The Greatest Showman

Ok.  So, I’m obsessed.  It seriously is my all-time favorite movie.  You’ve Got Mail has been my all- time favorite movie since forever and this has officially surpassed it.  I pre-ordered the DVD and it came yesterday.  Yes, I know it’s a musical with dancing (which is right up my alley), but the message and some of the lines (and some of the lines in the songs) are just SO powerful.

I am not about over spiritualizing things that are not meant to be spiritual.  But sometimes God uses non-spiritual things to make an impact on me.  This was one of those things.

Towards the end of the movie the main character, P.T. Barnham, realized he had been running after fame and ignoring his family and what really mattered.  He said this to his wife: “I just wanted to be more than I was.”  And his adoring wife responded, “I never wanted anything but the man I fell in love with.”  And it hit me, and the tears flowed.  This sweet wife didn’t want him to be more, she just wanted him to be him.  The exact person she fell in love with.  She didn’t want an improved, better, smooth-edged guy.  She wanted her guy.

Most of my life I have been living out of the “want to be more than I am” mentality.  And everyone around me has never wanted anything but who they fell in love with.  Including God.  How beautiful is that picture and representation of love.  True love.  God is not waiting for me to improve myself.  He is not waiting for me to smooth all my rough edges.  He is not waiting for me to be better.  He is not desiring that I read the latest and greatest book on parenting boys to be a better mother to my boys.  He already created me to be the best mother to my boys – I’m the only mama they have.  He will fill in the gaps.

He loves me yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  He has already forgiven my yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  People, do you understand and truly grasp that?  Seriously, start this paragraph over and let it sink in.  I know we just celebrated Easter on April Fool’s Day, but I am not foolin’ ya (sorry I couldn’t resist), the blood shed on that cross erased all sins past, present, and future.

Sometimes I think we get stuck at the cross and ignore the empty grave.  The cross doesn’t mean anything without the empty grave.  Think about it.  Would you rather be stuck on your knees at the cross confessing over and over and over again at the feet of a dead Jesus?  Or would you rather be dancing in front of the open, empty grave with a risen savior?  The empty grave means I don’t have to come to God asking for forgiveness every time I slip up.  I’ve already been forgiven.  It means that I come to God when I slip up saying, “God, I am so sorry for losing self-control.  Thank you for already forgiving me.  Thank you for continuing to want nothing but exactly who I am – your imperfect daughter!”

What a paradigm shift!  What a way to step out into freedom and dance victoriously.  Whew!  And this all seriously stemmed from me watching the movie.  Peeps – go watch the movie!

What about you?  Are you stuck at the cross?  Where is he asking you to find freedom in the empty grave?  Where might he be asking you stop and say no to wait for the better yes? Next time you find yourself asking God to forgive you try instead to say, “Thank you for already forgiving me.”  Take some time this week to just sit in the quiet and listen to your Savior tell you: “I never want anything but you, just as you are, the person I created and love”.  Believe it. Have a conversation with Him and journal what He tells you.

Let me hear from you.  Comment below.  I know I’ve been silent for a while, but more is coming.  As soon as I have a moment to write I promise more is coming.  I have been learning so much that I know God is wanting me to share with you.


I just wanted to keep everyone updated and would really appreciate your prayers over the next week. Upcoming appointments:

Today, Thursday, 2/8, 11:00 am est = CT Scan

Friday, 2/9, 1:00 pm est = removal of stitches and glue from surgery

Monday, 2/12, 10:15 am est = mtg. w/ oncologist for CT results

Results from Monday I am declaring will be clear because there is a magic formula in cancer world that when you get a third clean scan you can be “really” cancer free. This would move the frequency of my appointments to every 6 months from every 3 months.

But seriously? Magic formula? “Really” cancer free? There is no magic, or formulas, or 3rd times the charm with my God. He’s my great physician and with him comes nothing but #FREEDOM!! Like for realz legit freedom!

Thank you #teamaj

I’ll be posting updates here as well as the TeamAJ page on Facebook.

Make sure you are following:


My sweet friend, Kimberly McLeod, asked me to be a guest writer on her blog.  I wanted to share it with you as well.  (You can also see it on her blog by clicking here).  She recently designed and produced an awesome journal called the Words Journal modeled after our mentor’s method to journaling.  The Lord has shown great favor upon this project and she is already in her second printing.  Keep reading for a link where you can see and purchase one for yourself.


Hey friends! I pray you have stepped into 2018 with some new, fresh words in your head and heart. Words that bless and heal. Have you considered picking a word for 2018? One to focus and reflect on? One that inspires and restores you? Consider this!

I am excited to share a fresh word from my dear friend, Ashley Jansen. She is a lover of words and her heart is to use God’s words to bless and heal others! I believe her words are the perfect challenge to us this month as we begin 2018!

“Do you ever wish you were blind?  I do.  I mean I am not trying to be insensitive and of course I don’t really desire not to see, but there are things I wish I was blind to.  I feel it would make the comparison trap not-so-trap-like.  I would stop striving for the next thing and just be content with the current thing.  I’d be OK with my current grade rather than desiring my neighbor’s upgrade.  I wouldn’t be able to see Jo-Jo’s latest beautiful project full of ship-lap or the latest magazine with the beautiful (unrealistic-touched-up) star on the cover.

It’s hard to put the blinders on, which is why I wish I was blind sometimes.  I think about the type of blinders you see on the horse of a horse-drawn carriage.  He can only see in front of him to stay his path.  Those are the type of blinders I wish someone could put on me.

