Thursday, March 14, 2019

Authors encourage moms to give themselves some grace

Part 1 of an Interview with
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin
and Gretta Kennedy,
Authors of Grit and Grace:
Devotions for Warrior Moms

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have, but motherhood also has its share of challenges physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Even if a woman has read all the parenting books and received sage advice from other moms, until she becomes a mom she won’t truly understand the responsibility and challenges that come with the title. For the overwhelmed mamas who think they’ll never live up to the Supermoms around them, Suzanne Hadley Gosselin and Gretta Kennedy, authors of Grit and Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms (Harvest House Publishers), want to offer encouragement and assurance they are not alone.

Q: How did the two of you team up to write Grit and Grace?

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin (SHG): I was in the throes of raising three young children who were 5, 3 and 18-months old, and it occurred to me one day that I was depleted in every way, but especially spiritually. I found that ironic, since my husband is a pastor and I’m a Christian writer. I had many spiritual resources easily accessible to me, and yet I was still struggling. I also realized that it wasn’t good because in this season of raising young children I really needed Jesus, arguably more than ever.

Around that same time, I had a conversation with my 3-year-old daughter about how I could no longer fit into my “fanciest dress” (my wedding dress) because I had gotten bigger when I had babies. Her reaction floored me. Her eyes sparkled and she said, “Was I one of the babies in your tummy that made you get bigger?” My daughter could see the beauty in something that I had allowed to make me feel like a failure. I realized, then, that God uses these years to teach mamas so many wonderful truths through their children.

Meanwhile, God was laying it on Gretta’s heart to encourage moms of young children. Gretta studied women’s ministry at Multnomah where we met and were college roommates and had a knack for connecting with women and meeting them where they’re at. We were talking on the phone one day and realized that God had given us the exact same vision to provide digestible devotions for moms of young children to encourage and strengthen them in their role as mothers. That’s when the idea of Grit & Grace was born.

Q: Who did you write Grit and Grace for? What stage of motherhood will get the most encouragement from reading your book?

SHG: We wrote Grit and Grace for moms of young children. We’re looking at the season that encompasses babies, toddlers and early elementary school. Many times, if they have multiple children, mamas are navigating all of these stages at once. While the stories focus on the young children years, the truths from God’s Word apply to mamas (and even grandmas) at all stages. We have had Grandmas comment that they feel encouraged to show greater intentionality toward their grandchildren.

Q: What does it mean to you to have grit and grace?

Gretta Kennedy (GK): Having grit is pushing through the hard stuff of motherhood with determination and laser-focus on the end goal of raising children who love and serve Jesus. Having grace means realizing that God offers you peace, rest and help in this season and as well as being kind to your children and especially yourself!

Q: Can you describe the format of the book? How much time does each devotional take to read?

SHG: Grit and Grace is a 90-Day devotional, and our concept was to provide quick-read nuggets of truth for busy mamas. These devos should take no longer than five minutes to get through, and the Scripture passage is included so you don’t even have to go find your Bible. The idea is that these can be read in the tiny spaces in a mama’s day—while the kids are napping or she’s nursing the baby. Each daily devotion includes a true story of motherhood and delves into a spiritual truth that was learned through the experience. Each devotion also includes a prayer to allow busy moms to respond the devotion in the moment.

Q: When is the best time for you to do your own devotions? Early in the morning, during nap time or after the kids are in bed?

GK: The few times I was able to sit down and actually read my Bible when the kids were little, I found that naptime worked best for me. I was never awake enough in the morning, then I’d be completely exhausted at night. During the time my kids were tiny, I often felt like a failure in this department. That’s when I learned my devotional time needed to be throughout the day. I wrote verses on note cards and put them up in the kitchen cupboards. I played worship music all day long. I wrote messages on my bathroom mirror. Those were the ways I found I could consistently have my quiet time. Mommy brain is pretty mushy, so I took it in little spurts. I recited the same verse over and over and eventually, those were the sweetest messages I got from God.

SHG: I do best when I have devotional time interspersed throughout the day. I like to pray and listen to worship music while I’m loading the dishwasher. When I want to go a little deeper, I usually dig in after the kids have gone to bed. Like Gretta, I have often felt like a failure in this area. I want to be an amazing mommy, but I neglect the One who can help me. One of the reasons I wanted to write a devotional like this was to help exhausted moms like me, who couldn’t seem to find the time and space for daily devotional time.

Q: What are some of the topics you cover in the devotionals?

SHG: We talk about perfectionism, comparison, joy, gratefulness, fear, rejection, weariness, calling, tenacity (grit) and hope (grace). Our subtitle is Devotions for Warrior Moms, and that is how we view mamas. They are on the front lines guiding their children to God’s truth and aiming them at the target—Jesus. Grit and Grace talks about the gamut of emotions mothers of young children face, both good and bad.

