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Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm moving!

My writings are moving to my new blog home titled with my name Carmen Horne . Please come visit soon and bookmark my new site!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Give Hope a Chance

On page 420 of the old red hymnal it can be found, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Wooden cross, willing sacrifice and selfless love are the stones lain by our Savior, Jesus. Eyes closed, memories filling my mind, I sing “The Solid Rock” to the top of my lungs.

Confident Expectation
Hope is…

A part of that great threesome in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.” Hope and faith seem to go hand in hand. “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

Hope is…

Wrapped tightly around new beginnings. Births, careers, marriages, retirement and for the believer, even death is filled with hopeAll my New Year’s resolutions and diets I began on a Monday were fueled by hope.

Hope is…

A choice. Mayhem (I love those commercials) seems to surround us at times. Your physician calls and asks to meet with you as soon as possible, your bank account balance is negative with two weeks left in the month, your husband is more like a roommate, your daughter has just told you she is pregnant, your job is being out-sourced, your… you fill in the blanks. Jesus actually promised us in this world we would have many troubles. That’s why faith is so important to hope. Faith supplies the confidence we need to hope when all seems hopeless.

Faith and Hope
Hope is…

Illogical. Don’t expect it to always make sense. It is during those times our hope must be completely based on our trust in Jesus.

Hope is…

Knowing that when you lay your head on your pillow tonight, tomorrow will bring new mercies and manna.

Hope is...

You are not alone.

Your situation is not hopeless.

Jesus is your answer.

May I pray for you?

Jesus, for each dear one who reads these words, I pray for hope when they feel hopeless, and peace where there is anxiety. May your love wrap them up like a warm blanket on a cold day. I ask You to place loving people in their lives to be Your hands and heart. Remind them each morning that Your mercies are new and Your grace is sufficient for the day.

I ask all these things in Your sweet name Jesus. Amen

Until we visit again,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Light and hope in the dark.

My life was unraveling as if a loose thread had been pulled. Filled with distrust, not only of others but of myself. Each step felt soft, loose, and movable like sand under my feet. The solid structure of my home was like a house with termites. Outwardly all was well but the unseen was hollow and being destroyed.

But God…

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:8 began to ring true for me, “We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair”.  In the midst of such turmoil, I felt a measure of peace that was hard to understand. 

Miracles appear in forms that can be difficult to explain. Most often they appear as a promise, accepted by faith.

Light and hope in the dark.

On a dimly lit path I walked. Looking ahead I saw darkness and uncertainty. Focusing on each step helped me see light and hope. There were days the beam of light was small like a pen light. I could only see my feet. As I walked, the light became brighter. 

Over and over Jesus assured me through song, devotions, Bible reading, trusted friends, and sound preaching that He had a plan. I must trust Him without knowing the end result. I felt Him say, rest in Me. Put your hand in mine and walk this path. In the end, you will be stronger and look more like Me. And, I did and do. If you find yourself walking in the dark, look for that small beam of light. Jesus shines.

If we are blessed to live a long life, each of us will experience our worst day. Chances are, we will have more than one. On mine, the foundation I had laid in Jesus was and is my salvation. He preserves my sanity. My family is rebuilding. The hidden hollowness is being replaced with new material. As time goes forward the evidence of the repairs will become fainter.

We are changed.  Our home is where life is lived, forgiveness is given and love is the greatest gift of all.

Until we visit again,


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

When I Feel Ugly...

I love the days when my hair is perfect (well almost perfect), my double chin is hiding and my crow's feet (laugh lines when I feel pretty) aren't so prominent. This isn't one of those days. Choosing my outfit today was like an episode of "What Not To Wear". The glaring difference was my scowling face as I put on each piece. At first glance, my closet looks as if it took a deep breath, exhaled, and the clothes burst forth like I feel my muffin top did over my pants.

