Beating the Sunrise!

            By Victoria Duerstock

            The clock reads 2:36 p.m. and I’m finally sitting down to write a blog post that my planner said was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. Where does the time go? 

I wish I knew.

I suspect it’s with those missing socks that never find their mates.

            As a creative, I find it difficult to always block off the necessary time to accomplish the many tasks I juggle. Between being a wife, a mom, a homeschool educator, author, business owner, and more, I often lean heavily on my “plan.” Often, I’m guilty of working through my writing time because I have a tendency to put off my creative projects in favor of accomplish the task/goal projects that can be easily checked off my growing lists.

            But God grabbed my attention a few years ago regarding the fact that I wasn’t walking out my talk and reminded me that my time was a resource a lot like money. You’ve probably heard it said that you can find out what someone most values by opening their checkbook – well the same is true with how we manage our time.

Psalm 119:111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart.

I realized that I hadn’t been giving Him the best of my time in prayer and daily Bible reading. Inconsistent at best, and non-existent at worst, the struggle to make time for this important part of my life was hard. Every season I thought – it will get easier. But guess what my friends, it doesn’t.

            My children are no longer small and yet I still have to be very intentional to spend time daily with God. In order to lessen this issue, I made a radical change in my behavior and life to settle this battle once and for all.

            Two years I started getting up at 5am.

                        I am not a morning person.

                                    I need 10 hours of sleep to be a kind and generous human.

            No I am not perfect. And yes, there are times when a measure of grace is needed in my routine, but my habit is established even if it will never be easy.

            Early mornings are vital to my schedule because without it I am not an obedient follower of Jesus. I had to learn that sacrifice was a part of this process in my life. It is most definitely a discipline – a beating down of the body into submission – like Paul reminds us.

            I generally get about two hours on my own before the rest of the house stirs. Sometimes less but generally I get a good chunk of time. I look at the stars and then watch the sunrise. I drink a cup of coffee. Ok, ok – more than one. I dwell on how great my God is, and I pray through the various thoughts/fears/requests that invade my quiet space. I read my Scripture for the day and sometimes read from a book on prayer. I pray some more, and sometimes I sing and journal.

            Five a.m. now holds an incredibly special place for me. It’s my “me time” that I searched for for so long as an adult! Funny though because it’s all about Him and less about me – and it’s what I needed all along.

            Want to do this in your life too? You absolutely can – here’s my top 3 suggestions for making a radical change in pursuit of Christ.

1.     Prepare the night before.

·       Get the coffee maker ready.

·       Clear the chair/sofa you will sit to meet with God.

·       Grab a pen, journal, Bible and put right by that spot.

·       Grab a blanket in case you are cold

2.     Set the alarm, and don’t hit snooze.

3.     Ask God to help you stick to your commitment.

Honestly, if left to my own devices, I’m going to stay in my comfortable bed until I’m forced up. But when I got serious about my desire to pursue this time faithfully, I watched God bless my efforts by providing the strength and ability to “just do it.” Sometimes that strength was in the form of a bird pecking the window or an alarm going off, but either way – He provided and still does today. I urge you to walk out your faith by committing to be faithfully obedient in your quiet time each day! 

Rainy Days and Long Winters

I think often of the change of seasons and how it relates so intricately with our lives.  We seem to just get settled into Spring around here and boom it’s Summer! Let me tell you in Northwest Mississippi you know when summer hits.  The seasons come and go, and our lives seem to ebb and flow with the same motion. Young adults who get married, work jobs, have children, raise children, retirees, etc. The seasons move along and before we know it the time has gone and we wonder how it happened so quickly.

All except winter that is…winter lasts FOREVER. Or at least it feels that way every February.  This Florida transplant still struggles with February and I try so hard not to let the weather get me down, but it’s hard when it’s nothing but rain and gray skies.

Have you found yourself feeling the same? Why do all of the other seasons fly by while Winter drags by slow and stale.  It hasn’t helped  that the last couple weeks have brought their share of minor struggles.  You know the little things that accumulate and make you discouraged or disheartened along the way.  It’s easy to become distracted and encumbered with those weights but even as Paul encouraged us to “lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb.12:1) My challenge is to do this in the midst of the rain and cold.

