Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Goats on the Farm

Welcoming our first goats to the farm!

Why Goats?

Not long after we bought our property, we started thinking about IF we wanted any animals. I was adamant that I did not want chickens! That ended up being our first farm animals and now we have 18 feathered friends free-ranging every day. I digress…

We have always said we want cows and goats. Cows to raise for meat, and goats to eat the brambles in the wooded areas of our property. This land is loaded with forage for goats! I have been reading about goats for two years, just waiting for the day when we could finally go pick up some kids. With no fencing on any of our property, getting the water/electric infrastructure to our land was the top priority. Next came the Tiny Home Office (see this post and then our personal home (see this post The fencing was always on our mind, but so many other things had to come first.

Fencing in Winter

Winter is the perfect time to cut trees on the fence line and install fence posts! Jamey and Madison worked every weekend preparing two of our property lines for fencing. By April, we were so close to finishing the fenced area for our goats. I admit, I jumped the gun and bought two goats before we were completely finished. Again, I blame Facebook. Those livestock pages get me every time ya’ll!

Nubian Goats

I decided to try Nubian goats. They are supposed to be docile, great milk, and their size makes them a little easier to keep contained in a fence. (More on that experience later!)

Our First Goats

Rain and Kudzu are siblings so we had Kudzu banded to avoid any future birth defects. We picked them up on Madison’s birthday. The surprise was perfect! She’s just as excited about the goats as I am so I loved getting to plan it on her birthday. Here are Rain and Kudzu when they were born:

They were 8 weeks old when they came to live with us:

Kudzu is a little goofy and Rain is just so sweet, we fell in love with these two kids! Madison and I enjoy spending time with them each day. We are trying to insure that the kids are friendly with us since we have lots of visitors on our farm. We hope to share the joy of these farm babies with everyone who comes to visit!

Kudzu and Rain on the Farm

Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories

The Call- Part II

View from the Plane over the coast of Belize

Preparing for the Mission

As the time approached to leave on our first mission trip, we spent a lot of time in prayer. Noah and I were scheduled to leave with a group of 18 prayer warriors from our church. The plan was to fly to Belize City with a short layover in Texas. Jamey would be flying down to Belize with the next group which was the 1st skilled labor team. Another skilled labor team would arrive in Belize as we were heading home. It was a lot of people to coordinate!

Time to Go!

When we landed in Texas, most of the group went to eat together. I let Noah choose where we would eat since he wouldn’t have as many choices for the next couple of weeks. He chose Subway, so we ordered and sat down to enjoy a fresh sandwich. After lunch, we went to wait for our flight. From the moment we began preparing for this trip, there was a song that resonated with me: Psalm 23 by People & Songs. As we waited, I sat listening to this song on repeat.

I suddenly heard my name called over the speaker, asking Monica Scott to come to the desk. I was informed by the lady that they needed to see a copy of “The Letter” from Noah’s father giving him permission to travel with me. I had no idea what she was talking about!

The “Letter”

Only minutes before boarding was to begin I am told that I need a letter from Jamey stating that he gives permission for Noah to travel to Belize with me. And it has to be notarized. They won’t let us into the country without it, so they won’t let us board the plane. Noah and I are in Houston, Texas and Jamey is in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

I call Jamey to let him know what is going on. He prepares a letter and sets off to find someone to notarize and fax it to the airline. Meanwhile, the rest of the team has arrived at the gate to board the awaiting plane. I inform my pastor of the “letter” issue. He decides to stay with Noah and I until we get this problem sorted out. The rest of the team agrees to continue with boarding the plane. They join together to pray for a quick resolution.

Jamey has tried several places before finding a notary. Time is ticking away…

As I am waiting at the ticket counter, I overhear a young woman speaking to the flight attendant. Her travel partner has been delayed and she wants to change her flight to a later time. Because her bags are already on board, our international flight will now be delayed until they can remove her luggage.

Jamey has now faxed the notarized letter to the airline office at the Houston airport. I quickly informed the attendant at the ticket counter. Then she tells us the office is at the other end of the airport. We need her to go run the fax down so we can board the plane before it takes off. She is reluctant to go check, but with some persuasion from my pastor, she finally agrees.

