Butterfly Sparks Designs

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Gentle Whisper

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
I Kings 19:11-12


Father -

The thought that you would cease to speak, shakes me. I have become wholly dependent on your whisper. I can barely remember how to navigate in silence.
Still - I find myself guilty of busyness and activity (wind, earthquake and fire) that surely clouds my ability to hear your voice. Help me prioritize stillness so that I may know you. I long to hear your whisper, as you pass by.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Walk for the Cure

It seems I can't get away from it. No matter where you go this month - pepto pink greets you in every store! Pink ribbons, banners, balloons, stationary, socks, t-shirts, bumper stickers, coke boxes, NFL football teams, and every product in America is declaring that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Following close on the heals of this 30 day effort is the Dallas area 3 Day Walk for the Cure.

I love the job that Susan G Komen has done in getting all of corporate America involved in the game. But the truth is, what Susan G Komen does best is mobilize the average American woman to action on behalf of herself and every woman she loves. It's the mass movement of Walking for a Cure that is transforming the hearts of the apathetic and giving hope to those who struggle with this deadly disease. Many are remembered. Many are encouraged. Many will be saved.

This year my niece Kelsey and her mom (my sister in law) Julie - are walking 60 miles in 3 days to declare they care! They care about Molly Greenwood (Our mom, grammy and 15 year cancer survivor). They care about me - recently diagnosed in 2009. And they care about every women who is or will soon face this obstacle head on.

I know you care too.

Will you join me in demonstrating our concern by helping Kelsey to raise her support for the walk? Simply click on the title of this post to go directly to her page and make your contribution. All funds must be raised by November 3rd! A tax receipt will be forwarded to you from the SGK Foundation and a great amount of appreciation and thanks will be coming from the Lang/Greenwood Support Team.



Together we can find a cure!

Blessings,

Jan

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reflections on 9/11 - A Moment of Grace

September 11, 2001 - I think of it as the JFK assassination of our generation. Who doesn't remember where they were when they heard?

In 2001, I was a stay-at-home mom of four little ones ages 1, 3, 5 and 9. I was a part-time bookkeeper for our insurance agency and actively involved in leading women's ministry at s small church of around 200. My life was busy, but safe.

On the morning of 9/11, I was about my normal routine. Still in pajamas and robe, I was cleaning up breakfast in the kitchen when the images began to come across the tv in the living room. I remember Mark calling me to come see. At that point the first tower was smoking. I remember trying to guard my children while wanting to openly gape at the tragedy. Once the first tower fell, I'm sure I did what millions of us did - I began to make calls. I wanted to know that my own loved ones were safe.

My daddy answered the phone, which was unusual because he was normally at work around 7 am. Turns out it was his day off and he and my mom were hard at work on some project around the house. I told him about what was going on and he turned on their TV. We shared our disbelief at what was happening and spent about 20 minutes reassuring each other that all was well. At the end we said I love you and hung up.

That was the last time I spoke to my daddy. Seven days later he suffered a massive brain aneurysm and within a few hours, slipped from this earth.

9/11 holds not only a horrific memory, but also a precious one for me. I am forever grateful that in the midst of attack and tragedy, I had a moment that would grace me for years to come.

I pray with a special compassion for those who lost their loved ones on that awful day. I feel somewhat related to them, as my own loss was near to theirs. I do not imagine that my loss is as difficult, and realize that I am blessed because I do not mourn as those who have no hope.

Collectively, as the CHURCH, we weep for the work of forgiveness that must be done in each of us and pray that those who are left to pick up the pieces would find the same grace and comfort in the arms of Jesus as we rest in each day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Journal Post from Israel - The Western Wall


May 11, 2010

Now it our time at the Western Wall. 3/4ths for men. 1/4th for women. The men are doing Bar Mitzvah's. The women stand on plastic chairs and peak over a divider to watch their sons and husbands execute a tradition at least 2,000 years old. The men sing. Take pictures. Read the scrolls. Proud daddies. Many men gather to encourage and embrace the youngest among them.

On the women's side there is mass prayer and mass chaos. As we approach the wall there is only a tiny spot for us. They have pulled their chairs to the wall and filled in all the holes. I wonder if they are offended by our "gentile" and "Christian" efforts to honor their prayer wall.

We hold back, our written prayers in hand, waiting for our turn only to find there is no "turn". No personal space here. I hesitate as the woman beside me is in travail - angst, weeping, rubbing the wall, babbling. I don't want to interfere. MJ waves me on. I step up. Tuck my prayer in a crack and place my hands and face on the wall.

I wait. I seek. No real prayer rises to my lips. I acknowledge the sanctity of this place, but don't find answers here. I step back and another steps up. When done, we back out. You don't turn your back on the wall.

I am struck again by all the effort made to come to a place to meet with Him. I am convicted of my laziness. Too tired to get on my knees, when they will trek miles for one time, or one day at the wall. Some make the journey everyday. I am impressed with their reverence, respect, diligence and effort, but saddened for them because there is no power in the wall. All the power lies in acceptance of the very one they seek...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Journal Posts From Israel - Garden of Gethsemane



Day 3 - Garden of Gethsemane

Bless the Lord who makes a way when there is no way. Who surrenders all. Suffers all. Dies for all.

The garden is the place of agony, but also the place of kingly anointing. (Jewish kings were anointed on this mountain and then taken through the Golden Gate into the temple mound where they were received by the people.) Both an olive and a wine press are here. I am reminded Christ was "pressed" here in every way.

He taught the disciples here - a place of instruction. Here became a place of submission, as he yielded to the will of the Father. Laying down his life, he sweat drops of blood. Here became a place of redemption as he drank the cup of wrath. This is the place of surrender to the cross. As the final drama unfolded, it became a place of betrayal - by a brother - through a kiss - for 30 shekels - $110 today. This became the place of "pick up your cross and follow me." From this moment on His face was set like flint. All hell broke lose here and now, today it is a place of total peace.

