When Normal Is Extraordinary

Bocks of Rocks


I work in a ministry in the middle of a cornfield. The thing that gets me EVERY time?

When families torn apart by drugs and alcohol are somehow, miraculously put back together. It’s only something that God can do. Every circumstance points to suffering and destruction. And instead there is healing and restoration.

My son Noah plays summer ball. I love it. I love watching him work with a team and getting coached by someone who is passionate about the game. This year, we have a newer kid that came and joined the team…here at Heartland because his family is getting restored. His father should have been in prison. He made some bad choices in his earlier days. Drugs ruled his life…and destroyed his family.

And then…God intervened. Seriously the best words ever.

God changed this man’s life. And his wife’s life. And their families’ life. They got…

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5in5 Day #2

We’ll just pretend it’s day #2, OK?

OK. Good. Glad we got that taken care of. I had fun with this one and see a few more verses in here. I also hear some brass stuff, but alas, no one has the chance to listen to the things in my head. (Probably best for all of us, I know…)

Clicky Clicky here people!  SEND DOWN THAT FIRE!


5in5 2016

It’s 5in5 time again! I love/hate this week. I’m a day late, and I could write a song about everything that happened that made it difficult to complete, it would be a country song. So, I won’t.

This is written to several of my friends and family going through some very difficult times right now. Another mass found when there shouldn’t have been one. Cancer treatments have begun for 4 of my friends. A divorce for another one is inevitable. A wife left alone to raise children without her best friend and love of her life. I am touched by all of these people and their fight as they trust in God, even when it really doesn’t make sense.

God simply states in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”  He also says in Isaiah 42:10, “I will make you strong.” I am praying that over my friends constantly these days.

The Victory is His. AMEN

Click here on this link: “Come To Me”



Saying Goodbye

This is a post from an older blog that I have been looking for and it just came up on my Facebook memories. This was written when I found out my OB was moving. Daniel and I dealt with infertility for 6 very long years before Noah was conceived. That is 6 years of baby shower after baby shower (seriously, if you knew our church you would understand. There is usually 5-8 women pregnant at a time). 6 years of watching mothers choose drugs over their children. 6 years of watching all of the baby dedications. 6+ years of raising other people’s children. 6 years of fighting the “why me?” And celebrating the “I’m so glad He chose you to have a child” instead. I love celebrating children. They are a gift! No matter if you adopt or do finally meet your child with the miracle of birth, it is a gift! So I choose to celebrate.

Here is our story…
Ok, guys, I know that I am a cheesy sappy person, but I had to say goodbye to a very special person today. Let me start out by telling you our journey. Maybe then you will understand how significant this is to me.

Daniel and I have been married now for 10 years. After our first two years of marriage we started to get pretty eager to start a family. It wasn’t like we were passionately pursuing the baby thing, but we were excited to see when God would start blessing us with children. The joke was, we were going to have at least 12, and name them after the 12 tribes of Judah…just in two shots, though…two sets of 6. See, we weren’t serious, but we were very hopeful and excited!

Soon the whole baby thing became a worrisome thing. Nothing was happening. We were getting involved at our ministry by then, and soon God started blessing us with children and more children. It helped to fill a void…but being a mom and not being called a mom was beginning to wear on my heart a little. Finally I decided to go and see a doctor.

What an awful experience.

I called one on the phone, and her nurse just broke my heart. Her words were something like…”you can’t have an appointment here until you are 8 weeks along.” I cried out “how can I be 8 weeks along when I can’t get in to her see what is wrong!” The doctor there was no better. Just wait and if it happens it happens. The hope was disappearing. I finally decided after a lot of praying to go to a friend’s doctor that had just had a miracle baby. She was curt, professional and decided that I DID in fact have something wrong, and immediately started giving me medication. EXPENSIVE medication not covered on insurance. I was so embarrassed and hopeless (and broke) and after about 3 months we just stopped.

