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Thoughts from the GPI Staff & Partners


by Gary Lanier


by Leah Lanier













By Kara Stephens


By Mike Blanton


Ministries of encouragement for Believers

called to home ministry.

Mike and Vanetta Stephens LEARN MORE




Jeff Reynolds was an average guy. He was a husband, father, and a hard-working professional. One bad decision caused his life to go straight into the dumpster. He found himself responsible for a drunk-driving accident that claimed the life of an innocent victim. Would Jeff lose his freedom, his family, his career, and perhaps even his sanity? Chad and Debbie Stillwell's family was on the receiving end of the car accident. In an instant, their life changed from a dream to a disaster. Would their marriage hold up under the crushing weight of grief? Would bitterness and unending sorrow destroy them? Could something as simple as God-inspired friendships bring the answers and healing that these devastated people need?


"DEVIL'S DIGS" is available. Originally conceived to be a sequel to "Handful of Demons", it quickly claimed a life of its own, and can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone, or a sequel. Check it out on Amazon!

"Life takes a dramatic turn for Casey and Edward McAlester when they uncover a mystery that will forever bind their family to the Gregory family . . . while at the same their son, Barrett, is thrust into instant fatherhood.

They move to a peaceful community in the mountains of Eastern Oklahoma in search of a tranquil life and find just the opposite when they discover Winnoby is Satan's chosen home away from home. The Evil One's minions set out to stop the McAlester's influence on the few remaining faithful and, at all costs, stop Casey from writing the book God has called her to write. The heinous Satan-worshipping inhabitants of the community are eager to join in the battle against all that's good and Holy.

Barrett falls in love with Jenna, a beautiful Native American girl whom the Prince of Darkness has already chosen for his bride when his reign over earth comes. When the McAlesters try to escape the deadly trap set by the townsfolk and take Jenna with them . . . the gates of Hell can't contain The Evil One's rage."


Best-selling author, Marylu Tindall, had this to say about "Handful of Demons":

"We are surrounded by invisible enemies who are out to destroy our lives, our marriages, and our happiness. Don't believe me? 'Handful of Demons' may convince you otherwise. With this unique blend of the movies Ghostbusters and The Exorcist, Ms. Walding crafts a story that rivals C.S. Lewis's 'Screwtape Letters', a story that allows the reader a peek into a realm beyond our five senses but a realm that is no less real. This book deals with so many topics and in such a real way - love, betrayal, marriage, spiritual warfare, sacrifice, pride, fear, and more - that I had a hard time putting it down each night! A refreshing and poignant look at a subject rarely addressed in Christian fiction."


Devotions for Athletes

by Curtis French

Through long years of experience in ministry and sports, Curtis French is uniquely qualified to offer these devotional studies for fans and players. From college days as a winning pitcher, French has served as Chapel speaker for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians, as well as numerous college and high school teams. Academically, French holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Oklahoma University and Texas A&M.




























Something happened today that has compelled me to write this little diddy! I made a post on Facebook, sharing and venting my humanity. And what I mean by this.. I was the not so perfect "Preacher's Kid" as I usually, always seem to try to exemplify. Let me explain...


I was sitting having coffee, as most of you know, I do so very often, and this man, whom I do not know at all, began doing something that just totally grossed me out. He began taking out some lotion that was obviously a dermatologist type of special lotion and began to apply it all over his arms, his neck, his face, etc...For those of you who may not know, I notice absolutely every little detail in this thing called life and am literally unable to tune things out. Just how my brain works, which I will save for another really, really, long writing!!!


Anywhooooo...I was totally blown away that this man was doing this in a public place where you eat and have coffee. So...I vented it on FB! Like a regular person. And I decided, with my phone on silent of course, to take a picture of him sitting there with his lotion sitting right by his coffee. Yes, I posted that too!


It wasn't long after I posted the picture, that I felt convicted by God to take it down. Mind you, I did not know this man...and I kept his face out of the picture, and he had no idea that I had posted a thing, but I knew in my heart. God began to speak to me about that...So I made another post, to say I felt really bad about what I had done, so I was deleting the picture.


Immediately after, I was chastised by a FB "friend" of mine for being cruel to humanity...and that what I had done was horrible. I went so far as to apologize to this person for disappointing them, explaining that I am only human, and that I make mistakes...but that I try with all of my might, through God's grace, to be kind and do the right thing. Funny how God works. It is through this experience, that I was led to write this...that goes back to my Romans 8:28 verse, that all things work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purposes. Here I was, in the midst of a very human moment, and then chastised for what I did, and yet, God still was speaking to me and the Spirit was moving me to write. God is good that way and so full of grace.


I ended up blocking and removing this person from my friends list and here is why...I want to share just what it feels like to be the daughter of a pastor and worship leader. I myself write worship music, and have led worship the majority of my adult life. But it does not mean I am perfect. I am just a human being, saved by grace...there is the key, grace. It isn't easy growing up in a glass bowl and hasn't been for any of my family. My parents are amazing, incredible people. Full of unconditional love and grace. Called to exemplify that, not only to their family, but to everyone they come in contact with. I had the harsh awakening, as I left their home and began on my own, that my parents were very rare and few and far between.


I began to discover that we, as human beings, tend to be judgmental first and grace seems to be the very last road we take. I can speak from some very harsh and real experiences, that grace is the first road we all need to take with each other. There will be time, after time, after time, we all make mistakes. We will hurt each other's feelings, we will step on some toes, we will act like idiots, we will be selfish. I know I have done and been all of these things. But I also know, my heart longs to exemplify the unconditional love and grace of God in all I do. I fail miserably at times, but I also know that it is God in me, who is faithful to pick me up after those failures and to teach me, so I don't repeat the same mistakes.


