Thursday, July 12, 2012


It's the first week of swimming lessons, and six sensational kids stand in line to go off the diving board. Some have done this before, others only a couple of times before, and two this is their first time EVER jumping off the diving board. My daughter Carissa is standing shivering in line, because she is all of 40 pounds soaking wet. Carissa recently graduated Kindergarten and she is entering the first grade in the fall. She will be starting a new year, and she will be making new friends. A lot of new things happen when your young. A lot of first time experiences, liking jumping off the diving board, and into the deep end all by yourself. 

Do you remember the first time you jumped off a diving board? If the experience wasn't tough enough many watchful eyes of other kids and grown ups gathered around the pool waiting for you to jump just intensifies things that much more. 

Here she is waiting her turn. I am standing just a couple yards away, and I can feel the tension building up, as she waits very anxiously for her turn to arrive. Heart pounding, pulse racing, I can hardly breath as I wonder if the mounting fear will over take her, or will she be able to move forward into what she is being called to do.

I am proud of her for trying out something different, for getting way out of her comfort zone, and doing not only something new that she has never done before, but something VERY SCARY. 

As each child jumps off the diving board it brings Carissa that much closer to her turn to jump. The first couple of kids jump off the board as if it were no big deal, and one calls back to the rest, "come on don't be such a scaredy cat" -- his dad had to remind him that just last summer he was the "scaredy cat", although he emphatically denies it. This third grader had a case of selective amnesia. How quickly big kids can forget that they were ever once afraid.

Half the kids have already gone, and there are only 3 kids left. The young girl who looks to be about a 3rd grader is standing in front of Carissa dreading that she is next. This young girl is voicing her fears which is making Carissa's own fears heighten. I can only imagine what must have been racing through my little daughters mind at this moment. How many times must she have contemplated giving in to her ever increasing fear, and turning back. Now it is her turn. As she takes a deep breath to ready herself, a little soft soothing voice of a friend says, "Carissa you can do it!" It was her friend Ethan whom Carissa met in Kindergarten this past year. She looks over her should and her worried eyes are met by his loving friendly beautiful blue eyes, and once again he give her encouragement, and says "Carissa you can do it!" 

Now it is Carissa's turn. Having watch the little girl before her conquer her fear showed Carissa that she too can do it. Carissa was not just a little hesitant, she was filled with intripedation, and worry. She was facing fear, and she was scared. I was standing by her side telling her that she can do this. She said, "But Momma I have NEVER done this before. This is my very first time EVER!" I encouraged her, and said Honey, there is a first time for everything, just like the first time you rode your bike or scooter, or when you first jumped into the water from the side of the pool. You can do this. You are ready. Go for it. She kept saying "Momma I'm scared. I'm scared" as she inched her way forward. I kept reassuring her that this is her time, she is ready, and she can do this as she moved forward.

I saw how reluctant her hands were as she grasped the silver metal railing, and climbed her way up the two steps onto the diving board. I saw how her arms & hands began to shake, as she took each step closer to the edge of the diving board, and how the board became wobbly, and her little legs became wobbly. I was also wobbly on the inside, but that soft reassuring voice of GOD spoke to my heart, and eased my worried mind, and told me that, "She is ready."

Carissa paused for a few seconds, looked back, and I encouraged her to move forward. I knew if I showed one once of worry, concern, or uncertainty she would see it on my face, and immediately turn back, and once she turned back there would be no getting her to try it again, that day, that week, for the remainder of the swimming lesson, and maybe not for the rest of the summer, so I kept reassuring her that, You can do it! 

Standing just a few feet away from the edge she cried out, "Momma, I am scared!" I cried out to her "Honey you are Brave, this is your day to jump, you are ready to do this. I love you. You can do this". Carissa took a few more steps, and soon she was standing at the edge of the diving board. Her wobbly legs were making the board wobble even more. I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. What must it have been like for her?

The board was unsteady below her, and oh how scary that is when the platform below you is moving & shaking, you are suspended in air, and below you is the very deepest end of the pool, and you are just a little girl just learning how to swim.