Minute by minute, we are waiting for her return and praying that the plane will wait for us. It seems like an eternity. She finally arrives with the letter in hand. She stamps it, hands it over to us and we quickly board the plane. Cheers erupt as we walk onto the plane with our team! God answered our prayers indeed!

Guaranteed Opposition

Opposition comes in many ways. Only through experience do we learn that being called to do something will bring guaranteed opposition. I believed it was God’s will for us to go on this mission trip. And when all these “road blocks” came our way, I knew without a doubt I was doing the will of God. The enemy tried to keep us from going, but God made a way for us!

It was only the beginning of a trip filled with moments that would change our lives forever.

  • 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV) However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—
  • Isaiah 41:10 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Dream Central, Belize

Dream Central, Willows Bank, Belize 2019

If you would like to read more about the mission of Dream Central or would like to make a donation, visit Projects are ongoing in every location so be sure to check it out at!

Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes · Soups

Creamy Honey Nut Soup

Creamy Honey Nut Squash Soup

Honey Nut Squash

Honey Nut Squash is a variety of Butternut Squash. It is much smaller than Butternut Squash, and was developed to replace sweet potatoes in areas where they can’t grow sweet potatoes. This was my first year to grow Honey Nut Squash. I was delighted at my plentiful harvest! The plant seemed to be more resistant to squash bugs than my other varieties. I will definitely grow these again next year. Here is a picture of some that I harvested this summer!

Garden Bounty

The Soup

On an adventure, many long years ago, I tried two delicious soups that I’ve never been able to replicate. One was a squash soup and one was a chilled apple soup. I’m still working on that chilled apple soup, but I finally nailed the squash soup. It doesn’t sound very delicious, but it is so creamy and layered with flavors that I truly hope you will try it! Look how beautiful the honey nut squash, apples, garlic and herbs are when you roast them!

Honey Nut Squash, Apples, garlic and herbs

This recipe can be finished in under 45 minutes! Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds, croutons or French Bread. Please leave a comment if you try it!

Creamy Honey Nut Soup

Creamy Honey Nut Soup infused with Apples, Onions, and Garlic!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People


  • Stock Pot
  • Baking Sheet
  • measuring cups and measuring spoons
  • Blender or Food Processor


  • 4 Honey nut squash (2 medium Butternut squash if you can't find honey nut squash)
  • 4 cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 9 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp Dried Sage, Rosemary, Marjoram and Nutmeg
  • 1/3 Cup dry white wine
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth
  • 6 TBSP Olive Oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Slice the squash in half lengthwise, and discard all the seeds and strings. Cut the squash and apples in to 1-2” chunks and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the garlic halves and the thyme. Toss everything lightly with about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake 20-30 minutes until they are easily pierced with a fork and browned at the edges.
  • Meanwhile, in a large stock pot, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add all the sliced onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally, so the onions caramelize and turn soft and golden.
  • Add the roasted vegetables and apples to the onions, but discard the cooked thyme. (The stems will be brittle and break apart in the soup.) Sprinkle in the dried herbs and stir 1 minute, warming and releasing the natural oils. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, scraping any bits from the bottom. Pour the vegetable broth over the top. Season with a few cranks of fresh ground pepper and turn the heat to low. Cover and let it simmer 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove the cover and purée with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. You can also blend in batches, in a Food Processor using the chopping blade. Season with salt and pepper, as needed, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sour cream. Croutons, French bread or roasted pumpkin seeds make a beautiful garnish too. Enjoy!
Keyword Autumn Flavors, Creamy Honey Nut Soup, fall food, Fall Soup, Honey Nut Squash Soup, sanctuary ridge farm family recipe, Thanksgiving Meal
Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes · Soups