But if for some reason, you see me very, very, very human at times on FB or in just every day life, remember this...Yes, I am a preacher's daughter, but I am just one little person who is human. Just because I am a preacher's kid that doesn't mean I am perfect at all.  Don't judge me so harshly, because I can promise you, I will be judging myself way more harshly than you. It isn't easy to live in a glass bowl. Always in the back of my mind, worrying that I have smudges on the glass, and that it isn't as shiny as some of you may wish it to be. I am thankful though, that God gave my life to me, just as it is. And I am thankful that during those "glass bowl moments" it is my Heavenly Father's opinion of me that matters more than anyone else's...and I know, that I know, that I know, He simply loves me no matter what.  God help us to be this way with each other.


© Copyright 2014 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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I am sitting here in the quaint, locally owned restaurant, Eclectic, in North Hollywood, and let me say, it has become a beautiful, friendly, delicious, safe haven for me! I sit and wait on Tuesday's and Friday's, 3 hours each day, as my daughter grows and learns, stretches, pours into, fine tunes her craft, you name it, I sit. I never really knew how difficult it was for me just to "sit" until now!!!

I have all the time in the world (well, 7 hours a week) to reflect back on think. My life, in most every way, has been devoted to that beautiful, big brown eyed treasure, my daughter. I can remember back when I was pregnant with her. God speaking to me clearly, that she was going to be raised out of the box so to speak....differently. In an environment that was a lifestyle of learning from life. Ever growing...always seeking, ever learning, from every beautiful esthetic that life had to offer.

I created a world and refuge for her where watercolors, pastels, Mozart, Alfred Hitchcock and Audrey Hepburn lived and collided. She grew up learning about every kind of dinosaur, digging outside as a paleontologist. She was a veterinarian to every animal we ever had. She made movies of all of her dogs, convinced her film would be the next Homeward Bound. She became an artist at a very young age, and was commissioned by many, to create pet portraits, which we shipped all across the United States. She made homemade dog treats and recycled dog toys, which were shipped out all over as well.

I have watched as my creative little genius has explored the world around her, searching for the spot that God created just for her. Never quite feeling like she fit anywhere. I have seen the tears, I have seen the shaking, as she went to professional dog shows and stood in front of judges, terrified just to stand there. I have witnessed my amazing, brave Asperger girl walk down a runway as a beautiful poised model, in front of one of the most well known agencies in the south. I have listened as her instructors bragged about how she was the most poised, and graceful...knowing deep down, the hurdles in which she is leaping over, are nearly insurmountable. Her motor skills just were not the same as the girls in her class, yet she was the one they would use as an example of how to walk. I remember her practicing on the line of tape in the kitchen, perfecting the graceful foot in front of the other, conquering her fears. 

I remember the many, many times she went to take her written drivers test.  Always making 100 on it at home, and terrified when she had to take a test publicly. Over and over... kept on persevering. She did not stop. I remember the tears of joy when she she told me, "Mom, there is no other teenager in this world, who appreciates my permit more than me...I am so thankful", as the tears poured. 

I remember the day she graduated at age 16. Determined to stand in her Grandmama and Papa's theater to give her speech. She cried, she shook, but wow, how she delivered. Sharing deep parts of who she is with so many, which was very much out of her comfort zone. Trying to convey, just what it meant to walk a day in her shoes...and how thankful to God she was for everything. 

She has wandered through her young little life as a very old soul. Understanding and grasping life in a way that it takes most a lifetime to do...And now, she has found herself. Within the walls of a beautiful, quaint, haven of a studio in North Hollywood. There she has discovered where she feels most herself and at home in her own skin...she feels a belonging...and when she stands on that stage, she does not shake from fear, she does not cry from anxiety, she does not hesitate to stand.  She stands in her spot in life...she cries to express herself within a scene...she shakes from the emotion of a script. Her instructors use her as an example of living, breathing, truth in acting.  And she is believed by all who watch in awe of this young girl who is just beginning. 

So...Mama sits and waits. And I reflect back on that precious little baby girl, who I knew was different in so many beautiful ways. I reflect back and smile from the depths of my soul, that now, I get to sit and wait, while my Anna rises to greatness in the spot that is made just for her. 

This is a day in the life of a mom of an actor...and I am honored to live this day!


© Copyright 2014 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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As I was getting around this morning, trying to wake up, which I do NOT do so easily, my mind began to think on so many things that I have been through in this life. We do that ya human beings, we just do. We approach life from our own eyes so much of the time. We are just self-oriented by nature and don't have the ability to think outside of our own minds a lot of the time. I reflected on my life, this is what came to mind - Scar Tissue. Let me begin by the literal definition of what scar tissue actually is… and talk about the wounds that bring about scar tissue.


Scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) that replace normal skin after injury. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g., after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring. An exception to this is animals with complete regeneration, which regrow tissue without scars formation.


