Monday, March 21, 2011

Long post

So it's been quite a while since I've posted here, mostly because three blogs is just simply too much! So I have been doing most of my posting over at ...if you want to know what I'm up to should check out that site.

Doesn't mean I won't show a little love over here now and then, but for the most part, I'm setting up camp over on the ministry side of the house.  Why don't you come visit?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Be Joy

Today, in my morning time with Jesus I received what felt like the most peculiar direction.


Huh, God? How do I do that? How do  I be joy?

There is no DO....there is BE. BE joy to the world today, Cari.

Ok, ok...I know what you're thinking....yes, in my head, God sounds like Yoda.  I think he's ok with that. I also think Yoda is the perfect metaphor for my big-power-speaks-softly-but-carries-a-big-stick kind of God, but that is a whole other blog post.

In this 100 joys series, we are all discussing things that bring us joy, looking for joy in our everyday lives, but what about BEING joy.  What does that look like?

What is joy exactly? Webster's dictionary defines it as a state of happiness or felicity or a source or cause of delight.  Which honestly didn't answer any questions for me.  So I asked God.  What is joy....and a list of words came slamming into me...I can't fully recall them all, but here's a start:


The list continued to run through my mind for over a minute.  A barrage of words that summed up the meaning of joy. So today my challenge is to LIVE these words.  To become the physical embodiment of these words in the world.  My challenge is not to look for joy, or recognize joy or even to DO joy.  Today my challenge is to BE JOY.  Will you join me?

In the spirit of sharing Christmas joy, I would love for you to share a comment with me.  One lucky commenter will receive a copy of my book, Living Life with Strings Attached as a gift.  Comment by midnight on December 24 to win.  

What words mean joy to you?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joy on the Team

Great Joy comes with great relationships! Thank you Jesus for creating us in your relational beings.  Being with friends and family...working together as a team, these are things that bring me joy...and lately, I've had lots of opportunities for that.

My sisters in Christ bring me great joy. They are great allies on this battlefield we call life. These are some of the photos from our November Princess Retreat. This retreat is always so near my heart because, while I lead it, these women KNOW me. They are my sisters, they hold me accountable and love me...and I love them...They are my team.

IBC Princesses are some of the finest women in the world! I am blessed and honored to be a part of them!

Speaking God's love, sharing his message brings me great joy.  It's in these moments, I glimpse what I was created for.

Sharing God's love through prayer is a sweet joy.

But the purest joy of all is spending time with these crazies! What precious rays of sunshine my family are!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Review- Inspired Design

Inspired Design by Roxanne Hughes Packham and Hannah Packham (Inspired Designs Publications, 2010)
Drawing from the highly-published designs she's created for hundreds of clients, Packham will inspire you to create a home that touches the souls of those within. Amid Stunning photography, stories of treasured family traditions and poignant observations by 16 year old daughter Hannah, she shares ideas that will help you create beauty, warmth and passion in your home, and make it an inspired design. "Do not underestimate the power of your home, nor its ability to change lives," writes designer Roxanne Hughes Packham. "A cup of hot tea and an hour in a cozy nook spent listening to a friend can be life-altering. "Sending well-loved, cared for children into the world to contribute to our society in positive meaningful ways is one of the most significant contributions, if not the most significant contribution, you will ever make, and your home is a major part of this endeavor.

Even better than the beautiful photos, 100% of the profits of this book go to charity: Heart of Hope, Local Food Pantry, Inspired 31 and more.  
Written by Granddaughter of Allan Adler, noted American silversmith, and Great Granddaughter of Porter George Blanchard, also known as "silversmith to the stars", Packham's history and knowledge of silver and flair for table settings prove to be a winning combo. Ideas for Sentimental Parties, and occasions for teenage girls, and mothers & others, Celebrating friends & friendship. Inspirational for incorporating family history, talents, and passions into the design of the family home.

Why did you write Inspired Design with your daughter?
My grandfather (Silversmith Allan Adler) passed this love of design to me, so it just seemed a natural, alongside a book about the design and subsequent use of our homes, infused with family heritage that my daughter who lives along side me take a large part the powerful subject of "the home". I also wanted to create a place where we could initiate, create, and complete a project where my daughter, Hannah, could learn along side me both the practical and the ethical implications of a project this size, where all the profits go to a charity that is dear to our hearts, Heart of Hope Ministries, Intl. I wanted show her an example of using our talents and gifts for the enjoyment of others, while benefiting others, not ourselves. It wasn't to be pious, but just a fun way to give back and truly make a difference while doing something together that we loved!

