Dreams Do Come True

Dreams Do Come True

I’m a huge advocate of being a dreamer. I love Ephesians 3:20,

” Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..” (NIV)

This verse lets me know that God actually loves it when I imagine great things AND He loves to blow my mind, by doing even greater things.

For a few years in a row our family filled out a ‘dream board’ at the beginning of the year. Just a big poster board that we wrote our dreams for the year on. It’s so much fun to “write the vision” (see Habakkuk 2:2) and then see what God will do over a 12 month span.

Last year, a dream, that’s been in my heart for many years, came to pass. I published my first book! Though there are many dreams that God fulfills solely by busting into our lives with His generosity, some dreams take some work.

I honestly can’t say this book was a lot of hard work but it did take time and effort to see it through to completion. But mainly, it took obedience and being in the right place and the right time…

See, God had already put His finger on me about getting this book together. I had started working on that but I had no idea how to see it through to being published. But, as I had taken that first step of obedience, He then sent me to a women’s conference halfway across the nation and set up a coffee date and orchestrated conversation… just to let me see my dream come true!

He loves to do this with His kiddos! He wants to blow your mind too! What dreams are in your heart? Have you written them down? Is there a step of obedience you need to take? Be intentional about dreaming and asking and obeying… because Dreams Really Do Come True!

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P.S. I highly recommend the book Dream Culture, by Andy Mason!

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My book, Journey Through the Door is a 31-day devotional for helping you to step into the realities of the heavenly realm. ORDER NOW!

 

 

 

 

What people are saying about Journey Through the Door…

“This is a great experiential devotional for people with hungry hearts for God! Dani has put together stories and truths to take the reader on a journey to knowing God better than many have dared imagine. It is for the courageous follower of Jesus who longs for a passionately engaging relationship with Him!” ~Jeff

“Journey Through the Door was an incredible book. Very different from other devotionals. It helped push me out of the box to actually ask God for a picture of me. I have given others pictures I’ve seen from God but it seemed kind of selfish to ask for myself. What I found out is God loves me so much and that He is a God of fun. He likes to do crazy things and laugh with me. He created me to have a relationship with Him. Not to just be holy and on my knees praying for others, although that is very necessary. But He cares about my feelings, about my having fun. He wants to have a real relationship with me. One like I would have with all my close friends. Thank you, Dani, for letting me go on this journey with you.” ~Connie

“THANK YOU for writing this book. It has challenged me in so many ways. Thank you for being vulnerable with us so that we can go deeper in our walk.” ~Jenni

Order your copy today at revivalrevolution.life/devotional!

How to Become a Bad Ass in Life

How to Become a Bad Ass in Life

I’ll subtitle this:  Reflections of a Nearly 38 Year Old Hot Mess Mama

My birthday is in just a few short days. I LOVE birthdays! (I mean, the alternative sucks right?) I usually celebrate a week, if not a month, in April… birthday celebrations, surprises and blessings make me happy. They also make me reflective. Today I reflect on how much I have changed in the last 10 years. I went from a mostly timid, introverted, worship leader to a brave yet spastic, mostly extroverted, growing preacher chick.

I’ve walked through some hell in these past 10 years. I’ve fallen more in love with Jesus. I’ve faced some of my biggest fears – and won. I’ve gotten my heart broken and experienced Jesus putting it back together. I’m more of a courageous bad ass in life today than I have ever been. I still face fears, still face insecurities, still get tempted to crawl in my shell when going through unsettled soul stuff. But the bad ass in me is growing and winning! Here are five things I’ve learned along the journey.

You have to do things that scare you. Sometimes, you can choose them, sometimes they just happen but you will have to walk through the scary stuff. Just do it. Even if you have to do it afraid.

You must value freedom over secrets. There’s something powerful that happens when we become vulnerable and share the things from our hidden place. Over the years, I’ve found freedom in letting people into my ‘messy’. James 5:16 is no joke and confession, as da** hard as it is, brings crazy freedom. And freedom is worth the price, y’all!