I am sure you all can probably guess where I am going with this. But just humor me :) I am a firm believer in this one simple thing...As I reflect back on things in my life that I have been through, from my own point of view...I hope and pray that as I share, others will gain some sort of positive through the negative I have been through and experienced. It just makes all the junk so much less painful and worth it if I can help just one person...just one. Doesn't have to be a is plenty. :)


Wounds...they come from injury and scars come from the wounds. I remember when I was in my 5th grade track meet! My daddy was there to see me, which was rare because he routinely traveled on the road in music with his cool self, and guitar going everywhere. I was so adrenaline was rushing...I was running sprints (which I still do in life). Long story short...I took off, skidding across the asphalt and my left scrawny knee took all of the hit! My daddy ran out and scooped me up in his arms, carrying me and my bloody knee into the school. Yes, I got a scar on my knee from that.  It is still here to this day, but that is not all that is with me from that experience. My daddy carrying me in his arms is with me as well, tending to his crying little daddy's girl and doctoring my knee. Good came from that injury, good came from that scar. And now when I see that rough little spot on my knee, I smile, remembering my daddy being there and taking care of me.


As I grew up, the scars from life were much deeper than my little track meet scar, as I am sure so many experience when reality and life hits them. There are so many kinds of scars...scars from friends walking away, scars from just plain 'ol stupid immature decisions we make as we are trying to learn how to walk through life, scars of betrayal, scars of mental, emotional, and physical abuse, scars of broken promises and broken dreams. I could go on and on.


It seems that the deepest wounds are wounds from a broken heart...which in turn cause the greatest scar tissue. The scar tissue of the heart seems to become greater and greater every time the heart is broken. Someone once told me..."Your walls are taller and greater than anyone I know". Looking back, I now know that it is scar tissue around my heart from injury after injury. I could avoid this. I know how...just Don't love. Don't try. Don't think like Snow White. Don't dream. Don't pursue. Don't desire. Don't feel. Don't, don't, don't.


I thought it was interesting in the definition of scar tissue what it said about some that again - An exception to this is animals with complete regeneration, which regrow tissue without scars formation.


So I have come to this conclusion, instead of hiding and avoiding the injury and avoiding the scar tissues of the heart, I will be like the animals with complete regeneration! I will love. I will try. I will think like Snow White. I will dream. I will pursue. I will desire. I will feel. I will, I will, I will.


And in time, I will look back on my injuries with joy...because I will find the good that came from them. Just as my daddy carried me off in his arms from my track meet, God will enable my humanness to see that even during the midst of the pain, the struggle, the wounds and the heartache, that He was carrying me the entire time.


© Copyright 2014 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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Have you ever thought about what is really behind those cheesy cruise ship pictures? Sorry if I offended anyone. You may actually have some of your own, that you love and adore, filled with precious memories.


I guess what I am getting at is_ you never know truly what is in a picture. That old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”…I wish the rest of the meaning was always said_, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, because it’s what’s inside that counts”.


All too many times, we go into the homes of friends, loved ones, and family members to see displays and displays of happy, cheesy pictures. Most of the time, there is a fake background and they are dressed in fancy clothes that were only bought for that occasion, with hair that looks completely different than on a regular basis. They are all snuggled up and sweet for the flash of the camera. We look and think to ourselves_ “Who is that?”


Or, we may even have pictures of that sort displayed in our own homes. We walk by them everyday, thinking to ourselves, “I don’t even know who those people are. They aren’t even real." We leave our homes to take trips, vacations, getaways… and that is exactly what they are_ Getaways from our real everyday life, because so many times our real everyday life seems too unbearable. We need the idea of something different, something removed, something that doesn’t remind us of the reality that we live in.


So, we book a week or two on a cruise ship with that significant other, and hundreds of strangers. We sit and eat with them as if they were our long, lost, best friends or family members. We talk of our bliss, our joys, and our happiness. Why? Because 9 times out of 10, that’s the reality we are longing to live... but just haven’t yet. It is all a blissful facade, and is captured perfectly, in the cheesy cruise ship pictures!


But God has a different plan for our lives. To strip away the facade, the fancy clothes, the fake hair, the idle chatter with strangers. He desires to get to the heart of all of His children, to bring out what is real and lasting. He desires for all of us to experience a true get away with Him. A time of refreshing where He heals the brokenness of our lives and puts the pieces back together. He desires for us to sit and fellowship with Him at His table, where we can share in truth, without fear of reproach or judgment. A vacation that is for a lifetime and that can be lived each and every day of our lives.


And the buffet that our heavenly father places before us is bountiful day in and day out. He doesn’t care what we wear, how we look, how much money we have, or what we have “accomplished” in the eyes of the world. He isn’t impressed with how many places we have traveled, all that our children have accomplished, or how big our house is…He just loves completely.


So the next time you are walking through your house, or the house of a friend or loved one and you see a cheesy cruise ship picture, listen to Gods words ring true in your heart. It’s not what is on the outside that matters_ it is what lives within your heart. And know that He doesn’t need impressing. He simply loves each and every one of us.


So get the camera out, and take some goofy snap shots, live a little, replace the facade with real life! I promise you, it is much more fulfilling and free!


“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”


© Copyright 2009 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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Dedicated to all who have been broken at some point in their lives...

You know who you are!


One day, as I was shopping in a quaint little town, I discovered a precious antique shop. I was sure that I would find a priceless treasure as I entered the store. I began to roam around, looking for the one item I would take back to remember this wonderful outing. I looked and looked. I saw many things; some things unique, some things (of course as we all know) just junk...I do love good junk though. I wandered to the back of the store, and there on a bottom shelf sat a beautiful china plate. Beautiful pink and yellow roses adorned the little plate. It sat all alone. I asked the shop owner if there were any others, to make a set. No, she replied, it is one of a kind - hand painted. I picked it up, and looked. I thought it was probably painted by someone's great grandmother. So, for a mere few dollars, I bought my beautiful, priceless treasure. Well, it was priceless as far as I was concerned!


