The Power of Forgiveness


A tragedy occurred this week. Six women and three men including their pastor were murdered in cold blood while attending a bible study at their church. At the bond hearing, the family members of the victims stood before the man who took their loved one’s lives and gave him their forgiveness. They showed him a love that he did not deserve just like God the father has showed each of us a love and a forgiveness that we don’t deserve by sending his son to die as propitiation, atonement, for our sins.They pleaded with this young man to turn to Jesus, to repent and to accept the love and grace and forgiveness that is available to anyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. These people have given us a beautiful example of how a Christian should love and forgive despite the utter tragedy that has occurred in their lives. That love could only come from God.

We all have people in our lives that are hard to forgive. Next time someone hurts you or wrongs you, please think twice about anger, hate, grudges and revenge. Our God has extended forgiveness, mercy and grace to you for all of the sins you have ever committed. To love God, we must love our brothers and sisters. We must extend the same grace and mercy to those that wrong us that the Father has extended to us. Even when it feels like we can’t possibly love someone, remember what love is and where it comes from. God is love. Love is from God. He is our source of life and love. Cling to him and ask him to help you be his hands and feet and love those around you, even those who have wronged you, or those who are difficult to love.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:7-11

Bringing Home a New Puppy

Bringing Home a New Puppy

My husband and I brought home a 9 week old Siberian Husky this week. We named her Elsa (of course like Elsa from Frozen.) Just wanted to share with you some ideas, advice and things to plan for if you are getting a puppy.


I am not a breeder, vet, or dog trainer, so I am no expert, but this will be the 7th dog I have helped raise (6th from puppy age). Here are some observations and advice I have  learned over my life about bringing home a new fur baby. If you are getting or have gotten a new puppy I’d love to see pictures or your puppy’s story below in the comments.



Make sure if you have all the supplies you need for your new puppy before you bring him or her home.

  • Food (Deciding what brand of food to feed is a big decision!! If you have stores like Hollywood Feed in  your area, they have highly trained employees that can help you chose the right food for your dog)
  • Treats for training
  • Grooming supplies
  • Bowls (for food and water)
  • Collar (with ID tag)
  • Leash
  • Kennel (Make sure your pup can stand up, lie down, and turn around in their crate. They will also need to be able to grow into it. Some brands have dividers that allow you to make the crate smaller when they are young and expand the size as they get older.)
  • Bedding (Okay so our puppy will be sleeping in our bed, but if you don’t play on that they may need a comfy place to lay)
  • Toys (get a variety of toys and then see which types your puppy enjoys before you buy a ton of one type that they end up ignoring)
  • Gate (if you want to contain dog to a certain area)

Our GSD Molly and our new puppy Elsa.

Bringing Home Puppy

  • Take your puppy to the vet to get checked out, vaccinated, de-wormed etc.
  • Try not to overwhelm the puppy. If it want’s space rather than being held let it run or play.
  • Find out what and how often the breeder fed the puppy so you can keep it on the same schedule for a week or so if possible. If you want to transition brands of food do it gradually over a week or so. Slowly mix in more and more of the new food to help the puppy adjust.
  • Take your pup out to go to the bathroom often, and be consistent about how you do it. Take them to the same place and say the same thing such as “go potty”. Take her out when you let her out of the crate, after she eats, after she wakes up from a nap, if you notice her sniffing. Take her out often. When he or she does their business outside give them lots and lots of praise.
  • They will probably cry like they are being murdered the first few times you put them in the crate. It is good to give them praise and positive attention when they go into their crate. You can even treat them for going in or feed them in their crate to make it a happy place. They will cry, but don’t give in to crying because this will reward bad behavior.
  • They probably won’t be able to sleep through the night for a while, and neither will you. That comes with a baby or a baby dog. They may need to get up to use the bathroom or may cry if they are lonely. We have been very lucky. The first few nights Elsa woke us up about every 2 hours and we would have to coax her back to sleep, but the last few nights she has been sleeping straight through until 7am. You just have to be flexible and remember that  puppies are babies.
  • Puppy proof your house. Anything that is lying out is fair game. Tape down electrical cords and pick up stuff off the floor that the puppy might get into. You don’t want your shoes or remotes to get ruined, but you also don’t want the puppy to hurt themselves chewing on stuff that they shouldn’t.
  • If you have other pets, take introductions slowly. Make sure that older, dominant dogs aren’t allowed to injure the puppy, but also make sure the puppy isn’t taunting or terrorizing the older dog. Remember that your previous pets were there first, and don’t forget to give them the attention that they need. Make an effort to socialize your puppy with other people and animals. Make sure your dog is fully vaccinated before you take them to dog parks and such though.
  • Remember your puppy is just a baby. They’ve only been alive for a few weeks. They will need a lot of supervision and repetition. They will probably make mistakes. Just show them what you want them to do and give them high praise for the good things.

