When is the last time that you have TRULY been surprised? Actually, I could even ask the question, “Have you ever been TRULY surprised?”

Most of us have our antennae up surveying and checking out our surrounding environment the majority of the time. We are looking over our shoulder and almost anticipating what will happen next. We walk through our day looking behind us as much as we look in front of us.  This makes being TRULY surprised virtually impossible!

But, this weekend I was caught completely off guard. I was SURPRISED by my kids in the most wonderful of ways!

My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren were coming for a visit on Friday. We were planning a BBQ that night and couldn’t wait for them to arrive! They live in the same town, (actually, the same house, but that is a blog for another time,) with our son and daughter-in-law. We were hoping they would all be able to come together, but unfortunately our son and daughter-in-law could not get away.  Our grandchildren came running up our sidewalk to the front door with shrill voices and hugs galore!  We went inside and sat on the floor together playing and laughing and still hugging! My son-in-law had come in intially and hugged us, and then was MIA?

I asked my daughter once, “where’s Craig?” She responded that he was taking the luggage upstairs. I thought nothing of it as I laughed and played with my grand babies on the floor.  My daughter walked in and said, “Mom, we brought something special for you and we put it on the porch.”  I got excited and looked at the smiles on my grand babies faces. I figured they had made me something and wanted to “surprise” me with it. With a shrill of excitement I walked to the door, almost scared to open it! I actually stepped back at one point, and shrieked. They all shouted, “open the door!” I did, and came face to face with my son and daughter-in-law holding a pumpkin and a beautiful pot of flowers. On the pumpkin was printed…

“Our little pumpkin is a _____________!!!”  Sorry, but I’m not allowed to share that information yet!

Soon, I will shout it from the rooftops! This is their first child and we are excited beyond for this amazing gift!

My son-in-law had been MIA from the house, because he had been setting up a video camera to record my “SURPRISE!”  I am not posting it here for you because I want to maintain some kind of dignity. Let’s just say, I was truly, utterly, and completely surprised and caught off guard. IT WAS THE BEST SURPRISE EVER!

I was actually wearing my “BEST DAY EVER” shirt and thought afterward it may have been God-ordained!

Surprises can be a gift or a curse. They can bring us the sweetest of news and bring joy unspeakable. They can also be devastating and deliver a message we never expected to hear. 

The dictionary definition of ‘surprise’ depicts just how strong an emotion and physical reaction, true surprise elicits:

“Being surprised strikes a sudden feeling of wonder and astonishment. It creates an unexpectedness of surprise and wonder.” It comes upon you as a sudden discovery of the unexpected. It makes an unexpected assault on something or someone without warning.”

To be “surprised” in a nutshell, is to experience a completely unexpected occurrence, appearance or statement. It is to come upon an awareness, to astonish or amaze. It causes a chemical reaction in your brain weather positive or negative. The way in which we react to that reaction is significantly dependent upon your individual, God-given personality.  

For example, my kids chose to surprise me knowing that my God-given personality is to express sheer joy that overflows to the point of embarrassment.  When you put me in a situation that is positive and I have had no prior warning of it, I am going to literally “overflow with pure unaffected JOY!” When they surprised me, they got the affect they wanted, and I was blessed.

However, in a negative “surprise” you are caught unaware, “blind-sided” so to speak, and left with a feeling of astonishment and assault. You are often breathless and frozen in fear, which can quickly produce anxiety.

We are human beings after all. Yes, created in the image of God, but possessing at the same time, a human nature that desires to be “in control” at all times!


Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.”                                           Proverbs 3:5-6

Depending on our own understanding is simply our way of trying to control our circumstances. I use the word “TRY”, because we fail miserably at it. We are no more able to control our circumstances then we are to hold back the tide, but TRY we do! God is earnestly asking us to, “TRUST HIM,” to strive to follow His direction and plan for our lives instead of our own.  When we do this, He promises to direct the steps we take. When He is in control, we don’t need to be. His path is steady, sure and good. “Letting Go and Letting God”, truly produces peace and freedom in our personal lives. It opens the door to enjoy and receive the “surprises” that come into our lives. 




The bottom line is, all “surprises” good or bad, are unexpected. The way we react to them is dependent upon who is in control of our lives, us or God? God is surprised by nothing! He knows the beginning from the end. I want to go with God! My way of dealing with life is self-focused, messy and unpredictable. God’s way is sure, strong and safe. 

We can not predict when or how life will “surprise us,” but we can purpose ourselves to trust in God to control the outcome. 

God is never caught by surprise!

Speak Truth Love



Actually, it can be downright scary. To the point of making your stomach feel more than just butterflies, it can create a tsunami in there!

I recently found myself with a “tsunami stomach” situation just this last week.

I felt God prompting me to take a risk, trust Him for the results, and create an event that would not only meet the needs of our ladies at our church, but would also reach out to encourage ladies from all over our area.

I felt God telling me to trust Him and be ‘Strong in my Spirit!’ I mean after all, I’m in good company, right?

Look at Queen Esther, Mary, Martha, Mary the mother of Jesus, Deborah, Rehab… and the list goes on. But it is easier said then done! 

There is a reason they are my hero’s, they are strong, bold, confident, sure of their faith, courageous and bold. That’s why I look up to them. It is one thing to look up to them, it is a whole other thing to be like them!

I felt weak, a bit scared and unsure, and doubted my ability to accomplish the task God was asking me to do. Why would these women I wanted to invite listen to me? Would I be able to create an environment warm and welcoming enough to build them up and encourage them? Would I find the time to make sure all of the details got completed? 

