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Oh, The Places We’ll Go!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Friends, I could use your prayers: My son, Thomas, and I leave tonight for a two-week trip to SE Asia! We are super excited and a little bit nervous. It’s a LONG way away!

Our primary reason for going is to visit my sister and her family. They serve in a closed country in that region. Alexis and I will take a short trip to Singapore, just for fun. Then we’ll all go to Thailand: My sister and niece will attend an educational conference there, and I will teach a few classes to high school students and parents on college prep writing skills.

We are excited to go, and amazed at all the provisions the Father lavished on us along the way. The Conference Director told me she would love to have a new book for each student at the conference. All 250 of them. I can tell you the Enemy worked hard to keep that from happening! But in the end, the Body came through in amazing ways. Every single child has a brand-new book coming to them!

We have been planning this trip for more than six months, and it is hard to believe it is finally time to go.

We have a few specific requests we’d love for you to remember as we head out:

Image result for california to thailand image

  • Pray we are a blessing to all we come in contact with – especially my sister and her family
  • Pray we stay healthy and safe throughout the trip
  • Pray all our luggage gets through customs without any problems
  • Pray all our luggage makes it to the final destination!
  • Pray for our family – my husband Dave, and daughters Emma and Ellie – who will be staying behind while Thomas and I travel
  • Pray we know the Savior better as a result of this trip
  • Pray we can be a Light in every place we go

Thanks for praying, friends! I will post pics on my social media accounts, and I’ll write a post about the trip when we return.


Eat the Broccoli

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Remember when you were a kid and you hated what your mom served for dinner, and she’d say something like this: “I know you hate broccoli, but there are starving children in Africa who would love this meal.”?

I hated that speech.


I know, Mom was right. But you know what else? I hated broccoli (still do – there’s not enough melted cheese in the world to make that veggie palatable*). I literally gagged it down. I would have gladly given every serving of broccoli I had to the starving children of Africa. But that wasn’t an option.

I don’t make my kids eat broccoli, but I do find myself saying things like that.  And not about food, but – worse – about life: “Sure, things are tough right now. But it could be worse: You could be in the path of a hurricane. Or have terminal cancer. You really shouldn’t complain.”

It is a terrible thing to do. When we are struggling, we need to deal with the struggle. We need to look at that nasty broccoli sitting on our plate and recognize we have to eat it. Mom’s not letting us up until we do. We can cry and whine and complain and fake gag, but when we’re done, the broccoli will still be sitting there. Getting even more slimy and bland. Might as well eat it while it’s hot so it’ll slide down faster.

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In life, sometimes things happen we just don’t like. Tough stuff. Pretending it’s not tough doesn’t make it easier. Recognizing other people have it worse doesn’t help either. Our tough stuff is still there, waiting to be dealt with.

So we need to deal with the “broccoli” in our lives. We need to cry out to God about these struggles. He’ll get you through whatever difficulty you are facing. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. His purposes for us are great.

We don’t get a “pass” on trials. But we do have a gracious heavenly Father who will guide us through every step, making us stronger and more like Him in the process.

*I apologize to broccoli-lovers. I’m sure it’s a wonderful vegetable with great qualities and maybe you even have a recipe that is so good I can barely taste the broccoli…but I still hate it, and now that I’m an adult, I can refuse it any time I want. So no recipes, please! If you feel the need to send something, the name of a good counselor – one who deals in childhood vegetable trauma – would be most beneficial 😉


Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Book #2 in THE ELI DIARIES is available!

In case you missed the initial announcement, THE ELI DIARIES is a series of novellas that address the question, “What if Jesus were in high school today?” Bill Myers, best-selling author (and so much more!), created this world, where Jesus (Eli Shepherd) lives in Ventura, CA and attends Ventura High. His classmates include Maggie (Mary Magdalene), Jude (Judas Iscariot), Martha, Tommy (Thomas), and Pete (Peter).

The first book, The Battle Begins, written by Myers, is told from Satan’s perspective – the Enemy wants nothing more than to destroy Eli’s mission before it ever begins.

