Life and Everyday

small things, Big Difference – One Word 2015

I do not like resolutions and or huge goals….why? Because I feel like I will fail before I even start. So, while listening to Pastor Craig Groeschel speak in this video “small things, Big Difference”, I have learned that I need to figure out “what do I want most over what I want now?” (good question, eh?) 1 Cor 9:24-27 (go read it), we are running to WIN!!! *the Eternal Prize*.  We need to run with purpose. So….What do YOU want most??? YOU! Yes YOU!!

  1. One Word: Small beginnings
  2. My One Discipline: thoughts, think on these things. A sentence, Bible verse(s), something to help you remember your ONE WORD
  3. Build others up: Use Godly words. The power of God’s disciple, being faithful in the small things. Seeing the small things that maybe no one else sees. Power verses to remind you of God’s work in you.

Seek small things
Seek discipline
Seek God for One Disciple
Use that forward momentum
Have an impact in this world!!!


My one word for this coming year is JOY.

The reason I chose this word is because in 2014, I hadn’t felt much joy.  I had a very hard time finding much joy.  It wasn’t that I was sad all the time, I just didn’t feel content.  My head was constantly going with all the things I thought I “had” to do.  In the meantime, I had numerous people ask me, “what brings you joy, Julie?” After thinking on this question for quite some time, I couldn’t even come up with a list on one hand. Then I did some praying and meditation, JOY was the first word that popped into my head. I will be working hard incorporating more joy into my life, in all areas: relationships (family, friends, professional contacts, etc), college, and my college work, volunteering, writing, looking for work, and my adventure in locating new housing.  I will attempt to find joy in just about anything and anyone I come into contact with.  I have my small notebook ready to go.

My power verses:    I want to memorize these.

Psalm 98:4 (NIRV) Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth. Burst into joyful songs and make music.
Philippians 4:4 (NIRV) Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful.
Psalm 86:4 (NIRV) Bring joy to me. Lord, I worship you.
John 15:11 (NIRV) I have told you this so that my joy will be in you. I also want your joy to be complete.
Psalm 94:19 (NIRV) I was very worried. But your comfort brought joy to my heart.
2 Timothy 1:4 (NIRV) I remember your tears. I long to see you so that I can be filled with joy.


Cloud 1

Life and Everyday

A New Christmas 2012

After spending the last fifteen or sixteen years being a bit of a Scrooge from November 25 though December 25, this year feels totally different. And of course, it’s all because of K and all this healing that has taken place in my life.christmas_carol_m

For the first time ever in my adult life, it is December 15th and my Christmas tree is decorated (albeit with a lighting scheme that wouldn’t be my first choice if it wasn’t for a certain 9-year-old), most if not all of my Christmas shopping & Christmas cards are done, and I have actully had time to watch some Christmas “old time” shows like “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer”, and Frosty the Snowman.  Even a few new one’s like “Hoops and YoYo Ruin Christmas” and “Taking Flight”.  Last night K and I watched Disney’s “Scrooge” (not sure of the actual name” but it was pretty good).  I have been listning to Chrismtas musick a lot too.  Although, I have to say in light of yesterday, I am not much in the music of Christmas.  More in the meanings behing some general contemporary Christain music that makes sense for this time.

Not that the holidays aren’t overcome with headaches & challenges in addition to all of this overflowing Christmas cheer. One of the big points is sll the felt expectations from family and even some friends.  My head is spinning with all the things I “need” to have done.  Today is the Olson Christmas in Carpenter, Iowa.  You know, that itty bitty town that has the community center and about 50 people living in that town?  Well, yeah.  That is where we meet up.  To make matters worse….it’s RAINING.  Raining in Minnesota today.  I just hope the  drive south is now slick and we can make it there with no seeing my car in the ditch somewhere.