Carissa glances over her left shoulder, looks at me with great desperation, and utter disappointment, and she cries out, "Momma I'm not Brave, I'm scared", and this Momma cries out back to her precious little daughter, "Honey you are Brave -- Brave is doing it scared!"

Carissa faces forward, takes a deep breath, and jumps. 

She surfaces the water exhilarated, and hears the roar of the crowd, tears pouring down my face I cry out, You did it Honey, You did it! You are soooo VERY Brave!  

Carissa's hard work is not over yet. She swims forward from one end of the pool to the other. I rush to the other end of the pool to meet her. I grab her towel and wrap the towel and my arms around her, pull her close cheek to cheek and tell her how sooo VERY proud I am of her, for being Brave

The little third grade boy that tried to discourage her before by calling her a scardy cat was standing right next to us, and proceeded to tell us that because "she took sooo long, didn't jump right away, and was scared that she was not Brave". 

Carissa respectfully and confidently informed this young guy that "Brave is doing it scared!" -- that's my girl!

GOD's Beloved Daughters are Beautiful & Brave and when we walk forward in faith I can imagine GOD saying -- that's My girl!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You Are Outstanding!

This post was inspired by reading a post from a very good friend of mine Jess, as well my favorite teacher, my beautiful & brilliant little daughter Carissa.

Often we parents with good intentions striving for excellence for our children -- well it is we parents who often miss the mark. We must keep in mind that our life, and our children's life is about progression not perfection.

I had a very powerful intervention, or perhaps I should say a very powerful parent & Teacher conference with the LORD in regards to Carissa's Kindergarten report cards. The first two quarters Carissa earned all Os for (O)utstanding, the highest marks possible. Then the third quarter she was graded on Reading.

Background Info. Carissa is the youngest in her class, the public school standard was to hold her back a year just because of her younger age (missed the mandatory cut off by 6 weeks), although she excelled in pre-K, and is mature beyond her years, her friends were allowed to enter Kindergarten, because they met the public standardized age requirement, and Carissa was not allowed to start Kindergarten with her best friend. A local private christian school recognized that Carissa was ready for Kindergarten and allowed her to attend their school.

Back to the 3rd Quarter Report Card marks. As Carissa's parents we believe Carissa excels in Reading (especially since she is the youngest in the class), yet the report card said S+ as in [S]astisfactory + in Reading. We know that she did her very best, and that is all that we can ask from her. When our children truly do their very best, no matter the grade they receive on a test or on a report card by truly doing their very best they are in fact doing Outstanding!

On all the other areas on Carissa's report card she earned Os. When we average the S+ with the Os she earned over all Outstanding Excellence. 
We can achieve Excellence without having to achieve perfection.

This is true not only in our academic life, but our over all life.

GOD's Amazing Grace covers us when we miss the mark. Kind of like when we are caught on a cold day without a coat, Christ is the warm blanket that covers & comforts us.

All we need to do is to allow our Helper the Holy Spirit to bring the blessing of conviction and show us where we missed the mark. When we confess that we messed up we take responsibility, and when we have a repentant heart we have a teachable spirit, we are accountable, and most important we are pliable and willing to let GOD teach us & transform us to be Outstanding by living to our fullest potential.

The LORD is merciful, compassionate, and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast, and Unfailing Love. Psalm 145:8

GOD's Amazing Grace allows us to strive for Excellence without having to be Perfect, and that is sooo Outstanding!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Time to Dance

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3: 1

The Bible tells us in 2 Samuel 6:14 that David danced with delight before the Lord. The Bible also teaches us that GOD inhabits the praises of those who love Him. Psalm 22:3

David blessed the Lord with a Dance of Praise, or what we refer today as a Praise Dance.  What if David was not only dancing before the Lord, but with the Lord? Is it possible that David was dancing in the spirit with GOD? WOW! 

My little daughter loves to dance. She was born to dance. She was dancing, bouncing, and swaying to the rhythm of the music before she could even take a single step. If the tempo was slow she bounced slow, if the temp was fast she bounced fast. No doubt GOD created her to dance.