This second book, written by the amazing Melody Carlson, is from Maggie’s perspective. I got to read this a couple weeks ago and it is SO good. We all know Mary Magdalene after she surrendered her life to Christ. But what led her to that decision? Who was she before, and how did she leave that behind to follow Jesus? Melody Carlson begins to examine these questions in this first installment of Maggie’s story.

The third book in the series will release next month and will feature Jude. Mine, starring Martha, will be out in November. (Then Maggie comes back in December for the next chapter of her story!)

These books are short – easy weekend reads that will keep you thinking long after you put them down. I am excited to be part of the team writing them, and I hope you join our team of readers!

Hearing God

Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard of a lot of things done “In God’s name” – many of them are awful: Some of the white supremacists who attacked Charlottesville did so believing they were acting on God’s behalf. I know of husbands whoImage result for hearing from God pervert scriptures and mistreat their wives, believing they have God’s authority to do so. I know pastors who encourage their people, from the pulpit, to behave in ways that directly oppose the word of God. Daily, I see and hear people spewing hate and justifying it, saying they’re doing “God’s work.”

No wonder Christians are viewed as dangerous.

I vacillate between complete frustration over this and overwhelming heartache.

Followers of Christ – we must be VERY careful when we say we are hearing from God. We should not use that phrase lightly. We should be like the Bereans in Acts 17, who “searched scriptures daily” to determine what was true.

DImage result for God's will never contradicts his wordoes God speak to us? Yes! But His will is always consistent with His Word.

Sometimes it’s very clear: My daughter felt God telling her to share Christ with her co-workers last week. That was certainly from Him – we are clearly told to share the Good News with everyone.

Sometimes it’s not as clear: Two and half years ago, we made the decision to move to CA. There was no, “Hey, McGee’s, go to CA!” verse in the Bible. But there were principles we could rely on – We sought wise counsel from others (Prov. 11:14). We discussed who we were with the leadership of the church/school, and found that our gifts could be used to strengthen that body (I Cor. 14:12). And Dave and I were in agreement about the decision (Phil. 2:1-2). All solid evidences that this move was directed by God.

I urge you, sisters (and any brothers reading this), don’t use God’s name as a weapon, don’t sin and say you are doing it in God’s name. Don’t say you’re doing God’s will if it contradicts His word. And study for yourself to see if what others are saying is from God is truly from Him.

“Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

Out of Control

Posted by on Aug 20, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I am ashamed to admit it, but even after 30 years of walking with the Lord, I still doubt sometimes. I still look at situations and feel like I need to – or can – fix them. And, yet, because God is incredibly patient and kind, He still , after 30 years, graciously reminds me that He is in control, and He loves us.Image result for god at work

Here’s my most recent “Crisis”: My oldest daughter’s college choice. First, I need to tell you that I agonized ALL YEAR over the fact that Emma would be leaving home. I was stressed, my body was messed up, my emotions were all over the place. I was a wreck.

And then, when I finally worked through all that and was at peace with her leaving…everything fell apart. The financing we thought we had for her to attend college away from home fell through.

So then I was stressed because I felt badly for her – all her plans, all her friends…my poor girl!! Why can’t she leave home?

So we spent the summer trying to help her adjust to this new reality. (By “we”, I mean my husband) She cancelled her registration, room and board, and schedule for her out-of-state school, and registered for classes at the local community college.

I struggled with that, too, because Emma wants to be a Christian counselor. To best prepare for that career, Emma would most benefit from attending a Christian college. But the Lord didn’t seem to be allowing that.

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And then, less than a month before school was to start, God started blowing open the doors for Emma to attend a Christian college in our area. She got scholarships, a Grant, and gained entrance into the school’s Honor program, where she can major in Psychology, taught from a Christian worldview. And she can live at home!

God, of course, knew all of this. He knew this last year when I was having my meltdowns over Emma leaving home. He knew it when I was stressed out all this summer over her not  leaving home. He knew it when I chose to wallow in fear and worry instead of trusting in Him.

Now, as I look back over this incredibly unexpected turn of events, I realize I spent a miserable year, living in fear and worry and stress, when I didn’t need to. God had everything worked out for Emma’s good. He cares for her far more than I do, and He knows what is truly best for her.

I could have enjoyed last year more, I could have slept better this summer, I could have rested in the peace of knowing God is in control. But I didn’t.