What is Inspired Design?
A book about three aspects of the home and how it's power to touch the souls of those within. Those three aspects are Designing for warmth and beauty to nurture others, meaningful touches and gestures to celebrate and honor your loved ones on special occasions and ordinary days, and lastly that it is not what we have or do not have that blesses others, and changes lives, but how we use what we have. It is about incorporating YOUR family heritage, and your unique gifts, into making a beautiful, family home.

I know that a mother-daughter ministry, "Inspired 31", has begun along side of Inspired Design, why do you think it has resonated so powerfully?
Especially in this economic climate so many women are more resolute than ever that their families are the most important thing in their lives and their daughters, or close friends, should be celebrated and cherished. Without exception our gatherings (3 so far, in it's first 3 months) have attracted hundreds of mother/daughter/sister/friend combinations wanting to come, for 2 hours, and celebrate what is good, pure, worthy of praise especially each other. Inspired 31's mission is to teach girls (and now even woman of all ages) to find and follow God's unique path for their lives. We have inspiring speakers, and a wonderful positive/uplifting program. We have people inquiring about beginning a chapter in their area, in many cities.

Where can we purchase a copy of Inspired Design? Also, we heard this book is helping orphans and teenage girls as well.
Inspired Design makes a perfect gift with so many ideas for making Christmas, or any holiday, more special with all kinds of thoughtful little details.
100% of the profits go to Heart of Hope, which benefits orphans in Romania, and Inspired 31, a Mother-teenage girl ministry. With each purchase you are helping all kinds of different children.
Please visit my web site at

Hannah & Roxanne Packham

About the Authors
Roxanne Hughes Packham is an acclaimed interior designer whose classic designs grace hundreds of California homes from San Francisco to San Diego. She comes from a long line of gifted artisans, including world-renowned silversmiths Allan Adler (her grandfather) and Porter Blanchard (her great-grandfather). Roxanne is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles; she studied design at Paris Fashion Institute and the Sorbonne. Her work has been featured in numerous design publications, including Life: Beautiful, California Homes, Dream Homes of Coastal California, Kitchen Style & Design, Dream Log Homes, Westlake Malibu Lifestyle, Kitchen Ideas That Work, Bath Ideas That Work, The Smart Approach to Kitchen Design, The Smart Approach to Bath Design, The Color Idea Book, The Window Treatment Idea Book, and more. She makes her home in Southern California, with her husband Scott, and their children, Hannah and Justin.

Hannah Packham is continuing her family’s long tradition of design excellence. Last summer, Hannah studied design at the University of Southern California. Hannah is a top scholar, and has been named to the Headmaster & Deans List at Oaks Christian High School, where she is currently a student. She was selected to represent OCHS as a member of the “Lion’s Voice,” a school-selected tour guide program. She is also a varsity athlete in pole-vaulting and studied pole-vaulting at the University of California Los Angeles during the summer 2009. Her interests include Classical ballet dancing, skiing and modern dance. She has made mission trips to Costa Rica (2009) and Romania (2010). She has been selected to participate in Rotary Leadership Conference 2010.

Mark Lohman is a southern California-based photographer whose specialties include interior, garden and architectural photography. His distinctive photographs have appeared in numerous design and architectural publications, including Veranda, Architectural Record, Luxe, Coastal Living, House Beautiful, California Homes, and many more. Mark is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Brooks Photography Institute.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Inspired Design Publications in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at for more information about blog tour management services.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Guest Post- Going Fast

My fellow blogging sister, Sarah Markley at The Best Days of My Life is starting a series called 100 Joys.  I love this series...her challenge: in the month of December, choose Joy, and then write about it.  Every Monday we'll link up and share with one another.  I love the idea, and already find myself loving the posts...but this one in particular spoke to me today.  There is something joyful about the wind in your hair, zooming through life fast...and yet sometimes fast can be scary, or overwhelming or just plain too much.  God is calling me to slow down and solitude, but I like fast! This post really spoke to me, I hope that it will to you as well.  I will be linking up with posts on Joy...won't you join us?

