Archives for March 2015

Push ’em Out!


Christmas 2014 8Once a week I get my butt kicked.

Officially—it’s called “Bootcamp”—but, seriously…it’s an hour and a half of pure hell and I can think of many names more appropriate (and inappropriate) for this insanity.

The rules are this: Lunge, squat, jump (try not to cry or chum) and never put the weights down.  Finish the class! In the back of my mind I count the minutes off in incremental segments and dream about throwing my weights at the instructor.

I’m almost…almost, to the point where I’m considering adding in a second torture session a week—now that I can walk by Wednesday, a vast improvement of the groaning cowboy shuffle I displayed until Saturdays in weeks past.

It Pays to be a Winner

My trainer is Meghan.  She is very mean in the best of ways.

Sometimes when I get out of the shower and see myself naked I decide I might like her a teeny tiny little bit because my abs are emerging from a long winters rest, but mostly I hate her.

It’s a complicated relationship.

I saw a cross on her ankle and told her my husband was a pastor and that we started the church around the corner.  I thought I might get a little extra grace.

Class went an extra fifteen minutes that day.  Now, I avoid all eye-contact.

“It May, or May Not, Pay to be a Winner”

Yes, bootcamp sucks—WAAAH WAAH!

But then my son comes home and mentions he’s been invited to a Leadership Retreat for a selected few members of his football team.  He says it involves military drills and I have to dry-clean his suit.


Last Friday after school Kyle changed into his freshly pressed suit and tie and joined his team for Mass.  The boys were then bussed over to Marbella Country Club for a nice dinner.  They returned to the school and climbed into their sleeping bags.  Lights out at 11:00pm.

At 2:00am the boys were awakened to a blasting Bose speaker spewing out unpleasant military chants.  In minutes, they were dressed in a t-shirt with their last name and SEAL cargo pants.

The boys boarded a bus and were driven down to the beach in Encinatas.  It was 33 degrees when they were dumped off on the coast in the middle of the night.  For the next nine hours they were put through NAVY  SEAL training.  They swam, ran, carried logs, sandbags and each other for endless miles, in the dark, in the dirt, all the while getting hosed in the face and freezing—that is until the sun came out and then they were burning up.

‘We’re Not Going to Stop Until We Get at Least One Quitter”

Some of the boys puked.  Others cried.  At one point or another they all lost it.

“Nothing Lasts Forever”

My son Kyle had quarter finals this last week.  He studied every night until past midnight.  He also had a bad cold.  The kid was run down going in to this gig and yet somehow he pushed through every mental and physical barrier imaginable.  Not bad for a sixteen-year-old!

“You Don’t Have to Like It, You Just Have to Do It’

He also kept a smile on his face for most of the time—except for when he was paired with three skinny receivers and they dumped a log fully on his shoulders.  He might have frowned then.

“It’s All Mind Over Matter, If I Don’t Mind, Then it Doesn’t Matter”

Kyle came out on the other side—sunburned, sand burned, nipples chafed and unable to eat for almost twenty-four hours.  He now has bronchitis and double pink eye.  The doctor found sand deep in his ears.

‘On Your Backs, on Your Bellies, on Your Backs, on Your Bellies. Feet!”

But he made it.  And he says he’s glad he did it.  It taught him something valuable about himself.

He can do hard things—and survive.

My little weekly boot camp pales in comparison to the hell Kyle endured last weekend–but it’s hard for me.

Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

My dad used to say, “keep on, keeping on.” Same thing–less profound

Am I willing to do the hard stuff?  Am I willing to endure more than I think I can in order to grasp hold of the extraordinary intangibles of a life well lived: courage, endurance and fortitude—characteristics that will set me apart from the pack.

‘There Are Two Ways to Do Something … the Right Way, and Again’

Often, I’m forced into the hard.  It’s not something I usually sign up for.

But what about when I’m invited to do something bigger and more strenuous than I believe is possible?  Something God sized…

Do I say yes?

Kyle’s training made me think about the hard things I’m not forced into but invited into.

