Posted in October 2018, Podcast Show Notes, Uncategorized

Lessons from the Road to Waimea Canyon: God is Awesome!

Alo-ha!

We’ve been home from Hawaii for a week now and boy, has it been hard getting back into the swing of things!

I, personally, could really get used to island time. Everything is a little slower and richer, somehow. There’s time to savor the moment and really take in the beauty that surrounds you.

That being said, we were so blessed and awed by our time in Kauai, that we want to share a little bit of it with you. Now, I know it’s not as good as actually flying you all there, but we did our best by stocking ourselves up with fresh pineapple and a yummy drink as we recorded this week’s episode. We encourage you to do the same while you listen as we share some of the things we learned while on the Garden Island.

Listen to the full episode here

First, I share the beautiful lesson we learned on what “aloha” means. As we were driving up to Waimea Canyon we stopped at a viewing area where there was a native man sharing some of the history and legend of Hawaii. It was the beginning of a profound lesson.

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Meanwhile, Matt shares how God shows up in unexpected ways and blesses us in ways we can’t even imagine. Sometimes, that blessing comes in the form of a trip of a lifetime. But always, God is blessing us.

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Poipu Beach – Kauai, Hawai’i

I’m sure I’ll post other pictures either here or on our social media accounts. It’s truly a beautiful place and if you ever have the opportunity to go to Kauai, by all means…GO!

Listen to the full episode here!

Live aloha, my friends!

Posted in October 2018, Podcast Show Notes, Uncategorized

Amazing Grace: One Woman’s Story of Redemption, Identity and Showing Up

After a week off for a vacation, we are pleased to introduce you to our friend, Trinity Pratt, who was a co-speaker at a recent women’s retreat with Brandy.

Trinity has an amazing story of God’s grace and redemptive work. After years of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and the trauma that resulted, including a trip to the “looney bin,” Trinity shares how she came to meet Jesus and how He has relentlessly pursued her throughout her life.

This was recorded live at the women’s retreat in September 2018 in Silver Falls, Oregon.

Listen in as Trinity shares her incredible journey with God and encourages us to combat the enemy’s lies with God’s unshakable truths. She will inspire you to “just show up” and let God use you right where you are.

Content warning: There is talk of sexual abuse, physical abuse, addiction, child neglect, and suicide. While it is non-graphic, it may be disturbing for some listeners.

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Contact Us: 

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Email us – We want to hear your questions, suggestions, topic ideas, prayer requests, praises and your own testimonies. You may even be asked to be a guest on our show!

Check out this episode!

Posted in Uncategorized

Recovery and Restoration – Interview with Dr. Kathy Rodriguez

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Recovery and restoration aren’t just for addicts and those who live with them. As it happens, we all live in a broken world where we rub elbows with broken people every day, which means we all have some hurts that need healing.

Join Brandy this week as she interviews her recovery mentor, Dr. Kathy Rodriguez, retired psychologist and author who continues to lead women into health and recovery. 

Our conversation begins with a look at The Genesis Process

Michael Dye, founder of The Genesis Process says in the introduction of Book 1:
“The Genesis Process is an attempt to provide the necessary understanding, as well as the practical tools, for real and permanent change. It is a blend of biblical principles, understanding of the brain, and proven recovery strategies for not only freedom from self-destructive behaviors, but also addressing the underlying issues that drive them.”

Discover our own thoughts and experiences with Genesis as a means of discipleship and spiritual growth, a process that never ends as God continues to reveal His ability to sanctify and renew us. 

As a woman who married outside her race, then adopted African American children, Kathy also shares some of the issues that she and her husband have faced over the years. 

This leads us right back to the goal of restoration and recovery, as we as individuals in a divided society work towards finding a way forward. 

Kathy and I found several more subjects we’d like to delve into in the future and I look forward to sitting down with her again and hearing from her wise and compassionate heart.

Kathy’s Books:

Healing the Father Wound

Surviving the Secret

 

Other Things Mentioned:

Book Review will be happening on October 30th. If you’d lie to join us, you can find a copy of Max Lucado’s book, Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God.

To learn more about the Schoolhouse Rocked project, please click here and show your support: Schoolhouse Rocked Kickstarter

 

Connect with Us:

Our website has additional articles and resources. Be sure to check it out.

We’d love to have you join our group on Facebook!

You can also follow us on Instagram and Pinterest

Email us

We’d love to hear your suggestions for show topics or guests, or if you would like to be a guest. We also find it an honor to come alongside you in prayer, so please share your prayer needs with us and let us share your burden.

Love God. Love people. Pray hard.

 

Check out this episode!

Posted in April 2018, Uncategorized

The Unlikeliest of Friends

Do you all remember the song, “Looking for Love (In All the Wrong Places)” by Johnny Lee? Probably not, if you’re younger than 40, but it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase, none-the-less. I remember crooning that song in my childhood, not understanding any of the lyrics until I was a little older.