Q: If moms only take away one thing from reading Grit and Grace, what do you hope they learn?

SHG: We hope they will feel encouraged and empowered that God has chosen them for their specific children. They are called to this. There are so many sweet moments that come along with the difficult ones. As one pre-reader said, “Grit and Grace is helping me treasure hunt for grace in the challenging moments of motherhood and remember to savor the sweet moments I want to be etched deep into my heart forever.” Yes. That.

Fellow Grit and Grace Warrior Moms can connect on Facebook (gritandgracemoms), Twitter (Gritandgracemom) and Instagram (@gritandgracemoms).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The most boring ending to The Bachelor ever

I swear, if tonight's finale of The Bachelor isn't more interesting than last night's (which could have been boiled down to 15 minutes), I will fall asleep. I almost face-planted at my desk this afternoon.

So, Colton knocks on Cassie's hotel room door and wants to talk to her. They walk downstairs holding hands.

Colton tells Cassie that he knew he wanted to have another conversation with her after the other night, but first he had to end things with Tayshia and Hannah. He is in love with her. He's not asking for an engagement at the end of this. He's asking for a second chance to take things day-by-day.

Cassie has been telling herself there were other women here who were further along than she was who were sure of what they wanted. Women who were ready to get married. She wants him to have what he wants at the end.

Colton not only wants to tell her that he loves her, but show her.

Cassie is still confused and doesn't understand what's happening.

Colton tells her about jumping the fence and running away. He invites her to Spain to meet his family.

She accepts, but doesn't know what she's ready for.

Ok. So personal commentary here. I thought last week that her dad talked her into doubting herself and swaying her opinion too much. Now, I don't think she's all that into Colton and all of this. I don't think she knows what she wants. I think she's too young to know/understand.

Now in Spain, Colton says there is no better place to end this journey. He didn't expect to enter this week with only one woman. However, as hard as last week was, he knows it's worth it.

Colton just hopes Cassie is able to tell him that she loves him at the end of this. But first, Colton has to sit down with everyone and tell him what's happened. His ability to joke about his virginity with his family is kind of awkward. He shares that Cassie broke up with him, but he broke up with the others, and tried to get Cassie back. When asked by his dad, Colton says he knows he is in love with Cassie, but no, doesn't think she's in love with him.

Cassie arrives, but is super nervous and tearful. She has to answer to mom and step-dad, dad and step-mom, brother and sister-in-law.

The family is pretty skeptical it seems, especially listening to her talk about not being ready yet and not sure if she can "get there."

Colton's mom asks if she and Colton can talk, leaving Cassie with EVERYONE else. Mom doesn't want him to get set up for another heartbreak. Mom just doesn't know if this is going to be reciprocated.

Colton's dad talks to Cassie. When Colton loves, he loves all the way. Cassie says she asked Colton if she was sure when he broke the news that he had broken up with the other two. She wants him to have someone who loves him fully.

Mom and Cassie talk about how she wants to be confident in her decision.

Colton tells Dad he isn't second guessing anything. He's already gone all in. Colton would rather risk getting his heart broken than miss out on Cassie.

The next day, it's time for one, final date. 

In order to get to their picnic, they have to repel down a cliff. Dumb idea.

Over the picnic, they talk about her relationship fears... like a relationship in general. A commitment.

In college, she dated a guy who had planned out proposing, but then it got really controlling. She fears having to change everything for one person.

That night, Cassie says she's glad the past week has gone like it has. He pulls out the fantasy suite card from under his place mat.

They head to the suite, kick everyone out, then Cassie realized they still have mics. They call the crew back to take the microphones, then kick everyone out again.

Chris Harrison gathers former cast members around to ponder what's going down in the fantasy suite. Who needs Onyeka, Demi, Sydney, "Goose," Jason and Ben. Ben Higgins is about the only one I start to respect. 

At least Goose says that sometimes the conversations alone are more important than other things that may go on. 

The next morning Colton is in the shower being vague about the night before. What happened was great for their relationship, he claims.

Colton and Cassie come out for the live portion of the show. They aren't engaged right now. They've talked about it, but are currently just dating. He's moving out to LA closer to her. They are going to be together, but not living together. We get clips of their weekends together since getting back from Spain. It's really super cheezy.

Colton gives her the final rose, and the show announces they are sending them back to Thailand.

There's a special performance by Air Supply.

And now the announcement of the new Bachelorette... Hannah B. aka Miss Alabama. 

You guys may have to do this next one without me. I can't handle her. She annoys me. Her many expressions. Her weird, humongous smile. The segment showing Chris telling her over Facetime was even boring.

I seriously don't know what's going to happen the next twenty minutes. 

Oh, what's going to happen is she is going to meet some guys. 

She's speechless making for a really boring bit of TV.

Luke - He says Hannah is the only one that he wanted to be the Bachelorette.