I’m teaching myself to run again. After about 1 and a half years of struggling to find motivation to get up and run {11}
I’m doing it again. I’m lacing up shoes that need to see miles and hiding cold hands inside the sleeves of a sweatshirt. And running. I’m not racing for speed or checking off boxes on a to-do list. But I’m running because that’s me. And I’ve lost some of me over the past few years.
Here I am again. In my athletic shoes. Waiting to go fast.
One or two days a week I watch my oldest daughter ride a horse. She’s strong and sure and she’s already fast. Already, at roller-coaster-loving eight-years-old, she’s fast. It’s the speed, I think, that she likes. {12}
And she pauses in the corner of the arena, for a minute, between speed bursts and pats his neck.
You’re doing great, she whispers to him. And I think what she means is Thank you for being youIt satisfies me that she’s doing something she loves. And she’s doing it well. Sometimes I don’t take the time to “be proud” of her. But this afternoon I do. I watch. I listen. And I love her by thinking about the WHO of her. {13}
I called Chad on the phone in the middle of the day.
“The stress is literally strangling me, ” I said to him.
“What can I do to help?” is usually not what he asks but this time it was different.
I just let out a long sigh. There was no joy in this kind of fast. If I can only get the rhythm down between moving too fast or not fast enough then things might. just. work. I’m moving too fast, I felt. The list is getting longer and not shorter, I now have to swipe the page down to see all of it.
So I take a couple or three hours in the morning while the girls are at school, with my laptop and Jack Johnson in my ears and sitting with a cup. {14}
I’m allowing the slowness of life to refill me and not the stress to fix its hands around my neck. Finding the slow in a busy month {busier than I would have ever chosen} is helping my attitude. It’s beginning to help me see what is important. These joys, so far, are changing me. {15}
Have you been changed by JOY?
This a post in the 100 Joys project we are doing this month. Get ready to link up your posts on Monday and get the badge in my sidebar. Look for joy. Find it beneath your fingers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Guest Post- Ellie and the Weeds

It was hotter than it should have been for that day as my daughter and I were evaluating the state of our lawn. We walked hand in hand, barefoot in the tall grass, and I bent down to pull up a weed. Ellie looked at me with an expression of outrage that belied her age.