I waited a year or so and decided to see another doctor. He just basically did the same thing…medicine, see me later. The problem was that he prescribed the medicine wrong. I had already done a couple of rounds of this stuff (did I say expensive?) and didn’t want to do it wrong. I quit again.

Yes, I realize that this struggle was partly my fault because I kept quitting. I was so heartbroken and fearful, though, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. There were many times at church that we would sing some song about giving our desires to God that I had to walk out and gather myself. I knew somehow I was going to have a baby, I just had to wait.

6 years.

I went to a doctor for an exam (just a “make sure I am well” exam) and asked her about what I should do. I started crying and this Dr. was a Christian. She prayed with me there in the office and then gave me a new Dr.’s name.

I didn’t want to call. I didn’t want to be shot down again. I didn’t want to go through the pain of being told once and for all that in-vitro or adoption was the only way. I prayed and prayed and prayed. The first visit was good. She sat down with me and listened to me, and then decided to run some tests. The next visit she again sat down with me and had all of my charts from the other doctors and compared notes and actually explained things to me. I could actually wrap my brain around what she was saying. Then, in a matter of fact way, she said, “Well, I don’t think you have anything wrong with you…this shouldn’t take long at all.”

I could have burst right there. Hope? Real live hope? She did prescribe some medication for me, one the same as before, but the other one was new. It couldn’t be generic, either, but didn’t cost us the downpayment on a house. Daniel and I left with those scripts in my hand, a full understanding of what was happening and a lighter step. Could it be? Could this be all it takes for God to work? I know that God is a healer, but he also created some to be healers. He was working through this doctor for both Daniel and I.

Three months later and there it was. POSITIVE. I screamed for Daniel to come to our room. We cried and hugged and cried and hugged some more. The 6 year journey was coming to an end. Oh, I wanted to tell everyone. It was a Sunday morning, so telling the church would have been so easy. Everyone had been praying for us for soooo long. Who did we tell first? HA! Al Denson. So funny he was there leading worship for church that day. We could tell him and know one would know! He knew of our struggles, understood the pain, waiting for his little guy for 12 years.

God is so good.

So, Dr. Mona, you are amazing, and worth a trip an hour away to go and say goodbye to. You worked as a vessel of God and didn’t even know it. I pray that your move is smooth, your girls adjust well to the new school and your schedule wouldn’t be too crazy. I also pray that the nurses and receptionists will be patient with you as you take your time to sit with your patients and calm their fears and answer the pages of questions they have for you. (I always had a notebook). I also pray that you never give up letting a new mom experience the joy bringing a child into the world like you did me. I thank Jesus that you were there for me and caring enough that when I woke up in recovery you had pictures of my little boy there for me to look at. That was so kind and tenderhearted.

That’s why this day was so significant for me. Without her kindness, patience and skill I wouldn’t have this amazing little boy named Noah. This is the doctor that gave me hope when I had none. This was the doctor that God chose to show me His awesome power through.
Eliza at 9:24 PM

Missions 2016

Our annual Missions Conference is happening right now, and it has been a crazy/stressful week. I meant to post this earlier, but there isn’t enough time in my day, so I fall asleep instead! Here is a song I wrote along the theme of our conference.

A couple of things…the Story theme has really hit home with me and I wrote a piece that some of the writer’s guild thought maybe would work into a song. That is part of the bridge.
My friend Mark got up and spoke a long time ago about being a cracked and broken vessel, explaining his nervous issues one Wednesday night as he led worship. God basically said to him that the cracks are where His light can shine through. I have never forgotten that. That is part of the 2nd verse.
A lot of songs don’t mention the blood of Jesus and that that is the main thing that has changed our lives. I really wanted that in there, too.

“Here I Am”

Verse 1
Holy Spirit, we seek You now
Holy Father, we humbly bow
You ask to give all I am
Because of Your cross I’m a part of Your plan

Here I am, Lord send me
Here I am, Lord send me
Here I am, send me Lord, Lord send me

Verse 2
Holy Spirit, use my hands
I’m Your vessel, use me where I am
I lift these broken pieces to You
I want your perfect light to shine through

When You taught at the temple, You were teaching me
When You healed the blind man, You were healing me
When you calmed the raging sea, You calmed the storm deep in me
Because of Your blood, poured on that tree
I have a story – You’ve redeemed me!