One day I was watching my little girl dance with such delight. She was smiling, giggling, and gliding along the living room floor. She had this unexplainable Peace and Joy that was sooo very captivating. This dance was different from the ones she had danced before. She was in her own world. If I were to give a name to what I witnessed I would have to say it was a Dance of Serenity & Tranquility. I could not take my eyes off of her, and yet she was completely oblivious to me watching her. She was both captivated and captivating in this wonderful indescribable moment.

It seemed as if she was dancing with someone who brought her great indescribable Joy. The emotional expression she had on her face was familiar to me, because it is much like how I feel when the Presence of the Lord is with me. You know that awesome experience when the Holy Spirit falls upon you and blesses you with the Peace that surpasses all understanding. 

I had to ask her, Honey who are you dancing with? And she said, with beautiful sparkling eyes, "Momma I'm dancing with Jesus! I watched her as she made these angelic moves, and I asked her, Honey who taught you that move? And she replied as if I should have already known the answer, "Momma Jesus is teaching me!" Well of course He is honey, and I can see you are having a wonderful time learning to dance with Jesus. Carissa told me how "Jesus is a great dancer, and knows all the steps!"

Talk about a WOW Experience that I will never forget!

Did you know Jesus loves to dance? I didn't either. If someone had told me this a couple of years ago I don't know if I would have believed her either, until I experienced it through my daughter's eyes. 

Jesus loves to dance and He longs to dance with each of us. WOW! 

Carissa often says, "Come on Momma and dance with Jesus!" She encourages others to discover & join the joy of dancing with Jesus. She says she loves to dance with GOD, and has inspired me to do the same! 

Okay, take another step with me.

Imagine the most beautiful wedding of all. Your favorite location in all the entire world. Your favorite time of the year, your favorite time of the day/evening. Create the wedding of your dreams with every spectacular detail. Your favorite smells and sounds surround you. Do you have that pictured in your mind?

Do you see yourself attending this amazing event? You are not one of the guests, and you are not a bride's maid. You are the bride -- the belle of the ball! Your favorite music is playing, and Christ walks across the room to dance with you. Just you. Only you.

In this particular season of your life perhaps you are experiencing Christ as your Best Friend, or maybe you are experiencing GOD's parental love, and see GOD as your Holy Parent, or maybe a Hero who has come to your rescue. And then maybe you are a bit like me, and are a little overwhelmed by the countless aspects of the multifaceted depths of GOD's Love. 

Have you ever been overwhelmed & overpowered by GOD's Love? It truly makes my mind swirl, and I get dizzy with utter delight. It is much like falling in love for the very first time, and like your best intimate moments. Raptured by GOD's Love. Is it okay to feel this way about GOD?

It is okay we don't have to figure it all out, and the thing is we can't even if we tried. Even if we had an army of experts with the most brilliant minds of our day, there would still be a great mystery to GOD, and that is sooo exciting! All we need to know is that GOD is for us, with us, and longs to be closer to each of us. GOD is who we need Him to be when we need Him to be. 

There are moments of my day, and I suspect there are moments of your day to when you need to feel the love & comfort of a best friend, or a parent, or your Beloved. Let me say it again, GOD is who we need Him to be when we need Him to be, because He is GOD the great I AM. 

Do you hear GOD saying, I AM here for you? Listen with your heart, with the depths of our soul.  

GOD's Holy Spirit is whispering to your soul, saying I AM here for you. Yes, you! 

It is Time to Dance. Let GOD be what you need Him to be. Maybe it is your very best friend from childhood who waited to dance with you, or it could be time for the Father & Daughter dance, or maybe it is time for the Bride & Groom's first dance. You are the Beautiful Bride. It is [your] choice. Let GOD be what you need Him to be.

GOD is waiting to dance with you. Take His hand and dance! Enjoy the dance.

Go ahead and as soon as you can, put on your favorite dancing music today or tonight, and dance with GOD! You don't have to tell anyone you are dancing with Jesus. It is only for the two of you to know and do. Go for it!

Will it be a slow waltz, or a quick step? Hey I'm told that GOD knows the latest dance moves. GOD is waiting to dance with you. Break out of your comfort zone, and dance with Jesus!