My late mentor, Regina Williams, (who Kimberly modeled the Words Journal from) used to tell us all the time, “Bloom where you are planted”. IMG_4655 She would encourage us that God had planted us exactly where we are for a purpose and he desired us to thrive and bloom in that season.  My personal opinion is the more you look over at someone else’s garden where they are planted the less you bloom where you are planted. This keeps you from reaching the full potential God desires, thus you stay in that spot for longer (sometimes longer than he intended).

The comparison trap is hard.  Social media gives us our friend’s highlight real that doesn’t measure up to our normal, mundane day.  The neighbor got the new model of your dream car and now you are grumpy about your perfectly fine and working car.  Your sister is getting the new kitchen you have always wanted.  Or maybe it’s even more personal.  You got asked to be a bridesmaid again and you still have no ring of your own.  You received another baby shower invitation and you really thought the next baby celebrated would be yours.  Regina would say, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Saturate your life with His words so that your roots dig down so deep you wouldn’t want to be planted anywhere else.  His desires for you include a prosperous life full of blooms (Jeremiah 29:11).

I think this can also apply to situations you may not really want to bloom.  This was me 2 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was in a struggle with my heavenly father.  I didn’t want to bloom here.  But the more I fought it the harder the season was.  When I accepted cancer and chose to dig my roots deep into the soil of my circumstance the bloom that came forth was hearty, beautiful, and oh so fragrant.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe it wasn’t cancer, but maybe it was some other sort of medical or physical ailment. Maybe it was a broken relationship or marriage.  Maybe it was a prodigal child.  Maybe it was job loss.  Maybe it was grief.  My sweet beautiful friend – dig your roots into that soil.  Your father wants to grow a beautiful bloom from you.

Is there something in your current circumstances that you are resisting?  Could it be God has you exactly where he wants you on purpose, for a purpose so that your roots can grow deep and he can produce blooms in your life?

Is there something in your life you have grown discontent over that the Lord is asking for you to remain where he has you, stop resisting, and just bloom where you are planted?

Grab your words journal ( and tease out those questions.  Be honest with your heavenly father, because he cares about you (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7).  He wants to hear your heart!”

What a good word friends! Let’s all find our place to bloom in 2018!


Home and Resting

Thank y’all for all your prayers today. Everything went very well and he didn’t have to put drains in which is HUGE!! I got home around 2:00 this afternoon and have been resting. Pain meds are working nicely.

I do have one thing I could use some prayers. They have to put a tube down my throat during surgery and upon removal they scratched my throat way down at the base of my neck. It hurts to talk or eat. The only thing I’ve been able to get down is pudding and frozen yogurt (which are not Whole30 compliant and is a big bummer). Please pray this heals quickly so that I can start eating better foods soon.

Otherwise all is going better than expected. I so appreciate my prayer warriors. Your support has been felt today!

Heading in…

Heading to the hospital. Reading over these verses continually this morning. Mark or Rachael will be updating the Facebook page. Thanks for the prayers.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. [Ps. 55:22.]”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). [I Pet. 5:7.]”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭55:22‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭AMPC‬‬

“You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whole30 Update

So I have received a lot of questions as to why my doctor recommended me to do Whole30 so I thought I would answer that question here for all of you.  I am having surgery next Thursday.  I pray it is the last surgery on this cancer journey.  It is the last of my reconstruction.  Some of you may or may not know that my last surgery (October 2016) I had my ovaries and tubes out which caused me to be in menopause.  And let me just say that is the gift that keeps on giving.  Part of my struggle in menopause has been my metabolism (or lack there of).  I had put on some weight and my plastic surgeon suggested I try Whole30 to jump start my weight loss.  He wanted me to be back to as normal as possible for the work he is doing in surgery, but to also see what foods may be causing me the most issues.

The part of Whole30 people forget is it is not just about the 30 days you are limiting grains, dairy, & sugar.  It’s about the reintroduction of those things back into your diet the 10-15 days after that helps you make life-long changes that are best for you.  My doctor actually recommended that I do it for 60 days so that after my surgery I am feeding my body the best type of foods to help with recovery. As well as I will be on exercise restrictions for 3-4 weeks so I don’t want to reintroduce a lot of the foods (sugar, grains, and dairy) while I can’t work out.

We are 18 days in.  Just over half way done.  Mark has done excellent and hasn’t cheated at all.  I’ll be honest that I haven’t been as good.  I may or may not have had a piece of candy at the movie theater.  It does require a lot of cooking and I have never bought so much produce and meat in my life.  We have not eaten out as much, but that part of our budget got moved to groceries because it has been about 25% more than usual this month.  Mark and I are both feeling great and our clothes are fitting much nicer.  We are developing some healthy habits that I do think will be permanent changes in our life.  (The recipes are really good – almost all I will be adding to my normal rotation.  The boys have really enjoyed them too.  All I did was check out the Whole30 book & recipe book from the library.  (Click for their amazon links.))

I’ll update you again on our final progress and results.  We did take measurements and beginning weight etc.

To stay up-to-date with my surgery please follow my TeamAJ facebook page:

New Year

Here’s what I know:

  • It’s 2018 (What the what?!?!)
  • We started Whole30 today (it was doctor’s orders for me and my husband is oh so kind to join me – so just be aware dear loved ones – we are hungry and can’t have sugar)
  • I’m getting off social media again for sure until Easter, but maybe for longer.  These entries will still automatically post to Facebook and Instagram, but I won’t be posting outside of that.
  • My word for 2018 is: ABIDE.  More on that and my 2018 goals later.

So – I’ll keep you updated on my current self-imposed torture otherwise called Whole30 and you’ll be hearing from me as things are laid on my heart to share.

My hope is 2018 will be the year you can look back on as one of impact, growth, and revelation!