When I arrived home, I looked intently for a special place to put my treasure. I wanted to be able to see it on a daily basis. Even pick it up and look at it. I was too afraid to use it, but oh it brought a smile to my face. I displayed it ever so gently on a shelf that I passed by everyday. Day in, day out, my treasure was with me. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. My treasure was still with me. Then it happened. Much to my dismay, during the hustle and bustle of a normal day, the shelf got knocked and my one-of-a-kind treasure came tumbling down into a million tiny pieces. I fell to the floor, and tears began to pour down my cheeks. I sat, simply staring in disbelief. I looked at the shelf, trying to understand why my plate had fallen, what had happened. I thought it was in the safest place in my home. I thought it was secure. Years and years have gone by, and nothing had ever happened to it. Why now? Why today? Why am I sitting here looking at all of these tiny pieces that will never be put together again?


I stood to my feet and slowly got a Ziploc to put the pieces in. I wasn't sure why. I mean really, how in the world could I ever glue it back together again? I knew that would be impossible. But at the same time, I also knew that I didn't want to part with what once was, a precious little treasure to me. So bit by bit, piece by piece, my beautiful antique hand painted plate was placed in a Ziploc. I put it in a drawer in the kitchen, and left it there. The space where it sat on the shelf was empty. Every time I walked by, I looked and knew it wouldn't be sitting there. But still, I looked. And when I looked at the emptiness, in my mind's eye I saw the pieces sitting in a Ziploc in a drawer, destroyed by simple every day life.


One day, many months later as I was spring cleaning, I came across the Ziploc. I pulled it out and contemplated throwing it out. Something stopped me. I took the Ziploc to a room we like to call the craft room and sat down on a stool. I took the pieces out and spread them all over the counter, just staring. I rummaged through some drawers and found a simple little cardboard box and went back to my stool. Hmmm... I have never done this, I thought to myself. I got the glue out, and started gluing the pieces one by one onto the box. An hour went by so quickly, and before I knew it, my box was complete!!

I stood up and looked at it, half not knowing what it would actually be, and then it hit me. I had created another treasure from something that could have been trash. Even more than that... I had created a brand new treasure, out of an old treasure that had been destroyed. And this new treasure even had new purpose, and new function. Not like the old one. And yet I could still see, within my new treasure box, the pieces of the old treasure... the parts that brought me joy. Had I not listened with my heart, and created this new treasure, the old would have never served its purpose, even in being broken.


I share this for many reasons...One of the most important ones being the broken pieces of our lives. Sometimes, we have great tragedies that happen to us. We have the sense that nothing will ever be the same again. We have been broken in some way or another. The part of us that used to be whole now lies in tiny little pieces, just as my little plate did. The part of us that once was a beautiful, whole treasure, and served to remind us of something incredible and meaningful, now lies broken. It is a reminder of failure or loss and it is forever before us to see, on a daily basis.


The treasure that broke into a million little pieces in my life was my marriage. I sat on the floor of my little house, crying, looking at the pieces, and knew it could never be put together again. I could have stopped there. I could have held onto the pieces - I could have placed them in a Ziploc, deep in the deepest part of my heart, hidden away, never to look at them again. But I didn't. I finally decided to take them out, to give them to the Master Artist, the one person who could make something beautiful and new from the broken pieces of my life.


I gave God every piece of disappointment, sadness, despair, heartache, and hopelessness from my broken marriage. This was not a one time event. I had to, and still have to, give this brokenness to God. But it was at that moment that I decided to trust God with the pieces. And as I did, I thought about my plate. Was I going to have reminders of my broken marriage constantly before me? I mean, a broken plate turned into a treasure box is one thing, but what of a broken marriage. God whispered softly into my heart... "I know what I am doing, trust me". So, I did.


Here are the reminders of my broken marriage....When I look into my daughter's eyes. The daughter I wouldn't have, had it not been for that marriage. When I hear my daughter's laugh, when I wipe away her tears, when she says she loves me, and hugs me with all her might. When I listen to a friend who has been through what I have been through, and say without a doubt that I understand. When I can sit down at my computer to write such things as this tiny parable...And when I sit down at the piano, and begin to write a worship song about God's unchanging love for me. These are my reminders. This is the new creation that God has made, out of the broken pieces of my marriage. This is the new treasure box...that holds many wonderful things that God has allowed me to see and learn and share.


So if you are wondering whether or not you will be whole again, don't wonder such things. Look at your life as a new creation, and God has taken all of those pieces you thought were pointless and useless and created a priceless, unique, one-of-a-kind treasure...And that treasure is you.  And my life is living proof. I am amazed even more at the broken pieces that God continues to put together, and the masterpieces that have come from them. His promises are always true…



Listen to MY GOD IS CHANGELESS | Words & Music by Leah Lanier


From the CD


Artist, Leah Lanier



© Copyright 2009 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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TIME WELL SPENT | By Leah Lanier


I always begin writing, with a certain compelling in my spirit, not really knowing exactly what I am going to say. I just simply know that I am supposed to sit down and write.


I just got off the phone with my mother...Another one of our long, midnight conversations, which I have come to treasure in my life. We talk about everything from politics, to her sweet granddaughter, Anna, to the Lord, the call of God on our lives, what I made for dinner, how annoyed I got during the day, you name it, we talk about it. How blessed I am to have my mom as my best friend. Tonight we talked about time. How much we have, what to do with it, and how valuable it is. So...I wanted to sit down to write about TIME.