That being said, here I am, in my mid-40’s now and that phrase is running through my mind, but not for reasons you might expect. You see, a weird thing happened this week.

Let me back up…

So…I’m a Christian. I think that’s pretty well established. But here’s something you probably didn’t know about me – I dig true crime. Now, before you gasp, let me assure you – I do not endorse or support crime of any kind. But, man…give me a good, old fashioned, real-life ‘who-dun-it’ and I’m hooked. I like to consider the psychology of a killer. What makes them tick? Is it nature or nurture? (The answer, by the way – Both.) I like to think about how I would respond if I were ever in a life or death situation because I think it’s important to be prepared and aware that bad things happen to good people.

Likewise, I recognize that we are all just one choice away from becoming the very thing we hate or fear. There, but the grace of God, go I.

So, now that you know that part of me dear reader, it may not come as a surprise that I also listen to true crime podcasts. True crime, it turns out, is kind of a hot topic right now. I’m not entirely sure why it’s become the thing that everyone wants to listen to, but there you have it. Needless to say, there are at least a billion podcasts on the subject right now.

There is one in particular that has been around for a while that I really enjoy. Mind you, the subject matter isn’t especially light and fluffy and, to be sure, the women who host it aren’t exactly reverential. Sometimes their fans get a little…over exuberant, in my opinion, but it’s in this ‘fandom’ that the weird thing happened. And it makes me so happy.

A woman in the fandom decided to create a Facebook group that is for both fans of the podcast and also Christian. Within the first day over 500 people had joined this subgroup. Immediately, people began sharing who they are. We introduced ourselves, like we were members of a 12-step program. “Hi, I’m Brandy. I’m a Christian and I like true crime.” “Hi, Brandy!” It was weird – truly.

But also super cool because just as quickly, people began sharing their prayer needs or praising God for amazing things He’d recently done in their lives. A university student asked if anyone had any good suggestions for Bible study materials for the student on the go. People were praying for each other. Literally. Friendships were formed.

It’s become my favorite thing on Facebook right now, especially in light of all the political turmoil that’s consumed us the past year and a half. Here, on this platform that is so full of either vitriol or shallow memes, there has grown this little group of like-minded people from all over the world that can just as easily talk about the latest tragedy that’s struck their hometown (and ask for prayers over it) as they will praise God because He proved faithful again.

It’s an unlikely place to find a safe corner, is it not, in the middle of a bunch of people who like true crime?

I don’t know where your circumstance find you, friend. Maybe you’re in a job that is dragging you down, surrounded by people who seemingly only care about the bottom line and not a lick about your soul. Maybe you’re a student in an environment that is hostile and runs rampant with the minimization of sin. Or maybe you’re like me, a stay at home mom who’s social life is lived mostly online because that’s just the season of life you’re in right now. But let this encourage you – wherever you are, whatever you do and with whomever is beside you, you have the ability to be a bright light.

Go ahead, reach out to our cubicle mate and share a bit of yourself with them. I bet they feel a little lost in the shuffle, too. Start a conversation with that girl in your Science Lab who always wears the best nerd shirts. Chances are she’s got a great sense of humor. When your “friend” on social media posts something about needing prayer, take the time to actually write your prayer out right then. Trust me, even if they don’t believe in the power of prayer, if they’re asking you to do it and then you do…they will thank you.

Or hey…find a group of people who like something you like and find out how many of them also love Jesus. You may just be surprised. Friends can be found in the unlikeliest of place, it seems.

Peace….(and ssdgm) – Brandy

 

 

 

Posted in April 2018, Uncategorized

Go Forth and Love

Here it is, the greatest commandment all summed up: Love God. Love people.

Well, that seems pretty simple. It almost seems passive, really. Like, you just have to have good feelings towards God and people, right?

Well, that’s how I’ve been approaching it more or less and today as I was doing the dishes, griping in my mind about how I seem to be the only one in our home that ever does anything to support the everyday running of our home, including all the times this past week that I’ve cleaned up after the newest member of our household, a very cute and sweet puppy named Milo, suddenly and without warning, God did what He seems to do expertly with me. He sucker-punched me. In the head.

It went like this:

Me: (scrubbing aggressively on a poor, unassuming plate that had done nothing wrong, and in fact, had done it’s job and done it well by holding the food I’d made for last night’s dinner…) Ugh! I just…. I mean…. Why do I have to always…? Ya know, God, it’s just not right! (Continues to scrub overly hard on successive dishes while slamming them into the dishwasher, meanwhile huffing and puffing about how messy our home is, how no one else seems to even see the mess, much less clean it, and about how completely unfair my overwhelmed life is).

God: (Calm, cool and collected in his best James Earl Jones impression) In all that you do, do it unto the Lord. That’s me.

Me: (Stops cold.) Yes, but the dishes, God?

God: Imagine that I’m coming over for a visit. Oh, look. I’m already here.

Like I said, sucker-punched. By God.

So what in the world does this have to do with loving God and loving people? Well, my friends, everything.