Dustin - He comes bearing champagne and wants to toast the beginning of an amazing journey and loving each other every single day.

Cam - He is from Austin, Texas and starts rapping like he's in Hamilton or something. He's an Aggie. Doesn't bode too well in my book.

Connor - He wants to make sure they are on the same level, so created a step so they could look at each other eye-to-eye.

Luke S. - He reminds me a little bit of Nick. He makes a going down south joke. (Chris makes a joke about him being Nick-like too.)

Hannah is ready to give out a rose right now. She said she was joking, but Chris found her a rose.

She gives it to... Cam. At first, I thought maybe she just didn't remember his name.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Just when you didn't think The Bachelor could drag on any more

So what happened after Colton jumped the fence, tonight we will supposedly find out.

I was talking on the phone, so got to fast forward through the season recap at the top of the show.

After the jump, the crew takes off looking Colton, but can't seem to find him. They take out cars, they look through the brush along the side of the road. They call out for him, but no answer. Finally, one of the cars driving into town finds him walking down the road. It's him, but he will not reply to his name being yelled. He will not talk to the producer who is walking along side him.

Chris Harrison finally gets to him and tries to have a conversation. Colton says he is done. He is done done. Colton finally agrees to get in a car instead of walking to the airport.

So how does Hannah find out she doesn't have a date, a fantasy suite date at that? How does Tayshia find out Colton is done?

The morning after the attempted escape, Chris sits down with Colton to talk. Colton thinks anytime something good happens to him that it is followed by something bad.

Colton could tell something was off when Cassie arrived after talking to her dad. He realized in middle of it last night that it was Cassie he fell in love with, and it's time to eliminate the other two women to clear the confusion Cassie has. Right now, he feels like Cassie completes him.

Chris says, "Are you sure breaking it off with the others will do it? What if she's just not into you?"

Colton thinks he has a good gut instinct though. He's going to fight for the woman he loves.

First up, Colton goes to talk to Tayshia. He's definitely shaken, and Tayshia tries to hug him to help help. Colton tells her that he owes her the respect to be honest and tell her that his heart can't love two people and his heart is with someone else. Tayshia doesn't look overly surprised or upset when he tells her that he loves Cassie.

Tayshia asks to talk to him without the cameras, but they still have microphones. Tayshia is upset and cries in Colton's arms before he leaves her. She packs up to leave.

During the live segment, Tayshia takes the hot seat to talk. She was shocked when Colton arrived that day. 

Colton comes out to talk, and Tayshia asked what was missing. After mumbling on, it just comes down to another relationship was there more. There's a lot of jibber jabber that seems pretty empty. I'm distracted, as usual. Someday, I'm not going to be blowing my nose like crazy. 

Back to Portugal, it's nighttime before Colton arrives to talk to Hannah. He tells her that she has always been one of those people that could pick him up. However, he can't be in love with two people. He loves Cassie.

Hannah didn't expect him to say that. Colton says that he thought it was going to be her. Hannah reminds him of home. She asks him what didn't work, but he doesn't have an answer.

Hannah feels a bit like Colton. She makes everyone feel better, but no one wants to stick around. She didn't think it was possible to have a better connection than what they had.

On set, Hannah is crying just like she was in Portugal. 

Colton is now suddenly conflicted that maybe he is making the wrong decision. Hannah is pouting, quite honestly, about being about to go home without telling him she loved him like she was about to. She didn't get her fantasy suite date *foot stomp*.

I can't handle all the snot and tears. Colton loves Cassie so much he's willing to walk away from someone "as great" as Hannah (his words, not mine.)

Hannah and Chris Harrison sit down to talk. She thought it was going to be her. She says the hardest thing has been going through watching this and people walking up asking to see her engagement ring when she doesn't have one. Watching back just makes her more confused. 

There's a lot of painful second guessing going on. Hannah wants to know if they had a date, and their date first, that week in Portugal if things had been different. Chris Harrison asks if Colton ever thought about having that one last overnight date. Colton says he did not. 

Hannah tells Colton that what Cassie did to him is what he did to her (Hannah). 

So, now Harrison is going on about how for the first time in Bachelor history there are no women left on the show. Yet, we have a few minutes left tonight and two hours tomorrow.

That means, we have to bring Bachelors of the past out. Ben, Garrett, Jason and Blake have to all give their input on where they think Colton goes from here.

Preview of tomorrow night:

Cassie packs up in Portugal and says she cannot commit to Colton. She wants to take herself out of the equation and let someone else have him.

Colton, however, is going after Cassie.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Awesome God

Since I missed my week to teach because I was sick, I'm having to pull out some old videos to re-share this month.

Awesome God

By Rich Mullins
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

Our God is an awesome God;
He reigns from Heaven above
With wisdom, pow’r, and love.
Our God is an awesome God!