I have most of the things done and ready for today.  Goodies baked and ready to plate up.  The cheesy hashbrown taters ready to put in the oven to bake for an hour before we actually leave.  The famous cheeseball and crackers.  The dirty bingo gifts.  A couple other gifts for some folks.  Christmas cards for the family.  The thing missing… dad.  It’s been 12 years since he left this world.  But his brothers and sister and all us cousins still get together to celebrate this time of year.  This side of the family is the best.   We all get along great.  We laugh and have fun.  Take silly pictures.  Play board games, card games, eat way too much food.  We just are a happy extending family….without my dad.  We all miss him so much.  when I see my uncles, I see my dad.  When I see my cousin’s little 2 year old boy…I see my grandpa.  He is a spitting image if my grandpa.

Christmas2But for every happy step forward that has been taken this year.  K coming home forever to live, my mental health staying fairly stable, a new job that I love,  living in a spectacular old river town….life is pretty good.  Sometimes I seem to lose sight of all the good things and stress about all the stuff that doesn’t really matter that much.  You know:  the perfect gifts for everyone that we buy for, pretty desserts and goodies, nice clothes to wear, painted finernails, hair just so, etc etc.  BUT…the real reason for Christmas…..Jesus was Born.  Jesus was born to give us life.  Our life.  He was born in a stable.  A crappy little place because no one would let Mary and Joseph have a good roof over their heads.  But this crappy stable became life for Him, for all of us.  Still the shepards came. Still the angels came.  Still the Wisemen came.  Still…..He was most loved.  He is my Savior.  He is my life.  He is brought me out of my pit.  I have the most fantastic friends and family because of this baby boy born so many years ago.

Going to do a plug for one of my favorite churches on earth.  Pastor Craig Groeshel will be preaching an awesome message.  EXPERIENCE: We will begin showing the Christmas experience Friday Dec 21 at 11 AM CT, and we will not switch to the next week’s experience until Saturday Dec 29 at 6:30 PM CT. See the full list at .

christmas 2012 LC

Since my greatest Christmas wish has already been granted, it’s hard to imagine asking for anything else. But if I did, my wish for this year would be for mydaughter to know that she is loved, that she is precious, and that she isn’t going anywhere! (without me, that is).

Christmas Art

Life and Everyday

Soul Detox – #3 – The Tortured Soul



“There is always a way out. Everytime you’re in trouble, our God will always provide a way out.” What struck you the most about this week’s message? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

If you haven’t seen this week’s message yet, join us at any of the experiences throughout the week at Church Online –




Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain fromsinful desires, which war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11



…my bones have no soundness because of my sin. 4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Psalm 38:3-4


…[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44-45




He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses andrenounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

  • We confess to God for forgiveness of sins.

If we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

  • We confess to people for healing from sins.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16


No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sinsand live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd andOverseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25



Life and Everyday

Heavy Soul, Heavy Heart

We are not a body with a soul…..we are a soul with a body. (Pastor Craig Groechel)

Do you have a heavy soul?  A heavy heart?  Carry burdens you need to let go?  Me too.

I have so many hurts from my past.  I actually thought that I had healed a majority of that “crap” awhile ago.  But lately it’s come back to bite me in the rear.  Many in the form of those toxic words and thoughts.  The “I can’ts”, “you are not good enough”, ” you will never be able to do that”, “no one will ever love you like that”.  You know what I am saying right?  It really makes my heart sad.  I keep wondering if unconsciously I pass this onto my daughter.  She said some things this weekend about being bad.  She wanted me to put some make up on her to make her look “evil”.  I was shocked.  Never heard her speak like that before.  It instantly made me sad.  Why would she want to look evil?  I asked her.  She said, “I don’t know”.  I wish I could get in her head and just know what she is thinking and why.  I hope it’s not because of me… past.  When she was little she was in the muck that I was going though.  Depression, anxiety, fear, etc.  She was so young at that time.  I wonder if I damaged her.  I don’t now.  I hope I didn’t.  I love K soooo much.  She is my little life line most days.  My heaviness is based on a past hurt.  Lots of past hurts.




Kisses….movie stars!!!