Enjoy your puppy. The puppy age is so wonderful but is not all pretty. There will be lots of messes to clean, stuff ruined, sleepless nights, and time spent caring for the puppy, but the companionship of a dog is one of the most amazing things in life.

Pythium Insidiosum-Swamp Cancer


Our sweet Siberian husky puppy Luna passed away a few weeks ago at only 14 months old. Here is a link to our sweet girls life story. At the time we were unsure of the specific cause. We simply knew that she had a mass (that 3 months ago was small, and came back as inconclusive on the biopsy) that had now grown to fill her entire abdomen and take her life.

With her being so young, and since the vet had never seen anything like the mass he saw when he did her surgery, the vet was interested in doing a few extra tests after she passed to determine what caused her death. A hisopathology was done and gave us our answer. She didn’t pass away from cancer. Rather, the histopath picked up some pythium cells. She died of Pythosis.

Pythium Insidosum is a “parasitic spore that is capable of parasitic movement” and is categorized as a motile zoospore. It is a type of fungus that typically grows in swamps and other bodies of stagnant water, and is especially present in late summer months. This fungus is most common on the gulf shore, especially Louisiana.

When this deadly parasite finds its way into an animal’s body, whether through open wounds or by mouth, the infection is called Pythiosis. This disease is most common in young large breed dogs like Luna, but can occur in all dogs, cats, horses and even humans. There are two main types of pythiosis. This fungus can manifest itself in the intestinal tract or in the skin.

Skin infections start looking like a small puncture wound and over time spread into large ulcerative abscesses. Lesions can form on the legs, tail, head, neck, and more. I don’t as much about this type because my dog didn’t have this type, but apparently the fungus easily attaches to hair and skin and eats away at the skin until the tissue dies and turns black. If the lesions are contained to one extremity it is possible to attempt amputation to remove the fungus.

Intestinal pythiosis will cause the dog to display symptoms weeks to months after exposure to the parasite. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stool, vomiting after eating, loss of energy and weight loss. All of which our baby experienced. The fungus gets into the intestines which can cause intestinal blockage, intestinal wall thickening and an abdominal mass. Pythiosis is sometimes nicknamed “swamp cancer” because the fungus can grow to form a cancer-like mass, like it did in our baby, that can obstruct bowel and eventually grow to fill the abdomen.

Blood can be drawn and sent off to the Pythium Laboratory at Louisiana State University to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy, or tissue sample can also suggest the diagnosis but a culture must be done to confirm it in this case. This parasite is new and wasn’t around 10-20 years ago when most practicing vets went to school. Also since it is typically seen in swampy areas, many vets who practice even a few hours north of the swamps won’t have heard or have had much experience with it. They may not recognize the signs or know about the blood test because it is simply just not common.

It is important for all pet parents to know about this disease no matter where you are, especially if you allow your dogs to be around any form of water. Our dog was only around water two times in her life. Once at a public lake in Memphis, and another time canoeing in clear running water in Missouri.  Somehow, at either one of these places or at another unknown time, she picked up this parasite that ultimately took her life. Though it isn’t very common and is mainly only seen on the coast, c   have been reported in many states including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Virginia.  

Early detection is extremely important when it comes to survival and treatment. First signs for intestinal pythiosis include loose to very watery stool, refusal to eat, and vomiting. Many vets will assume and confirm based on radiologic studies that your dog has a bowel obstruction or cancer as signs, symptoms, and imaging may appear the same. If your dog has come in contact with water and is having these symptoms it may be a good idea to see if the vet thinks there is any possibility that  your dog could have this condition. When our dog first showed symptoms in November the vet did X-rays  and a GI series and believed that she had a bowel obstruction. They thought they may be able to go in and remove the object. When he opened her up and found the mass, it was already too late for her because the fungus had formed a mass on the junction of her large and small bowel and was in a location that was unable to be removed. Typically the only treatment is aggressive surgery, laser treatment to kill filaments left behind, and immunotherapy medicine to attempt to help the dog’s body fight off the parasite. Lymph nodes must also be evaluated for invasion. 

I want to share Luna’s story because early detection can save your pets life. I don’t want anyone or their pet to have to go through what our family did. Please feel free to share this information with anyone you know who has dogs that swim in ponds, swamps or really any water. Pets are like family. If you notice that your dog has bloody stool, constant diarrhea, anorexia, or constant vomiting after eating, I encourage you take your baby to the vet, let them be evaluated. You never know, they could have something as simple as worms or as serious and life threatening as a bowel obstruction or Pythiosis.

Feel free to share this article so that pet parents can know the signs and get their dogs treated for this. Luna is gone, but I hope her story will be able to help other dogs that unfortunately contract this disease.