Homemade Ten Vegetable Soup

Homemade Ten Vegetable Soup

My family will eat lots of soup this fall! Soup is one of my favorite one dish meals. The versatility and variety of soups are endless. I love trying new soup recipes and one day I had Ten Vegetable Soup at Panera Bead Co. for lunch. I was so surprised at the brightness that the fresh slice of lemon added. It was a vegetable soup like I had never tasted before so I began experimenting with several recipes at home until I came up with one that is as close as I could get to the original. Since then, this has been on my Fall and Winter meal rotation. Sometimes I add a little venison stew meat and the boys seem to really love it that way. Add some delicious corn bread baked fresh in a cast iron skillet and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Ten Vegetable Soup

Monica Scott
This soup is just delicious! So much flavor in this one!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 4 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 2 small bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Cans mixed vegetables, drained
  • 1 Can fire roasted corn, drained
  • 2 Cans fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 TBSP Lemon Zest
  • 1 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TBSP Rosemary
  • 1 TBSP Ground Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Basil
  • 9 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
  • 1 Box Uncooked Quinoa with seasoning packet (Roasted Bell Pepper and Basil)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Cabbage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • In a large pot, sauté the onion and celery in olive oil over medium high heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic, mixed vegetables, corn, tomatoes, lemon zest, chili powder, rosemary, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, vegetable broth and Quinoa with seasoning packet. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring 3-4 times. Add Cabbage and cook an additional 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with thinly sliced lemons.
Keyword Panera Copycat, sanctuary ridge family recipes, Ten Vegetable Soup, Vegetable Soup Recipe
Just Desserts · Sanctuary Ridge Family Recipes

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Perfectly Delicious!

Apple Season!

Here in Tennessee, it is Apple Season! All the best apples are harvested in this season of cooler nights, and breezy, sunny days. Fall has arrived and it is time to cook everything Apple! I’ve already canned Apples, cooked Apples, Apple Butter and dried Apples. I even made Apple Spice Jelly with the peels and cores this year!

Our local orchard, Wooden’s Apple House, sells apples by the box and if you are lucky you might get a box of 2nd’s. These are the apples that may have a bruise, or be smaller than the ideal apple but they are a fraction of the cost. The box of 2nd’s are usually what I use to make Apple Butter and cooked apples.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Today I want to introduce you to Apple Oatmeal Cookies. These cookies taste like Fall! They are so soft and chewy. In less than thirty minutes, you can have a warm, Apple Oatmeal Cookie to eat in your own kitchen. What are you waiting for?

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Monica Scott
Chewy, Apple Oatmeal cookie with cinnamon. A perfect way to welcome Fall!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 dozen Cookies


  • 1 Grater
  • 1 Mixing Bowl or Kitchen Aid Mixer
  • 1 measuring cups and measuring spoons


  • 1 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups Plain Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Apple, peeled and grated


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Stir in the grated apple.
  • Slowly mix in plain four, cinnamon, baking soda, and oats. Stir until all is mixed throughout.
  • Drop by 1 inch spoonfuls onto a prepared cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between for the cookie to spread.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are light golden brown. Enjoy!
Keyword Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies, Apple Cookies, Family Recipes, Oatmeal Cookies, sanctuary ridge family recipes
Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Camping

McKinney Campground

McKinney Campground at Allatoona Lake, Acworth, Georgia

Visiting Acworth, Georgia

We are back on the road! This is only our second camping trip of the year and it feels good to be camping again. Acworth, Georgia is not new to us. We lived in Kennesaw for two years and during that time, I came to love the Acworth area. It’s a beautiful, old town that’s located on Lake Allatoona. The old downtown area is so quaint! With the delicious food from Henry’s Louisiana Grill ( and a stroll around Cauble Park, you really can’t go wrong with a night out in Acworth!

Here is a map of the area:

McKinney Campground

Mckinney Campground is part of the Georgia State Park system. There are 150 campsites available at McKinney Campground. This is a large campground, but only a portion of it is open year round. In Winter, some of the sites are closed. Booking campsites for the weekend can prove challenging, as they can be reserved up to six months in advance. If you have a spontaneous weekday trip, like we usually do with travel for work, you will usually find last minute sites available only Monday-Friday morning. Having flexibility in our schedules makes these work trips a little less painful when we can still be together as a family. It’s definitely more effort than just staying in a hotel, but we prefer the camping life!