Our God is an awesome God;
He reigns from Heaven above
With wisdom, pow’r, and love.
Our God is an awesome God!

Our God is an awesome God!
Our God is an awesome God!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hope filled living is possible, even in an unstable world


As in the days of Jeremiah, God is calling
out to his people with a message of hope.

Looking at today’s world, hope usually isn’t the first word that comes to mind. We live in a polarizing world where everyone is taking sides over issues large and small, leaving us to wonder what the future may hold. On a personal front, marriages fail, bank accounts run low, friendships end, and the everyday demands of a fast-paced life get us down. However, what the world is experiencing today isn’t all that different than what the prophet Jeremiah experienced thousands of years ago, and as author Melissa Spoelstra shares in her new book, Dare to Hope: Living Intentionally in an Unstable World, God is calling out to His people with a message of hope—a message that intentional living is possible even in an uncertain world.

“If we allow our thoughts to linger on things such as the national debt, the condition of the environment, the increase in violence toward even our most innocent, and the looming moral bankruptcy of our culture, we can get pretty discouraged. The situation only compounds when we add our personal issues to these corporate ones. Life can be rough,” Spoelstra writes. “Living in such an unstable world can give us a propensity to worry. Other choices of fear, doubt, and bitterness call us to select their posture when life gets overwhelming. Yet God offers us another choice. Through Him we can dare to hope—not in the government, our family, a job, or even the church. God calls us to surrender our wills to His and rest our hope in Him alone.”

In Dare to Hope, Melissa Spoelstra draws upon her best-selling Bible study Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World to examine this hope-filled message, reminding readers that God is rich in mercy and love and has good plans for his people. Finding the source of our hope means believing with confidence that God has good plans in store for us—even when life takes an unexpected or tragic turn. She explores
six incredibly relevant themes that lift right off the pages of Jeremiah’s manuscript, providing practical guidelines for hope filled living:

1. Surrender                                           
2. Reject Counterfeits                            
3. Listen  
4. Check Your Heart  
5. Take Personal Responsibility
6. Pursue Intimacy with God

Jeremiah was referred to as the weeping prophet because he brought a message that didn’t feel very hopeful. God used Jeremiah as a mouthpiece to tell the people how they had gotten off course. Though there were times when Jeremiah experienced depression and discouragement, he still knew where to turn. When he poured out his heart, God reassured and encouraged him. Jeremiah chose to dare to hope based on God’s faithfulness rather than the trials he and his nation experienced.

God spoke through His prophet Jeremiah with clarity to a culture summarized by political globalization. The Babylonian Empire brought people of different cultures together. Ancient Judah also faced economic crisis because of their indebtedness to other nations. Even with these economic issues, they struggled against social materialism. Jeremiah said that from the least to the greatest, the people’s lives were ruled by greed. On the religious front, people added other gods to the worship of Yahweh leading to religious pluralism. Sound familiar?” Spoelstra asks. “Political globalization, economic crisis, social materialism and religious pluralism can all echo into our day. Jeremiah’s message brings us back to eternal truths about where our hope lies in troubled times.”  

Spoelstra leaves readers with the assurance that despite life’s uncertainties, it is possible to live with hope. And hope is something we so desperately need.

About the author

Melissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker (including the Aspire Women’s Events), Bible teacher, and author who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping others to seek Christ and know Him more intimately.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God’s Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. Spoelstra is the author of five Bible studies (Elijah, Numbers, First Corinthians, Joseph, and Jeremiahand three books (Total Family Makeover, Total Christmas Makeover, and Dare to Hope).

Spoelstra makes her home in Pickerington, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

There's never a need for a two-hour Women Tell All.

I blogging tonight on The Bachelor: The Women Tell All because that's what I do, but my level of care tonight is super low.

All I want in the world is to be able to sleep. I laid in my bed for eight hours last night with my eyes closed, but I can't say that much if any sleeping happened. The insomnia continues. I'll probably bring up blowing my nose again a few times tonight.

Before leaping into the show and the cattiness, we get a recap of the worst break-ups. I should have let it play on while my mom called to check-in. I told her she had her mother's timing of calling at the worst times.

Back to playing the video, people are snot crying which just makes me need to blow my nose. I've seen enough snot.

The clips end with the fence jump. Chris Harrison asks the women what they thought about it. While Heather is talking, whatever girl is behind her is all unflattering cleavage. I really didn't want to see that. I don't know who it was because all you could see was chest due to bad zooms.

Speaking of bad zooms, returning from a commercial break, we see another Colton in the shower shot.

Chris Harrison asks all the women what they thought of Colton when they arrived. I still don't recognize the ugly cleavage woman when they show her face. I think it was Caitlin, but it may have been Nina.

Demi makes a tacky and crude comment I'm not acknowledging more than that.

Next reel all the women talking smack about each other. It ends with Demi applauding her own childish behavior.