Answers to Questions Every Pro-Life Advocate Needs To Know


Adapted from: Persuasive Pro-Life: How to talk about our cultures toughest issue by Trent Horn  1

How Many Abortions Occur Each Year? 

Approximately 1.06 MILLION abortions are performed each year here in the United States. That adds up to about 2800 abortions PER DAY. 2

Who is having these abortions? 

50% of women having an abortion have previously had one before. 3 By age 45 at least 30% of women have had an abortion 4 with the most common age being between 20-29. Protestant Christian women make up 37% and Catholic women make up 28% of all abortions regardless of the churches strong stance against abortion.5

 Why? Why are these women getting abortions? 

  • 74% of women say that having a baby would dramatically change their life” 
  • 73% say that they can’t afford a baby now 
  • 48% They just don’t want to be a single mother or that they are having relationship problems 
  • 38% say that they were done having children and didn’t want any more children
  • Only 12 % of women said their abortion was related to a health problem
  • Only 1.5% said they were a victim of rape or incest 6

What is abortion? 

Many pro-choice people describe abortion as a surgical method of birth control that prevents a baby from coming into this world. It just be called an ending of pregnancy, or emptying the uterus.
A neutral definition can be taken from the dictionary, “the expulsion or removal from the womb of a developing embryo or fetus in the period before it is capable of independent survival.”7  There are many types of abortion depending on the size of the unborn.

Medical Abortion-Taking drugs that force the woman’s body to miscarry. The most commonly used method of medical abortion is RU-486. These chemicals cause changes in the uterus lining which causes the pregnancy to detatch and to be expelled from the body.8 Women may pass pregnancy tissue or fetal parts. 23 % of all abortions are medical aboritons.9 Medical aboritons are only affective until 9 weeks after the woman’s last menstural period (7 weeks post conception).1 

Suction AbortionThis procedure can be called medical extraction or vacuum aspiration and is used in nearly 75% of all abortions here in the United States.10 According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, “The doctor first widens (dilates) the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus. This may be over a period of several hours by inserting a small rod or sponge into the cervix, which swells as the sponge absorbs moisture. The doctor may choose to enlarge the cervix right before the abortion by inserting and withdrawing larger and larger smooth metal rods until the cervix has been opened to the necessary size. Most women experience some pain, so the physician will give you a pain-killer, either locally by shots in the area of the cervix or, on rare occasions, by a general anesthetic. After dilation, a plastic tube about the diameter of a pencil is then inserted into the uterus through the enlarged cervix. The tube is attached to a pump which then suctions out the fetus, the placenta and other uterine contents. After the suctioning, the physician may find it necessary to use a curette (a sharp, spoon-like instrument) to gently scrape the walls of the uterus to make sure all the fragments of the fetus and placenta have been removed from the uterus.”11 

Dilatation and EvacuationD&E is a form of surgical abortion performed in the second trimester one the unborn is too large to be sucked out through a tube. This method accounts for about 8% of today’s abortion procedures. The fetus is dismembered and removed piece by piece.12 The U.S. Supreme Court described the procedure like this, “The doctor, often guided by ultrasound, inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus. The doctor grips a fetal part with the forceps and pulls it back through the cervix and vagina, continuing to pull even after meeting resistance from the cervix. The friction causes the fetus to tear apart. For example, a leg might be ripped off the fetus as it is pulled through the cervix and out of the woman. The process of evacuating the fetus piece by piece continues until it has been completely removed.”13 

Dilatation and Extraction-This method was used prior to 2007 to end the unborn’s life when it is partially removed from the woman’s womb. Another term for this method is partial-birth abortion. The abortionist begins to deliver the baby feet first. Mid delivery he cuts a hole in the brain and drains the contents of the skull and then delivers the dead body. 14,1

When is Abortion Legal? 

For the majority of US history abortion has been illegal except in rare cases of rape and incest, or when the pregnancy could potentially be harmful to the mother’s life.1 That all changed January 22, 1973. A young woman sued the state of Texas for her right to an abortion. The case was lengthy and she had already delivered her child and put it up for adoption by the time her case made it to the Supreme Court. In 1972 she won the case, Roe Vs. Wade. This case effectively made abortion legal. States could not outlaw abortion in the first 2 trimesters. States were only allowed to regulate 2nd trimester aboriton to help protect the health of the woman. Roe allowed but didn’t require states to outlaw 3rd trimester aboriton. Each state has it’s own set of laws regarding aboriton and I encourage you to be educaetd on what these are.1

I’d like to close with a few quotes. The unborn don’t have a voice. They cannot speak for themselves and we have an obligation to speak on their behalf. Additionally the unborn arent the only ones who suffer from aboriton. Many women ache and grieve over their decison to abort. Remeber that in many cases thie choice to abort can be life shattering for a mother. Rather than judge them for their choices point them to The Father through a relationship with Jesus Christ where they can find love and a peace and forgiveness that passes all understanding.