Is our time actually our time? Or is it God's time? In all reality, I believe that He wants our time to be His time, in every way. He is like that, our Lord. He loves to be included in every aspect of our lives. It's called fellowship. It's called feasting together, dwelling together, you know...being kindred spirits together. But what mom and I talked about was how God was speaking to us about investing the time we have here on this earth. Investing it the way He wants us to, in order to fulfill the call that He has placed on our lives. The call to share His grace and His love through song, through worship, through writing new songs of praise to Him, etc... So how do we invest our time? How do we know when the investing we are doing is the right kind of investing? How do we know we are on His timetable and not our own?


We rise in the morning to greet the day, and we go about our routines. All the while looking at the clock to see what time it is, and what we will do next. We never stop to think about the fact that we will never get that particular hour, minute or second back that just went by. I am a homeschool mommy and I love every second of it. I find myself taking pictures continuously of Anna doing her work, in her jammies, with kitty cats surrounding her (Yes, we are a laid back sort of homeschool family). Anyway, my point in taking the picture is to capture that moment in time. So that I can look at it, go back to that precious moment when she wrote her scripture in her penmanship book, and talked about how much she loves school at home with her cats. So yes, our time is very valuable in our personal lives. We have past memories, and we have present joys, and we have future hopes and dreams - Past, present, and future. All measured by this one little word - Time.


TIME, this is something that should be valued, and not wasted. It is something that you can't get back once it is gone. It is a gift given to us by our Heavenly Father. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under Heaven." When I read this verse, the part that truly stands out in my spirit is the part that says, a time for every purpose. There is a particular time to do all that God has called us to do while we are here in this world. So, how do we know when that perfect time is and how do we know what to do with that time? Such a simple question, and we complicate it so much!! But there are some simple answers...we have to calm our emotions most of the time, and just look at what the Word says.


My father is known for his wonderful acronyms. I believe I just may attempt one on the word Time. So here we go...let's see what the Spirit speaks to us.


T- Trust God with every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every year, of your life. Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths".  In order to start on the path, of finding that time for every purpose under Heaven, you have to trust Him. To trust means to rely on, to be in one's care, to expect, to believe. So this means that with all of your heart, meaning all of your dreams, even your fears and worries, the good and the bad, you rely on God. You give yourself to His care, and then you expect and believe that He will direct the paths of your life.


When we begin to trust God with all of our heart, things begin to happen in our lives. A lot of "times", we wonder..."Is that me just thinking that? Or is it God?" We worry that we will take a direction that isn't His path and we question the next step to spending our time wisely for the Kingdom is really pretty simple!!! Read on...


I - Inquire. Inquire means to ask about or investigate. Ask God...Seek Him and investigate the scriptures for the direction you are looking for in your life. God will show you how to spend your time wisely. God will be faithful to answer you.

1 Samuel 23:1-5 Then they told David, saying, "Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors." Therefore David INQUIRED of the Lord, saying," Shall I go and attack these Philistines?" And the Lord said to David, "Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah."  But David's men said to him, "Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?" Then David INQUIRED of the Lord once again. And the Lord answered him and said, "Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistine's into your hand." And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistine's, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.

This would have never happened, had he not inquired of God what to do. I mean, here David was, in quite a situation. He had people all around him trying to tell him what to do with his time and his life. But David knew that God had the answer for him. When it comes down to it, you have to inquire of God for your life. No one can do it for you. This is how that trust and love relationship is built between you and your Father.


The passage goes on through verse 13, and David again asks the Lord for wisdom and what to do. God answers him again, and David's life is saved from the hand of Saul. But what was it that David did, when he needed to know what direction to take in his life, and how to use the time God had given him? He asked God and God was faithful to answer. Notice that it was not a popular answer either. The majority definitely didn't want to go God's path! So don't be surprised when it is a path that seems scary or difficult. There is still a time for every season, and there will always be purpose in this time that you spend, because your time will become God's time! Read on...


M - Meditate. When God speaks to you about what you are to do with the time in your life, meditate on His answer. Meditate means to spend time considering, to spend time in quiet contemplation. Get rid of some of the noise in your life, and think about God's answer, and how He is directing you. Our minds are on so many things as we hurry through life. Our children, our jobs and finances, our spouses, ministry/calling, and don't get me wrong, these are all important aspects of life. The word busy comes to mind. If you notice, we are even paying to have quiet time. We pay for quiet days at the spa, we pay for yoga classes, and on and on. I encourage you to find your quiet spot, a place that you can meditate on God's answer for your life, and the time you have. During this time of meditation, the life changing power of God will penetrate your heart and your spirit, and your faith in who He is will be built up- Built up so that you can begin to wisely spend your time for Him and for His Name's sake. Your faith muscles will be built up in Him, and you will be ready to move on to the next and final step! Read on...


E - Execute what He has spoken to you. When you ask God, "How do you want me to spend my Time for you?" He will answer. Then meditating on His answer will penetrate your spirit, and then comes the action! Step out, execute the answer! Execute means to perform, to put into effect! Is there a better way to spend your time than executing the plan of God for your life? And expect results. When David didn't know what to do about the Philistines, He asked God. God answered him. David then executed the plan that God had for him and his men. David had to meditate in his heart about what God spoke to him. I am sure David's emotions were heavy, and shaky. But he knew the God he served...And after David executed God's plan, everyone experienced victory.


So, if you want to know how to spend your time wisely for Christ, I challenge you to try this little acronym. Expect to see results, because God's Word never comes back void. Trust God, Inquire of God, Meditate on the word He speaks into your heart, and Execute what He has revealed to you....I promise, it will be TIME WELL SPENT!


© Copyright 2009 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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Okay, while most of the tings that I write are pretty deep, I have been pricked in the heart by the Spirit to write, what I would call, something a bit more practical for everyday life!