Courtney jumps right in middle of Demi about her trash talk. Chris Harrison tells them to take a breath because they would go through all of this. They jump into Catherine taking three turns.

They move on to Onyeka and Nicole. Nicole says she was bullied. Tracy says that even though Onyeka has a polarizing personality, she was not a bully. Onyeka stands up, gives the definition of being a bully and asks when she displayed that kind of behavior. As soon as Nicole's mouth opens, before a sound can come out, Onyeka cuts her off. In my opinion, point proven.

Sydney says Onyeka was just there to make noise. Then, they start after each other.

Onyeka deserves as much attention as Demi. I hate how everyone is ganging up on Nicole and siding with Onyeka who is a witch.

After a commercial, Chris asks Katie what had brought her to the point of saying that some people weren't ready for marriage. Caelynn says it brought every relationship into question. When Katie is asked, she says she was mainly talking about Caelynn and Cassie. Caelynn explains the conversation about being "the next Bachelorette" was that she and Cassie were talking as friends and that if one of them ended up engaged at the end, they hoped the other got to be The Bachelorette and find love too.

Some of the women giving input were seriously sent home on the first night. Who is Jane?

Kirpa defends her part in throwing people under the bus. Hannah B. (Miss AL) says she is trying to keep out of the conversation (right), but disagrees with Caelynn's side of the story. Hannah doesn't want to get into their drama. They are just oil and water, but are in a good place now.

Attention turns to Demi. I think I'll distract myself by blowing my nose while they talk about the Cougar Club. Demi and Courtney get into it again. Demi admits maybe calling Courtney a cancer wasn't kind. Instead she was a bed bug. Courtney gets up in Demi's face, says Demi has the maturity of a three-year-old, then jams a pacifier in her mouth. That wasn't mature either.

Chris puts Demi in the hot seat. Great. More attention on Demi. Courtney is about in tears. Cue Demi's crude highlight reel. She has a tear in her eye when she sees Colton sending her home. Chris asks her if it bothered her that her maturity was brought up a lot. She says no because she is confident in herself which she thinks is actually more mature. They get into her being open about sharing her mom was in prison. She says she never told the girls because it was shameful for her. She seemed to brag about it early on. Demi says her point in sharing is to show that she can love and love unconditionally.

Next in the hot seat is Nicole who Chris points out is the woman to share her emotions most this season. Cue the reel of her crying over everything. I didn't realize how bad it was until the cry reel. Chris grabs a box of Kleenex and gives her one before he asks anything. He asks if that's just her or if the situation was part of it. She says both. As the daughter of a psychiatrist, she always grew up being encouraged to be open about her feelings. As a Cuban/Latina, there's some emotion there too. She starts crying happy tears when she is given a year's supply of Halo Top ice cream.

Hannah B. is next in the hot seat. I have a hard time watching her big mouth pageant smiling self. She comes off as so fake to me. Yeah, you're right. I didn't like anyone this season. She feels a pressure to be perfect, so tries to be what people expect of her. Being vulnerable is hard for her, and she was with Colton. She realized she wanted more than what everyone did back home in Alabama - get married right out of college and start "spitting out babies."

The last woman to get her time before Colton comes out is Caelynn who was heart broken when she was sent home after hometowns. She felt chemistry from the get go. She cries through her highlight reel. As she watches back, she sees that they were falling for each other. They had a great hometown. She just doesn't know what happened. She's shaking thinking about talking to him in a few minutes.

Colton is a bit nervous when he comes out. I was going to give Demi props for saying she realized watching back that Colton wanted to be able to lead someone, and she was doing the leading which means they weren't a match. Then she gets immature introducing Colton to Courtney since they never did meet/talk.

Caelynn gets the chance to ask what happened. He didn't say anything then to give her closure because he didn't have anything to say. Caelynn realizes it just came down to she loved him, but he didn't love her.

Hannah asks why he introduced her to his family realizing it wasn't going to go anywhere.
Sydney makes some crass innuendo, and that ends anything Colton had to say to the women.

After a commercial break, they talk about the jump. Colton thought he was going to land on a production tent, but was glad to find no one on the other side. It was freeing to run off. No real hints about what happens next with all of that.

Cue the blooper reel to end the show with many bug moments.

Onto next week.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Colton finally makes his leap on The Bachelor

Go figure, tonight I am starting my blog an hour behind, and I don't need to be running late tonight. I haven't slept more than a couple of hours at a time (and then not well) since Thursday night since I have been sick. I was trying to get some work finished and sneak in and out of the grocery store quick and eat a bite. I had to get some Melatonin to try to get some sleep since I made the stupid mistake of taking Sudafed which has given me insomnia. And I knew better. I've been a bit psycho today.