In this place, press me Oh God. Reveal any place that is unsubmitted or unwilling. Cause me to share in the cup of redemption and to receive His blood for my salvation and healing. Let my ears be instructed by you. Let my eyes see and know. Help me in moments of betrayal to forgive and move on. Cause my feet to be swift to obey. Fill me with your presence. Break me and restore me. Help me as I pick up my cross and follow, to experience your peace. Anoint me for your purpose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Journal Posts from Israel - First Glimpse of the City



In May of this year, I visited the nation of Israel. I spent ten days with a group of almost 30 people on a prayer and intercession trip. I saw Jerusalem, Jericho, The Dead Sea, En Gedi, Bethleham, David and Goliath's field, Ariel, part of Judea and Samaria, Galilee, Nazareth and lots more!

I've wanted to take the time to document some of the things I saw and felt while travelling. Today I was reviewing my journal. I decided to post a few blogs from different moments on the trip - straight from my journal. It's been a life changing journey that is still being worked out in my life. So here goes something from my notes of my "First Glimpse of the City."

Day Two - May 8, 2010 (This is our first stop - even before getting to the hotel. We've been travelling for almost 24 hours.)

As we approach the city by bus I realize that you actually ascend to the city, not just to the temple. We drive through a series of rolling hills and passages. They play O Jerusalem as we approach. This is the first of many times our tour guide will take a moment to create a spiritual environment. Suddenly the view of the city opens up before us (white, gold and green) and from one foothill - we look across a large valley and see - the "mounts" or foothills of Jerusalem.

The gold dome of the Islamic temple immediately draws my eye. Rather than offended by it's presence, I am shocked to realize that it actually highlights a "portal" to heaven - a place of God's faithfulness. It is built upon the original threshing floor and is the place of the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham - Mount Moriah. It is central to the view and to the vision. This mount is small, even lower than the other two surrounding mounts and is nestled into the foothills. To the right I see the Mount of Olives and on the left Mount Zion. It is panoramic and beautiful and large.

Suddenly, we begin to sing over the city. As Rob and Jill lead us in God of the City I am overwhelmed. I find myself crumbling. I just sit down with my back against the small viewing wall. Tears come now because I realize the truth of this song: "You're the God of this city. You're the king of these people..." I feel Jesus for maybe the first time since we boarded the plane.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Visit with a Nutritionist

Hi friends,

I just posted a "note" on my facebook page about my recent visit with an onology nutritionist. Several asked for notes from my meeting, so if you are interested in the counsel I received, simply click on the title of this post and it will take you right to my facebook page.

Caution - you'll probably learn more about me and this disease called breast cancer than you ever might want to know - so read only if you dare!

Love,
Jan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Teachable Moments



Here is a recent picture of Mark and our boys on one of their many wildlife adventures! As you can see, it was a successful day. One of the things I am learning to appreciate more and more about my husband is how he can open the hearts of our children as they "adventure" together.

While driving down the road this week, I had a very important conversation with one of my boys. We talked about something we've discussed many times before without seeming to make any progress. This time, it penetrated. It was a teachable moment.

I wondered why now and not before?

Often I communicate "right and wrong" rather than "love and acceptance." If I only instruct, then what I really say is you must learn to be good because you are bad. We shouldn't teach because someone is wrong, but because someone is loved.

Jesus represented God as a loving Father. If we believe God is loving, then we trust Him to use His power in a loving, healthy way. If we believe He is more concerned about His "rightness" then we'll interpret His instruction and discipline as judgment. No one sets out to judge their children (or spouse, or family or even themselves).

I love our children and I so want to instill in them a genuine, life-long love affair with Jesus. I'm sure you feel the same. My goal is to communicate love, acceptance and security. If the heart is safe, it will be trusting, teachable and even compliant.

I'm praying to more fully embrace the love of God for myself so that others may experience through me His acceptance. If I do we will both be good soil for the truth and find many more teachable moments!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Laughter is still good medicine!



It was awesome to see so many beautiful faces at LAUGH last night.

I'm spending a few minutes browsing through the face book and twitter comments and relishing the after-party glow of a PINK night well done. Blynda Lane was her usually warm and engaging self. Who knows maybe we'll have a real "Pink Talk Show" someday just for her! Can't believe we made a crapachino pie - nor that it ended up in Blynda's face. Now that's dedication to your craft!

Last night I visited with many women who are dealing with cancer or have family and close friends who are walking it out. I can only imagine the many other illnesses and difficult situations that I am not privileged to know. As I ponder the depth of our need for His healing touch, I am grateful that all the pressure is on God!

He's the healer!

Only a magnificent, creative, hopeful healer would prescribe a cheerful heart as good medicine for whatever ails us.

So let's submit to God's prescription! Take (laughter, encouragement, joy) at least twice daily with the Word and see the amazing benefits! Warning: highly infectious and likely to transform people from the inside out!

Thanks for sharing the evening with us. Glad you came or tuned in. Glad you laughed.

Let your heart be light and your countenance joyful.

Jan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bed Head and Laughter

I woke this morning with terrible bed head. My hair was flat in back and pointing a million directions on top. I ran my hand through it and laughed. I have enough hair for bed head!

Breakthrough!

In January I began what is called "light chemo" as a follow up to the more serious stuff of the fall. My hair began slowly growing. It's thin and course and exceedingly slow - but it is growing! I am near the end of my chemo regimen. Soon we'll be having discussons about hormone management and radiation regimines. Praying for wisdom to know what to do and for atttitude of gratitude to see me through. And a little laughter won't hurt either!

How about you? Maintaining your sense of humor in the midst of struggle? Got a great funny story? Then tell it. You will stir up a little joy and it will go a long way to help you and me feel stronger. Remember: The joy of the Lord is our strength. Take some time to break away from the daily grind and hang with a funny friend. It will change your perspective and help heal your soul.

Speaking of laughter - this Thursday night(12th)will be Gateway's annual Laugh night. You may remember that Kerri Pomerelli prayed for my healing last year - right at the beginning of my journey. She's excited to share her testimony of what happened when she obeyed and we believed. Hope you are coming for this gathering - especially if you need a good laugh - and I know you do!