Here is the link to the campground map:

With 150 sites, there is a wide variety of campsites available at this park! You really have to be careful here, as most of the sites are NOT level. Depending on the length of your camper, it could be an issue when you get ready to level your unit. I try to look at pictures on the reservation site and check out reviews too. Even some of the pull through sites can be tricky! Just look at these photos of our current site here:

In the first photo you can see how close we parked to the right side of the pull through. The pull through is not very wide and has a steep drop off on the entrance side of the camper, so we had to park as far to the right as we could to be able to get into the camper. The steps just barely fit on the edge of the site, and they are right at the drop-off. It is not ideal, but it is just for two days so we will deal with it. If we had children with us, this site would not work. The step situation is not safe but we also can not open the bunk room slide. The reservation site photos and reviews did not mention any rv slide restrictions or limitations, so please be careful when reserving a campsite in an unfamiliar park. Because we have stayed here before, I knew to be careful but we still ended up with some issues. We will walk around the park and make a list of “good campsites” before we leave so that next time I make a reservation online, I will know which sites to look for.

Allatoona Lake

The lake here is beautiful! The campground is located beside a marina so boating is very common. The water is clear, so fishing and swimming here are both good.

Lakefront Campsites are always my first choice so here is our view from our campsite:

Our picnic area is located down a set of steps, and the water access is from a very short trail to the left of the picnic table. It is easily accessed. Some of the lake front sites don’t have good access for swimming because they have stabilized the shore with large rocks. These campsites have beautiful views but no swimming access. There are two “swimming beaches” here for campers to use that are roped off for safe swimming in the busy boating season.

Trains, planes, and boats!

Sometimes you will hear trains, planes and boats here because this is a busy little town!

If you want to check out the train museum in Kennesaw, look here for more information: For lots of Civil War history, I recommend a visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Park. The ranger led talk through the small museum was one of the best! Check out more here

Whether you are camping at McKinney Campground, or just looking for some fun things to do in this area north of Atlanta, Georgia, I highly recommend this beautiful part of Georgia!

Sanctuary Ridge Adventures in Farming

Chicken Coop Plans

The Chicken Coop

Why not a pre-made Chicken Coop?

Before I even bought my first chickens, I knew I needed a chicken coop. I ended up buying this one on amazon: although when I bought mine I think it was listed for $179 and free shipping. I really wasn’t sure if I would even like caring for chickens since I’ve never had them before so I didn’t want to invest a lot of money at first. I have been very disappointed in the quality of the pre-made chicken coop. It was easy to assemble but the quality is not good. I would not recommend it, especially at the inflated price. It’s really not big enough for more than 4-6 hens. The roosting area is not tall enough for true roosting so all my chickens wanted to roost on the roof of this instead of going in it at night. As a result, the weight of the chickens caused the entire coop roof to sag. It’s just not good quality.

The Chicken Run

I also purchased this chicken run: The pre-made chicken coop fit inside the chicken run. We installed extra chicken wire around the edge of the chicken run and buried it two feet in the ground to deter any predators from digging around the run. So far this has worked! I really like having the additional chicken run. It provides a safe place for the chickens to stay when they are too young to free range. If there are hawks, eagles or owls flying around, the chickens safely retreat to the chicken run where predators can’t get them. My rabbit hutch also fits inside the chicken run. I’ve even let my rabbit free range inside the run with the chickens!

The New Chicken Coop Design

I described the new chicken coop design to my husband and he quickly went to work building it.

The Coop size is 6’6″ High x 10′ Wide x 6′ Deep. The floor is 18″ from the ground. This design matches the end wall dimensions of the Chicken Run. I wanted to be able to attach the chicken run to the coop and install an automatic chicken door to simplify the day to day care of my flock. The floor height allows me to easily muck the coop with a rake and put fresh wood shavings in when I am finished without breaking my back. We only made two nesting boxes because the chickens really just take turns laying eggs in the same box. No need for each to have their own. And so far when I have a broody hen, she lays her eggs in the main part of the chicken coop.