Earlier in the day, I was convinced I would fall asleep in middle of blogging. Now I am not so sure because I tried to sleep this afternoon. I laid on the couch with my eyes shut for an hour, but nothing.

So, anyway, The Bachelor. 

Instead of starting with Colton in the shower, we start with a really awkward conversation between Colton and Chris Harrison about the fantasy suites coming up in the next week. Colton goes back in to tell the three remaining women who just got roses that they will be headed to Portugal. Colton has never been to Europe, so he's excited.

Once they arrive, we see each of the women walking around being reflective talking about their connections over the season.

I'm 8 minutes (or less) in and am so over fantasy suite and such references. As over as over it as I am blowing my nose, and I have done a lot of nose blowing.

First date is Tayshia.

Tayshia and Colton go off on helicopter ride. As they sit around having their windy picnic on a cliff he talks about wanting to use the time this week to talk and learn more about each other. There's some other references that I'm just over and don't care about. They climb to the top of the lighthouse and make out.

All I really care about at this point is watching Colton jump the wall and being able to breathe through my nose.

Over dinner Tayshia's wardrobe tape isn't working which leads to another awkward moment. Or two. Or more. It's rather ridiculous. Colton is getting a show.

They talk about her past experience with her ex-husband, how he cheated and how if they were to get together, Colton would promise not to do that. He hands her the fantasy suite card supposedly written by Chris Harrison that looks more like his teenage daughter with very good penmanship wrote.

They feed each other dessert, make a mess of the champagne, stroll past the bubble bath and into the bedroom.

The next morning, Tayshia described their night as interesting. She goes on to say it didn't get physical, but they did get to know each other more. She did tell Colton that she loves him.

Colton says he's not in love yet. He's still falling in love.

Second date is Cassie.

Colton wants to be in love with Cassie, but it's taken them longer. He didn't really see her until Singapore. He knows they need more time together. As they kiss whipped cream off of each others noses, I'm wondering why I could breathe through my nose earlier but cannot now.

Yep, I'm distracted and actually doing a little work at the same time too.

They go shopping and are as immature as you would expect a 23 year-old to be. They dance on the streets, make out in public. They finally take it down an alley to get some privacy. 

Then they dance with some locals to an accordion. Something about Cassie makes him feel complete. 

Have I mentioned tonight I really don't like her? 

Colton knows point blank that he loves her. 

As they picnic on a rooftop, Colton tells Cassie that he can see fitting in with her family. Cassie asked the conversation with her dad went. Colton says it was the hardest of the conversations. She had a tough convo with him too. He then reveals that he did not get her dad's approval for a proposal if it comes to that. She seems puzzled. He assures her it was just that her dad didn't want them to rush into anything. The conversation stalls because she is confused. Cassie asks Colton if he's ok with the fact he didn't get permission. 

Cassie is thrown off kilter now. She thought left hometowns all good with everyone. 

Despite the awkwardness, this has been a great day for Colton. He hopes to move past all that tonight. Don't think that happens because Cassie's dad arrives in Portugal. Funny how that happens. Cassie is shocked to see him. 

Dad holds engagement very seriously, and he's not convinced that Cassie is in love with Colton. Cassie shares that Colton had disclosed that he didn't have permission. Dad explains it wasn't appropriate after a 30 minute conversation. Colton didn't exactly throw red flags but seemed conflicted. She thinks she loves him. Dad asks if there is a but. She wants more time with him. She's not ready for it to be over, but not necessarily ready to get engaged. 

Dad just didn't get the vibe that Cassie felt like Colton was THE ONE. He tells her that one day she will find someone and know it, but has to think the long term. He thinks if Colton were the one, Cassie would know it. She wants what her parents have, and she doesn't feel it right now.

Ok. I could go two ways here. If they were to get engaged at the end, it could develop into that. However, this is reality TV, chances are....

Colton is caught up with Cassie. He's a smitten kitten. His mind is about to be blown. 

She's quite nervous. Before she can say anything, Colton brings up talking to her dad again. He wants to make sure she understands that what her dad said doesn't change how he feels about it. Cassie thought it would bother Colton more. Colton doesn't show much expression when Cassie reveals that her dad showed up at the hotel today. At least there's a delayed reaction. 
Cassie's dad never had any doubts about her mom and vice versa. Right now, she has doubts. She would hate to see him leave without him getting what he was looking for here. Cassie says she loves him so much, but not in love. "Do you know what I mean?" She feels like she's having doubts. 

Colton asks if Cassie was planning on leaving tonight. Yes she was planning on leaving, but she doesn't know... She gets up and walks out. She's second guessing herself. 

Colton goes out to find her. Cassie says she wanted to be excited about tonight, not confused. He tells her that he is fine with being patient. She doesn't know what she's going to do now. Colton tells Cassie he doesn't want to lose her. He wants them to sit back down. 

She doesn't think she has been so conflicted in her life. At 23, I'm not sure that's saying much. 