The problem with abortion is that the victims can’t become angry and demand change. They can’t do anything to help themselves. Instead, advocates have to demand justice on their behalf, but to be successful they must do so in a persuasive and gracious way. -Trent Horn 1

 The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. . . . The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.  -Pope John Paul II  15


Luna Louise Shepard 1/8/14-2/20/15

Luna Louise Shepard 1/8/14-2/20/15


My husband and I brought home our first baby, an 8 week old Siberian Husky on March 1st of last year. It was love at first sight for all three of us. She was cuddle-y and sweet and just the most precious little puppy we could ask for.


Luna was with us for everything we did. we took her on car rides; trips to Jerry’s to get ice cream, walks in the park, and she was even in our engagement pictures.



Luna even came to Ohio with us for our wedding and got to travel with us on our honeymoon. Its pretty obvious she was much more than a dog to us. She was a part of our family.



Though Luna had traveled to at least 7 states our favorite time spent with her was cuddling on the couch or in the bed with her at home. There was nothing we loved move than her lying on our chest or between us. She was happy, just loved being with us.



Back in October she stopped eating for a few days and not acting like herself. The x-ray showed what seemed to be a bowel obstruction so the vet opened her up. It wasn’t actually a bowel obstruction. Luna had a small mass on her iliocecal junction, where her large and small intestines connect. Due to the location the mass could not be removed. They did a biopsy, that came back indeterminate and mainly just seemed to be normal intestinal tissue. Over the next few months, Luna was skinny. She was a picky eater, and she had occasional rounds of vomiting/diarrhea (including one trip to the emergency vet on January first for bloody diarrhea), but overall she was doing better. She was happy and cuddle-y and her spunky drama queen self.



She became more and more picky with her food. She would act hungry trying to eat her sister’s food or get into the trash, but would refuse her own food. We assumed that she was associating her own food with being sick. Thursday night we even bought her new food, and goats milk to help her try to put on some more weight.

Friday morning when I got her up she just wasn’t acting right at all. She could hardly stand up or hold her head up. I had my husband take her to the vet, hoping fluids and antibiotics could get her back on track like before.

Unfortunately when they did the X-ray they realized that this once small mass had grown to fill her entire abdomen and was pushing on her lungs making it hard for her to breathe. It could also be assumed that the mass was hemorrhaging and that she was having internal bleeding putting her into shock.


Luna crossed the rainbow bridge on Friday, Feburary 20th at 9am. She has no more pain or suffering. She’s not starving any more. Shes not hurting any longer. And that puppy, that puppy knows that she was loved. She knows her mommy and daddy would have done anything we could to save her.


I don’t have words to describe how precious this dog was and how much we loved her. She was our first baby and was as much a part of our family as each other. She provided unconditional love and comfort to both of us in any situation, and to tell you the truth, she was probably the best marriage counselor we could have had for our first year of marriage.

She was such a sweet dog, and at only 13 and a half months she had such a life ahead of her. Her condition was so rare and really unheard of at her age. I’m writing this post to honor her life and let everyone know how much we love her and how sad we are that she is gone. I know other dogs will come and go and pass through our lives, but none will ever replace our sweet puppy dog that passed too soon.


**UPDATE: We got the histopath back on 3/6/15 and it turns out she didn’t have cancer. She died form Pythioisis, which is a rare fungal parasite disease. I have done some research and have written a post about what I have learned. This diease is common in swmaps but Luna was never around any swamps and was never more than 20 miles south of Tennessee. She went canoeing once in Missouri and we had a picnic near a pond at a pubic park in Memphis, but that is the only exposure she had. If your dog has vomiting, diarrhea, or anorexia, there are many serious conditons that they could have. Take your dog to the vet, and if they have been around ANY water mention pythium. There is an easy blood test than can be done to detect it and early detection leads to the best prognosis of this deadly disease.

Pythium Insidiosum-Swamp Cancer | ShepardingFaith

Known by God


Someone is wathcing you right now as you read this. Think about that. The God who loans your life sees your every move, hears each word you speak, and knows your every thought. And this is a good thing. You are seen by God. Noticed.  Known.     -Francis and Lisa Chan


I stumbled upon this quote, in Francis and Lisa Chan’s new book, You and Me Forever.

Its hard to even know what to say when it comes to this quote. So much magnitude is packed into a few simple words.This quote is the opposite of what so many people are told and taught these days. This is the complete opposite of what so many people firmly believe.

Children are taught evolution and thus atheism as scientific fact. Even popular museums such as the Pink Palace here in Memphis have strong stances. When you walk though the natural history exhibits you will find the following statement.