Dear Week Of Rest…


Andy Griffith…I really like this show, mom.
 Yes, that’s what I shall call you, the Week of Rest. After all of the performances, all of the writing, all of the grading and all of the travel (or none if you had the stomach flu like us), we have this wonderful week of in-between. 

One blissful week where staying up late is ok and although there is still work to be done, the pressure is different. The pressure this week is more of preparing for the new year. Planning. Brainstorming. Organizing. As Jon Acuff calls it, “Slingshot week.” 

And…cleaning. And that is where this moment makes me stop and be thankful for you, Week Of Rest. Here, my boys are playing in their clean, almost organized room, with organized Legos in their new chairs watching The Andy Griffith Show. By choice. 

“Just 10 more minutes, mom?” 

Why, sure, almost angelic children (at least for tonight).  This Week Of Rest won’t last forever. I choose to enjoy it, and enjoy you. 


When you start to take some initiative, your kids will take notice and follow. When you start to take some initiative, your kids will take notice and follow.

This month our theme for our Children’s Church program is “Initiative – seeing what needs to be done, and doing it.” Boy do we have a lot to learn from this lesson, don’t we? From the volunteer cameraman, nursery worker, greeter, usher, and singer (this list could go on and on, couldn’t it?), to the person who stops and helps someone up the stairs, turns off a set of lights left on, or picks up a piece of trash that was accidentally forgotten – we have plenty of opportunities to use our initiative. We can see something that needs to be done, and, instead of waiting for someone to beg and plead with us to help them, we just do it!

What about those chairs that are there after church for the men or Bible College boys to pick up? Just imagine if a few seasoned people who loved Jesus stopped and worked side by side with these guys for 20 minutes? What a relationship we could build! What a Story we could help fulfill! What if your hands – serving alongside those tattooed arms – was the difference between him fighting through the craving for a drink and staying, instead of quitting and going on a binge? Could it even lead to him eventually accepting the love that Jesus has for him? The relationships we build with our community is one of the deciding factors on how they know our Jesus.

This seems to be a post on a situation near and dear to me where I live. Is there a way it can translate in your community, though? Does your church need a volunteer? I’m sure it does. Do you see someone in need of a friend, that you could begin to build a relationship with if you just have some initiative to take the first step? Could you really help build part of the Kingdom and make a difference if you started thinking about what you could do to serve just a little bit more?

Yes, I think you can!

5in5 Day #1 “Little Bit O’ Crazy”

5in5 Day #1 “A Little Bit O’ Crazy”

Sorry for the out of tune piano. I will have the Nord setup tomorrow. The song explains why it’s not…

“Little Bit O’ Crazy”

VS 1Late nights, Early mornings, cram it in – when you can

Start a load of Laundry

Woops I forgot, I guess I’ll start it again

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 2

Ten O’ Clock, I’m finally home, drove to Palmyra, Quincy and parts unknown

4 different stores for shoes – with 3 guys you know why I’m singin’ the blues

You know we’ve got a wedding coming up soon

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 3

Found some pants for a high price, at least the boys will look nice (for a day)

Made it back just in time – to change

Run to Shelbina for a baseball game

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 4

Supper late, and one more store, forgot the toilet paper and I can’t ignore

Showers, prayers and now the work has begun

Edit a TV show – It’s crazy, I know

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

Sometimes, You Just Have To… (oneword365)

Sometimes you just have to give up that nap.

Sometimes you just have to wake up and not hit snooze.

Sometimes you just have to be on your kids all of the time, so they will be humans that people will want to be around.

Sometimes you just need to sit yourself down, and write.

