Greetings, sisters!  Today is Sisters in Bloom’s premiere!  Please head over and check out this beautiful new site that promotes a healthy sisterhood of support, love, and grace.  Not to mention that everyone will be able to receive a wonderful new eBook entitled Hope Renewed in which each contributing writer (myself included) shares a tidbit of their testimony to offer hope to others.  I am humbled and honored to be asked to be a part of this.

Like any other Bible study I have experienced, Cherie and I thought today would be our day to introduce one another in an attempt to share a little bit of who we are and what we hope to learn.  Please visit Cherie at Heart and Soul Reflections to meet her – I promise you, you will LOVE her.

If you are new to this little blog here, let me tell you a little bit about who I am…I am a relentless follower of God.  I am a wife.  A mother.  A daughter.  An aunt.  A granddaughter.  A ministry leader. And a writer.

I’m often weary.

I’m astounded at times that God even allowed me to have children. Or be a wife again for that matter.

I’m thankful for His new mercies and wellspring of grace.

I once was married (this is sounding a bit like “Amazing Grace”…) but I divorced my college sweetheart in 2001.  I pretty much thought all of my dreams had been shattered, that there wouldn’t be the sound of little feet running through my house and I would always have to check the box labeled “Divorced” on official forms.

But then I met Jesus.

And He restored.  He taught me who I was in His eyes and not how I thought I was in my own.  He pulled me out of the pit and began the process of refining me.

He continues to do so.  Through His mercy, I have happily remarried and been blessed with three beautiful, albiet very spunky, children aged seven, four and three.

And while there are days I throw tantrums over feeling like I pick up toys all day long and get overwhelmed by the laundry, the meals, the laundry, and the laundry, there’s nothing else I would choose to do.

I once was lost, but now I’m found.  The grace is utterly amazing.

For more of my story in detail, visit the tab at the top of this page entitled “Life Story.”  I’m not done with that series by the way…but I hope to be soon.  The next installment is a hard one and I’m praying through to discern how God wants me to deliver that one.

I’m not sure why but I began to feel a nudge to study the book of James last fall.  It’s a short little book of the Bible but wow is it packed with good, applicable stuff.

Then, not to long after I felt this nudge, Beth Moore released her new study – “James: Mercy Triumphs”

There are no coincidences.

I asked on the Mommy on Fire Facebook page if anyone would be interested in doing the study online as a group and a few said yes.  My sweet friend, Cherie, asked if I wanted to do it with her.

So this little group here was born.  And I am blessed by you.

My hope is to simply  learn more about Jesus’ half-brother (James) and soak in the intense wisdom offered up in this book just a little bit deeper.  I also look forward to getting to know you, dear sister, and would love to pray for you.  I envision this group sharing prayer requests with one another as well.

If you are participating, would you please introduce yourself in the comment section?  Tell us a little bit about who you are and what drew you to this study if you would, please!

If you are journeying with us, here’s the skinny:

1.  First, tell us if you plan to join us if you haven’t already.

2.  Let us know if you are on Facebook.  Cherie has graciously created a group for us.

3.  Each Wednesday, either Cherie or I will post our reflections and thoughts and ask some discussion questions – then we encourage you to do the same in the comment section.

4.  We realize that sometimes you want to be transparent and you don’t want the whole world to know your stuff.  That’s why we have the Facebook group because only those participating in this study will have access to the group.  If you are not on Facebook, you can email us anything you want to share and we will do so.

5.  There are five days of homework each week.  It might seem like a lot at first but I’m now quite used to it and really look forward to that time each day.

6.  You may choose to download the video that goes with each week from Lifeway and I HIGHLY recommend it. I watched the first one last night and I’ve thought about what Beth taught several times today.  There is a viewer’s guide at the beginning of each week’s homework.

7.  Remember that there are five levels of participation.  Decide which level is right for you then take Beth’s challenge and consider bumping up to the next level…:)

  1. Watch Videos: Participating in the video sessions only
  2. Complete Homework: Participating in the video sessions + doing the weekly homework assignments
  3. Handwrite James: Participating in the video sessions + doing the weekly homework assignments + handwriting the Book of James
  4. Read Articles: Participating in the video sessions + doing the weekly homework assignments + handwriting the Book of James + reading “The Next Level with Melissa”
  5. Memorize James: Participating in the video sessions + doing the weekly homework assignments + handwriting the Book of James + reading “The Next Level with Melissa” + memorizing the Book of James.

Our schedule is as follows – facilitator listed in parenthesis!

February 8:  Discuss Week One and Video One (Cherie)

February 15:  Discuss Week Two and Video Two (Natalie)

February 22:  Discuss Week Three and Video Three (Cherie)

February 29: Discuss Week Four and Video Four (Natalie)

March 7:  Discuss Week Five and Video Five (Cherie)

March 14:  Discuss Week Six and Video Six (Natalie)

March 21:  Discuss Week Seven and Video Seven (Cherie)

March 28:  Concluding Thoughts and Wrap-Up (Natalie)

Questions?  Shoot me an email at  OH – and it’s not too late to join us so tell your friends!

Looking forward to growing with you, sisters.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

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