The little nudges from God to tackle really big things—the whispers to take a big risk, or fall down and get back up again.  The knot in the back of my throat saying to engage, speak up, forgive, or step up.

I believe the best things in life aren’t easy—which is why only a few experience the view from the top.  80% of SEAL training volunteers don’t make it over the course of six months.

Most people quit.

I refuse to be one of them.

I don’t think God invites us to live a comfortable life—he’s asking us (like Kyle) to get sand in our ears and get messy.

‘Anybody Want to Quit?”

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy PauschThe Last Lecture

What hard thing has God put before you right now? 

This is the training Kyle went through–although not his school. J Serra’s video is not yet available.


Sources: 10 Inspirational SEAL Quotes

The Day I Met Jesus–Why it’s a Must Read

The day I Met

A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting the author Mary DeMuth at a writers conference.  I confess I was a bit nervous–I mean, she’s kind of a big deal in the Christian world.

I was already a fan–her books are beautiful and raw, with words woven together like tapestry–but Mary put me right at ease with her humble and loving spirit.

Fast forward to now: A few weeks ago, Mary sent me a copy of her latest book co-authored with Frank Viola–The Day I Met Jesus.  It’s the stories of five women from the Bible turned into narrative.

And don’t we all love a good story?

The book came at a time when my own family has been clinging to our faith and crying out for Jesus in a tumultuous and stormy season.  My husband’s back injury, nerve damage and subsequent spine surgery have been challenging, to say the least.  I’m not complaining, OK, maybe a little…but it’s been really, really hard over here. (Tear, tear, hiccup…tear)

And I have been on my knees clinging to hope.  Reading these stories resonated in my own parallel struggles.  In the dark moments, I too, am the broken woman waiting for the stones to be thrown and looking to Christ for mercy.

(Not adulterous…just broken)

But I think we can all find ourselves in these women.

Until March 17th Mary and Frank are giving away 7 bonuses to those who purchase the book from and I wanted to share this with you because I love it and I’m guessing you will too!

I’ve included their interview here if you want to learn more about the book.

–Samantha  (And please keep up the prayers.  We deeply appreciate all your support!  Tim has a long way to go in recovery.  We are praying for full restoration of the nerves in his leg)

Interview with Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth on The Day I Met Jesus
Why did you write this book?

Frank: Back in 2007, I got an idea to create a new genre of Christian literature. I call that genre biblical narrative. The new genre would contain autobiographical fiction closely based on the Scriptural narratives and faithful to first-century history. It would also contain a nonfiction section that practically applies the narratives to our lives. Finally, it would include a discussion guide so that readers could better digest and apply the content to their lives.  It was my first book in this genre. In it, Lazarus tells the story of when Jesus came to His hometown Bethany and all the amazing things that took place there.  It is the second book in this genre.

I wanted it to tell the story of five women whom Jesus encountered, allowing each woman tell their own story. I also wanted to draw out practical lessons and critical insights from each narrative. Because I am not a woman, I couldn’t do justice to the stories on my own, so I asked the top female Christian fiction writer of our time — Mary DeMuth — to coauthor it with me.

Mary: I wrote it because I love stories, and I felt that some of these encounters with Jesus didn’t get the air time they deserved. By doing careful research and weaving more of a story arc into the five women and encounter, I hope to show people that the characters of the New Testament are actual, breathing people with stress and dysfunction and hopes just like us. Frank pioneered the idea of this book, so all credit goes to him for imagining it. I’m grateful he asked me to be a part.

Tell the story of how you two came to coauthor it.

Mary: Frank approached me about writing the fiction side of The Day I Met Jesus after he found out I wrote fiction as well as nonfiction.

Frank: When I began to think about a female coauthor for the project, I wanted it to be someone who (1) writes fiction (2) is a remarkable writer, and (3) believes in the classic tenets of the Christian faith (Jesus is divine and human, He rose again from the dead, Jesus is Lord and Savior of the world, etc.) As I investigated authors who fit the bill, I quickly thought of folks like Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury. But then I discovered that Mary DeMuth wrote fiction. I had known that she was a non-fiction writer, but had no idea that she could “switch hit.”