We love God as we obey. We love Him as we hear and respond to His voice (even if it’s in the form of a weird James Earl Jones type thing). We love Him by serving…people.

We love people by giving our time and energies to meet their needs. We love them by listening when they need to bend our ear even though we’ve got places to go, people to see and laundry to fold. We love them by being present. We love them best when we sacrifice our own agenda to meet them where they are, the very same way Jesus did as He carried that cross and felt the separation from His Father so that we could know His presence.

You see, I am not especially happy to be in our kitchen. I’ve never been a big cook and honestly, the more you cook the more dishes you have to wash. It seems like a lose/lose proposition to me. It turns out, though, my kids kind of like to eat. And they prefer when they don’t have to fend for themselves, settling on Top Ramen…again.

So I did it. I finished washing the dishes I had left. I washed the countertops and the kitchen didn’t look half-bad. Less than an hour later, though, it was time to create the dinner mess. And I did that, too. It wasn’t fancy…unless you call adding mashed bananas and yummy flavors to pancake mix fancy (in which case, I may be the greatest chef ever). We sat at the table, ate our syrup-drenched discs of goodness and chatted. I don’t think any of us even remember the conversation and that’s okay. The fact is, we had it.

God showed up when and where I needed to hear him – in the middle of my messy kitchen. And, at least this time, I responded to His voice out of obedient love which enabled me to turn around and love the people I am with. Because, let’s face it, sometimes the hardest people to love are the ones you share a roof with. But here’s some good news: if you can love them, you can love other people, too.

And that’s all we’re called to do, friends: Love God. Love People. So, go forth and love.

*Authors Note: The above account is entirely true, except the whole part about nobody else ever doing anything to help. The author would like to state that her frustrated state of mind likely led her to voice thoughts that were not entirely true. Though, Milo the puppy does not seem to be at all interested in making the housework any easier.

Posted in April 2018, Uncategorized

Written on My Heart

“I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.
I shall delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.”
– Psalm 119:15-16

It’s safe to say we live in difficult times. No matter what side of the political fence you land on, no matter your socio-economic background, race, religion, gender or favorite ice cream flavor, it is clear that we are a nation in upheaval.

Because of all the turmoil that not only surrounds us but punches us in the face on a fairly consistent basis (anybody else suffering from a mild case of Facebook PTSD?), it’s the perfect time for us, as Christ followers, to keep a few things in perspective.

I admit that I’ve definitely voiced my own opinions on social media. Opinions that sometimes counter people I love deeply and admire greatly. I’ve felt my heart harden a little and heard a voice of judgement and condemnation, if not actually being spoken, certainly in my head. When I step back for a moment and take the time to self reflect, it’s pretty plain to see that I could easily become a part of the problem, and maybe already have.

So how do we counter this? How do we keep overwhelm and anxiety from taking over our minds, preventing us from being effective and joy-filled disciples of God?

I think the answer is pretty simple. Meditate on God’s word. Always.

Hey, I said the answer was simple. I didn’t say it was easy.

If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, and maybe even if you haven’t, what’s the first Bible verse or passage that comes to mind when you think of someone dying? I’d wager it’s Psalm 23, yeah? ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.’

Why is that the scripture we all think of? Because it’s the one we’ve heard time and again in that set of circumstances. Whether you’re standing bedside, keeping vigil over a loved one as they breathe their last breath or you’re standing graveside saying your final goodbye to their earthly presence, these are often the verses that are recited. They resonate with us. They remind us that our days are held in the hands of God.

Similarly, how quickly can most of us recite John 3:16? ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son. That whosever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.’

Again, it’s written on our hearts because we’ve heard it so many times.

As we read and re-read scripture, as we hear it taught and as we apply it to our own lives, it grows in depth. It begins to penetrate in places that are secret, so that when our hearts begin to tremble because we hear of wars and rumors of wars we are reminded to ‘Be strong and courageous’ because the Lord will not forsake us (Deut. 31:6) and that ‘The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent’ (Ex. 14:14). Or, as we find ourselves struggling with the things of this world that strive to collapse us, we are reminded of Paul’s exhortation to the church in Galatia, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).

It’s important – vital – that God’s word be so etched into our hearts that if owning a copy of scripture should ever become a crime, we will not be shaken because His teaching is inextricably woven into the very core of who we are. Even if that possibility never comes to pass on American soil, and I pray it won’t, how much better off are we when we can call upon the word of God at a moments notice without having to flip to the concordance or hope the Wi-Fi connection is strong enough to access an app?

I want to know what God has to say. I want to know His heart. I want to be so in tune with His word that I always have a scripture at the tip of my lips.

I’m not there yet. But I’m closer today than I was a year ago. Walking with God is a journey of a thousand little steps. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There is sweet reward in deepening this relationship with the One who made me and knows me best. In the words of David, the man after God’s own heart, let us “taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed [are we] who take refuge in Him!” (Ps. 34:8).