Because God is a good Father, He isn’t done with me. He wants me to learn this lesson, to trust Him no matter what. So He has dropped another situation in my lap where I can either choose to fear or choose to trust. And I’ll be honest, my flesh wants to fear, to stress, to question…But the Spirit reminds me of who God is, what He has done. His Word reminds me that GOD IS IN CONTROL, and I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. God is at work. And He is good. I can – and should – place all my trust in Him.

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. ~Proverbs 29:25

Freedom from Legalism

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I always worry when I write about legalism. It’s like writing about humility – the minute you think you’ve got it, it’s gone.

But I feel the need because it’s just so easy to slip into a legalistic attitude. I know, because I fight that battle daily.

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So what is legalism? Most simply put, it’s “pursuing good works with the intention of earning God’s favor.” Few Christians would say we believe that – obviously, we know the Bible says salvation is by grace through faith. But practically, it just “feels” like we should have to do more.

I, personally, like “checklists”. Right now, I have a long electronic Post-It note on my computer with a list of papers I need to grade, emails I need to send, people I need to contact. I love deleting each task as it’s completed. I feel so accomplished!!

But when that attitude worms its way into my Christian life, I’m in trouble. When reading my Bible, praying,  and going to church becomes a “checklist”, I am moving into legalism. When I feel like checking those “boxes” earns me ‘points’ with God, I am fully immersed in legalism. Once there, it’s an easy jump to look at others and judge them – they aren’t reading the “right” version of the Bible, they aren’t praying in the “right” way, not going to the “right” church. They, in short, aren’t serving God “my” way, so they are wrong.

What’s the cure for this? Jesus. Image result for jesus love me


Jesus didn’t come to bring us a “To-Do” list. The Old Testament believers tried that for  a couple thousand years. It didn’t work. Trying to earn salvation is like trying to dig a hole to get to the moon: with every move, we just get farther from our goal.

Jesus came to offer us the GIFT of salvation because He loves us. He loves us!! I sing and say that so much that I sometimes forget the amazing truth of it. Jesus loves ME!!

So the cure for trying to earn God’s favor is to accept God’s favor. And, once we accept it, we can love others because Jesus loves us. We can forgive others because Jesus forgives us. We can accept faults in others because Jesus accepts us, faults and all. Reading and praying and attending church isn’t a means to earn the favor of God, but a way to rejoice in the fact that we have it.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1

The Eli Diaries

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized, Writing | 2 comments

It has been a while since I’ve written anything new, and I am SUPER excited to tell you that I am back!! I am thrilled to tell you guys about the new project I am part of…

In this series of novellas, the question is asked:

What if Jesus were in high school today?
Who would he hang out with?
What would he say?
What would he do?

Authors Bill Myers, Melody Carlson, Jeff Gerke, Shawn Hopkins, Tim Shoemaker, and I will each be writing from the perspective of one of Eli’s fellow students:

  • Maggie: the all-school sleep-around
  • Judas: the super-rich friend always looking for an angle
  • Martha: the good, uber-religious girl
  • Tommy: the pessimistic downer
  • Pete: a hot-tempered jock with a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease

The first in the series is out today, and is told from Satan’s perspective. His goal, of course, is to destroy Eli’s mission before it ever begins.

Please check out this exciting series, and tell your friends.

Thanks, guys!! It’s good to be back 🙂


Just Not Good Enough

Posted by on Aug 5, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

We might not all say it, but we ALL feel, at one time or another, some of us more often than others, that we are just not good enough.

We look at others and see so many who are smarter, prettier, richer. We see girls who seem to have it all together and we get discouraged because we are SO not together.

Just about everyone struggles with these feelings. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many girls I’ve talked to who are beautiful, stunning, yet look at themselves in the mirror and think they are the ugliest girl on the planet. Or girls who seem to breeze through even the toughest classes, but are wracked with worry every night before a big test. Sometimes the girls who seem to know everyone feel incredibly lonely and unloved.

Becoming a supermodel or a famous singer or a movie star doesn’t change it, either. Believe it or not, those folks have even more pressure than we do. Many of them struggle with insecurity to a degree that would shock most of us “normal folks.”Image result for bible verse in your mind

So here’s the deal: The problem isn’t that you’re not good enough. The problem is that you are believing a lie. That lie comes straight from the Father of Lies himself, and the way we battle with him is by using Truth – the Word of God.  Replace those lies with Truth every time they come into your mind. Every time.