Here's a little appetizer from the Word: Because I love you Lord, you will rescue me and because I trust in your name, you will protect me. You will be with me in trouble and will satisify me with long life and show me your salvation. Ps: 91:14-16.

Thanks for dropping by.

You are loved!

Jan

Friday, August 6, 2010

Embarassed

It's been three months since I posted a thing.

Embarassed.

The longer I'm away from this place, the harder it is to get up the courage to come back. I keep thinking I need to explain, or justify, or wait until I have something amazing to say - not just any old thing - but something amazing. Strategized for weeks about how to explain. Procrastinated a thousand times. Distracted at least a million.

This morning I just decided to break the ice. Confess. Begin again.

I want to write. I want to share. Therefore, I'm trying again.

Wondering if anyone will return. Realizing I squandered my momentum. Regretting that I lost the interaction with friends I love so much.

Embarassed.

Not overcome.

Health reports, family updates and spiritual insights to follow. I missed you, Mr. Blog. Coming home again.

xoxo
Jan

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spiritual Highs and Spiritual Lows

Dear friends,

Thanks for stopping by my blog again. I know it’s been weeks since I’ve posted anything of real value here and I apologize for that. Many of you know that the conference, Pink Impact, has been underway and that I get sort of swallowed up in the experience.

I’m very happy to report that the conference was an amazing gathering both personally and professionally. I am so honored to walk with such an amazing group of women and to serve such an amazing God. If you missed it, you can purchase cd’s or DVD’s from the church bookstore soon!

I had planned to share with you some of the personal highlights from the conference during my first blog. However, there has been something happen in my life that has shifted my focus so dramatically that I feel is important to share.

You might have heard Christine Caine say at Pink Impact that a statistic of one in a million is just a statistic until you meet the one. I have been broken for the one.

Last Monday morning my housekeeper and friend, Maria, was brutally murdered by her abusive husband in her own home. In a matter of a couple of moments, a marriage of 26 years, 6 children, two son-in-laws and two grandbabies went from the American dream to devastation. In a moment, her children and grandchildren lost parents, their home, their financial support and who knows what else.

When I heard the news I literally screamed. I never really knew what the word malevolent, or heinous, or even violent really meant. I was aware that violence against women happens everyday in their homes – even in my community. But I didn’t know until I knew.

I have been catapulted into the realization that there is a fine line between love and hate – safety and threat – life and death. What I thought was far removed from me, is in fact right in my neighborhood.

A couple of months ago I started reading a book called Half the Sky. (If you are interested in this book, please visit www.studiogmag.com for a book review.) The book is about the oppression, abuse and neglect of women around the world. Don’t read it if you are unwilling to be changed.

As I read, I was convicted about the blinders on my own eyes. My life is one of privilege and favor and ridiculous blessing. I began to wonder what I was to do about my sisters around the world who daily stand in the face of great opposition.

Now I find my heart convicted again – but this time for my sisters who stand in the same oppression – right next door to me. I do not know what I am to do, but I know I am not to stand by and act as if their pain is not important or worth noticing. Injustice is so cruel.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Israel. It’s another example of the extraordinary privilege that is mine. I’ve dreamed of walking where Jesus walked for a long time…and I am truly honored to have the favor, time and resources to go to the Holy Land.

I have to tell you, that I am a little in fear of what God might do in my heart on this trip. I am so tender in this moment and I have experienced both spiritual highs and lows in a very short period of time. As I place my feet on the “Holy Land” I am reminded that even there unholy violence reigns and that Jesus experienced the most excruciating, undeserved, cruel punishment for my sins. Surely, I will not return the same.

Will you join me in praying for the children and grandchildren of my friend Maria? If you would like to contribute something toward their financial needs, you can stop by any Wells Fargo branch and ask to make a deposit into an account on behalf of the family of Maria Santos Corona.

I will be tweeting from Israel and hope to journal often on the trip. I look forward to sharing.

I love and appreciate you!

Jan

Monday, April 19, 2010

It is done! Time to celebrate!

Hi friends,

I am so excited to say - it is done! Pink Impact 2010 was all that we dreamed and more! Thanks to all of you for your participation, support, prayer and encouragement. Not only was I personally blown away by God's grace, power and purposes for us - but our entire team - all 400+ volunteers and our staff - were transformed by the experience. What a joy to work with so many God-honoring people. What a joy to worship with so many God-chasers!

I hope you are filled with hope, determination and potential. God broke up our soil, planted an amazing amount of seed in our hearts, spoke His blessing over His work, and now we wait to see! In due season, you will reap a harvest. I would love to know more about what he did in your heart - so if you dare - post a comment and testify!

It was an honor to share my testimony with you. Thanks again for all the positive feedback and encouragement. It was my pleasure to stir your faith in His faithfulness. I hope you feel the authority of God on His word and that you are determined to overcome! Many of you asked me for more details or to even write about the prayer portion of my teaching. I'll do my best to get some of that done in the next few weeks.

Now comes point 3 of my talk - rest! I'm going to rest. I want you to rest. Don't "blink" past this moment! Stop and really appreciate His presence. I wrote in article in Studio G about what to do after a mountain top encounter with Christ. I hope you will take a moment and check it out. In the meantime, thank Him for your pink blessing - whatever it was.

Thanks for the read - I love you dearly! You are very pink!
Jan

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The In Between...

Pink Impact 2010 Operation Alpha is now history!

What an honor to serve with Priscilla, Christine and Caroline! Miriam and Kari are incredible. The women that I work with are amazing! Watching all of us work together to create an environment where women can receive a word of truth has been a blast. Love my job - just saying!

What an amazing group of "special agents" reported for duty! You went some places in the spirit I couldn't have imagined and experienced a sense of unity I had only dared to dream about. Thanks for totally going for it! Thanks for your faithfulness! Thanks for your willingness to show up. Praying for you tonight and trusting God will encourage you as you head back home.