The Pink Palace Family of Museums recognizes that the theory of evolution is the foundation of biology and many other branches of science. The principles of evolution have been tested repeatedly and found to be valid according to scientific criteria. Evolution is the best scientific explanation of human and nonhuman biology and the key to understanding the origin and development of life.

The Memphis Pink Palace Family of Museums respects the right of people to hold diverse religious beliefs, including those who reject evolution as matters of theology or faith. Stories of some of those religious beliefs will be explained in some of the museum’s programs and exhibits. These beliefs differ from and should not be presented as science or competing with science. Adapted from American Anthropological Association Statement on Evolution and Creationism (2002)

Atheism says that God doesn’t exist. According to a writer on the blog Common Sense Atheism (who happened to be blogging through a book called Sense and Goodness Without God) we arrived to our current state of existence by five simple steps:
1) The universe began–it just did, without any help from any higher or intelligent being
2) Biogenesis–as he says “simple chemicals capable of reproduction formed” spontaneously without of course any help from God
3) Natural Selection–which acted on molecules which eventually formed more and more complex life forms, spontaneously.
4) Conscious Mind–thinking evolved, apparently “after hundreds of millions of years of trial and error, a brain developed so complex that it was capable of perceiving itself and its own thought, and this made… self-knowledge possible”
5) Culture–Through self-knowledge, culture was then formed. Culture is more than molecules and actually consists of ideas which was made possible by the conscious mind. Intelligence occurred without any sign of an intelligent creator.

And here we are today, spontaneously, and without any help from a deity.

Agnostics seem to not specifically believe or disbelieve in a God. Agnosticism identifies the possibility of a God or a supreme being, potentially even an intelligent designer, but doesn’t believe that this really has an affect on their life. Though there are many different variations of agnosticism this is the gist. There may or may not be a God, but either way it doesn’t really matter.

This quote by Francis and Lisa Chan is a striking contrast to these beliefs of atheism or agnosticism. As Christian’s Francis and Lisa Chan (as well as myself and many other Christian’s around the globe believe that God does know us, personally.

I’m not writing to scientifically prove to you the existence of God. If you have questions about his existence, and how that aligns with science I highly recommend you browsing or visiting the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY, just outside of Cincinnati, OH. They have a wonderful museum that shows how perspective means a lot when it comes to science. In contrast to the Pink Palace’s statement above, this museum shows how the facts of the bible can easily align with the facts of science. I’ll leave these debates and discussions for another day. I just want you to tell you that I believe in God and that he can know you personally.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and [b]when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
-Psalm 139:1-4

The bible says that God knows every time you sit or lie down and when you get up. He is ‘intimately acquainted’ with our ways and he even knows our thoughts before we say them.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
-Psalm 139:13-16

God made us. He formed us. He knew every detail of us before we were even born. He knows us better than we even know ourselves.

ultrasound and belly

The God who created us and knows us seeks to have a relationship with us. If God feels distant stop for a second. Do you have a relationship with him. Have you ever asked him to come in and to be a part of your life? Have you ever made him Lord. The bible says “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

You can have intimacy, and closeness with the creator of the universe. You can know him as he knows you. It may seem strange to someone who doesn’t know God that he is always there, all knowing, but it is a good thing that he knows you intimately if you invite him into your life. If you make him your savior and Lord, you can have intimacy with God

I know I can’t speak for every Christian, or every atheist, or every agnostic. I know that people have varying beliefs. My observation is the sharp difference in the views of a Christian who believes to know God personally compared to someone who holds to agnosticism or atheism.

You are not alone in this world.
“Someone is wathcing you right now. as you read this.
Think about that.
The God who loans your life sees your every move, hears each word you speak, and knows your every thought.
And this is a good thing.
You are seen by God.
-Francis and Lisa Chan.

ISIS, and a Christian’s Responsibility to Pray


I’ve never really been one to get into reading the newspaper or watching the news on tv. My dad and husband both listen to talk radio as well. Like I said I’ve never been really all that into discussing current events or politics or debating. I know where I stand politically, and I think I know enough to make educated choices in the elections. I feel like I know the basics of whats going on in the world, but news and politics and so on are not a hobby of mine. Yesterday something really caught my attention.

Yesterday the television was covered with news that fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a video of them brutally and mercilessly beheading at least a dozen Egyptian Christians. This incident is not a one time thing.

ISIS is a radical Islamic group. They are fighting for the creation of an Islamic state, and will kill anyone who is in their way. They demand allegiance from all devout muslims worldwide. They see anyone who does not agree with them or their interpretations of islam to be infidels. They apparently even seek to raise the flag of Allah over the white house and to retaliate against and kill americans; capturing the women, and orphaning the children. Their anger rages not only against America but against other Arab States as well as European States such as Denmark and France. Their stance appears to be that if you don’t do and believe what day do and believe they will kill you. You could be a Christian, a Jew, a non-radical muslim, or just someone in a cafe who supports freedom of speech.