GOD is your Dream Dancer who knows all the steps to each and every dance you desire to dance with Him, and He will dance with you as long as you want to dance with Him. An amazing experience is waiting for you! Just for you!

* I hope this song inspires you to find your own song to dance with Jesus. This is one of Carissa's favorite songs!
♥ Anissa

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dare to Share

Dare to Share. . . Recap

Living a Righteous Life means that you desire to do what is right by honoring GOD with making mostly righteous choices, and when you mess up, and you will (none of us are perfect that is why we all need a Savior), so be convicted, not rebellious, or self-righteous, repent, and ask for forgiveness, and others can actually be blessed by what you have learned when you Dare to Share.

That's it? Lord you mean the mistakes of my past can be used for a righteous purpose?
Seriously GOD that is Totally Awesome!

If I Dare to Share, then I can serve as a warning sign, so that others can avoid a Total Wipe Out!

I can warn them of the danger that lies ahead, because I too headed off in the wrong direction. I walked with the crowd, and ran away from Christ. I did not understand that GOD's ways were a blessing to keep me from danger and destruction, so I danced in the shadows, and did not know what I was missing by being in the Son's Light.

Dare to Share . . . okay here goes. . .

One of the mistakes I did in my college days was to co-habitate, aka live in sin with my boyfriend. We of course thought that this was going to be Totally Excellent. It seemed to make such great practical and rational sense, because Christopher and I spent all our free time together, and he was practically living with me, and my two other roommates. In fact they thought since he was pretty much living with us, he might as well chip in and pay part of the rent. Living together seemed like such a good idea!

Think of all the money we were going to save, because he wouldn't have to drive back and forth, and for him to move out from his parent's home into his own separate apartment, well that was just crazy then we would have two rents instead of just one. At this time in our life Finances trumped Family Values. We were college kids paying for college barely getting by, so we had no money to get married. We promised each other that as soon as we graduated from college we would get married and make it official with a ceremony, and everything, but for now we will live faithful to one another as a husband and wife would, and be married in the eyes of GOD.

Well all I can say is that you don't know what you don't know. And it is okay not to understand everything GOD tells us to do, but when we trust GOD we can know that He says things for a reason, not to control us, but to bless us, and keep us from messing up our lives, and the lives of our children and future generations. GOD loves us, that is why He sets rules to guide us. His Holy Precepts leads to Wonderful Promises & Blessings. His Holy Word & Ways are not for restriction, but for protection. They are not a burden, they are a blessing. I did not understand this back then, but I understand it now through trial and much error. 

Our lives, and the lives of our loved ones not only become messed up and dysfunctional, but they can be destroyed when we reject GOD's Guidance, and go the way of the world. As the saying goes, Misery loves Company, and when we make a mess out of our lives, self-righteous selfish messed up people feel better about their own lives. Many people in this life would rather bring you down, and keep you down where they are rather than boost you up, so that you can have a better life. In the Land of Dysfunction there is a hidden happiness when others stumble and fumble and fail to improve their lives. There is much gossip, secret and sometimes not so secret celebration over the other person's wipe outs.

If you have taken a wrong turn, and headed down the wrong path it is not too late to make a U-turn, and have the life that GOD has waiting for you. It will take courage, because some are going to want you to stay with them as they keep heading the wrong way. The wrong way does not get better, it only goes from bad to worse to unimaginable destruction and devastation. Those who have been down the wrong road can testify that they would have never imagined it could ever get that bad. That is the enemy's plan to take you farther than you ever thought you would go.

For example, cohabiting is the wrong way, one wrong choice that leads to other and another. In fact the wrong choice did not begin with living together, it began with having sex together, and since we are acting like a married couple we might as well as live together like a married couple. And even though you didn't plan it, you find yourself pregnant, and of course the world's view is to have an abortion, because you are not ready to be parents. Many people make the worst mistake of their life and murder their unborn child, and then are wounded by what they have done, and seek ways to numb the pain. Then there are the courageous women who chose their baby's life over a life with a man who will not marry her, yet claims to love her. These brave women now raise their babies all alone. Most babies born out of the sanctity of marriage do not have their fathers in their lives, and those that do most of their father's are not dependable, and are a bad example.