Now we are in the "in between"...

I know there are a many packing their bags tonight. They are running around getting everything ready so they can set aside the daily in order to encounter the sacred. They won't be disappointed!

Me either! I'm finishing up a load of laundry, celebrating my husband's birthday and checking my checking account balance. Just the ordinary things of life that we do everyday. But...at the same time...I have a song in my spirit and a skip in my walk. I can feel the vibration of His spirit and His word. He's near to us! More to come. Surprises for all of us in the next few days.

Whether you are coming in or going out - please know we love you! You were prayed for today! We believe in you. We think you are awesome. You are a world changer!

You are so PINK!

Love,
Jan

PS Would be honored if you wanted to follow me at on Twitter or Facebook. You can click on the icons to the bottom right on this post. I'd love to be your friend! Thanks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Let's hear it for the girls!



This is our daughter Ashley. Beautiful if I do say so myself. Ashley is a sophomore at Dallas Baptist University majoring in business and having the time of her life. She has a gift for making friends. This is a picture of her and her roommates - Beckett, Kaitlin and Sasha! What a team they are!

When she was a tiny little girl she met her first real friend - Lindsi. I wish I had a picture to post here! They were both in diapers and toddling around when they first met. During the first few years, we lived down the street from each other, attended the same daycare and spent a lot of time together. Now they are miles and years apart - yet still friends today!

I so enjoy meeting her friends, watching how they interact and relish the fact that she has so many. I even, on occasion, get to be friends with her friends. This is Ashley and me with Jenna and Jillian - her first friends at Gateway! Jenna's getting married in a few weeks - wow! - that's hard to swallow. Ashley and Jillian are her maids of honor. Jenna and Ashley love to go to concerts together! They really grew their friendship around music, and photos and fun!

Jessica is another one of Ashley's first friends when we moved to the area. I think all they did for the first two years is take pictures and hang out together. Today, they don't get to spend a lot of time together, yet they have developed a sweet relationship that has lasted through transitions and seasons. Thinking of them together makes me smile! This is Jessica and Ashley.

Jessica's been up to something really special. Not only is she an amazing musician and a busy part of the Gateway worship team - but she's started a little business on the side that is starting to grow. Jessica makes the most beautiful pieces of jewelry.

I recently received a gift from Cassie, another friend of Ashley's. This is Cassie and Ash. It's a beautiful necklace from Nuvintage Jewelry - Jessica's business. It's fully of beautiful buttons and tiny seed pearls. A show stopper! I'm looking forward to proudly wearing it at Pink Impact.

All of her hand made pieces are so unique that I asked if I could share it with you. Jessica was kind enough to send me her links so that I can help you check it out. I love that she is making something beautiful with a biblical message. She makes rings, bracelets, necklaces, head bands, picture frames and who knows what else in the future. I bet a see a lot of her pieces at Pink Impact. If you like jewelry - click the links below and stop by for a visit. Encourage a young entrepreneur!

My girl is especially good at making friends and being a friend. I'm proud of her. I'm proud of her roommates, and Lindsi, and Jenna and Jillian and Cassie and Jessica. That's not all! I'm proud of all women who are doing their best to be a great friend and an amazing woman! I'm proud of you.

Don't you love the chance to build up a young woman? To encourage her in her early endeavors? To help her find a friend or a purpose?

Let's celebrate young women! Do what you can when you can to lift them up, to be their friend and to take some real pleasure in watching them grow!



Let me know if you are a Nuvintage Jewelry fan!


The mission of Nuvintage Jewelry is based on Proverbs 31:25a: “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” This line of handmade jewelry is designed to be not only a fashion statement, but also a reminder of God’s unfailing love toward His children, His daughters, His princesses. A fight for purity and holiness. A war for innocence. A battle for true love’s sake. A beautiful, everlasting Dad and daughter dance across a land fashioned by the One who fashioned us.”

Follow on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nuvintage/476466415213

Follow on Twitter
http://twitter.com/jessicasheppard

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Restoration in progress!



Yesterday I had my first hair salon appointment in 10 months! My little tiny bit of hair seemed enough to justify a shape up and color before Pink Impact. I went dark ... still deciding if I like it better than my gun metal grey and silver that came in naturally! Either way - it's beautiful to me! I so enjoyed everything about my time from the consultation, to the shampoo and finally the trim.

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As she was shampooing my hair I was taken back to two experiences. The day after Mark shaved my head, we made a trip to the Survivor Gals salon for them to take a look at what was left. The sweet ladies there comforted me as I was still so weepy. One of the things they did was put me in the shampoo chair and wash and massage my very tender bald scalp. I remember the lady rubbing my head with some pureology products that smelled good and big tears sliding down the slides of my faces. She just said "It will grow back." That was a hard day.

Second memory - It was my honor to take my sweet friend - Lee Ann - for her first hair cut - post chemo recovery. She waited to trim until hers was about an inch long all over. I picked her up and drove her to another awesome friends home who was a stylists. We laughed and talked and enjoyed the celebration as she had her hair shaped and colored and styled! That was an easy day.

Some days are easy and some days are hard!

You just keep going.

I am so grateful for the will to live that seems to be planted deeply in each of us. There is a sort of persevering, pioneering spirit in us! Press through. Hold on. Try again!

There are rewards for perseverance. You get to places you would have never been and see things you would have never seen. And sometimes you experience pain you wish you could have avoided.

I have decided I would rather have experienced the pain of this season, than not have persevered! Pain is a small price to pay for understanding great joy! It's a small price to pay for knowing the comfort of the Holy Spirit or the victory in Christ Jesus. It's small in comparison to knowing that death has lost it's sting. It is small in comparison to the sacrifice of Jesus.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”- Hebrews 12:2


Let's fix our eyes on Jesus on this Resurrection Day! He arose! So shall we.

Love,
Jan

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pink Impact 2010 - 2 weeks and counting!

I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’ve been waiting on this gathering for so long…anticipating all that God wants to do…looking forward to seeing your beautiful faces…waiting for the moment we break into worship. Can you feel it? Pink Impact is on the horizon.