Numerous terrorist attacks have been attributed to ISIS.
In December 2013, two suicide bombers entered the headaquarters of TV station Salaheddin and murdered five journalists. They accused the TV station of “distorting the image of Iraq’s Sunni community”.
In January 2015 two Islamist terrorists with assault rifles entered the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. (The newspaper was known for cartoons, articles, comics about the extreme right political party as well as religions and race issues.) The attackers fired up to 50 shots, which initiallly killed 11 people and injured 11 others. They shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is [the] greatest”) during their attack.
Just this past week there was another shooting spree in Copenhagen, Denmark killing two and injuring 5 police officers. The first occurred on February 14 at an event called “Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression”. One of the speakers in attendance was Swedish artist Lars Vilks and he was thought to be the main target due to his drawings of Muhammad. The second shooting in Denmark last weekend occurred outside of a synagogue. The gun-man shot and killed a Jewish man on security duty during a bat mitzvah celebration.
This list only names a few of the more publicized occurrences, but people are murdered everyday for their faith, freedom of speech, or even just their refusal to submit to the beliefs of ISIS.

In addition to the violent terrorist acts occurring around the globe, there are many other social issues that need to be addressed.They recruit children as young as nine to fight with them as child soldiers. Children are given the choice; join ISIS or be beheaded. There are accounts of sexual violence and slavery within ISIS controlled areas. Fighters are told they are free to have sex with (rape) non-muslim captives.

Like I said I am not an expert on any of this. These are just my observations, and here is my heart… as Christians, we are obligated to pray, really seriously and radically pray.


Pray for ISIS. Jesus calls us to love our enemies and pray fort those that persecute us, so pray for ISIS. Pray that they will find Jesus. Pray that they will stop the violence. Pray that God would break their hearts and that they will have radical change in their lives. (Matthew 5:44)
Pray for Justice and pray for peace in the middle east and around the globe.
Pray for the women who are held captive and potentially raped and tortured.
Pray for the child soldiers who have been recruited and brainwashed by ISIS.
Pray for the government leaders all around the world. Pray that regardless of their religion they God will give them wisdom and they he will use their position of power for his good. Pray that they will stand up for what is right and protect the innocent from this brutality.
Pray for those who have been affected by the terrorist attacks and murders around the world. Pray that they will come to know the hope and comfort that only a relationship with Jesus can bring.
Pray for the non-radical Muslims and Jews around the world who are being denied the freedom of religion, and even being denied life itself for their beliefs.
(Please note that though I am a Christian, and though I hope and pray for the salvation of the every individual around the world, that all may come to know Jesus, I still think that people of all religions should have freedom to chose and not be persecuted for there beliefs. If these people lose their freedoms, I firmly believe we could be next.)

Please Pray for the Persecuted Church
Pray for all Christians around the world, especially those that don’t get to walk into their church freely on a Sunday and Wednesday and sit down in their comfy pew. Pray for those that are persecuted, for those that risk their lives for what they believe.
Please pray persecuted believers would know the hope and grace onlyGod gives (Ephesians 1:7-8).
Pray the Holy Spirit would strengthen them (Ephesian 3:16).
Please pray persecuted believers would know how much God loves them (Ephesians 3:17)
Pray they would know how to share the gospel (Ephesians 6:19)
Please pray persecuted believers would fearlessly tell others about Jesus (Ephesians 6:20)
Please pray persecuted believers would have access to a Bible.
Pray they have the courage to remain in their homeland.
Please pray for believers who have been rejected by family and friends. Pray that God would surround them with a new Christian “family” who loves them and supports them emotionally and physically.
Pray for God to be an advocate for women who are socially vulnerable or have lost the custody of their children because of their faith.
Please pray that God would provide persecuted believers with jobs and safe places to live.

Just pray. Give your life, family, safety, country, and world over to God. Seek him, because His ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) He knows what is best even when we don’t or when we are afraid. Just pray. Ask for wisdom, grace, love, words to say, freedom, and so on. Do not worry, just let your requests be known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

These are just a few ideas on what we can pray for. If you have anything you’d like to add feel free to comment below.

If you are married, or plan to get married…


If you are married, or plan to get married, please get this book right now and read it.

You can buy the hard copy book, ebook, or even the audiobook, but I’m really encouraging you to get and read/listen to this book.

Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs was given to my husband and I by a dear friend a few months before we married. It got put off to the side and I don’t think either of us actually did more than a brief skim at the time. We were married on April 19th, 2014. We were like most newlyweds. In love, but really learning how to live together and function as a husband and wife unit. I’ll speak for myself at least. I love my husband and wanted to submit to him. I love him dearly and wanted to be one and act as a unit. I wanted to be his helper, just like Eve was to Adam. I really struggled with thoughtlessly making decisions on my own. Deciding to pick up extra shifts at work without talking to him, or not seeing what he needed at the grocery store and just doing my own thing, pretty much just doing my own thing is one way to sum it up. Another think is that I like to talk, and to me in the middle of a minor disagreement inside my head talking and explaining myself as well as pushing my husband for answers was me trying to work out the problem. He on the other hand likes to take time apart to relax and calm down and think through what has happened rather than me jumping in, and pushing him for responses before he is ready. The things I was doing were good intentioned, and not inherently wrong, but they weren’t including my husband, meeting his needs, or listening to him, and I definitely wasn’t acting like a team mate and partner like I should.


Last fall I finally picked up the Love & Respect book and opened my heart to what it had to say. The book uses an age old concept that has been overlooked in scripture to help explain communication between men and women.

Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.     -Ephesians 5:33

Men need respect, and Women need love. These are needs that are so deep inside of every human being almost like air to breathe. When a woman does something disrespectful to her husband it is his automatic response to do or say something that is unloving, and when a man does something that feels unloving to his wife, it is her automatic response to do or say something that he may perceive as disrespectful. This book calls it the crazy cycle. In marriage we must learn to stop this cycle. Ladies when you start feeling unloved by your man. Stop. Ask yourself if you could have possibly done something that he perceived as being disrespectful. Gentlemen, the same question goes to you. When your wife does something that seems disrespectful to you, is there any chance  you did something that may have felt unloving to her? This book talks about how to stop the crazy cycle as well has how to start an energizing cycle in your marriage.

A wife’s responsibility is to respect her husband whether or not he deserves respect, and a husbands responsibility is to love his wife whether or not she has earned it. When you serve your spouse in this way you are honoring God.

I promise when you read the stories in this book you will feel like you are reading about yourself and your own marriage. You will grow to understand more about how your spouse thinks and how they perceive certain things that you say or do.

Though, and my husband would tell you this, I am far from a perfect wife, this book has really helped me to understand why he responds to me in certain ways when I do certain things. It has taught me how to love him in his language rather than my own, and it reminds me daily to respect him unconditionally. Yes I fail, a lot, but day by day I’m learning to be the wife that God wants me to be. I’m learning to honor God with my marriage, which in turn honors my husband.

If I could go back, I would have read this book much much sooner. Before reading this I knew in theory that as a wife I needed to respect my husband but I didn’t know or understand how to do it, and really I didn’t understand why “my way” wasn’t working. Please read this book. It is a priceless tool to strengthen yourself into a Godly spouse.
Visit for more information on Love & Respect Ministries

And don’t just take my word for it, click this link for numerous more testimonials.

Also there are upcoming Love and Respect Conferences all over the country. Where you can attend a two day conference, with our without your spouse to learn about the concept of love and respect.

Newark (Columbus), OH     Feb 27-28
Lakeland (Memphis), TN    March 6-7
…and many more…

From the Inside Flap

Discover the Single Greatest Secret to a Successful MarriagePsychological studies affirm it, and the Bible has been saying it for ages. Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It’s the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find.Today, you and your mate can start fresh with the ground-breaking guidance that Dr. Emerson Eggerichs provides in this book. His revolutionary message, featured on Focus on the Family, is for anyone: in marital crisis…wanting to stay happily married…who’s feeling lonely. It’s for engaged couples…victims of affairs…pastors and counselors seeking material that can save a marriage.

Using Dr. Eggerich’s breakthrough techniques, couples nationwide are achieving a brand-new level of intimacy and learning how to: – stop the Crazy Cycle of conflict – initiate the Energizing Cycle of change – enjoy the Rewarded Cycle of new passion

And if you’ll take this biblically based counsel to heart, your marriage could be next!

Thoughts on Witnessing at Work


Have you ever wondered what rights you have when it comes to talking about Jesus in the workplace?

Is it okay to ask a co-worker, client, patient or manager what their religious beliefs are, and is it okay to share yours?

Jesus commands us to let our faith known to everyone around us like a light on a hill.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.     –Matthew 5:13-16

But does he mean at work? We all know he does. He wants us to glow and share the light of Jesus with everyone around us. What are our rights? Are we allowed to talk about Jesus in the workplace?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,, the Title VII Civil Rights Act of 1964 “prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment.”