Proverbs 31:30 says "beauty is fleeting..." I'm not quite sure that's my verse for today. Yet, verse after verse, the Bible assures me true beauty has nothing to do with outward appearance. My head understands this but my heart is a slow learner.

Lisa Bevere is quoted as saying, "I never thought I was a bully...until I listened to how I speak to myself. I think I owe myself an apology." Guilty! I often deflect a compliment quickly, convincing my admirer I am unworthy of her kind words. Instead of saying thank you, I immediately point out the flaws. Many of the women I love and think are fabulous struggle with this issue.  Do we think this is humility? Are we concerned we will be considered vain? God is never impressed with humility that undervalues His creation.

You are valuable.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Take every thought captive. Often when I try to take my thoughts captive, they wrestle like a WWE wrestler. Just when I think they are down, they slam me to the mat.

I am learning to look for the truth in a situation and question my thoughts. Not what I feel, but what I know. The Bible tells me my heart can be deceitful, therefore the truth may not be clearly obvious.

I ask:

1) What does the Bible say about me?

2) What do those whom I trust say about me?

3) If I were speaking to another woman, what advice would I give her?

Outward beauty can be fleeting. It will fade. Solomon gives great wardrobe advice in verse twenty-five, "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future." Strength and dignity, an ensemble I want others to see when I come near.

Until we visit again,

Monday, May 19, 2014

God's Treasure Pouch...

What would make you feel treasured? My husband and I recently made a list of 20 things that each of us could do for the other that would make us feel loved and secure. If the thought of that makes you long for such a list, let me assure you that compiling the list was not as easy as it appears. Not easy, but well worth the effort. I think the need to feel loved and treasured is universal.

In 1 Samuel 25 we are introduced to a woman named Abigail. She is the wife of an enemy of David and through her intercession the men in her family were saved. She is such an interesting character. In verse twenty nine she is speaking to David and reminds him he is "safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in His treasure pouch." Only a woman could describe this place of safety with such beautiful imagery. Each of us has a "treasure pouch". A special place where we store trinkets, pictures, notes, cards and a host of other things that we hold dear. They must be kept safe. They are treasures that are irreplaceable.

As women, most of us struggle to understand God's love. We find it hard to believe that we are the "apple of God's eye" and "God's masterpiece." I know I do. Sometimes I feel as if I belong in the junk drawer not a treasure pouch. Oh that we could comprehend our worth to God. We are the jewels in God's treasure pouch. The cost of the jewels in His pouch was the very life of His beloved Son.

God's Treasure Pouch
Paul said it so well in the book of Ephesians chapter three. "May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God." Snuggle in girls. We are loved, treasured and safe in that wonderful pouch.

Until we visit again,


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Process...

We have all had a dream shattered.  If we are blessed to grow old, we will experience many broken hearts.  Some of them will be a mere fracture.  Others will be a clean break and then some of them will be shattered.  When I think of my brokenness,  some days it feels as if my heart has been mended with white craft glue and the bond is a little shaky.  Some days the repairs seems firm and the glue appears clear as if it has dried completely.  Not today.

God's word tells me He is close to the brokenhearted and assures me Jesus came to heal our broken hearts.  I am discovering my healing comes bit by bit in a process that often moves slower than I want.  Beth Moore, author and Bible teacher has said that "God is never late but He sure misses many opportunities to be early."  Amen Beth.  Some days I feel He is not the early bird.  I question the process. 

Psalm 56:8

Last night as sleep eluded me I was reminded beautifully in song that I belong to God and He belongs to me.  As tears streamed down my cheeks I felt God's presence.  Why are tears so healing?  Psalm 56:8 may contain my answer.  "You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in Your bottle.  You have recorded each one in Your book."  Every tear I cry moves God into action. 

I yearn to discover a formula for quick healing.  It would be neat and tidy to list a four step process on moving forward from hurt.  I would list them for you in a post and all of us would be ever so happy and probably shallow.  Growth does seem to come in the valley doesn't it?  I must never forget how far I have come.  At one time the pieces were strewn haphazardly across my life.  Not today

Until we visit again,
Live blessed

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keep Singing...