“Confess and acknowledge you have offended one another and then pray for one another to be instantly healed for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!” (The Passion Translation)

Ask the hard questions. I hate asking questions. (It’s linked to pride in my life but that’s another story.) But I’ve found if you just come out and ask, life is such an easier walk. When the ultrasound tech was acting weird as she was checking out my 20 week pregnant belly, I could continue to let my mind race or ask the question that had the same answer whether I asked or not. I cut to the chase and asked, “Is there a heartbeat?” Of course, I didn’t want to hear the answer she gave me but it saved me some agonizing mental guessing.

Loving confrontation is necessary for healthy relationships. I come from a long line of non-confronters. I also come from a long line of passive aggressive behavior. They are both what come natural to me. Not cool, not healthy. Overcoming the fear of what you might hear and overcoming the tendency to manipulate by confronting situations head on isn’t always a pretty road but it is a road to flourishing relationships. Before you bulldozer personalities let out a big hurray, let me use this definition of confront: to bring together for examination or comparison; set face to face. Confrontation is done to be able to see things clearly, with no judgements attached.

Dreams do come true. Sometimes you have to work your butt off for them but I’ve found if I take the one or two hard steps, the grace of Jesus is what makes them actually happen. Grace, as in, God’s power to do things that I cannot do.

So happy birthday to me! I’m so grateful to Jesus that I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I’m grateful for another year in my journey. Cheers to being a bad ass in life! Eat some cake for me this month!

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Unicorns & Pixie Dust

Unicorns & Pixie Dust

Unicorns and pixie dust. Realities only in cartoons and toddlers’ minds. A representation of someone disconnected from real life… or are they?

Symbolically speaking, there hasn’t been many unicorns or much pixie dust in my life lately. On paper, life hasn’t been bad. Kids have been healthy and doing well. Husband is doing what he loves. Bills are paid. Life is ticking along quickly with good things. But somehow I’ve been in a funk. I’m actually on a 48-hour getaway as I type this, just trying to figure what the heck my problem is. Well, I have many, but primarily why my soul is in such a restless place.

24-hours into my time alone, some things are starting to make sense. Starting to click in my brain and in my heart. The good thing about these “aha!” moments is that I can be intentional about changes I can make in my life.

I have a personality that likes a good challenge. I sometimes get fooled into thinking I don’t. That I would rather have things neat, organized and orderly. But ask my husband, as soon as I get the routine figured out, I get bored.

That seems to be where I’m at. Bored. We’re in a good place as a family. Actually, a great place. And I’m bored. Ready for an adventure, some excitement, a testimony in the making. I’m ready for a unicorn to come galloping by, through the mundane. I’m needing Jesus to sprinkle some pixie dust into the room to make something magical and new appear.

But what to do in the waiting? The great and frustrating thing about pursuing a supernatural lifestyle (meaning, inviting and letting God be at work in your life) is that God shows up and does out-of-this-world things. Great because, that’s totally always exciting to see Him move. And frustrating, because you have no control over when and what He does.

I’m a dreamer. Been dreaming of unicorns and pixie dust for months now. And, up to this point, I’ve seen none. Mundane. Boring. And I was beginning to lose hope that pixie dust and unicorns actually exist. I’ll say it this way for those with lesser imagination… that God actually does supernatural and crazy, “WOW” things.

But, with this time away with Him. My hope is being restored. Over the months, I’ve tried reminding myself of how He’s showed up and rocked my world in the past. But this week, He’s speaking these truths into my soul. Him talking is so much better than me talking.

As I was spending time talking to Daddy God last night, He told me He loved me. I said, “I know”. He raised my eyes to look into His and said, “No. I LOVE YOU. As He spoke those words, I saw the words becoming tiny gold particles, pixie dust if you will, that came from His mouth and absorbed into my body. He breathed His love right into me. He is powerful and amazing like that.