Here are a few verses of Truth to start with. Memorize them. Write them on a post-it and stick it on your bathroom mirror, your bedroom wall. Fill your mind with  ”whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phil. 4:8 Fill your mind so full of Truth that there is no room left for the lies.

Ps. 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together   in my mother’s womb. I praise you  because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,  I know that full well.”

I John 3:1a “See what great love  the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Romans 8:17 “Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings   in order that we may also share in his glory.”

How Do I Know God’s Will for My Life?

Posted by on Jul 26, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Finding God’s will is a sometimes-overwhelming prospect. While we know a lot for sure, there are others areas that are gray. How do we navigate those areas?Image result for finding God's will

This is in my mind right now because my oldest is wrestling through it. As a recent high school graduate, she has a lot of new, adult decisions to make: where to go to school, to church, what to study, who to date…She thought she had at least the first of those all figured out. She chose a college last fall, got scholarships, had her dorm and roommate all picked out and then…circumstances intervened and that fell through.

So what does a Jesus-follower do when we don’t know what God wants? When there’s no verse that says, “Go to _____ college,” “Study ___________”, “Marry _______”?

Pray. I know this sounds cliche. But prayer is powerful – when we pray, we are communicating to the Creator of the Universe! He knows everything, including where you should go to college, what you should study, and who you should marry. So talk to Him. And listen. God has given us the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us.

Seek Wise Counsel. The Proverbs tells us there is wisdom in counsel. So talk with your parents, your pastor, and other people in your life that you know have walked the Christ-life longer than you. What do they think about these decisions? What mistakes have they made that you could avoid? What wise choices have they made that you could emulate?

Image result for prov. 3:5-6Study the Word. If what you want to do is opposed to what God clearly states, then it is not God’s will. God would never ask you to have sex outside of marriage. God would never ask you to be dishonest. God would never ask you to disrespect your parents. And, ladies, God would never want you to date someone who doesn’t share your faith. For the rest, seek biblical principles. For what to be: God has gifted you with talents and abilities. How can you use those in a career? For who to marry: Examine what men of God look like in the Bible and find someone who fits that model (be sure you’re striving to be a woman of God, too!).

Take a leap of faith. Sometimes, we do all that, and we’re still not 100% sure. That has been our family’s testimony on more than one occasion. In those times, we recall the advice my father-in-law gave us: “Just step out and trust God.” If you feel God directing you there, if those in your life agree with it, if the scripture doesn’t contradict it, then go! God rarely gives us the “whole story”. He shows us our story one page at a time. And some of those pages seem a little crazy. But as long as we are wholeheartedly seeking the Author and Finisher of our faith, we can be confident in Him.

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Christ life, Stuff about Me, Uncategorized | 3 comments

I hate being uncomfortable. I hate tension. I hate change. I want everyone to be happy and healthy and for life to go smoothly. I want disagreements to be limited to chocolate vs. vanilla or tea vs. coffee (the correct answers being chocolate and coffee, of course!) isn’t like that. There is discomfort and tension and change. There is unhappiness and sickness and disagreements that rip people apart.

Image result for embrace cactusIt’s not that some people enjoy the above-mentioned horrors. But some can manage them better. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. My husband jokes that, in difficult times, I am like a snapping turtle – I either sink into my “shell” and avoid everyone, or I come out snapping off fingers and toes!

Lately, I have bounced between both locations, I am ashamed to say. And the fact is, I don’t feel any better in the shell or out snapping. Those responses don’t make situations better. They don’t solve problems (in reality, they make the problems worse!).

I have come to the realization that I have to learn to embrace the uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean enjoying tough situations.  But it does mean that I keep my head outside of my “shell” – with my mouth closed – and that I keep moving.

The only way through difficult times is to go through them. Like it or not, comfortable or not, no matter how tough it is. God has called me to follow Him. Sometimes, He leads me beside still waters and other times, through the valley of the shadow of death. But no matter what, He is with me. I will trust in Him.