When things are smooth sailing, I find this task much easier to do! But the task is not only to be managed in the easy season, it’s also for the Winter of the year and the soul. When we are parched, and raw and yearning for the warmth of the Sun and the Son, we have only to remember those words from Lamentations and know that by His mercy which is new every morning, we can do exactly the job God has for us each day. The purpose that we are here to fulfill on this earth, the precise reason for our living and breathing and moving.

If you find yourself struggling today with the burdens of this life, I pray you’ll turn to the One who bears all our burdens with us, and treasure the promise of the seasons – they are not forever, the next season is right around the corner.


Life Lessons with Lightning McQueen

by Angela Jamison

When my youngest son was three, he was introduced to Lightning McQueen. From the first meeting, they were best of friends and he is still attached to him five years later. It’s one of the longest toy loves in my household.

My son still has numerous different McQueens – from wind up to color changing, mini to stuffed. It’s safe to say that you can find a Lightning McQueen in any given room of the house.

As with many things from when the kids were young, I’ve forgotten a lot of the turmoil that came with this Lightning McQueen love. I had forgotten the incessant watching of the movie and the hours long searches for exactly the right McQueen.

Today, this picture appeared in my memories.Picture1

This picture is a snapshot of my life just a few years ago. Here is my son, in his Lightning McQueen shirt, with eleven Lightning McQueens in reach. He’s panicking here because, “I can’t find Lightning!”

He couldn’t find Lightning McQueen…

To this day, this picture makes me smile. There are obvious Lightning McQueens right in front of him, yet he’s still searching, unsatisfied.

How often does this very picture represent us in any given aspect of our lives? How often does God lay out our desires right in front of us yet we continue searching unsatisfied?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4 NIV

God intends to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to make all our plans succeed. He often lays out in front of us exactly what we need, willing us to seek Him.

Satan muddles with our perception, confusing our eyes and causing distress. He lines up the McQueens in front of us while whispering that we haven’t found the right one. Satan plants the seed of dissatisfaction and waters it while prolonging the search.

Busy yourself not with Satan’s lies, but rather God’s promises. Break free of the Lightning McQueen traffic jam in your life and embrace the blessings right in front of you. Live in the joy of your heart’s desires.


headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more about Angela on her website





You Didn’t Plant That?

Life lessons abound in a variety of places.  I’ve spent some time over the last couple years looking at trends and writing about life lessons. Many of our experiences in this life lead to lessons learned and practical applications for the future. What seems to be a simple day, game, or training becomes an opportunity to learn something deeper that helps us to grow as individuals.
I recently had such an experience as it relates to my home garden.  Each year I tend to plant a little something in the spring, usually a combination of flowers, vegetables and greenery.  Some years I plant more than others, and sometimes the garden is planted directly in the ground and sometimes in pots on the deck.  I’ve decided I prefer using pots on the deck…so much easier to control weeds really.

This year was different though.  I had a very busy spring and as much as I enjoy planting and playing in the dirt, I ended up with no time to plant.  So strangely after returning from a recent conference, I went outside to discover some things growing in my pots.


Read the rest of the post one at my weekly spot with – just click here to go directly to the post.

When God Speaks



The hummingbird buzzed my head as I was watching the sun rise. I didn’t see it. Instead, I heard the distinct whir of its wings immediately thinking “That’s a hummingbird!” Sure enough, it was a hummingbird, there and gone, but unmistakable by the sound of its wings.

My mind traveled to my children and the way I have learned to recognize their voices. That alert panic that enters your soul when you hear the cry of “Mom” with a note of something desperately wrong in it, or the joy of the sweet sound of laughter involving something fun and exciting. A parent just knows when it’s their child.

Just as swiftly as I thought about my children and the fact that I can pick their voice out of a crowd, I thought of my Heavenly Father. Just as I have learned as an ordinary person to listen to the sounds around me and connect them with what I see and know, how much more extraordinary is it that we can listen to what our Heavenly Father says to us. How awesome it is that when we spend time reading His words, meditating on His Scriptures, and talking with him in prayer, we can learn to hear the sound of his voice. The very fact that He knows me, and knows my name, and chooses to dwell in relationship with me fills me with awe.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Read His Word. Follow His leading. Walk Faithfully.