The original idea for this year’s theme “Permission Granted” came about from a discussion among our team. We were talking about the needs of women and one of the topics that arose was how many of us know God, love God, serve God - but seem to be waiting upon something – some one or even some opportunity - to be sure we are valued or needed or called by God. That one little conversation began a whole dialogue about God’s heart for women, His calling and our opportunity to respond.

From that one anointed discussion sprang countless strategy meetings about how to communicate God’s heart to you. We have an incredible creative team which helps us take ideas and turn them into amazing elements. We dream up things like special agents and secret missions and fun invitations. We extend speaker invitations to the best and brightest women we can find. We prayerfully recruit a large leadership team and assign major areas of responsibility. We launch in the fall, promote through the spring and meet together at the big event.

This year – more than any other – there will be an intentional message at Pink Impact designed to encourage you! Everything in Christ is yes and amen. He loves to say yes. He loves to empower, encourage, release, set free, disciple and equip for His God-given purposes – for your good and His glory.

We are very near to the time when all of our activity will shift. There are months of preparation for Pink Impact. And then a moment comes…and everything shifts.

It’s no longer about getting the service agenda correct, or the d├ęcor completed or even the number of registrations. A spiritual shift happens. Everything that is not done – just falls to the ground – and everyone begins to focus on the fact that the He is coming to meet with us.

Now I know He meets with us everyday and I know that we don’t need a special event to meet with Him. But I also know that when I am intentional – when I prepare my spirit – when I set aside time and place to meet with Him – He loves to show up. God comes to a prepared environment.

We are preparing. Everything we are doing is intentionally creating a safe place for you and God to meet. If you haven't made plans to be a part of Pink Impact, please reconsider your plans. Ask for help or invite a friend. Show up! We are waiting for you.

So this week – shift with me! Let’s set our sights above the planning required to get there. I know you are thinking about your childcare, making plans for transportation, reserving your hotel room, or even gathering your wardrobe. Do it all, but do it with anticipation in your spirit – a shift from the natural to the supernatural.

I’ll be praying for you this week. Asking God for divine favor to get here and a heart to anticipate His move. Together, we’ll sit at his feet, listen to His word, and receive from His hand.

I love you,
Jan

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have hair!


Hi friends,

I've given up my scarves, hats and wigs! I am ala-natural and let me tell you my hair is short! This photo was taken on the last day I wore a hat! It gives you a hint about just how short it really is. I've laughed several times about asking God for hair by Pink Impact. I definitely should have been more specific - "at least 2 inches" would have been smart! Prepare yourself - it's short and sassy and salt and pepper. It's been like freedom to just walk out the door again. You should be a little jealous - it takes me about 10 seconds to style!

Pink Impact is only a few days away and everywhere I go, ladies are getting excited with me. At this point, I'm just wishing it was time! The only thing left for me to do is finish my talk. Would you pray for me? I have my thoughts - I just need the final order to come together. Got some tips from my sweet friend Lynda Grove yesterday to help me organize and prioritize - so one more day of prep and then prayer, prayer, prayer!

As soon as Pink Impact is over - I am headed out to the other side of the world! I'm going to Israel. In six weeks, my feet will be in the "mother land." I've wanted to go to Israel for a really long time. My longing to visit was really birthed during a season of my life when I was participating in Bible Study Fellowship. The year we studied the book of Genesis was life changing for me. The more I studied the more I understood my Jewish roots and the importance God places on this little parcel of land.

When the opportunity came up, my heart leaped a little. I wanted to go but didn't think it was realistic. Finally I mentioned it to Mark. He didn't say much at first - just waited me out I think. One day while driving to one more doctor appointment, I just realized, "what am I waiting for?" Really - what am I waiting for?

Surely this year I've come to realize that we really only have this moment. There are a lot of reasons to wait - wait til the kids are grown, wait til I feel stronger, wait til Mark can go with me, wait til I can afford it...the list goes on and on...I'm over waiting. I'm not waiting anymore. With the permission of my husband and my physician - I'm going now!

I got to meet both Francine Rivers and Beth Moore last week! Surprises in the future from Francine Rivers if you are a Gateway woman! I am reading her new book and it is a page turner! Love her writings and I know you do too. When I met Beth Moore we were standing on the second floor of Barnes and Nobles in Southlake. I pointed out the window at the brand new Gateway campus out the window and said something about how much we would love to host her. Wouldn't it be a dream for her to join us at future Pink Impacts? I also picked up her new book on insecurity and it's hitting me between the eyes!

I've been thinking a lot about the process of cancer recovery lately. I'm at about 9 months into my treatment and although I'd like to be finished, I realized this week that there is a certain comfort in this stage. I am overcoming the enemy, regaining strength and growing hair, all while still receiving intensive treatment. Every three weeks I stop and fire some massive ammunition at the heart of the disease - a warning shot that says I am standing guard! You will not overtake me!

I am thinking that it might be more "scary" to stop chemo. What happens when you are not being so aggressive? When you stop fighting with drugs and only fight with faith?

I don't know if I'm ready. I don't know if I'm courageous enough.

As I type this morning, I am so acutely aware of you. I am grateful for your "read" and praying a rich blessing of courage, faith and hope for you. Whatever your need or your dream, our God knows and is able. Let's trust Him for the measure of faith required each day. We have enough courage for today.

You are a miracle in my life!

Love,
Jan

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where I've been and where I'm going!

Hi friends,

I apologize for my long period of silence. I rise each morning thinking today is the day I'll blog - and then the sun goes down and so does my body - and I rise up the next day finding I still haven't stopped by to visit. I feel like old friends are really important! I have so many things on my heart these days that I want to share - but I'm going to start today with just a Pink Impact update. This will give you an idea of where I've been...