I also discovered that she was an outstanding writer of fiction as she was of nonfiction. (I regard Mary to be the Mickey Mantle of Christian literature — she has enormous power from both sides!) So Mary ended up being the only name on my “short list.” You feature five women from the Gospels. Why pick women in particular as your subjects?

Frank: Some of the most gripping, instructive, inspiring stories in the Gospels involve women. The longest recorded conversation that Jesus ever had was with a woman. And some of the most amazing things He said and did related to women. So I thought that a book in which some of these women told their own stories about Jesus would not only bring the Gospels to life in our minds, but it would also bring Jesus alive in our hearts.

Mary: Women had significant, personal encounters with Jesus, a fact that we sometimes miss, particularly since so many stories revolve around the 12 disciples(who were men). I love that we’re elevating these stories, helping people re-imagine just how radical it was that Jesus so beautifully interacted with these women.

Which one is your favorite and why?

Mary: For me, it’s hard to say. I love them all in different ways. This week, I’ll say it’s Mary of Bethany. She didn’t have a blatant “need” for Jesus. She was just downright faithful and often misunderstood. I think a lot of people can relate to that.

Frank: Mary of Bethany is my all-time favorite disciple of Jesus. This came home to me when I wrote God’s Favorite Place on Earth. (Mary was the sister of Lazarus, so she gets ample airtime in that book.)I love Mary because she knew Jesus better than most, anticipating His reactions and even His impending death. She also paid the price for loving Him, for she was falsely accused by both her sister and the other disciples (on two different occasions), mostly out of jealousy. In both situations, Mary embraced the spirit of the Lamb, refusing to defend herself. But Jesus Himself rose to her defense on both occasions. He also gave her an enduring honor that He gave no one else. would someone want to read the book?

Frank: If someone wants a good story to get tied up into . . . or if they want to see the Bible come to life in a compelling way . . . or if they want to experience Jesus Christ anew and afresh . . . or if they want to identify with people who were far worse off than they are, and see what Jesus did for them . . . or if they want to be given hope and encouragement in their situation . . . or if they are lacking love for the Lord and want that love to be rekindled . . . or if they want new motivation and fresh inspiration to follow Jesus more closely . . . or if they want to increase their faith and expectation in the Lord, they’ll want to read The Day I Met Jesus.

Mary: Someone would want to read it because it’s truly unique. It’s biblical narrative, but in short story form, but it doesn’t end there. After you’ve been absorbed into a page-turning story, Frank exegetes the wisdom from each encounter and helps you apply it to your life.ll us about the course upplements the book.

Frank: The Day I Met Jesus Master Course is designed for those who wish to delve deeper into the themes set forth in the book. It includes a workbook and 20 audio messages delivered by Mary and I. In addition, it includes 8 bonus eBooks from Mary and I. It also includes a closed forum where people can access us both directly for Q&A and dialogue. People can check it out at The Day I Met

Frank: They’ll get these 7 exclusive bonuses. 1. An exclusive audio interview where Mary and I give a behind-the-scenes look at all the facets of the book. The interview covers where the idea of the book came from, why we wrote the book, what it was like collaborating, the hardest part about writing it, and much more. 2. Mary’s Book Beautiful Battle in Kindle & Nook. 2. Mary’s Book Beautiful Battle in Kindle & Nook. 3. My Book, Rethinking Spiritual Growth in PDF, Kindle, and Nook. 4. A never-before-released audio conference message entitled “A Woman Inside of a Man.” 5. Mary’s Book What To Do After People Poop on You in PDF. 6. A never-before-released audio conference message entitled “He’s Not Ashamed to Call Them Brothers and Sisters.” 7. A 15% discount off The Day I Met Jesus Master Course. Click here to order The Day I Met Jesus from Parable before March 17th and get your 7 exclusive bonuses.

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