This act also states that if the employer allows their employees to engage each other in conversations, such as politics, sports, family or other non-work related topics then they cannot prohibit voluntary religious conversations between employees. Employees who are free to engage in non-work related conversations in the break room and  hallways are allowed the right to talk about religion as long as both parties are voluntarily engaging in the conversation. An outsider cannot stop the religious conversation just because they overhear it. They are not forced to engage in the conversation if they do not want to or if they are offended by it,  but they cannot force their co-workers to stop. If an employer were to attempt to ban all religions conversation that even if it does not interfere with work this would be almost impossible with the Title VII Act. We have a right to religious expression.

All this said there are still a few legal limits that we must follow.

We can’t allow these conversations to interfere with our work. Our employers are paying us to get a job done, and they have a right to our full attention during these hours. We must work hard as if our work is for the LORD and not for man.  Colossians 3:23-24. If a Christian were ever put in a position where they are disciplined and the only reason was for talking about religion, a perfect work record would help them to prove that they are being discriminated against rather than being disciplined for for poor work performance. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep copies of all employment evaluations as proof of your excellent work performance at home in case the need for them ever arises.

Secondly you cannot force someone to talk to you about religion. If anyone tells you they are not interested in talking about religion, directly or indirectly, we must immediately stop. If we don’t respect them in this we are in danger of being disciplined for harassment. This does not mean that if you are having a voluntary conversation with someone else in the lunch room and this other person walks in that you have to stop all conversation. Legally you just cannot direct the religious conversation at someone who has requested you not to.

So far I’ve mainly talked about co-workers. It is a little bit different when it comes to your clients, patients, and customers. This decision lies with the business owner. Many companies have policies about whether you can or cannot talk about religion with customers and this can probably be found in your employee handbook or can be cleared up with your manager. Although some companies have strict policies, many will allow it as long as the conversations are voluntary and you are not harassing people.

Here is an example from the Christian Broadcasting Network: “We recently handled a case in which a California employer terminated an employee for engaging in a religious conversation with a client. The employee had inquired about a mutual acquaintance who happened to be a pastor. The client shared how the pastor encouraged her and her children to attend church and how excited she was to have her children learning about the Bible. A coworker reported this completely voluntary conversation to a supervisor, who fired the Christian. This termination was unlawful, because the Christian employee had never been instructed not to discuss religion with customers, and because it was the client who brought religion into the conversation.”

This conversation was voluntary and no one was being harassed. The Christian employee wasn’t even the one to bring up religion. This employee just continued a conversation that the customer started.

Just remember, you have rights under the law, and it isn’t illegal for you to share your faith. We spend 40+ hours a week in the workplace each week. We spend more time with our coworkers than our family and close friends. Take time to get to know the people you work with. Pray for them, care for them and, listen to them. Remember that actions speak louder than words. Don’t cut corners in  your work. Work as though it is for the LORD. If someone always has a positive attitude at work, never bad-mouths others, and steers clear of gossip and foul language. People will notice.

Another article from Christian Broadcasting Network explains two possible outcomes of sharing our faith and being an open Christian in the workplace.

“(1) We will be placed in a very uncomfortable position by those whom we see and work with everyday. We may suddenly find ourselves excluded from impromptu “water cooler” conversations or after-hours activities. We may even become the brunt of insensitive jokes and hurtful, sarcastic remarks made behind our backs; or

(2) We may stir something deep within one or two of our friends: Maybe the lapsed Catholic who has been struggling with how to talk to her daughters about sex, or the man whose obsession with orgasm is causing his marriage to suffer, or maybe even the relativist who’s been contemplating the meaning of life. One of them may pull you aside, while no one else is around, and ask you a few questions about what you believe and, more importantly, how you are able—in the midst of such adversity—to faithfully live out what you believe.”

Are you willing to risk number one in the hopes of God using you to accomplish number two? Are you willing to take a step of faith and do what God has asked you to do. Spread his Gospel, and tell people about his saving grace. You don’t have to go anywhere to make a difference and share the gospel. You don’t have to move at all in some cases. There are people sitting next to you who need to hear.

Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples     –Psalm 96:3


So, I Put Up My Christmas Tree On November 2nd…


So, I Put Up My Christmas Tree On November 2nd. I know I know, this is a little bit early, okay a lot early, we haven’t even gotten to thanksgiving yet🙂

When i was a kid my mom had to literally force me to help put up the Christmas tree and decorations. Every year since I was probably a toddler I’ve been the head Nativity setter-upper, but I hated setting up the Christmas tree, boxing and un-boxing ornaments etc. I loved Christmas but didn’t see what the big deal was in putting up a tree and decorations… too much effort for what it’s worth. Well now I have my own house and my own family with my new husband, and I was excited and happy and couldn’t hardly wait to put up my Christmas tree. There’s something about those gleaming lights sparkling off the ornaments that just brings back so many Christmas memories, not to mention the greatest Christmas of all, when Jesus Christ was born.

1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherdsbegan saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

-Luke 2 NASB