In the past few weeks, I've been working mostly on Pink Impact 2011. That's right, 2011! We are developing our theme, guest list, schedule, pricing, and plan. We will be in our new building which all by itself makes for major conference changes. For one - all of us will be together at one gathering! 4,000 seats - just imagine that. Last week our team toured the new facility and it is breath taking in scope. Our imaginations are sparked by all the potential and careful thought put into each space. It's not just a building - it's a life center! So many wonderful God encounters will happen in this place and some of the first ones will happen at Pink Impact 2011.

Pink Impact 2010 is only six weeks away! Wow! Special surprises and gifts are arriving daily - t-shirts came last week! We are working on the final details of stage design, service agenda's, special surprises, etc. Our teams are in full tilt - working hard to make every moment of the conference a place for encouragement and hope.

In the past few weeks, we've met with Christine Caine and Priscilla Shirer. Both ladies are so excited about joining us for the week and of course - we're pretty excited ourselves. Christine will be sharing some updates on what's going on with her ministry and especially the A21 campaign. Miracles are happening daily! I just read Priscilla's newest Bible study - One in a Million. It will make you really appreciate how uniquely God fashions each of us for His purposes. Watch for the opportunity to know her better when the upcoming issue of Studio G is published. I also just read Dr. Leaf's new book about giftings and I'm listening to her new CD about the neurological differences between men and women. I can practically feel the trees in my brain growing as I listen. As I get to know these ladies, my anticipation builds for our gathering. There is so much enthusiasm and authenticity and power in their messages. God help us to prepare!

There's a lot going on in my personal life as well.

My mom in law has been through a rough patch, and is currently in a skilled nursing facility. She pretty much hates it, which may be a blessing in disguise. We've seen her zeal and tenacity rise again as she works to regain her strength. My sister in law has been a rock in this situation and is blowing my mind with her capacity to serve.

I have some very exciting news! I'm going to Israel in May. I've been interested in going to Israel for 15 years. Mark and I have talked about it numerous times. I'll be travelling with a Gateway Mission Group lead by Mary Jo Pierce, Pastor of the Prayer and Intercession Department. We'll be visiting a lot of famous places but mostly we'll be seeking to know Christ more through the experience. I feel like this is such a sweet gift to me. My doctor has given permission and so has my husband! I'll leave about two weeks after Pink Impact. Can you believe it?

And finally - health! I am continuing more chemo treatments. It seems my doctor is a careful and prudent man who believes I can beat this disease completely. He's asking me to endure more, longer. I've taken it before the Lord and Mark and I are in agreement. We continue until God says enough. Wednesday will be round 12. I am doing exceedingly well in the process. My biggest battle is always in my mind. I am daily required to trust God more and to worry less. I find it interesting that I am growing stronger in my Spirit, in my legs, in the length of my hair and in my compassion - all while a battle comes around every three weeks to wage war in my body and against my mind. God help me to be steadfast.

I met with some awesome ladies last week who also blog. They were talking about how they hate long blogs and just won't read them. They said they update their blogs a couple of times a week. Needless to say, I kept my mouth shut and didn't even tell them that I blog. I sure didn't want to confess that I am the queen of long blogs! Please forgive me for being a woman of many words and few entries. I don't have an agenda with my blog, except to share my heart while shouting to anyone who will listen about how faithful is our God!

I love and appreciate you. Thanks for the read.

Jan

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don't be afraid...

Hi friends,

I'm sitting in the reclining chair at the chemo office today. Round #11. Eight months ago today the big "c" word entered my life. I can't grasp all that we've walked through, the victories we've experienced, nor the battles still to come. I am in awe of His faithfulness.

I'm all alone on this end of the room. Lots of people have come and gone throughout the day - but I'm one of the last to finish up. I'm feeling a little sad today. Just found out that one of the ladies I have shared many chemo hours with passed away last week.

Have I told you how much I hate cancer? I really hate it.

Even though I am saddened by her passing, I am grateful for the privilege of having known her in probably the most difficult season of her life. She was sweet and kind and encouraging. A good fighter. Her death is a reminder that this battle is so real.

This morning I was reading in Joshua about how he leads the people to take the promised land. In one section, Joshua is about to direct them on the strategy to take another city and He begins by telling them "Don't be afraid. Don't be discouraged (see Joshua 10:25). It caught my eye that this was exactly what God said first to Joshua. (see Joshua 1, and Joshua 8:1) Joshua begins to instruct the people by first repeating what God had said to him in private.

It seems in a great battle, we must be reminded of what not to be - afraid or discouraged - and we would be wise to declare and repeat the promise and instruction of God to those who walk with us. We are to be brave, courageous and encouraged.

Today I choose to be brave, courageous and encouraged - I don't feel it - but I choose it.

There are great battles on the horizon for you and for me. Battles that will determine where and how we abide. Battles that effect the legacy we leave our children. Battles that can bring glory to God - enough to melt the heart of our enemies by His reputation alone.

Let's not draw back before the sword is even drawn. I want my inheritance - don't you? Don't be afraid. Don't be discouraged. Let's stand up and take the land.

Jan

PS My mother in law - Molly - is in the hospital. You might remember that she is battling a health crisis of her own. She continues to struggle and is physically declining. Decisions about her care and treatment are being made. Please pray for my husband, Mark and my sister in law, Julie as they navigate such painful waters. I sat with Molly last night and she is "sharp as a tack", so to speak. Completely able to communicate both her history and her situation. In the midst of a very difficult day, she did not fail to immediately tell me she remembered my chemo appointment today. She prays for me daily. An example of beauty under pressure - a godly woman!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Seize the Day!

Today some friends called to say they were coming to Pink Impact in April! Three of them (who now live in three separate cities) are getting together and making a girls road trip to come hear me speak! (Wish you would come too! If you want to check it out, visit www.pinkimpact.com or simply click on my title above and it will take you right to the web site.) I am so excited! Beth, Ashley and Betty are coming! It reminded me of a very sweet season in my life...

I have made some amazing friendships since moving to the Dallas area in 2006, but there is a small cluster of women from Abilene, Texas that knew me first! They knew me when my whole platform was the kitchen table and every "ministry moment" happened with four children at my feet. (It's still my favorite place to have a God conversation!)