Colton tells her that after Thailand, she is the person he is most excited to be with. He says if they aren't ready for an engagement at the end, they aren't ready. Colton says that verbally he didn't know where she stood, but her actions led him to believe she was in it. He says to quite putting a two-week timeline on the rest of her life. He gives away his hand saying he wants it to be her at the end. She asks how he can say that with two other girls left. He says he loves her and wants to be be her. He's shaking. She tells him to stop shaking. 

I got cold, and I'm shaking. 

She just doesn't know if she can get to the same place. Colton's willing to give her the time and space she needs. He's going to keep fighting for her, but Cassie feels like staying is the wrong decision for her. 

They each but on their coat and Colton walks Cassie out. Colton wants to be with Cassie. Cassie wants Colton to be with someone who is insanely in love with him. She walks off toward the car. He walks in the other direction. He goes upstairs and shuts himself in his room. 

Colton comes out of the room declaring he's done with all this. Walks back down. Pushes a camera away, walks out in the darkness. You hear the producers and directors saying to "Roll Tape" and "Get Chris." Chris tries to catch up with Colton, but he jumps the fence. The team opens the gate and Chris tries to find Colton. He calls after him, but it is darker than dark. 

That's where it ends. 

Tomorrow is the "Women Tell All." Next week the hunt for Colton continues. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Unto Thee Oh Lord

Since I missed my week to teach because I was sick, I'll have to pull out some old videos this month. (My, how they have grown!(

Unto Thee, Oh Lord

By Charles F. Monroe
Used by permission. CCLI # 1132191

(women echo)
Unto Thee Oh Lord,
Do I lift up my soul.
Unto Thee Oh Lord,
Do I lift up my soul.

Oh my God, (women echo)
I trust in Thee, (women echo)
Yea, let me not be ashamed,
Let not my enemies triumph over me.

(women echo)
Yea let none that wait,
On thee be ashamed.
Yea let none that wait,
On thee be ashamed.

(women echo)
Remember not,
The sins of my youth.
Remember not,
The sins of my youth.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Blog tour sign-ups are open for She Dreams by Tiffany Bluhm

She Dreams: Live the Life You were Created For

Abingdon Press

Tour dates: April 30 - May 14

About the book:
Every woman was born to dream—to live a life of beauty, passion, adventure, and purpose. No matter how big or how small they are, our dreams push us to become women of courage, grace, and grit. God in His goodness breathes new dreams within our hearts and revives the dreams that have died, inviting us to trust Him as we dream impossible dreams that only He can bring to pass—because God not only gives dreams; He fulfills them.
In this six-week study we will look at Moses’ journey to live out the God-sized dream given to him, exposing the ancient wisdom and truth God offers for every woman with a dream beating in her heart. With timely truth and encouraging accounts of God’s heart and hand in the life of Moses as well as in the lives of ordinary women, author Tiffany Bluhm will dare you to dream the impossible dreams the Lord is stirring in your heart, reclaim any broken dreams, and trust God for the victory. Throughout the study you will identify:
- The role of prayer as you grow into your dreams.
- The importance of obedience as you pursue what God has for you.
- Why your dreams are a blessing not only to you but also to others.
- How your failures can be a gift that help your dreams become a reality.
- The life-changing love, power, and wisdom of the Dream Giver.
Get ready to discover the role you are designed and destined to play as you partner with God for the impossible!

Tiffany Bluhm, author of the She Dreams and Never Alone books and Bible studies, is a speaker, writer, and leader of Sip and Savor, a dynamic and growing community Bible study for women, who is passionate about helping women come to know their value and purpose because of a loving, redeeming God. In a style that speaks to women right where they are, she shares insights from a life spent chasing after Jesus while walking alongside women from suburbia to the inner city, jails and brothels, and the slums of Kolkata.

Tiffany speaks regularly at conferences and events nationally and internationally and writes for a number of websites, print publications, and popular blogs, including the YouVersion Bible app, Deeply Rooted Magazine, and She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and two sons, and blogs at

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Motherhood Requires Grit and Grace

New devotional book offers moms
of young children encouragement
and spiritual nourishment

Being a mom is one of the most rewarding experiences a woman can have, but motherhood also has its share of challenges physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. Even if a woman has read all the parenting books and received sage advice from other moms, until she becomes a mom she won’t truly understand the responsibility and challenges that come with the title. For the overwhelmed mamas who think they’ll never live up to the Supermoms around them, Suzanne Hadley Gosselin and Gretta Kennedy, authors of Grit & Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms (Harvest House Publishers/February 12, 2019/ISBN: 978-0736976244/ $16.99), want to offer encouragement and assurance they are not alone.