Chicken Coop Interior Design

The interior of the chicken coop was designed for easy cleaning and maintenance. We bought inexpensive vinyl flooring and extended it up the walls 6 inches. I stapled it in place. If I need to wash anything down inside the coop it will dry quickly. Jamey nailed two 2×4 boards at opposing angles to create roosting bars. The chickens love it! I finished the nesting boxes with these rubber mats that can easily be removed to wash: and finished the entire area with pine shavings. Once a month I change these out and add a sprinkle of lime dust to help with odor.

The exterior of the coop is white metal siding and black metal roofing to match our other farm buildings. I wanted to use some old windows as access doors on each side of the coop for easy cleaning access. I also love that I can see inside to check on the hens at night or when it is really cold outside. I can also open the hinged windows to air the coop out on really hot days. The nesting box also has a hinged door to easily collect eggs each day. We used simple hasp latches to secure the hinged windows and doors on the coop.

Some Chicken Coop Must Haves

The automatic chicken door is a game changer! It can be set to close with an evening and morning delay. I don’t have to worry about going to close the coop each night. When we are out of town, the chickens are safe and I don’t have to worry about them. No matter how busy I am, the door opens in the morning and they can all access their food and water. Here is the one we bought: sunset

We do like to travel so an automatic feeder and watering system is definitely on my must have list. We made our own feeder with this locking bucket from Tractor Supply and this kit from Amazon: it holds 60 pounds of chicken feed. With 18 in my flock, this usually lasts around 2 weeks. We also made two five gallon automatic watering buckets with this kit from Amazon:

My final recommendation is the use of this pine pellet for inside the chicken run. Chickens are messy. I tried pine straw for quite a while but within a week the chickens had scratched it into the mud. When we have extended rainy weather, all my eggs ended up covered in mud from the chicken feet in the nesting box. I finally discovered these pine pellets and they are truly wonderful! You spread them out and they become coarse sawdust! They absorb the rain, chicken poop and help keep the flies down too. Check out these before/after pictures:

The cost is actually less than the pine straw so if you haven’t tried this in your chicken run yet, I highly recommend it! Find it at Tractor Supply here:

Happy Chickens!

My chickens seem pretty happy here! Everyone except my two ducks and two turkeys roost in the Coop every night. So far we have stayed safe from any predators. I am collecting an average of eleven eggs every day right now so some of my friends buy my eggs, helping to offset the chicken feed costs. We love having the chickens free range so we can watch them scratching around for bugs in the yard!

Happy little Flock!
Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories

The Struggle of Fear

Broken Beauty

The Struggle

Over the past few months, I have watched as friends have gone through some devastating life events. Although they weren’t necessarily my pain, I feel such a burden for each of my dear friends who have been suffering a loss. Some of these have me facing a battle I have faced many, many times. Part of me wants to hide away somewhere and just deal with it privately, but that part of me is losing today. There is a freedom that happens when we expose the raw feelings instead of hiding them away in shame. Satan loses his power over us when we step into the light by exposing the struggle.

What is it? What is the struggle?

The struggle for me is FEAR.

Fear that I’m not enough. And as many times as I have laid down that fear, I keep picking it back up. In my mind I can see the image of a suitcase. Inside it are some very heavy objects that no one should be carrying around. I know I shouldn’t pick it up but I reach for it instinctively, as if I’m protecting myself from something. Trying to gain control over a world that seems out of control. Fear is one of those things that is just too heavy to carry around every day.

Definition of fear (Merriam-Webster)

1aan unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger

b(1)an instance of this emotion

(2)a state marked by this emotion

2anxious concern SOLICITUDE

3profound reverence and awe especially toward God

4: reason for alarm DANGER

The Bible

It’s time to dig deep into God’s Word again friends!

What does God’s Word say about “Fear”?