Would the women come? Would the women care?

It was too big of a task for me! The tsunami in my stomach began to grow and it threatened to wreak havoc. Then it happened, the still small voice of my gracious heavenly Father whispered, “trust me,” all you have to do is “trust me.”


I began to reflect on the lives of my female heroes in the Bible. I realized that I heard the beginning and the end of their story, and had to guess at the “in-between” times.  I imagine they had butterflies and tsunami’s swirling inside their stomachs as well, but what I realized more than anything, was that they trusted God through the entire process. They did not quit, shrink back or give up! They trusted, God showed up, and His purpose was accomplished!




I realized at that moment that the success of the event did not depend on my success, it depended on God showing up, and boy, did He show up!

We had a record number of ladies attend. Women from our church were there and women from all over Sonoma County were there. The comments during and after reflected their thankfulness for being encouraged, loved and treated special.

I realized that what happens in the unwritten, “in-between” time, does not determine the outcome. It is the beginning and the end that allows God to show up and do His thing!

I am so happy that I took that first step of faith, stayed in the process even when the tsunami hit, and allowed God to show up and give us one of the best times I have ever had with God’s Chicks!

I do not know what God may be asking you do, but I do know that if you trust Him, take that first step of faith, and stay the course when the waves hit, He will show up and do what only He can do!


I love that we are in this ‘Faith Walk’ together. That we are stronger when we gather together, learn from each other, and lean on each other when the going gets tough.

Christine Cain put it perfectly when she said,

“We grow ‘strong in spirit’ when we:

*Absorb God’s Word



*Read Christian Books

*Stay planted in a life-giving local church

*Worship God Regularly

*Stay in Community With other strong Believers!”

By absorbing God’s Word we read about and gain encouragement from women of faith who have gone before us, have taken those same scary steps of trust, and allowed God to “show up.” By staying in community with other strong believers we gain strength ourselves!

There is no limit to what God can do! Don’t allow your circumstances to grow taller than your trust in God, and block your view from what God can do!

Speak Truth Love


Seventeen years ago today on September 11, 2001, one of the deadliest attacks on U. S. soil occurred.
Thirteen years ago today on September 11, 2005, one of the greatest blessings in my life, and in the lives of my family occurred.
Brian Jacob Edmiston was born and my family knew God had given us a “miracle baby,” and had him born on September 11th, to demonstrate us that ‘God’s Goodness Always Remains.’
My sister and brother-in-law were married and desired to have a baby for ten years. Through several failed attempts at IVF and several miscarriages which followed, they were told that medicine and modern science could not help in giving them a child.  My sister left the parking lot of the doctor’s office that painful day when this news was told to her, threw her arms up in the air, and exclaimed,”Only You, God can tell me if I will have a child or not.” Within the month she was carrying our miracle baby, Jake.
Her due date was for sometime in early September. All she cared about was that he not be born on September 11th. I mean, can you blame her? Who wants their child’s birthday to be remembered on the same day as a National Tragedy? Who, God, that’s who!
Because my sister knew, that God had given her a miracle, God knew she would give Him the glory for it!
“But The Word of The Lord Remains Forever. And that Word is the Good News that was preached to you.” (AKA The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!)
1 Peter 1:25
So, on September 11, 2005, four years after one of the worst tragedy’s in the world, God brought His triumph! My family and I stood around a hospital bed in Oakland, California and welcomed Brian Jacob Edmiston, God’s miracle baby, into this world!
He is an incredible boy, with talents and abilities too many to list, who became a teenager today. God has great plans for him, and I am proud to be his Aunt Lisa!
God’s goodness always remains, and is a part of our lives even in the worst of times!
Happy Birthday Jakey Boy!  You are so loved!!!
Speak Truth Love


I have a “Cheerful Heart,” in my life and she puts a smile on my face each and every time I am around her. Her middle name is ‘RAE’, and she could not have been named more appropriately!  She is a ‘Rae of Sunshine,’ and she has a truly cheerful heart!

Her name is Allison Rae Swaney, and she is my daughter-in-law!  She is a cheerful heart who approaches life with her cup half full! She has an uncanny sense of humor, that some may call sarcasm. She calls it that, I do not. I call it ‘levity.’ She has the ability to take a comment or statement and turn it into a light hearted quip. She puts everyone at ease, and through her ‘Cheerful Heart’, puts a smile on everyones face. She is a joy to be around and accomplishes the task that makes me most thankful for her! She brings cheerful, light-hearted, joy and support to my son’s life each and every day!

She is truly a Rae of sunshine, a joy and a gift to me and today is her birthday! I celebrate her today and everyday and thank God for placing this ‘Cheerful Heart’ in my life!

The Bible tells us that a Cheerful heart is good. It is not being phony, false or two faced. It is instead being pleasant, bright, and expressive! A person in good spirits is someone who does not hold grudges, or think ill of others. They are someone who promotes cheer and makes others feel good!

This type of attitude is a healthy one!  The Bible tells us this in Proverbs 17:22,



The medical field backs this up by letting us know that when we are cheerful and happy we produce ‘endorphins.’ These groups of peptides react in the brain to cause us to feel better, heal quicker and actually raise our pain threshold!

Having a cheerful , positive attitude is not always an easy thing to do, but surrounding yourself with a ‘Cheerful hearted’ person can raise your endorphin level significantly! It can put a smile on your face and a spring in your step before you even know what happened to you!

Truth Bomb


A cheerful heart brings joy to your life!

I thank God for my ‘Cheerful Heart,’ Allie Rae, and I wish her the bestest birthday ever!

Speak Truth Love