When I am facing a battle, praising God is not usually my first thought.  Where do my thoughts often settle?  Fear.  While I am shaking in my boots, my next thought is “how will I fight this?”

 In 2 Chronicles 20 King Jehoshaphat faced an impending battle.  Messengers brought him news that war had been declared against Judah.  Has a messenger (friend or foe) brought you news that war has been declared against you or your family?  Have you been told something so devastating that you knew the battle was on?

 What do we do with that kind of news?  A good place to start is where Jehoshaphat began.  “Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the Lord for guidance.”  We pray.  There have been times I have been so devastated, so blown away I just simply said help.  When I couldn’t form a coherent thought, Jesus you know came. 

Jehoshaphat recognized his limitations.  “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us.  We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”  Have you ever experienced that overwhelming feeling of powerlessness?  I have.  Your stomach is upset and you heart is about to beat out of your chest.  You want to run.  But you can’t.  You desperately need a word from God.  Jehoshaphat needed one also and God was faithful.   “This is what the Lord says.  Do not be afraid!  Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  “But you will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.  He is with you.”

 Standing still while the battle rages seems so senseless.  I mean really?  My life is in turmoil and God wants me to be still.  I want to be anything but still.  Maybe, just maybe what needs to be still is within me.  When reading the chapter I noticed that there was action.  They prayed, fasted, gathered together and moved forward under God’s guidance.  Then they sang.  That’s right, they sang.

 The Bible records that the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army singing and praising the Lord.  “Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!”  Can you imagine walking into battle singing?

 During a recent battle in my life, two dear friends reminded me I needed to praise God.  I love these girls but I don’t mind telling you I wasn’t in much of a mood to sing.  Hit something maybe, fight maybe but singing wasn’t on the list.  What do you do when you know you need to praise God and you’re not feeling it?  You choose obedience.  When you can’t find your voice, you immerse yourself in the anointed singing of others.  I created a playlist on my phone.  Day after day I would listen and fill my mind and heart with worship music.  Most of the words were like they came straight from my heart.  When I was anxious I listened.  When I couldn’t sleep, in went the ear buds.  So many nights I drifted off to sleep listening to my playlist. 

 Verse 22 tells us at the moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies to start fighting among themselves.  Praise during battle rattles our enemy.  When the army of Judah arrived, the battle was over.
Praise during battle rattles our enemy.

Sometimes the battle seems long.  We want it over before we arrive.  The anointed writers of the Bible have recorded many battles.  Sometimes they were over before God’s children arrived, sometimes they were not.  Praising God was always involved.  I am learning to sing

Until we visit again...
Live blessed

Saturday, March 8, 2014


My mom has said that as soon as she gets the answer, the question changes.  More and more I appreciate her wisdom.  Life has thrown "questions" my way over the last month or so.  You would have found me just merrily traveling along and then..... life happened.  So here I uncomfortably sit wanting to write but not ready to share.  Have you ever been there?  When you are a writer, you want to write, usually.  Yet I have just been unable to gather my thoughts.  Is this what they call "writers block"?  One of the ways to move forward, I believe, is to just write.  In my last post, I talked about discussing ways to overcome fear.  Do you mind if we put that one off for a bit?  Thank you friends. 

Let's talk about some good things the Holy Spirit has been showing me in the Bible. One of my goals for the year has been to read through the Bible.  With the YouVersion app on my phone, it is so much easier.  My reading plan is available wherever I find myself.   It is so satisfying to know because you know that you have read every word.  Personally, I like the chronological version best.  It throws a random chapter or book in there sometimes and I like that.