I have many hurts in the present as well.  Not having a job yet is “killing” me.  Well not literally.  But it’s so frustrating to get turn down letters, emails and calls.  I put out 4 more resumes today.  K not home with me yet is another hurt.  I know that is changing soon.  But it still hurts to say goodbye when I down in Iowa visiting.  My body hurts most days.  Lupus and fibro take its toll on me lately.  Physically I hurt all over.  I keep going and doing because I have to.  If I don’t, I will freeze up.  My body will stop.  And that scares me.  I am losing my hair still.  It’s longer but it’s so thin and fine.  Mom even noticed that this past weekend when I was home.  I am so tired, yet restless.  Doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I need to find a new place to live.  What goes along with that is the money issue.  To live in a decent place, I need to have to the money to pay for it.  Everything seems to go hand in hand.  I think my problem is that I want “more”.  I long to make life better for K and for me.  I feel like I am just barely getting by most days.  I am not lacking so much that I am considered poor.  I have much more than I could ever ask for.  But I feel like I could be and do more.

I have many anxieties about the future.  How am I going to get everything done?  How am I going to make it all work when K comes up here to live this summer?  Will I have a job by then?  A decent and safe place to live?  I feel this uneasiness.  But I know that I have made changes.  Necessary changes.  Why and What am I so scared of?


I have to remember God’s faithfulness in the past.  He has been there for me before.  He has brought me out of the pit of depression.  I haven’t been hospitalized for almost 3 years now (for mental health reasons).  That to me in amazing!!!  I still go to therapy weekly.  Because I need that.  I need help to remember that I can do this.  I don’t trust myself enough to remember that I am ok everyday….all day.  He helps me with new ideas in discipline for K as she grows.  Natural consequences, etc.

I need to cry out to God in the present.  They keep telling me God can hear me.  He can hear my cries for Him.  Sometimes my doubt sets in and I don’t think God is really there.  That is where FAITH comes in.  Faith gets me through those times.  I need to put my hope in Him.  What exactly is faith?  Belief in something that there is no proof.  What is hope?  To desire with expectation of obtainment,  to expect with confidence.  What is grace?   Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.   Something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other. It is God’s gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation.  I need to be still and listen…….listen closely because I know God speaks in ways that aren’t usually standard.

I need to trust in God’s power for my future.  If given the fact that God has been in my past and He is with me today, God will definitely be in my future.  Be still and know He is near.

Life and Everyday

Soul Detox – #2 – The Heavy Soul

Join us this week sometime:

Pastor Craig Groeschel – pastor

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Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Psalm 42:5





19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Lamentations 3:19-20



But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Job 4:5



…[Jesus] began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” Mark 14:33-34


Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God. Psalm 42:5-6






19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:19-23




I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble…

5 I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need.

Psalm 142:2, 5-6




“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us thanwith him. 8 With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God tohelp us and to fight our battles…” 2 Chronicles 32:7-8

Life and Everyday

Words Hurt – Toxic Thoughts

Words can hurt you and the right words can help heal you. Those words that crush and hurt you are known as toxic words. Toxic words are incredibly dangerous not only when they are spoken to you, but when you speak them to others. This week you will read from God’s Word about the dangers of toxic words and the power of life-giving words.

How are toxic words infecting your life right now?

I have learned that my toxic thoughts are still making me really hate myself. I have not yet learned to love the parts of me that aren’t the “best” or the things that happened to me. I need to learn to love ALL of me. The toxicity of my thinking causes me to continue to condemn myself for all the things I do wrong.

Really I am doing ok.  But…..sometimes my thinking gets me in trouble.  I know this happens for a lot of people.  I have gotten to the point where I can forgive others for things they have done to me.  But can I forgive myself?  Simple answer is no.  Why is it that doing for others and forgiving others and not hurting other is so much easier than doing all that for myself?  Why do I feel that I deserve less than that?  Do I really need to hurt myself like this now instead of using my old “physical” ways of hurting myself?

Toxic beliefs and words are deep rooted in me.  Things I didn’t realize that were still “fresh” in my mind like….you aren’t really smart enough.  You are fat and ugly.  You will never be anything.  You can’t do that.  You are still dealing with THAT?  You can’t possibly have someone love you.  and on and on……  you catch my drift?