Whether you are a boy or a girl growing up without a Daddy is devastating, but you keep that pain hidden away from your Mom, because you don't want to hurt her, and you know there is nothing she can do to change that, so you and Mom convince yourselves that you don't need a Dad, and you push down, and deny the pain and the longing, and search for ways to replace the need for a Dad, and/or medicate the wound that an absent Dad has left. There are countless problems that come out of the painful consequences of our mistakes of not following GOD's Guidance & Rules that were established not to control us, but to protect us, and to bless us.

So the next time someone tries to tempt you to take a wrong turn that goes against GOD, just tell 'em That's Totally Bogus Dude!  Remember that GOD has a Totally Awesome Plan for you. GOD has put His Promise in writing, you will find it in Jeremiah 29:11

Will following Christ mean that all your days will be filled with sunshine? No. Storms will come, and harsh waves will wipe you out Dude, but they will not destroy you. It is the Life Storms that water our faith and make it grow. The Blessing in the Storm is GOD's Embrace that brings you closer than ever before. I would rather be in the storm with Christ, than on the sandy shore without Him.

GOD is Totally Awesome! GOD can transform our worst day into the best day ever, but that's another story for another day.

How can the worst day in our life become the Best Day EVERRR! Click Here to find out!

To sum it up, Life is about Progression not Perfection. We can be an Excellent Example when we choose to live a Righteous Life. Have a teachable mind, heart, soul, and spirit. Be humble not prideful and be willing to learn, heed the warnings of those who have gone before us.

Learn or Lose. 
Ride the Wave of Righteousness or Wipe Out!
When we follow Christ it is Totally Awesome Dude!

If you like this "Share It Forward" on Facebook & Twitter!

Totally Awesome!

Big hair and a peach ball gown.
What in the world was I thinking?

As far as the peach ball gown I was thinking I could get one more use out of this bridesmaid dress.
As far as the big hair -- well it was the 80's!

Remember the 80's?
A time where you heard phrases like, Totally Awesome! Excellent! and Totally Righteous -- Dude!

I remember when Christopher and I where a young married couple, and his little sister 15 years his junior told us that her high school was having a retro-party. I was so excited for her. I asked her, so what are you all going to dress up as? What is the theme? Roaring 20's with Flappers & Zoot Suits, 30's & 40's Sophisticated Couture, 50's Poodle Skirts & Ponytails, and guys with slick back hair, 60's Outrageous Color & Pattern Combinations, Crazy Psychedelic Patterns, Flower Power, and Hippy Outfits, or 70's Disco Outfits with the Farrah Fawcett Feathered-Hair Style?

She said no, we are going to do a Retro 80's Party. 
Since when did the 80's become Retro? When did the decade of our youth become vintage?
That is Totally Not Awesome!

This was Life's way of giving me my reluctant rite of passage from the Youth Group into the Adult Group. The transition from a young person searching for her way to a young adult responsible for showing the way for the next generation. Yikes! I barely started figuring things out myself, and I made my share of mistakes along the way. How can I be a good example when I messed up? How can I encourage others when I have not lived a perfect life?

My family background was horrific, a complete nightmare not the things of fairy tales that would inspire or encourage young people.

And the LORD softly spoke to my heart saying, you can be an Excellent Example without having lived a perfect life.

What I have learned thus far in my Journey with Jesus is that being Righteous does not mean that you are totally perfect. Think of it this way. To get an A on your report card means that you did Excellent, it does not mean that you got everything correct, just [most] of the things.

As Christians, Christ followers we are called to live sanctified lives set apart from the world. We are to standout from the crowd not blend into it. The way we stand out is to be an Excellent Example by making righteous choices ordained by GOD, and dare to reject what we know is unrighteous.

Living a Righteous Life means that you desire to do what is right by honoring GOD, and you have learned that GOD's Way is the Best Way, because it brings about countless & priceless blessings, not only for you and your loved ones, but for generations to come. Righteous Living is intelligent living, because it is making wise decisions by choosing right over wrong. A Righteous Person is not a perfect person, but it is a courageous person by making mostly righteous choices, and when you mess up, and you will (none of us are perfect that is why we all need a Savior), be convicted, not rebellious, or self-righteous, repent, and ask for forgiveness, learn from your mistakes, and share your mistakes, so others can actually be blessed by what you have learned when you Dare to Share.

