Monthly Archives: December 2010

Wishing You All…

A Beautiful, wonderful and exciting New Year!


Photo by Amy Salessi Photography

As 2010 comes to a close, I am thankful to God for my family, health, ministry and this amazing life He has graciously allowed me to have.  

I am excited for 2011…as it will, Lord willing, allow me new opportunities to live a life of thanksgiving, be more involved in ministry, and grow in my walk with the Lord. 

I believe that 2011 is going to be a great year.  

Happy New Year to you all!  I am so thankful for all of you who take the time to read this little blog of mine. Wishing you joy and peace in the coming year.



Reading List for 2011

Every year, I try to incorporate some reading into my schedule.  I love to read.  Nothing can make me think and challenge me in my own life and how I treat others as much as a good book. A good book and Scripture.  Plus, it is great to do while taking a nice relaxing bubble bath.

I am all about bubble baths. And relaxation. Can't get enough of them really.

So here it is, my reading list for 2011:

Grace is for Sinners by Serena Woods

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (Currently reading)

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

Breaking Free by Beth Moore

The Dangerous Act of Worship by Mark Labberton

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

Throw It Down by Jud Wilhite

I don't have as many books as I did last year and I included Mark Labberton's book again on this list as I never did get to read it in 2010. So he gets a second chance ;).

What are you reading in 2011?


One Little Word 2011

Thanksgiving Journal


This little word packs a powerful punch.  

For the past three years I have chosen one word to focus my life around.  It is like a theme of the year. One I say over and over to myself and implement into my family, ministry, and spiritual life.

For 2010, I chose the word Create.

For 2011…..Thanksgiving.


To give thanks to God for everything and all things.  Even when the bridge appears unsafe, Eucharisteo.  

To remember the things of the past in where God has proven His goodness and providence.

To not allow stress and anxiety choke the seed of faith that was implanted into my heart so long ago.  

I have been challenged by reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts  . To count my blessings.

To write them out. Literally to recite them.

"The one who offers Thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God" Psalm 50:23 ESV

I hope you will  join me in choosing one word for 2011.


We Celebrated Christmas.

Oh yes, we celebrated Christmas.

We put up our tree


Discovered massive villages…..


And some on a much smaller scale


We were elated with goodies


And some got everything they ever wanted


And some of us just wanted to hang out


Oh yes we celebrated Christmas.  What a joy and blessing it was to be with our sweet family during this holiday.  While we celebrated the birth of our Savior, ate delicious food and had refreshing conversations with those we loved.  

Lord willing, I can't wait until next year.



It’s About My Family (Photo Heavy)

A couple of weeks ago, my SIL Carrie rounded the entire Harper clan together to capture us in photo.  We have expanded over the years with little ones and she noticed that the last family photo we had together was for our (Dan and Tiff) wedding!  

That was six years ago.  So much has changed since then.

This is just a small portion of my family, Dan's side.  As you can see, there are quite a few of us.   

Introducing the Harper's (all photography by Amy Salessi Photography)


Mom and Dad Harper with their boys:


Mom and Dad H. with all the grandkids:


And here are a few photos that I just love of my little family:






The best part about all of these photos?  They were a gift for Mom and Dad H.  Two large prints of their grandkids and of their boys. And then a 16 x 20 canvas that will be arriving soon.

Mom was in tears.  *smile* 

I hope you had a beautiful Christmas with your family!


30 Days To Live

On January 2nd, Illuminate will kick off 2011 with a brand new series.  

30 Days to Live.  

As the date approaches, I will share more, but can I ask you something?

If you were given just one month left of life on this earth, what would you do?

Who would you talk to?

Reach out to?


What would matter so much that you would need to spend those remainder moments so wisely and carefully?

What would you tell? 

Who would you tell?

Please feel free to share. Even anonymously.



Psalm 50:23

I encountered this verse yesterday evening while reading a new book by Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts .  I believe the physical copy of the book and audio isn't available until January, but if you have a Kindle, it is available now and you can download it here.

This verse challenged me in a major way.  I don't have the lyrical gifting of Ann to describe how I felt after reading Psalm 50:23.  After reading it in Ann's book, I instantly grabbed for my bible, to read it in the translation I have (ESV) and meditate on it for myself:

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God."

I am not going to give away the concept of Ann's book. I want you to read it, take in her words, her story.  

But I am continuously reminded of how much God desires that we offer praises of Thanksgiving.  In all things.  In every circumstance.  

The verse above confirmed my one little word for the year…a word I will share with you New Year's  Eve.  I am sure you can guess what it is, but don't spoil it ;).  

I have been challenged and I want this to be a journey.  

I can't wait to share more with you in a couple of weeks.  


P.S. In no way did Amazon or Ann ask me to comment or recommend this book. I am just a huge fan of excellent literature.  

Awaiting The Promise

"Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 

'Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for the glory to your people Israel."  Luke 2:25-32

Reading this passage last night in my devotions, I was stunned alone by the faith and patience of Simeon.  

Having had a revelation from God saying that he would not sleep, not experience death until he had seen the redemption of Israel, oh how I am sure he was anxious and desperate for His Lord to reveal His promise.

Simeon believed God would make do on His word. After all, hadn't he brought a forth child from a couple who was past childbearing age?

Hadn't God parted the sea for His people to cross by using a mere man named Moses and his staff? And in doing so bringing His people out of bondage from Egypt?

I could go on and on about the miraculous works of God.  About His promises to us. 

To His children.

Yes, Simeon believed in God. And God introduced Simeon to His greatest gift to the world.

Jesus Christ.

As I celebrate this Christmas season with my family, knowing that a small babe entered this world, began a ministry at the age of 30 and died a brutal death taking on the sins of the world….I wait.

I believe in God's promise that Christ will return.  I know not of the date or time.  Scripture doesn't reveal dates.  

Only that we are to wait.  I may very well die before His rapid return to claim His church.  But either way I will see the goodness of the Lord.

So wait and trust in God's promise.  Celebrate the birth of our Lord. Our Savior.  Those of us not of Jewish descent…we are the Gentiles.  His revelation was for us!

So yes, wait.