From firsthand experience, Gosselin and Kennedy share about the rigors and joys of being a mom. Elbow deep in the grind of diapers, laundry and peanut butter sandwiches, moms may find themselves struggling in the day-to-day challenges of parenting. “Having grit is pushing through the hard stuff of motherhood with determination and laser-focus on the end goal of raising children who love and serve Jesus,” Kennedy explains. “Having grace means realizing that God offers you peace, rest and help in this season. Also, as you give yourself grace, you will find you have even more grace to give yourself and your kids from the One who is present in your life right now.”

Grit and Grace is a refreshing collection of 90 daily devotions written by two moms who have found themselves desperately in need of encouragement. They hope to offer reassurance and hope to other moms. “When I was in the throes of raising three young children, one day it occurred to me that I was depleted in every way, but especially spiritually,” Gosselin says. As a pastor’s wife, I had many spiritual resources easily accessible to me, and yet I was still struggling. That was a big problem, because in this season of raising young children I really needed Jesus, arguably more than ever.

It was around this time that Gosselin and Kennedy, former college roommates, started comparing notes over the phone. Gosselin was beginning to realize that God uses the years of early motherhood to teach moms so many wonderful truths through their children. She wanted to share these lessons with other moms. While Kennedy’s children were past the pre-school stage, she felt God was laying it on her heart to minister to younger moms as well. God gave them the same vision to provide digestible devotions to encourage moms of young children, which led to the concept of Grit & Grace.

Through humor and vulnerability, the authors deliver short messages of truth to help moms embrace God’s calling on their lives to raise children who love and serve him. The authors understand the challenges of finding quiet time to spend in the Word, and have written the devotionals with that in mind. Reading the Scripture and prayer that accompany each day’s message will help the reader discover more fully who she is in Christ and how important she is to her children and family. The authors cover topics such as perfectionism, comparison, joy, gratefulness, fear, rejection, weariness, calling, tenacity and hope.

“We wrote Grit & Grace for moms of young children,” Gosselin says. “We’re looking at the season that encompasses babies, toddlers and early elementary school. If they have multiple children, a lot of mamas are navigating all of these stages at once. While the stories focus on the young children years, the truths from God’s Word apply to mamas at all stages. We have had Grandmas comment that they feel encouraged to show greater intentionality toward their grandchildren.”

The authors hope readers will feel encouraged and empowered that God has chosen them for their specific children because they are called to this. Fellow Grit & Grace Warrior Moms can connect with the authors and fellow readers to share about all aspects of motherhood on Facebook (gritandgracemoms), Twitter (Gritandgracemom) and Instagram (gritandgracemoms).

What Moms Are Saying

“LOVING it so far! I feel like I’m linking arms with you both and you’re helping me lift my eyes beyond the trenches of motherhood and onto Jesus.”
~ Jennifer Hess, Mom

This book is awesome! I have had the privilege to read a copy ahead of its release. It speaks to my soul. It is about identity and heart, not about how to do it all right. A breath of fresh air and a lifeline.”
~ Kelly Larson, Mom

“This is wonderful! So very right where young moms struggle—and rich with wisdom. I love the immediate launch into identity as well as your story of “not rockin’ this role of mom.” I pray that thousands of moms discover this treasure—and, even more—discover the riches available in Jesus.”
        ~  Diane Comer, author of Raising Passionate Jesus Followers: The Power of Intentional Parenting

“You know spending time in the Word will help you be a better mom, but you seriously cannot imagine adding one more task to your day. Reading Grit and Grace won’t feel like one more thing to do. Rather you’ll look forward to each encounter with Suzanne and Gretta as they help you keep your eyes on Christ amidst the highs and lows of motherhood.”
~ Rhonda Stoppe, Author of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

About the Authors

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin and Gretta Kennedy first met as roommates at Multnomah University. They are quick to admit they did not like each other when they first met due to opposite personalities. However, they worked out their differences and became best friends who roomed together for all four years of college. Two decades later, during a phone conversation, they realized God was laying on their hearts the desire to write a devotional for moms of young children to encourage and strengthen them in their role as mothers. It was then the idea for Grit & Grace: Devotions for Warrior Moms was born.

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a regular writer and editor for Focus on the Family and David C Cook and previously served as an editor for Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. Gosselin has written books for Zondervan, Harvest House and Tyndale and is the author of Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood.

Gosselin lives in Bakersfield, CA with her husband, Kevin, and four children. The family enjoys escaping to the ocean.

Gretta Kennedy is a speaker, mentor and writer with a degree in women’s ministry from Multnomah University and over 20 years of ministry experience. She passionately supports her husband, Jay, and his fulltime camp ministry. They are raising their three children on Vancouver Island and report their adventures on the travel blog Traveling Islanders.  

Grit & Grace is her first book.

Fellow Grit & Grace Warrior Moms can connect on Facebook (gritandgracemoms), Twitter (@Gritandgracemom) and Instagram (@gritandgracemoms).