Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tuesday Truths - Worst Sunburn EVER


“Let those who fear the Lord say; ‘His love endures forever.’ In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.”

                           -Psalm 118:4-5

Each year when the warmer weather comes, I burst in excitement to work in my landscaping…and most years that usually concludes with a bad sunburn, even with sunscreen. Three years ago as I was lathering myself up with sunscreen, instead of washing my hand, I patted my back to wipe it off…and then forgot to apply sunscreen to my back. I’m sure you can imagine where this story is going. Oh yes. I burnt horribly except for one spot on my back. Yep! A big ol’ handprint. And just so you know, I get deathly pale during the winter. If pale was a crayon color, they would name it Natalie. So imagine a bright red back with a shockingly *white* handprint. I tried everything to get rid of it. At one point I even put on sunscreen all around the handprint and then tried to burn it. Nope, little stinker would not change color at all. So from April until October I had a handprint on my back. Seriously. As I look back at that summer I realized I couldn’t get away from my mistake. Every day was a reminder that I messed up. And isn’t that what Satan wants to do to us. Mentally beat ourselves down over and over of our mistakes, our shortcomings, our failures. Not God. He tells us in Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Does anyone else see the same color scheme as my handprint?!? Oy! Satan wants to keep us in bondage – God wants to give us freedom. Satan wants us to feel condemned. God wants us to feel redeemed. Satan wants us to live a life of regrets. God wants us to live a life of promises. There is a song I like to sing, to proclaim over me. Let the words wash over you and let it be a prayer...

Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
Lift your eyes to Heaven
There is freedom
If you’re tired and thirsty
There is freedom
Give your all to Jesus
There is freedom
Freedom reins in the place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on every face
There is freedom

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The End Of An Era

So last Friday marked a new season in my life. All three of my children are in school now. A few years ago the thought of it would have had me dancing in the streets, but when the day approached my heart responded differently. The night before my daughter started Kindergarten I laid in bed with her and watched her sleep and scanned each detail of her beautiful face while my silent tears soaked her pillow. The morning of, I held it together with finesse. I packed her Tinker Bell lunchbox with a smile, did her hair and slipped on her backpack with a smile, and then walked her down the hall to her room with a smile. And then the floodgates released. I got in the van, told my husband I needed a moment, and then started the UGLY cry that lasted the entire ride home and into the first half hour I was home, as I used up the leftover restaurant napkins we had stashed in the glove compartment. I was a mess. Don't get me wrong, I'm OKAY with the fact that during the day I am home alone to get things done and have more time to write. That's a given with a hallelujah hand raise towards Heaven. But I needed to grieve the fact that life was changing and my baby was no longer a baby.  For a DECADE all I have done is stayed at home and raised my kids. I have hopefully done my job to prepare and guide them as they step out into the "school world". Problem with this? SHE IS 5 years old! Oy! So I just needed some time to mourn that my season of taking care of babies and toddlers had come to a close. That I was now a parent to all school-aged kids. That the years that slipped by so quickly when they were toddlers, would slip by even quicker now. That slowly they will need me less and less. The hugs and kisses will decrease while the eye rolls will increase. But my husband reminds me that this is a good thing (not the eye-rolls, the independence), because this is what we have been training for. This moment is what the sleepless nights, reading books, playing games, disciplining, working on the alphabet a million times, pouring into them every minute of the day is all about. FREEDOM. Just kidding. It's about training them as they begin their own life journey in becoming who God created them to be. "I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life." Proverbs 4:11-13

And just so you know, I'm doing better. Today I only got teary-eyed a little when she walked away.
 Progress, folks, progress.


FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
 
I tried to get my oldest to take this picture with them, but instead he shooed me away with a flick of his wrist and a sigh of embarrassment, "Mooooooom!"
 
 5th GRADE
 

3rd GRADE
 
KINDERGARTEN
 
 And this is what I like to call...A long walk off a short pier!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Straight Off The Page Review

There are many times as an author I have to step out of my comfort zone and do something I wouldn't normally do...or something that is terrifying. My latest embark entailed asking someone that does reviews for a professional website to do a review of my third book, A Rescued Love. Why would that be terrifying, you ask? Because what if she hated it and gave a negative review? Gulp! But if I'm going to keep improving or get my name out there more, I knew it needed to be done. And guess what!?! She loved it! So head over to Straight Off The Page and check out my very first "professional review."

Here are a few key quotes from the review...

"Replogle writes like a seasoned veteran, something that’s a rare find in today’s day and age."

"Another key component to any great book is research, and yet again, Replogle gets it right!"

"The storyline is supreme, knitting together characters from different worlds and walks of life all for the common good of their “community”."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ladies Retreat

Last weekend I had the awesome honor to be the guest speaker at the Missionary Church North Central District Ladies Retreat. I am just so humbled that the Lord would use my testimony and writing journey to open doors to great opportunities like this. Not only was it such a fun and relaxing time, but I also was able to bring my mom along with me for some much needed girl time!!
 


