God the only way I can do this is if you silence my fear long enough for me to move from this spot.”

He did. I got baptized and fear/anxiety lost it’s grip on me that day.

Moving forward My life was changed dramatically.

I found it easier to connect with people. I used to leave church or any crowded place with a headache, I found this to no longer be the case. I also no longer dreaded big events with lots of people. Overall I found people less intimidating and for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed being with people that I wasn’t close too.

Steve’s testimony…. (I’m sharing this with his permission. He even got to read it and approve it before I published this.)🙂

Passivity was his biggest struggle.

Would you believe me if I said that we never argued the first couple years of our marriage?

We didn’t. We both tend to avoid conflict but the main problem was he always just kinda nodded and agreed with anything I said.

You might be thinking that not arguing is a good thing but the truth is, if there is no passion there is also no emotional intimacy,

This frustrated me to no end and I know I told him more then once in an irritated tone.😬 “Don’t just agree with me, I want to know what you think!”

Long story short… he went up for prayer at church one Sunday (also a deliverance service) and got set free from some things.

Imagine my surprise soon after that when he actually told me that he disagrees with my opinion.

My face:😳

It’s been a journey but these days we can actually passionately discuss things and he tells me when he doesn’t agree with something I say or do or even the way I navigate situations with the kids sometimes.

I no longer feel like I’m trying to navigate our marriage, parenting and our life decisions by myself.

To be honest it took some getting used to on my part.🙃 But it is absolutely amazing and I have no desire to go back in time.

P.S we still don’t argue but we do disagree at times.😜

The conclusion: I’ve seen and heard Threshold Church and it’s leadership be attacked on many occasions. Sadly it comes from professing Christians every single time.

Threshold isn’t perfect but they have taken a stand against lukewarm Christianity. They are Holy Spirit led. They do not tolerate or sugar coat sin, they call it what it is.

At Threshold, people find spiritual freedom and answers to life problems that you can’t find just anywhere.

Threshold church does not cater to those who desire to be placated or to live out only parts of the Christian life.

Again Threshold isn’t perfect. But they have set a high standard of laying down your life for the gospel, and this is the reason that they have been slandered relentlessly by those who want comfortable instead of growth.

I also want to mention a couple people from Threshold who have either knowingly or unknowingly influenced our lives.

• Jake & Anna Kail… You both speak truth despite the backlash. Your ministry brings freedom to probably more people then you will ever know. Blessings to you guys!

• Dale and Barbara Works… You spend so much time praying for so many people. You are truly a gift to many of us as you listen to our stories, direct us to be led by the Holy Spirit while also inserting words of wisdom. We are honored to have the privilege of knowing you guys.

•Peter & Laura Andrews… You live a life that is so obviously surrendered to the Lord. The way you parent, the way you serve and simply the way you navigate life has been an inspiration to us.

• Helen Doolittle and Steph King… Because of the time and energy you two put in, Threshold is blessed with a kid’s ministry that is intentional about connecting our kids to the heart of the father. We appreciate you both.

• There is many more people worth mentioning but for the sake of space here, please know that we valued the friendships we formed and we love each one of you that touched our lives while we were there.

I’m excited to see where God takes Threshold in the future!

And if you want to walk in greater freedom, Threshold leadership has the resources to help you.

I will leave you with this quote from Kris Valloton:

In this day and age, you can do just about anything and still be called a christian but you can’t do a lot of those things if you want to be called a follower of Jesus.”