“Mommy, why you pull that up?”
“Because it’s a weed, honey.” My fingers reached over and over again into the warm earth as my thoughts drifted elsewhere. I thought about what I was going to make for dinner, what time I needed to wake up the baby, where my lost car keys could have gone, and many other seemingly important questions. I felt a tug at the back of my shirt and shifted my focus.
“Hi, Ellie. What do you need, honey?”
“What’s a weed?” The curious blue eyes were searching me, waiting for an answer that would clarify why mommy was tearing up the yard that daddy had been working so hard on this summer.
“Oh baby, a weed is not a good thing. It is going to try and kill all of our grass.” I tried to read her face to see if this explanation satisfied her. I imagined it would; at the tender age of three and a half, she had already become my rule-enforcer, my child of justice, the one who always pointed out the color of upcoming traffic lights as we drove and corrected children on the playground for using “potty talk.”
Her eyes widened and she crouched down, eye to eye with the killer weeds. An air of righteousness overtook her, as she said in her sternest voice,
“Oh dear. You are trying to kill grass. Naughty, naughty.” She tipped her chin back to look at me, the sun flooding her face, and she smiled the smile that meant, “I took care of it.” I patted her fiery red head.
“Thanks Ellie. Now run along and play.” I watched as she dusted the dirt cautiously from her knees and shifted her hair out of her face. As she started walking towards her twin sister, she announced,
“Abby, those weeds are trying to kill something. We gotta get ‘em.” Abby, more similar to Ellie in looks than moral reasoning, turned briefly and gave a supportive horrified look to show Ellie she had heard the news. Then she went back to drinking water from the sprinkler while doing what looked to be a choreographed frenzy of joy.
The next day, Ellie approached me while I was sitting in the yard, watching the sun set in the trees behind out house. My heart was heavy with the gravity of daily life, and as she always did, Ellie sensed that something was not right.
“Mommy, why you feeling that?” Her choice of words took me off guard; I myself unable to identify the “that” in what I was feeling. Her tiny, sweaty hand ran along my arm and I looked into a deep place in her, replying gently,
“Today mommy is feeling kind of down. It‘s alright, mommy is ok. Just thinking about things.” I didn’t want her to feel my burden, so instead of letting my thoughts get the better of me, I began to tickle her and roll her around in the hot grass. A look of shock came over her and I pulled my arms back, trying to imagine what could have upset her.
“Baby, are you ok? Did mommy hurt you?” Her eyes were looking over my head and I tried to follow her gaze.
“No. I think I see a wicked. I gonna get it.” Arms on hips, she walked a few steps from where we were, her tiny sneakers carving a path of determination. She lowered her body deliberately and pointed at a weed that was towering over the grass.
“Look.” She turned to see what effect her discovery would have on me. Assured that I had seen the problem, she clarified her concern.
“Is that a wicked or a grass?”
Where she heard the word wicked in reference to a weed, I don’t know, but I do know that there was great importance in the elimination of the correct green species in our yard. God forbid she should pull up a piece of healthy grass!
What a funny little girl, I thought, and then I realized something . To the three year old eye, and maybe even to the thirty year old eye, weeds and grass look very similar. Same color, same feeling, same texture.
In fact, I realized that the “wicked” and the grass were only discernibly different to me because I had seen them for enough years to know the difference. I looked down into red cheeks and pursed lips.
“That’s a weed.” She gave a nod of supportive confirmation and turned toward the little green enemy.
“Hmm. You tryin’ to kill something?” She interrogated the weed, either out of a sense of power over it or a sense of unease about what was to come next. She looked at me one more time, waiting for me to tell her, as I do several times each day, that this was not a good choice. My silence must have been translated as permission, and she reached, gently, to touch the weed.
But instead of pulling the whole thing out, she touched the tiny leaves of the “wicked,” and pulled it just enough to remove a sliver. She discarded it quickly and reached in for more. I watched as she did this several times, not at all put out by the fact that she appeared to be doing very little to stop the killer weeds that were threatening our grass as we knew it.
It was at this moment, as I sat beside her in the grass, that I realized God was teaching me more than proper lawn care. I thought about how many times, even in a day, I reach to pull the “wicked” one leaf at a time, and all the while it is growing bigger and stronger all around me. I am seasoned enough in my walk to identify the weeds in my life, and much too tentative at removing them.
I sat and stared at my Ellie, so much like her mommy in so many ways, as she delicately plucked leaf from leaf. I wanted her to learn more from the moment, as I had, and so I put my fingers around hers, noticing that we both had dirt under our fingernails. I moved her hands away and took firm grip on the base of the weed.
“Here, let me show you.” I jiggled it as I went to make sure the root came up as well. Side to side, delicately at first, and then when I sensed it would come up in one whole piece, I tugged it out in one quick motion.
Ellie marveled at the long roots dangling down and the gap left in our ground.
"See how mommy got the whole thing? You want me to help you learn?” She nodded and I pointed to another weed a few feet away. She rose confidently and approached the “wicked” with a new realization: I know your secret.
We spend the next hour walking side by side, saying very little, rejoicing in the holes that were cropping up all over daddy’s lawn. For both of us, there was a sense that they were a small price to pay for the greater good.
We both got better as we went along, learning the way different weeds come up out of the dirt. Some are long and skinny, and those just take one good pull. Others are leafy and the roots are stubborn.. Sometimes you have to dig all around it and tug gently. We became a great team.
As the waning sun looked down on us that Thursday night, I learned something about the boldness we should claim in approaching our sin. We kneel, we face it eye to eye, we clarify that it is not of our Lord, and then, in utter confidence, we grasp it by its strongest point and destroy it. We don’t have to do it alone, and we don’t have to do it in fear.
We are tended to by the great Gardener Himself, whose deepest longings are met as we walk in the joy of gaping holes that He can pour Himself into and raise anew.
I pray that you learn to be bold with the sins you face in your life, not as one who fears the gardening, but as one whose desire to be holy, blameless and pure as they sense their Father beckoning them through the grass.
About the Author
Angie is the proud wife of Todd Smith of Selah, and the blessed mommy to Abby and Ellie (6), Kate (3), and Audrey Caroline, who passed away the day she was born...

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Friday, November 19, 2010

I Dare You to Move....

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened

I was on my way to work this morning and I heard this song by Switchfoot that I have heard a million times on  my very favorite Christian radio station, KLRC.  I’m a musician and poet at heart, so I listen to the lyrics of things. Take them apart in my head.  And I don’t know why, but I have always heard this song in a different way.  I think I always heard the first three lines:

I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
And in my head created this anthem about continuing to move forward in this lost and dying world.  But I never really soaked in those last three lines and what they might mean for me as I walk this world.
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened
Today never happened

What would that look like? If I moved like today never happened before?  Who would I be like? If I woke up each morning and greeted the day with the excitement and anticipation of a truly extraordinary beginning.  How would that feel?

Who would I show up as if I believed that the slate was wiped clean every morning?  If I was free from all the hurt and unforgiveness in my heart.  Free from all the sin and shame that burdens my thoughts.  If I greeted each moment, each person as if they were a brand-new-never-before-seen-or-heard-or-felt experience.  How would that change my world?

The truth is that God wants us to live life this way.  He wipes the slate clean whenever we ask….but do we?  We don’t let go, forgive, walk away from the past hurts and shame, but instead carry it with us into every experience and interaction that we have each day. 

Today, I dare you to move. Experience the wonder and fullness and amazing abundance of God’s grace and beauty in this world.  See the world with new eyes, hear with new ears, and drink in the immense creation God’s given us.

I dare you to move like today never happened before.

What would your world be like if you moved like today never happened before?  Who would you be?