Confession time, when I heard Beth Moore say her pastor calls Leviticus the "graveyard" of reading the Bible through in a year, I get that.  During that few days, I often thought "why in the world should I know all of this?  I kept telling myself, there are important truths here.  Dig them out!  As I look back over the past week or so, I wondered what I could learn from this book and to my surprise, I discovered 12 things that I believe God wants us to understand and remember. 

So, here's my list.  Feel free to post a comment with some of the things you believe the book of Leviticus has taught you.

  •  God is a jealous God.  He told us that and He meant it.  Get rid of the idols.
  •  God is very into obedience.  It is of prime importance to Him.  
  •  God has placed boundaries in our lives for our own protection.  They offer us peace, health, and freedom.
  • God offers opportunities for redemption and restoration along with the rules.  (He knows us well.)
  • When you refuse to take the aforementioned opportunities, He is firm with the consequences. 
  • He expects our tithes and offerings to be our best.  If not, why even give them.   
  • God expects us to provide very well for our pastors.
  •  Leviticus reminds me how badly I needed for Jesus to give His life for me.  I desperately needed  a Savior!  I could never keep all those rules.  I told my husband just recently that I am convinced I would have been slain or swallowed up early in the journey! 
  • With obedience, comes blessings.  Blessings overflowing!
  • God really likes for us to celebrate.  Think of all those festivals!
  • He expects His children to look, act, BE different for the world.  We should be readily identifiable with Him. 
  • The God of the universe, the great I AM, our King, wants a relationship above all else with us!!!
A number 13 could be added.  NEVER just read over a book in the Bible and assume there is nothing there for you.  If He included it, it's important. 

Until we visit again,
Live blessed,

Saturday, January 11, 2014


What are you afraid of?  What makes you anxious?  Fear is one of the areas that I seem to struggle with the most.  I had a great counselor ask me, “What are you the most afraid of?”  After I answered, he said, “Ok, what is the worst thing that could happen?”  We talked that through with him helping me see that yes, it could happen but it wasn’t very likely.  Then came Job….

 I have been reading in the book of Job for the last few days and for a girl that struggles with fear, it can be a little troublesome.  Mercy, poor Job!  He said in 3:25, “What I always feared has happened to me.  What I dreaded has come to be.”  Lord, help me. 

 As I have been reading his story over the last few days, I have been so caught up in Job’s life that my heart has ached for him.  My dear husband was trying to help me see how God uses Job’s story to encourage us and that God restored in the end but I was so upset for Job that my hubbie just had to walk away.  (I think it might have been after reading that not only had he lost every material possession as well as his children, he now had boils (have you ever had one of those!) that itched!

 What ifs just fill my mind.   I have ministry fears.  That’s a big one.  For a solid week (maybe more) my devotions from “Tozer on Leadership” reminded me of the cost of ministry.  Struggles, opposition, misunderstandings, battles, discouragement.  One morning I thought, Lord, this could scare a girl off!  When I think of following after God and pursuing His call, my knees can shake.  I know from personal experience that sometimes it can hurt. 

 I have personal fears.  Fears for my child.  Fears for my husband.  Our financial life.  We’ve been through some deep dark times financially and I fear we will find ourselves there again.   I work in the medical field so I see and read all kinds of bizarre things that happen to people.  Scary!!

Being fearful has been a part of my life for a long time.  I slept with my little Gideon Bible as a child.  I think it kind of felt like I was holding onto God.  Gripping that little book was a must for good sleep.  I keep my door locked in the middle of the day.  My husband said, “We live in such a high crime area.” (Read in his sarcasm.)  I could go on and on but if I don’t stop, you are going to think I’m unstable :) 

 The good news is that with God’s help, we can put away all those fears.  I distinctly remember knelling beside my bed one day and saying, “God, please take these fears away”.  If you are filled with fear, you too can live in peace.  I promise.

 Next post we will talk more about how we can conquer some of our fears and how God can renew our mind.
Until we visit again...
Live blessed

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

For Dennis -The best of the three is love...