“Sticks and stones can bruise your body for a few days, but words can scar your soul for a life.”   Words are powerful beyond our imagination.

Here is what Craig Groeschel writes in his book, Soul Detox, “Decide the destination of your mind.  Any time your mind drifts toward dangerous thoughts.  Do whatever it takes to get the trash out of your mind.  …You are not a victim of your thought.  You have the power through Christ to take them captive.  As a result, you will find what you are looking for.  You can believe the worse or think the best.  You can find reasons to worry or reasons to have faith.  You can live pessimistically, or you can possess life-changing faith.”

The power of godly works can revive, heal and change our lives.  Ungodly words have the power to bind, imprison, and destroy.

Creative words create.

Destructive words destroy.

Hurtful words crush.

Helpful words build up.

Toxic words poison.

Soothing words heal.

Faith-filled words bring life.

Faithless words bring death.

Obviously I can’t control the words that come out of the mouths of others.  But I can control how I let them effect me and what I believe.  I need to guard my heart more.  I let words of others really impact how I feel about myself and who I am.  There is one person in my life that I realized just today that has had that such impact on my life.  She doesn’t even know it.  And I just realized it.  She is my sister.  The one person I wish to love me doesn’t.  She seems to find fault in just about everything I do.  I know it’s not just me that she hurts with her words and actions.  I see what it does to my mom.  To her children.  To her husband.  I am not claiming that I am perfect by any means.  I have done my share of hurting her feelings and saying bad things too.  Now that I am more aware, I have been choosing my words more carefully.  I love my sister but I don’t think the feeling is mutual.  She doesn’t speak to me but maybe once or twice a year.  And then, there is so much tension in the room, you can cut it with a knife.  I have tried to reach out but get nothing in return.  No response.  Nothing.  Lord, I am trying.  But this street is a two way….I don’t know what else to do.

God says, “You are not who others say you are.  You are who I say you are.”  I need to listen more closely.  I need to hear what God is saying to me.  The constant bombardment of my thoughts in my head don’t lend me to HEAR God much these days.  I need to find peace.  I need to let go.

“When someone says something to or about you, train yourself to categorize the words the same way we train our kids with a game our friends taught us, Truth or Trash.  Analyze the message and source before swallowing and digesting what someone else wants to feed you.  Are their words true?  Based in Scripture?  Supported by data over time?  If so, embrace them.  Allow those life-giving words to minister to your soul and conform you to the image of Christ.  If their words are untrue, mean-spirited, and critical without being constructive, then call them what they are – toxic waste.  Reject those words.  Don’t let them into your soul  Take out he trash and leave it by the curb. Delete toxic words and insert the truth.”  (p. 717)

I need to give myself some life affirming statements.  More.  I need more.  I am not the trash talk that people in my past and a few in my today make me out to be.  I have the ability to choose what I want to believe.  I choose to believe that God created me for a purpose.  Not sure what that is exactly yet.  But I know He has one for me.


Life and Everyday

Soul Detox….#1 in series (by Craig Groeschel)

What’s chipping away at your soul? What’s getting in the way of you becoming the person who God created you to be? Let’s explore how we can neutralize damaging influences and embrace clean living in Soul Detox.



And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 KJV


Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.Genesis 4:11-12

What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest… Ecclesiastes 2:22-23



My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our soul is restless until it finds rest in you.” Augustine

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  Matthew 11:28-29



Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10

But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2


Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him… Psalm 37:7

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 My soulwaits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning… Psalm 130:5-6  

  • What do you want to say to me?
  • What do you want to show me?
  • What do you want to do in me?

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. 8 For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 116:7-9


Soul Detox  – by Craig Groeschel   <——but it!!


Our culture unknowingly ingests regular doses of spiritual toxins that assault our relationship with God. Soul Detox shines light on the dark influences, emotions, and behaviors to empower Christians to live pure lives in a filthy world.