  • Psalm 23:4 (ESV)Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
  • Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  • Psalm 34:4 (ESV) I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Again and again, God says He is with us. He goes with us. He will not forsake us. Our health may leave us, our friends may leave us, our family may leave us, but God NEVER will. And these scriptures show something so significant too! He is not ASKING us to not fear. He is COMMANDING us to not fear.

Fear is one of those emotions that grips you. It holds on. Usually it keeps you from moving forward, or even making any move at all. That is not the kind of life God wants for us friends. So even if the world seems out of control, even if you have to walk through some devastating things in life, He is with you.

Time to Lay it ALL Down

Of course I heard a song today that really moved me. The video link is below, but I wanted to share the lyrics to “Crowns” by Sons The Band:

No greater love, I’ve ever known

This humble gift from heaven’s throne

I’m overcome By the favor You have shown

The price You paid for a sinner’s toll

The blood You gave, for the world to know

I’m overcome By the mercy You have shown

Like a faithful friend, You came rushing in

Took my wild heart and set it free

I’ll give every breath, till I come to rest

In the grace of eternity

I lay down my crowns at Your feet

From my first breath You saw my heart

Called my name set me apart

I’m overjoyed

I am free and fully known

Like a faithful friend, You came rushing in

Took my wild heart and set it free

I’ll give every breath, till I come to rest

In the grace of eternity

I lay down my crowns at Your feet

You give my spirit freedom

I give You all my praise

Don’t need another reason

To lay it all down, lay it all down

Right now is my surrender

Here in this holy place

Don’t need another reason

I lay it all down, lay it all down

AGAIN. Here I am again, laying it down. The fear of failing. The fear of not being enough. The fear of my marriage failing, of my family relationships failing, of my children not loving me anymore, of being alone. All the irrational fears that grip me, I lay them all down. I’ll cling to Him instead of fear.

And with my hands lifted, I’ll find my freedom in God alone.

Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories

Answering the Call- Part I

A Phone Call

One summer afternoon in 2018 I received a phone call. I had no idea how that one phone call would change everything…

My pastor’s wife Kaye was calling me, wondering if I would be interested in going on a mission trip to teach some young women to decorate cakes. Years ago, Kaye and Terry Harris began ministering in other countries. This led to a ministry called “Dream Central” where the goal is sharing the love of God by empowering people to dream big dreams. From prison ministry to orphans, the heart of it all is helping people break negative cycles through the love of God. The work being done through Dream Central is international. If you want to read more about the Dream Central ministry click

I was asked to go on the mission trip with the prayer team, but my mission was to teach the daughters of a local pastor to decorate cakes because they had a dream of opening a bakery. When Kaye told me more about the trip, we realized that my husband Jamey could come on the second week of the three weeks mission to work on the building project that was underway. I wrote some of the information down as we talked over the phone and promised to let her know if we could go as soon as possible. I needed to pray about it and talk to my husband about the possibility of going.

Dream Central, Willows Bank, Belize

Count Us In!

After praying about it and talking with Jamey, we decided that the answer was a resounding “YES”! We had 3 months to pray, plan and prepare. I began gathering cake decorating tools, books and supplies to take with me. Jamey began working with Pastor Harris to determine what he would be working on for the second week. We were excited and nervous too because we had never done anything like this before.


There is so much history to the ministry in Belize! I’m hoping that one day my friend Gary will write a book about how he answered the “call” to begin God’s work there. It is such an amazing testimony! I can’t begin to tell you all the trips that have been made over the past 30 years. All the people who answered the “call” and said yes. All the time sacrificed, tallent and money invested in the work that has been done there. I want to tell you all about it but that isn’t my story to tell. What I CAN tell you is this:

  1. God’s plans never fail. I am continually in awe of this. We are witnessing this firsthand as we continue to submit to His will. Romans 12:2 (NLT)Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
  2. You don’t have to be special to answer the “call”, you just have to be willing. I felt so unqualified, so unworthy, it would have been easy to say no. God will qualify you for what He is calling you to do. He will take what you have to give and make it more than enough. 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NLT)It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
  3. Fear will rob you of your future if you let it. Don’t let fear of failure or fear of the unknown rob you of the future God is setting before you! I used to be terrified to travel to new places. It’s true! But God set me free from that fear when I stepped out in faith. Now I love to travel because I get to see the resounding beauty God has created in the world around us.
    2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
    For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.Psalms 34:4 (NLT)I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.