Being a wife, homemaker, mom/home school mom…well, need I say more? My heart goes out to every woman that has experienced, in some shape or form, the previous mentioned! Ever experience overload? And no, I don’t mean overloading the washing machine, which I do constantly! I am talking about emotional overload. I had an overload just this evening.


You know, you have just finished cleaning up the kitchen after everyone has been served, you are unloading the dishwasher, so you can just turn around and fill it up again, you have made coffee so that it will come on the next morning, you have checked your child’s humidifier to get it ready for the night, you have just run their bath and gathered more dirty clothes, you have unloaded and folded clothes for the millionth time in one day, so you can empty the washer to prepare for the next morning, and let’s see, you have fed all the cats, cleaned out litter boxes, fed the hamster, fed the fish, and now, after you have combed and blow dried your child’s hair after their bath, you are ready to sit down for a peaceful, much needed family devotional time! Oh, wait a minute…was I talking about your evening? Oops…that is amazing, I thought that sounded just like mine! I won’t even begin to go over the previous two-thirds of the day! You would click onto another website, because of sheer exhaustion!


But seriously, God has called me to be a homemaker and home school mom, and round the clock, 24 hours a day, support for my family. I am here to encourage you, because I believe that God does give us all we need to accomplish what He has called us to. Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me, still rings true today as it did for Paul when he sat in prison. Where I am right now, is by no means a prison, but it does feel as though the walls can close in around me. It does feel, at times, that I am alone. But I am not…My comforter and friend, the Spirit of God, is with me.


God has been teaching me, for the past few years, about being wise with all He has given me. And of course, we all know that when God begins to teach us something it is going to take change and discipline on our part to put what He is teaching us into action. I am here to encourage every mom, and dad for that matter, to strive to make your home (through His power) all God intends it to be. If you are struggling financially, there are some practical things you can do to help your family. If you are struggling in your relationships, God will bless even the smallest effort on your part, and He will begin to heal your family. If you are simply trying to find your spot, tell God the desires of your heart, and listen. In some very practical ways, He will show you.


Okay, I know, I said that this wasn’t going to be “deep”, and it’s not…That part is over! Here are some of the things God is using in my life, and I have seen some great results. The key to walking in all that God has for you is very simple. Focus your heart on Him, love Him above all in this life, and you will begin to see the hand of God moving in the life of your family.


Some Practical Tips From My Heart To Yours


When working diligently to run a household, and trying to stretch every dollar, here are some things that have really worked for me…And, might I add, the reason to stretch the dollar? To build the Kingdom of God by being wise with all that He has entrusted to you.


This first one is a doozy! The Spirit pricked my heart about this just recently, and it’s not the first time He has done this in my life. So, here goes. Are you ready? Brace yourself! Number ONE...



Okay, are you still there? I pray you don’t click to another website!


I know for some of you, this will be like stopping some kind of major addiction. It was, and still is, for me. I have just found that when I go into Wal-Mart, or stores like Wal-Mart, I spend way too much money. I have committed to go only to my local discount store. I will repeat…Discount grocery store, as much as possible for all of my needs. When I go to Wal-Mart, I am tempted, and my money flies right out of my billfold. It is amazing what you can find at a discount grocery store, that is in Wal-Mart as well, but the other temptations are gone. So, I challenge you, stay out. If you can’t, and have to cross the Wal-Mart line, make a list and buy only what is on your list!



Okay, really, all of these are super hard for me. Most of the time, my purchases have been just as much a want, as a need. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have little rewards here and there, but we have to discipline that flesh. Take inventory, look in your medicine cabinets, your makeup bag, your pantry, and make a list of only what you need!



I know, I know, exhaustion, exhaustion, exhaustion! But, a reward will come for the price that is paid. I have found that when I slack off of my cooking my family suffers, not only in health, but in pocket book. Find some things that are quick for those really difficult days, but do your best to stay home and avoid fast food. You will feel better about your dollar that was NOT spent, and you will also feel and be healthier.



When life gets hectic, it is very easy to just say goodnight and skip the devotions. If nighttime doesn’t work for your bunch, try to find just 10 minutes during the day that works. God will bless your unity in heart. This is where God is able to strengthen relationships, and your foundation will be stronger, even when you don’t realize it. I have seen it in my own family. In the beginning of establishing something new it takes work, and again, discipline. But then it will become part of a lifestyle and a comfort. We look forward to our family devotion time every night. Even though I am half dead, and look like an overworked woman when I sit down for them! They are very refreshing.



Okay, I know that the peace of God is living within us at all times…but find that place in your home where you can experience it! For me, since I am here all the time, and since I am virtually never alone, I have to set aside some time every night for myself. If I don’t I will flip! Hey, I am only human! Find your spot. This isn’t just for women…Men, find your spot! Everyone needs their quiet time with God.


I have so much more to share, but I will save it. I think I have probably overloaded everyone, as I do my washing machine daily. I pray what I have shared will be an encouragement to you. I believe that’s why we go through some of the things we go through in life…So we can learn, share, and encourage one another. Encouragement is so important. But, it is also important to share encouragement. So may He bless you in all that you do…And remember, you can do all things through Him who gives you strength…Even stay out of Wal-Mart!


©Copyright 2008 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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I am 35 years old as I write this. As I was framing some recent pictures, I realized something very precious...


I framed a picture of my mother and my daughter - Mom, age 63 and Anna, age 13 - And my mom still looks as if she could be Anna's mom.  Beautiful...My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. I believe God knew exactly what He was doing when He created my mom. Well, of course He did, He is God!