For the past couple of years, I have participated in OneWord365. Instead of several resolutions, that may or may not be around after a couple of months, you choose one word as your “theme” for the year. Two years ago it was CREATE. Last year my word was WORK. I know, some people (hi mom) think I work too much. Some people don’t think I work enough. I am not sure how I feel about it, honestly. I am one of those people who think about how others think about me, and that is part of my motivation of doing anything. Good or bad, there it is…that is what motivates me. This year I just concentrated on doing the things that I needed to do well, and not be lazy about them. I also tried to not be motivated by what others thought of me.  I was successful in some things, in other areas, I still need some work!

For example, this year our set designs for church and our TV program have been pretty successful. I am proud of the work we accomplished and the organization (SO MUCH DATA INFORMATION) that has started. Do I need to still work on that? YES. I am not good at organization. I am a hoarder of terabytes of data. I suffer from the “what ifs…” If I delete this, what if it is needed 2 years from now? So I just hoard the hard drive space and drive my coworkers (and IT staff) crazy. But…in my defense…there have been times when I looked for something and found out it had been deleted.

Work…on learning how to play piano better. Work on practicing. This one has been pretty fun! And challenging…but SO rewarding!

Raising kids is also work. There are days when I want to just lay down and sleep…and let the boys rule (destroy) the house. There might have been a few days of this happening, but, it takes work (all of the time) to teach them that when we go to someone else’s house, the boys for the most part, are to be respectful and helpful. This past weekend at my mom’s house was pretty evident that the work is paying off… 10887209_10152473687546196_2133542400710887303_o

My teaching job has been particularly challenging. For my “work” I needed to choose and order music quicker and start the practicing/learning process earlier so they had more time to have a successful concert. Music was chosen and purchased earlier than I have ever done! It’s a young bunch of students so I have a lot more work to do…Learning how to motivate/discipline/inspire this generation seems to be more work than I anticipated!


This leads up to (if you have stayed with me this long) my word for next year.


I have been challenged to make more of an effort in the things I am doing. I am a bit more organized in my work and home areas. Great! Now I need to make more of an effort to do things well.

Make an effort to plan ahead.

Make an effort to clean.

Make an effort to focus on God’s word.

Make an effort to exercise and eat right.

Make an effort to follow through on the chore chart.

Make an effort to read more.

Make an effort with friends (this one is big for me).


Make an effort to write thank you notes, call friends, visit family.

Make an effort to have friends over.


Make an effort to make my kids practice their instruments. OY VEY.


We are all busy in our days. Our kids, husbands, church friends and work take a lot out of us. And I think (contrary to popular thought these days) that is GOOD. Yes, spending time at home is wanted, and needed and required. So, when I am at home, make an effort to engage with my kids and husband. NOT turn on the TV/phone/internet. What is the point of being home with my kids if they are in one room watching TV while I am in another watching TV? I am not saying NO TV. I just need to make an effort to use the time I have with my kids and not opt for the easiest thing (find a movie to watch) as opposed to something else (play a game or read with them).

Make an effort to teach the boys discipline with their homework.

Make an effort to write more. Blog, email, write music.

Make an effort to figure out my amazing new keyboard.


I think you get the picture.

It seems like a big list…and it is. But making an effort in all of these things will make my life, my family’s, and my church better. To me, that is what it is all about. My life as a sacrifice to my Jesus. How could I not make an effort?

5in5 Day #5 “I Am Alive”

Now this was fun! My friend Mark and I got together and came up with this. It was fun working together!

Several lines are from messages from one of our speakers, Shabaka, that I had written down. Powerful stuff!


I Am Alive

Verse 1:

When I look at your greatness, when I look at your majesty

When I think of your mercy, when I think of how you saved me


Verse 2:

When I hear of all your goodness, when I hear of your love for me

When I feel you stir within me, when I feel your presence moving


Pre Chorus:

I’m alive and your Spirit lives in me, I’m alive and the grave has set me free!


I am alive! I am alive! Your mercy has come over me

I am alive! I am alive! Your grave has set me free



We will be the generation, calling down the reign of Heaven

O Lord, reveal it through me