They were a part of my life during such an amazing time of spiritual development - any of them that were a part know exactly what I mean. We spent a few precious years, or in some cases only months, God-chasing together. We were passionate and authentic and vulnerable - and God did something unexplainable in our hearts. We experienced a divine season.

Then He dispersed us. Some to other cities - some to other states - and even one was sent around the world.

Today we don't see each other often. (Thank goodness for facebook and tweets and blogs!) Yet despite the distance - I know in a moment of need they would stand with me. As a matter of fact, they have already proven that. I hope they know I would do the same for them.

Thanks to Amy, Jonya, Beth, Wendy, Wendi, Betty, Cheryl, Kerri, Cindy, Ashley S, Ashley B, Sherla, Maria, Becky, Dianne, Donna, Michelle, Martha, Karen, Latrice, Yvonne, Loyce - and all my other beautiful Abilene friends - I know I missed some - You are still a sweet cluster to me!

You never know how long a season will last. Tough ones seem to go too slow, but sweet ones fly by. Sometimes you are in a very sweet season and you don't even realize it until it's gone. We had no idea that our season would end so soon, that it was so unique, or that it would never come again.

Transition will come, my friends - so let us seize the day! Make the most of the relationships we have and grow deep together.

See to it, brothers, (and sisters) that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today...Hebrews 3:12-13

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Valiant!

I had round #10 of chemo on Wednesday of last week. I have been doing well and grateful that the side effects are light. (My hair did not fall out - but it seems to stop growing for about 10 days in the middle of the 3 week cycle.) I do not experience the debilitating fatigue of the other type - but I am struggling with on going nausea and some body aches. I think the long lasting shot I take to keep my white cell counts high is really at the root of this issue. So I remind myself that it's a sign my body is working to keep my immune system high - pop a nausea blocker - keep something on my stomach, and go on!

You might remember that in the early days of chemo I shared about my physician doing a physical exam and commenting that the tumor in my breast was gone. God told me right after that I was 1/3 of the way "through." The 2/3 of this process started right after that and I've spent months working on bringing my soul and body into submission. Recently I feel like I've turned a corner and entered into the final 1/3 of this process. I'm just beginning to understand what this is about and what might be required to prosper while walking through.

In 2009 my word was resolute! I've learned so much about the power of being resolute when I am in agreement with God's word and His purpose. I've been working on my talk for Pink Impact and I plan to share pretty extensively about this "key" to overcoming soon.

But this year the word is valiant! My first thought was "Oh no! I'm going to have to be Braver. I was a little wary about what this might mean because I have been brave in 2009. It's taken a lot of courage to face a very intimidating enemy. I was hoping it was about to get easier...but guess not! I got my first taste of what they might look like last week.

I was not feeling well. Anytime my legs ache or I feel weak in my body, it's an uncomfortable reminder of what I experienced before my diagnosis. It's easy for me to entertain a fearful thoughts about getting worse when my body is speaking to me. I used to ignore my body. Now I have to battle to not give it more attention than is appropriate. Every little ache is threatening.

That night when I went to be I thought "I'm glad I'm going to the doctor in the morning for a blood check. Maybe my white counts are low."

The next morning I went to the doctor's office only to find their machine that evaluates my sample of blood was broken. Normally they prick my finger and give me a "count" in just a few minutes. This time they wanted to draw blood and send it off overnight to a lab. I almost said no, but because I hadn't been feeling great, I agreed. My veins aren't so easy to prick anymore - a common side effect of chemo. They had to poke me three times and it hurt. To top it off - no information about my blood counts would be available for 24 hours.

When I got in the car I was just grumpy - in a bad mood. I called my husband and spent a few minutes telling him my "sad story." Then I hung up and headed to work.

In the next few minutes, I experienced one of the strongest spiritual attacks of fear that I have had since beginning this journey. One minute I was a little grumpy and feeling annoyed. The next minute I was entertaining thoughts like, "I'm going to die. It's coming back. I'll never be free."

I started trying to pray - but the fear was so real and so gripping that I felt frozen in my authority. I tried to sing. I tried to call it a liar. I was rebuking the thoughts but they were coming fast. I texted my husband a note and said, "Please pray. Fear is speaking to me."

Mark called me right away. I was so upset I couldn't talk - tears were rolling and I was genuinely afraid. He stepped in the middle of my situation and rebuked fear and death. As he prayed for me, I felt it break. Then he said, "Jan, you are all right. It's not coming back. Everything is okay." I was immediately better but throughout the day I could feel the physical affects of the spiritual attack. I felt like I was bruised!

Fear is a spirit - and it has all kinds of degrees of torment, from dread to intimidation to terror - all are mean spirited and designed to destroy our faith. In Joshua chapter 1 - God says to take courage and be brave three separate times. I feel like my current situation is similar to Joshua's in some ways. After all, I've been delivered from death and I've crossed over into wellness. Now, I want to take the promised land called restoration! Surely there are some enemies occupying the territory that is meant for me.

When my boys were little both John and Matthew struggled with being afraid of the dark. For years, when I put them to bed we'd say prayers together and they never failed to ask God for no nightmares. I finally taught them a little prayer that they could say on their own. If I had to get up in the middle of the night with them, I'd make them quote it at me.

I am not afraid. I am brave and courageous like Joshua. Go away fear! In Jesus name.

Sometimes the boys had to say it 4 or 5 times in a row to get them calmed down enough to go to bed. I remember one particular season when Matthew was praying this out loud every night for months with no apparent breakthrough. But then a day came and the victory was ours. It seemed like over night he was asking us to turn off the night light and shut the door.

Here are a couple of things I learned during last week's battle:

1) Don't grumble and complain. It's an open door for doubt - which is one step away from fear.

2) Keep an arsenal of weapons ready at a moment's notice - the Word, prayer, praise, your faith and a few close friends. Keep filled up on the Word of God.

3) Be on alert - Remember that verse about how the devil stalks around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour? It's true! We must be responsible for the little cracks in our faith that allow enemy access.