That's it? Lord you mean the mistakes of my past can be used for a righteous purpose?
Seriously GOD that is Totally Awesome!

If I Dare to Share, then I can serve as a warning sign, so that others can avoid a Total Wipe Out!

I can warn them of the danger that lies ahead, because I too headed off in the wrong direction. I walked with the crowd, and ran away from Christ. I did not understand that GOD's ways were a blessing to keep me from danger and destruction, so I danced in the shadows, and did not know what I was missing by being in the Son's Light.

Dare to Share . . . okay here goes. . . Dare to Share!

If you like this "Share It Forward" on Facebook & Twitter!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The What If Beatitudes

What If we changed the nature of the What Ifs in our lives?

The What Ifs that keep us trapped within our own comfort zones,

The What Ifs that keep us trapped in the past and prevent us from moving forward,

What Ifs that whisper disparaging thoughts, fuel our unbelief, create doubt, and lead to disobeying GOD, 

WHAT IF we had the power within us to change all that!

WHAT IF the What Ifs were no longer a negative force, but a very powerful positive force?

WHAT IF the What Ifs were no longer heavy chains, but Beautiful Wings!

WHAT IF the What Ifs no longer led to failure, but Success!

WHAT IF the What Ifs could be transformed into the whispers of Destiny instead of Despair?

WHAT IF the What Ifs could be transformed into stepping stones, instead of stumbling blocks?

WHAT IF the What Ifs no longer withheld us, but excelled us? 

WHAT IF we could tune out the enemy holding us back, and tune in to all of Heaven cheering us on?

WHAT IF all this could be True?

WHAT IF we lived our lives not just memorizing, but actually knowing that 
With GOD all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

WHAT IF all this was . . . Not just a cleaver concept, but a Powerful Precept.

WHAT IF I saw all my potential, instead of my problem?

WHAT IF my Backstory is for GOD's Glory?

WHAT IF my cup is not empty, not half empty, not even half full, but abundantly overflowing?

WHAT IF I could see & feel the Beauty that GOD sees in me?

WHAT IF Transformation was not just a dream, but a Reality?

WHAT IF there really is a Happily Ever After?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

GOD's Freshmen

The more you know the more you know there is still so much More you need to know. 
~ Anissa Stark

Just when your mind is full of so much information that you feel like there is just no more room for anything else you discover that you have way more questions than you do answers.

Have you ever felt this way?

Building Character through Patience.

Waiting on GOD is never a waste of time. 

I really need to take the time to fully process all that GOD is teaching me.

My current Journey with Jesus has led me to what I refer to as. . . 

Freshmen Orientation

Along with some other courageous sisters I have enrolled in an adventure of discovery hosted by Tonia Harrison.

What deeply resonated with me is when Tonia wrote in her book on page 83 and mentioned in part 4 of her Video Series was that "While we worry how fast we grow, GOD is concerned with how strong we grow." That is very comforting when you are in your 40s discovering GOD's Kingdom Purpose for your life. There is a part of me that wishes I started this process 20 years ago, but all in GOD's time not ours right!

I feel like I am a college freshmen in GOD's Kingdom Campus searching what to major in when there are sooo many great choices to choose from. Anyone else feel this way?

Overwhelming and Exciting at the same time. 
Much like a College Freshmen stepping on to campus for the first time.

Praise the Lord for sending us Guidance Counselors such as Tonia Harrison, author of Designed With Your Purpose in Mind to help us discover what to major in based upon our GOD given skills/talents/gifts.

Are you an Undeclared Christian, hey I know how you feel!
I have been an Undeclared Christian wondering around in GOD's Kingdom Campus for the past 15 years not quite sure what my unique purpose is, or what GOD is specifically calling me to do for Him.

No matter what age or stage of life you are in right now sweet sisters this is your appointed time to discover and develop your major and master the unique skills/gifts/talents GOD has given you to successfully and joyfully serve Him by being a blessing to others.