The outside of my mother is absolutely gorgeous - Tall, slender, beautiful thick black hair, dark eyes, perfect movie star mouth, oval face, high cheek bones - you name it, mom has it! But what makes her even more beautiful, is that her outside, as unbelievable as it is, pales in comparison to the beauty that radiates from within. You know in Proverbs 31 where it talks about the virtuous woman? That is my mother.


When I was a little girl, I grew up as a princess. My mom made everything around me beautiful, my room, every little nook, in every little corner. It was like living in a decor' magazine like Traditional Home or Southern Living! As I got older, we changed up my room, as my interests and tastes changed, from Winnie The Pooh, to rainbows, to rich Victorian with lots of greens and burgundy's. She could take an inexpensive little trinket and turn it into a queen's royal jewelry. I was always the best dressed kid with the best hair (and yes, mom did my hair as well, at home!!!) I wore the latest trends. All of my friends wanted to hang out at my house. They called my  mom, their mom! Why? Because she made life beautiful, and still does, to this very day.


As I got older, I saw even more how incredible of a feat this was...We were in full time ministry most of my growing up years and we didn't have much. I never even knew it. I never felt as though I wore second hand clothes, and still to this day, some of my favorite clothes are some that mom bought me at the local resale shop!


I think the greatest thing that my mom could have ever done for me, is to just be the example of true beauty, the beauty that is simply her. She always made any circumstance or situation we were in okay, because she could always find the purpose and beauty in it, no matter how difficult it was. This is what she has given me, and now she is giving the same to my daughter, Anna. She has taught me to embrace the beauty that God has given us, no matter how small it may be. To treasure each second we have here on Earth.  And when it isn't easy to see or find the beauty around me, to look through the eyes of God, and learn how to create beauty all around me.


I am so blessed to have the most beautiful mom and friend anyone could ever have. May we all learn that beauty is everywhere around us. May we learn that God has also given all we need, as His children, to walk in beauty, to create beauty, and to see beauty, no matter where our lives are. If simply by walking outside and listening to the song of a tiny sparrow, there is beauty.

Thank you mom, I love you.


©Copyright 2008 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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Well, I am writing this, of course, from a home-school mom perspective! So, those of you who aren't home-school parents, just bear with me, I pray you will get something out of this. Little thoughts go on all the time in my, let's say unusual brain!


My precious daughter, Anna, has a kitten named Emily Marie - actually, her full name is "Emily Marie Cocoa Macaroon". On this particular "normal" home-school day, (which is by no means normal, in any sense of the word, and I wouldn't have it any other way) Anna came running from one end of the house, and Emily from the other end. Of course, the two most ungraceful ones in our household, met in the middle, neither one expecting it. Emily's tail puffed up at least 5 times her normal size, quite bothered by the unexpected event. Now we have a phrase around our home...If we are having a day that is not going quite as we expected, or “stuff” has taken the place of peace, we call it a "Puffy Tail Day."


Let me guess, you have never had one of those! Well, I have them all the time. Just the other night, I lay awake with about 10 school workbooks in my bed, my Charlotte Mason book, my book on child training, my Bible, and several other "Help The Home School Mom" books! What was I so puffy about? Teaching the deeper concepts of Fractions and the Decimal System. I thought, "Oh my word, I have to teach this, and I have to teach it now!" My tail was getting puffier and puffier by the second! I, of course, called and whined to my mom about it...explaining that I had to teach this tomorrow, or everything was going to just be a mess! She was very consoling, praying for me with unbelievable calm. I was amazed...”Why wasn't her tail puffy like mine? Didn't she understand that my daughter’s entire educated life depended on me?”


I began to pray, and to think about the creative way I was going to teach my huge lesson, and God said, "Leah, go to sleep!" So, I got up the next morning, took a deep breath and asked God to help me impart what I needed, to teach my Anna that day. And no, I didn't have this big lesson plan figured out, nor did I have a clue how I was going to start! Over breakfast we explored the world of Fractions deeper, and all was well and life went on. The concept was grasped, it wasn't that big of a deal, and tails were smooth again. I know, sounds simple - that's because it was, and it is.


The Word of God says to trust Him with all of our hearts, and not to lean on our own understanding, and in all our ways to acknowledge Him and He will be faithful to direct our paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Yes, that means every path of every Mathematical equation that I am to teach my child. That means the paths of our work, our homes, and our relationships.


The key is to stop looking with our own wisdom, and look with His. His ways are not like ours...His are so much better. Trust me, this will avoid many of those Puffy Tail Days! God is the only one who can truly smooth the puffy tail. It doesn't mean we won't have moments of puff here and there, but we know who to run to for the calm and the peace.


So in your life, may God bless and touch you in such a way that you feel His peace that passes your own human understanding, and when He does, look for ways to pass it on to others. There are so many Puffy Tails that need His peace, His love and His grace. And if you are a home-school mom, try to calm down a little. We will be fine, because it isn't our responsibility to teach is God's. We are simply His vehicle. If we will only listen and obey, He will be faithful to all He has promised for us and our children!


©Copyright 2008 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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BEING LITTLE | By Leah Lanier


When will she stop being little?

I look at her hands and still see the baby in her.


I couldn't sleep last night, so fate took me to my daughter's room.


I crawled in bed beside her and she intertwined her legs in mine, something she has always done, from the time she was an infant. It’s like she is trying to get as close to me as possible. When she was just months old, I remember thinking to myself... "How precious, she is trying to get back to where she came from, my womb, the place where she felt the safest."