4) Don't fail to ask for help! Isolation is a powerful weapon in the hand of the enemy. Stir up those who will stand with you and let them help you in the fight. One warrior is able to put to flight 1,000, but two - 10,000! Together we make a mighty band of warriors!

I am beginning to understand that I will have to believe that I am not only healed right now - but that I can be healed for the rest of my life. This will take valor I have never possessed. I will be victorious because He said in Joshua 1:9:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

He is with us!

Jan

PS. My counts didn't come in for two days - and they were great!

PSS. I was so blessed by our gathering of Gateway women on Thursday night. I had an opportunity to briefly share my testimony of being healed. I told them that I am somewhere between healing and restoration. Pastor Debbie gave a great message on being a gracious woman - one I really needed to hear! We never know who is watching or what kindness will do to encourage another. It was fun to be together...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Pink Night - Follow



Hi friends,

I know it's Sunday night and no one is supposed to be thinking about the work week ahead - but guilty! I'm so excited about the upcoming women's night at Gateway! We've been planning for months and I feel like this night will be special! Not because of some amazing, dazzling, special thing - no gifts, no food, no gigantic musical number. Just family - just you and me and a lot of other awesome women, gathered together to hear our leader share from her heart. What an great opportunity for us to let her know how much her leadership means to us.

To top it off we are meeting on the 21st - the 21st day of a 21 day fast! I know every one's not on the "exact" day - or even that everyone is fasting! But I do think it creates a tenderness in our corporate heart that may enable us to hear or understand with a new depth. I wonder what we'll hear or see or understand.

If you've never been to one of our nights - then you especially are invited! If it's been awhile - you are especially invited. If you come all the time - thank goodness - and you are especially invited.

Join me this Thursday (21st) at 7:00 pm at the Southlake Campus of Gateway Church. Bring your friends, neighbors or coworkers. More details available at www.pink.gatewaypeople.com. It's a safe place to meet new friends and to get a fresh start for the new year!

I'll be watching for you.

Jan

Friday, January 15, 2010

He Makes All Things New!

Happy New Year!

I am so excited to be a featured guest writer today on a blog called Destiny in Bloom. (Click the title of this post and it will take you directly to Destiny in Bloom.) Some amazing women near and dear to my heart launched this site in 2009 and it is one of my favorite blogs to visit! I've been watching their blog - the diversity of their authors - the quality of their comments - and I can't help but get excited! They took a God dream and turned it into a God tool! I admire their obedience and the way they are stewarding their resources, influence and testimony! I think this blog will become more and more well known because it brings such sweet encouragement.

So please take a moment to check me out! I'm talking about fresh starts. I'm giving myself a "do-over". How about you?

I'd be blessed if you'd share the blog with your friends and family. I'd really like to increase their readership!

Loving you much and believing that HE makes all things new!

Jan


PS - Thanks, DIB, for the opportunity!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Health Update

When I returned to my physician in December for the next round of chemo, we ran into a change of plans. I was having some significant side effects from a drug called taxotere. It was effecting my nervous system causing me neuropathy in my feet and legs. It was getting significant and I felt I was deteriorating in my strength. Once I got my doctor's attention about this matter, he immediately stopped in his tracks and restrategized. After some discussion, the decision was made to continue up to four more rounds of chemo, but with a combination of drugs that were the "protocol" for my stage of treatment before the release of taxotere. The good news is that these drugs do not have nerve impact side effects and they even call it "light chemo."

A week ago today I returned (after a 5 week break from chemo) and received the new (old) drugs (round #9). I am so excited to tell you that it has indeed been "light" for me. I did not experience the difficult lethargy and tiredness of the previous treatments. I have had some minor nausea and needed a few naps - but overall I have tolerated this treatment with ease.

I am also happy to report that the neuropathy is improving. One of the reasons he stopped the drug is that sometimes nerve damage is not reversible. As soon as I heard that - it really discouraged me. My friend Lynda reminded me that if God can heal me from cancer, He can certainly address the after effects of neuropathy. Surely, I would not come through this struggle healed of the disease but lamed for life. I've been speaking to the neuropathy and commanding it to go right along with any hidden cancer cells.

I am so much improved in this area that during this week off from work, I have been on my feet almost all day attending to household chores I haven't been able to do in forever. From laundry to putting away the Christmas decor to cleaning all three of my boys rooms (yuck!), I have pressed through the fatigue and been able to go on. I took a walk around the block again. I am determined to work on my strength so that I can be prepared to be on my feet for a lot of hours by the time Pink Impact arrives.

I am headed into the doctor this morning to check my white cello counts. If I can by-pass this one final side effect of low counts, I will be "in the pink" so to speak.

Like many of you, I am returning to work this morning after a break for the Christmas holiday. I pray that you and I are refreshed, renewed and inspired to begin again. That 2010 will be a year that brings glory to the Father. That you will chase hard after your dreams and that many will hear and see and know our God.

Thanks for your continued prayers! I am so blessed by you!

Love,
Jan

PS - My hair has started to grow back. Would you mind praying that the new drugs won't cause it to fall out? It's white and fuzzy and very curly and odd looking - but it's mine! I'd really like to keep it!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Studio G - Latest edition



I hope you will take a moment to check out the latest edition of Studio G! My friend and co-worker, Lynda Grove, is the cover feature of this edition. Lynda is an amazing woman and I believe you'll be blessed by the opportunity to "meet" her!

In addition, there is an article I wrote called Poised for the Moment. It shares a little about my passion for the upcoming season and will encourage you to prepare your heart! Look out! God is up to something good and He wants all of us to be ready and involved!

If you don't receive Studio G, please visit studiogmag.com and register. The magazine is produced a couple of times a year and is free. If you prefer you can always enjoy the magazine on line! Past editions, additional features and all kinds of fun tools are available there. Just click this headline and it will take you right to the web site!

Hope you'll give me some feedback - I'd love to hear what God is saying to you about the coming season!

Happy New Year!

Jan