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.  If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all His mysteries and making everything plain as day and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere.  So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."  "We don't yet see things clearly.  We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!  We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:  Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.  And the best of the three is love."  1Corinthians 13: 1-3; 12-13, The Message

My dear cousin Dennis passed from this earth on Saturday.  Dennis and I were childhood buddies and I am left with many memories as all his family and friends are.  His dad said, "Carmen, you are probably as close to a sister as Dennis ever had" and that may be true.  We played Batman and Robin at the little community school (sliding down the poles from the roof to the bat cave), board games for hours (He taught me to play chess.  I never won??), cooked together, cleaned together, went to church together, youth group and school.  There was a nasty little incident of us filling my uncle's car tank with water.  We really thought we were helping.  I promise!  You see, he lived across the street from my dear grandparents and being at their house was my very favorite pass time.  My mom used to ask me, "What is so exciting over there!?"  I told her I didn't know.  It was just where I wanted to be.  Dennis probably played a role in that. 

I knew him best as a child and very young man.  He loved listening to Lynn Anderson, made famous with "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden", and he told me recently he was proud of that crush.  For those who have known him only as a grown man, he was ALWAYS passionate about anything he believed in. He was passionate about Jesus and church, politics, his love for me and about being more.  He wanted the best for me and when I didn't feel the same way, he certainly tried to show me the error of my ways.  I remember once, (well, more than once) I visited another youth group and he called and reminded me that my youth group needed me.  Where was my loyalty!  I married at 16 and he was in my wedding.  He was so worried I wouldn't graduate from high school.  On my graduation day, I received flowers from him with a card that read, "I am so proud of you! Love, Dennis." 

I married and Dennis went to college.  This is where are paths crossed less frequently.  Marriage and trying to finish growing up took my attention and trying to be more took his.  There is so much of his life I missed out on.  Dennis graduated from Louisiana Tech and moved away and we lost some of that personal relationship.

As his lifestyle changed, I became so confused.  I always loved Dennis but I couldn't figure out "how to love him".  Why is that I ask myself today.  As a Christian, I was torn.  Somehow I had lost sight of the verses above.  I struggled with loving and not agreeing.  I think if he and I would have discussed it, we would have both been comfortable much sooner.  Over the years I have grown in maturity of years and in my Christian walk.  I have learned  more and more that my job is to love unconditionally and let God take care of the rest.  I'm not junior God, thank goodness! 

Each and every year we enjoyed our time together at Christmas and Memorial Day.  He loved his family and was very insistent that we all be together when he was here.  He loved to cook for us and each Christmas we had a wonderful new dish to sample.  He brought New York to us as he brought Louisiana to his friends in New York. 

The last private message I had from Dennis was to tell me how proud he was of my writing.  He had read my blogs and was impressed.  Of course he used words that I had to Google.  What is syntax I asked?  I knew it must be good because he said I used it.  When he was home soon after that message, he continued to encourage me.  He reminded me that all good writers have editors and I was my own editor and doing a great job of it.    "You have an expand upon it... and you make a point.  And, you do it with good grammar."  That was especially nice of him since I am very southern in speech :)  His praise meant more to me than he probably realized.  I have always wanted Dennis to be proud of me.  He was after all my big brother and friend. 

During this terrible illness that robbed him of his life, he showed such bravery.  On the eve of his first surgery, I texted him that I was praying for him and he responded, "I'm sure everything will be all right".  He fought hard to live.   Knowing that his prognosis was not good, he continued to fight and did it with grace and a smile on his face.  He waited on us to be with him and as we stood at his bedside on the morning of his death, he knew we had come and as he breathed his last breaths, he was surrounded by family, friends and much love.

We now must cherish our memories.  We will certainly miss a celebrity birthday without him.  He always posted a tribute whether they were 150 years old or 50.  How will we ever keep up with the British Royal family?  I once asked him did he ever work?  If you are not traveling you are posting on Facebook!  I will miss him. 

Until we visit again...
Live blessed