Here and Now

I’m not sure why (yet) God has asked me to share this with you. I’ve tried many, many times to write about the work God is doing in Belize. It is so difficult to put onto paper the work that God is doing because it is a spiritual move. There is so much being accomplished in the physical too- so much “work” being accomplished. But the spiritual move of God is something that is so hard to put into words. All I know is that God wants me to begin sharing this now. Here I am at 3 A.M. writing this!

So for whoever this is for, even if it is just one person, God is not finished with you yet. HE is still calling you. HE still sees potential in you. You haven’t missed your opportunity to do what He called you to do so many years ago. Your hesitation has not hindered His plan. You have been on standby but it’s time for you to step out in faith. All you need to do is answer the “Call” and say YES. I will go. I will give. I will do whatever it is YOU want me to do Lord.

A New Song

There are two older songs that continue to come to mind as I write this: “Lead me Lord, I will Follow” and “If You Can Use Anything Lord, You can Use Me”. As I searched YouTube for one of those to share, I found this song to share instead. I’m so thankful “I am my Father’s dream”!

To be continued….

Sanctuary Ridge Faith Stories

Keeping Guard


Sometimes we need to slow down and just observe what is around us to hear God speaking.

Contemplating the awesome wonder of God’s creation this afternoon. Listening to nature praise Him for this beautiful day. I wonder how loud and glorious the praise was when Noah’s family and the animals finally left the Ark?!!! I am constantly reminded of His goodness as I observe this world God created. As I stared into the waters I saw that the bass had spawned! A million tiny fish swimming under their mother. With the Father fish- a nice size bass keeping guard at a distance. He swims back and forth. He chases any danger away. Isn’t that how God is with us- we may not always see Him but he is there guarding His children.

On the Battle Front

Even as I was surrounded that day with peaceful sights and sounds, I realized that I was on the battle front. There is a constant war going on, a war for our attention, for our affection, for our time, for our souls and for our family. That is why we must put on the armor of God every day. Armor protects us, but only if we wear it. It does no good if it is hanging in the closet or if we are driving around town with it in the trunk of our vehicle.

Here’s what God’s word says about it:

The Armor of God (Ephesians 6)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18  With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, 19 and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Notice that in each verse the armor is God’s. It is not even our own, but it is HIS! In verse ten “be strong in the Lord” and “in the power of His might”. Everything we need to fight the battles that we face, it all comes from HIM. We can’t do any of it on our own, yet HE has provided for us everything that is necessary to fight the battles before us!

What I See…

We may not always see the battles around us. Sometimes we are sleeping. We are not on guard. We miss it. It feels like it may be too late. Maybe the enemy has already taken some territory and you feel like you aren’t brave enough or strong enough to take it back, but HE is. God is enough! He is on your side- on the winning side! Don’t ever give up! I love this translation from The Message Bible:

  • Deuteronomy 20:1 (MSG)When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and soldiers far outnumbering you, do not recoil in fear of them; God, your God, who brought you up out of Egypt is with you. When the battle is about to begin, let the priest come forward and speak to the troops. He’ll say, “Attention, Israel. In a few minutes you’re going to do battle with your enemies. Don’t waver in resolve. Don’t fear. Don’t hesitate. Don’t panic. God, your God, is right there with you, fighting with you against your enemies, fighting to win.”

My prayer for you today is that you will be on guard. So many times I miss what is happening to those I love, even to myself, because I am not on guard. I become distracted by the business of life. May God help us to see what is around us, to put on the full Armor of God and take back ALL of the territory that the enemy has tried to steal. I pray that every thought that it’s too late for you will be taken captive. I pray that every doubt will vanish, that every fear will bow in the name of Jesus. I pray that you will be encouraged today as you stand guard over your family. May the peace of God be with you.