Well, there I lay, beside my baby who is now 10 years old. And I began to cry. She didn't know it, but I lay there, with bittersweet tears of a mommy. Bitter tears, because I knew that the years of being little were slowly fading, right before my eyes.


 I asked myself, deep within my heart, “When will she stop being little?”. When will the “baby” leave her hands? I rubbed her back and felt the skin, still of a baby. I rubbed my arm, and wondered when my baby skin left? Did my mom know the exact day when the baby turned into a little girl, and the little girl turned into a young lady, and the young lady turned into a woman?


I thought about the events of the day...The watercolor painted by my Anna, how proud she and I both were of it, and how excited we were to display it on the wall... How she came running into the house, after riding the four wheeler through mud puddles... How she left treats for the wolf only she has seen in our woods... Her precious heart, and voice, that always tells me that I am not only the best mommy, but the prettiest, and the best singer of anyone she knows.


Lord, I pray that I will treasure the fact that she can't reach everything, and that she can't wash clothes yet, and that there is always toothpaste in the sink. Help me to treasure the fact that she doesn't want to brush her hair right now, and that she doesn't match all of the time! That she runs into things, and that things spill almost on a daily basis...


Because all of these little things, no matter how frustrating they may be at times,

it means one and only one thing... That my Anna is still little,

and for now, I don't have to answer,

“When will she stop being little?”.


 As far as I am concerned, there will always be a place for my Anna to remain little!

Do you know how I know such things?

Because I am my mother and father's daughter, and I am still little!


©Copyright 2008 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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TO TRUST | By Leah Lanier


To trust means to give of yourself; when you feel as though you will fall off of a very tall cliff.

To trust means to do something that doesn't seem natural; when you are afraid of the hurt.

To trust means to live life to the fullest; without the thought of an end in sight.

To trust means to love unconditionally; with no strings attached, no hidden motives, no thought of reward.

To trust means to believe in the unseen; and to live as though you could reach out and touch it.

To trust means to hold out your hand to help, to hold out your hand to hold, to hold out your hand to be reprimanded;

 whatever the circumstance may be.

To trust means to see yourself for who you are, nothing more, and nothing less, and to be accepting just the same.

To trust means to continually reach for your dream; when human doubt creeps in

To trust means to be courageous; no, I didn't say without fear, I said courageous - which is trust in spite of fear.

To trust means to embrace the new; even when it feels completely foreign.

To trust means to step out and do that thing which drives you; no matter if it is understood.

To trust means to place your hands in the life of someone else.

To trust means to love.

To trust means to have hope.

To trust means to have faith.

To trust means to live life.


There is no way to completely trust in this life apart from the one true,

unconditional, unwavering lover of all mankind.


In Him we have life; and death is abolished.

In Him we have hope; and lies are demolished.

In Him we have acceptance; and rejection is cancelled out.

In Him we have faith; and doubt is destroyed.

In Him we have courage; and fear is abolished.

In Him we have sight; and the unseen is seen.

In Him we are whole; and the pieces are mended.

In Him we have life; and forever will be.


There is no other way to learn to trust, until we learn to trust in Jesus,

as our own personal Savior, our Friend, our Redeemer.

It is then, and only then, that we will be able to freely experience the joys of trusting.


©Copyright 2008 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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Just like broken crayons, so are our lives sometimes. We start out fresh, new and beautiful...flawless, so we think. Then, the years of our lives, bring about situations and circumstances that break us, and sometimes make us feel as though we can no longer bring forth beautiful color. Just like the broken crayons, the ones that have been used day after day, and have been broken time after time, they still produce beautiful, vibrant color!!!


Have you ever experienced getting a new box of crayons? My daughter Anna loves nothing more than to have a new box of crayons. You open the box, and there they sit....beautiful, flawless, all lined up in all their glory. As you begin to use them, the tip gets tear the paper back, so you can continue with your creativity...then because of pressure, and hours of work with them, it happens, broken!!! You look at your crayon, a bit sad in your heart, because it doesn't look like it used to. You aren't even sure if you want to use it. Will it even color the same? You doubt it. Then you remember, that there is a way. There is a sharpener on the back of the box. You eagerly turn the box over, and begin to restore the crayon, to be used again. You use it over and over, until it is so small, you are fearful that it's days are over.


But wait, there is another way...A crayon maker. You take all of the little bitty pieces laying around you, gather them in your hands, and you begin to join them together and put them in this wonderful new gadget!!! It heats and melts them into beautiful new molds...Some are tigers, some are cars, some are alligators, but all are incredible. You create new vibrant colors out of the broken pieces, and a life of creativity and art begins in a way you never had imagined before. Never in a million years could you have dreamed of these possibilities when you sat just moments ago, looking at the broken pieces.


This is exactly how our lives are. We start out new, fresh, vibrant. And during this thing called life, we experience ups and downs...Victories and disappointments. Sometimes the downs seem to outweigh the ups, and we feel broken, and even may appear to be broken. But God takes these broken pieces and creates a new beautiful piece.  A life full of wisdom, and compassion and love to share with others, because we understand what it means to be broken. He melts us and molds us into beautiful, vibrant color, to give to the world around us.


If you have ever been broken, or are broken now, know that the God of creation can put you back together, and make a masterpiece from the pieces of your heart. Know that He loves you unconditionally, and has created you to be full of color, full of life, and joy in this world. So the next time you see a broken crayon, smile and know that it is a miracle in disguise. May you be blessed in all that you do.


©Copyright 2007 by Leah Lanier. All rights reserved.

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