There are so many great and touching moments during this retreat, but I will only share a few. First, I came into the weekend with a heart to share and bless the women with what God has been working on and teaching me. Instead, I walked away feeling so encouraged and blessed beyond measure. The support of these women knocked my socks off!!!

 
It was great to be reunited with my sister-in-Christ, Missy (she is in the picture down below, far right). About five years ago my MOTTTs group did a couples retreat and Missy and her husband were our guest speakers. Through a handful of opportunities and people, the Lord brought my name to Missy as a person to consider to speak at the retreat. It was such a great time reconnecting and working together as we planned and prayed over the retreat. Just so you know, she is pretty fabulous!


I also had a wonderful time getting to know most of the women that attended the retreat. Such great, kind-hearted women that love the Lord. I tried to have as many one-on-one conversations as I could and it made for such an enjoyable time.




For dinner one night, we ate at an Amish home. Yum. I should have worn elastic pants. How can you say no to salad, fruit, homemade bread, chicken, roast, noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and pie?!? Obviously I couldn't. And didn't either when seconds were passed back out...



We ended our weekend on Sunday with our own church service. Church isn't about a building, but the people. We had a sweet time of letting God's spirit work through us as we claimed who we are in Christ and took time praying for each other.
I just want to give a special thank-you to my new friend Renee Wise for taking the pictures that captured our weekend. Not only is she such a great woman with an incredible servant's heart, but also a great photographer. Please check out her Facebook page HERE.
 
 
Such a great experience! I told my husband when I got back that I could do that once a month!! I don't know what the Lord has in store for me next, but as long as I'm walking in His will - it's going to be the best road I've ever traveled!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Open doors...

This week I had the amazing opportunity to be on the front page of my local newspaper sharing about my books and my testimony of becoming an author. I am very humbled, honored and excited that God would use me through my passion of writing good, clean Christian romance novels. I pray each day that He would use me and my novels to further His Kingdom!

You can check out the article HERE.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Advice to my 24-year-old self

On February 7th, 2003 my life changed forever, in the most wonderful way, when I stepped into the foreign role of becoming a wife. Oh how I wish my 35-year-old self could go back and give my 24-year-old self some advice. This is what I would say...


 “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”-Ephesians 5: 22-28

Call me sentimental, but since I just celebrated my 12th anniversary with my husband I thought it fitting to spend some time in the word studying about husbands, wives and this blessing (and yet really hard at times) called marriage! As I reflected this last week, a few nuggets of truth came to mind: #1 - Love is a choice – it’s not just a feeling, but a decision to love my husband even when I don’t feel like it. #2 – I’m only responsible for myself. Wait. What? Yep, I can’t control my husband’s attitude, but I can control mine. I can’t control how he responds to a situation or argument, but I can control how I do. #3 – My source of joy can’t be found in Greg. When I expect him, not God, to fill me with joy, I will always set him up for failure and I’ll be disappointed. #4 – Change is inevitable. I am a different person since I got married over a decade ago, and so is my husband. The key is to change together, to move in the same direction (together) instead of apart. Stay in the word, keep open communication (with my husband and God), and don’t be afraid of change but embrace it! BUT, and a big but, I can’t change my husband, only God can. #5- The best thing I can do for my kids is show and tell them how much I love their father. By being a great example to them of a healthy-loving-respectful marriage and to also give them reassurance. So what does God say about marriage? What better place to start than at the beginning with Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:18-23 “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.’” I love God’s creativeness in illustrating the symbol of marriage by becoming one flesh. As husband and wife we were created and equipped for different tasks, but all these lead to the same goal – honoring God. When we become one with our husband it doesn’t mean that we lose our personality or cover up who we are. Instead, it means caring for him as you care for yourself, putting his needs before your own and helping him become the person God desires for him to be.  Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” I found these words three times throughout the Bible as I was studying – um, I think God was trying to get his point across. I think of this verse and how it amplifies an oneness of marriage. As I kept reading this verse over and over it made me think that it’s not only physical, but emotional as well. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am sharing things about myself to others, but not to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am constantly seeking counsel from others, but not from him. I cannot have oneness with my husband if I am giving so much to others, but not as much to him. I cannot have oneness with my husband when I desire more for myself than for him. Do any of these statements ring true to you? Ask God to show you an area in your life where you are creating a wall to be formed between you and your husband.

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating this wonderful gift of marriage. The perfect example of how you love the church, you have asked that I love my husband. Work in me today to help identify the areas in which I am lacking. Bring unity between me and my husband and help me to knock down any walls I have begun to build that has caused our oneness to be split. Amen.