I know life is not all unicorns and pixie dust. But, I also know that I’m not meant to live a mundane and colorless life. I’m grateful for the hope of the mundane turning to dancing unicorns and the colorless turning to pixie dust.

new dani whimsy

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

How to Find Rest When You’re Restless

Last Friday, I wrote about the Lord leading me to “quit the scrolling” for a few days last week. (You can find it HERE) I talked a bit about this thing called REST… primarily the rest of the soul. For a few days there, I found a bit of rest for my soul, a reprieve from my restlessness on the inside but, as with most of us, I’m a work in progress and have wrestled again this week to find rest in my soul. In this season on my life, it seems to be something I’m having to be intentional about. I’m a firm believer in a living a lifestyle of rest. Sometimes, it comes easy to me. Other times, like now, I’m having to ‘be diligent to enter into that rest’.  (Hebrews 4:11 NKJV)

Here’s some truths I’m reminding myself about while in my process. Hopefully they will help you too!

I’m reminding myself that:

Rest is a promise. 

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  (The Voice)

When we get caught in the weariness of life – whether it be physically, spiritually or emotionally, or all three – we can forget that this isn’t what Jesus has for us. Being weary, burdened and exhausted is not what He wants for us. He has promised something different and we can expect Him to fulfill His promise IF we will come.

Rest is not primarily external, but internal.

I love vacations – especially ones to the beach – and I think taking a “Sabbath” day each week is important. But even if we do set those times aside, if we don’t quiet our insides, those set aside times mean nothing. True rest only comes when we find peace on the inside… whether we are sitting on the beach or a mountainside or we are sitting in our vehicle in heavy traffic, or surrounded by crabby toddlers, or a noisy office place. Our outside circumstances can help bring inward peace, but it is not a guarantee. We have to be intentional.

If I’m not resting in Jesus, there’s a good chance I have a trust issue.

And the way to increase my trust in Him is to remind myself of His goodness and what He has done, in my life or others’ lives or even from the Scripture. God is faithful. He is good. He has done so many things in my life and the lives of those around me that prove His faithfulness and His goodness. Surrounding ourselves with people who will remind us of this when we are struggling to do so ourselves will be helpful too. Remembering WHO He is will always increase my trust and quiet my soul.

“He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises.” Romans 4:21 (NLT)

There is high value in sitting before the Lord.

The term ‘soaking’ became very popular in much of the Church world a couple decades or so ago. Basically quieting yourself, not doing all the talking in prayer but looking at it as a two-way conversation and leaving room for Holy Spirit to speak to you. There is value in time spent just sitting and listening. In the busy-ness of life, sometimes we don’t have 30 minutes or an hour or even 15 minutes but I’ve found if I will even sit before Him for 5 or 10 minutes, He will speak, He will quiet my soul. Those few moments are invaluable to the health and well-being of my soul.

These are just a few tips on finding rest when you’re in a state of un-rest. Now click PLAY on the video below and let Jesus quiet your heart today….

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Quit the Scrolling

Quit the Scrolling

A week and a half ago, I felt the Lord whisper to me, “Set aside this next week for Me.” As He and I conversed about this, it wasn’t a full fast and week away from life that the Lord was calling me to, but a setting aside of a few things that are usually a huge part of my life.

My husband and I had already committed to a more strict eating plan for the week since we were actually not going to be traveling that week. Then, I felt like the Lord told me to, “Quit the scrolling” for a few days. This meant, no scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And I also felt I was to take a break from writing for Whimsy in My Cup for the week. A bit of a rest from my normal cyber world.

Even with these omissions from the week, it certainly wasn’t restful in the physical sense of the word. Our kids were out of school for a couple days, but one traveled to State basketball every day for three days. Which meant driving her the 15 minute drive to and from school a couple times a day at unknown hours – all dependent on how the team played and how slow the bus drove. 🙂 We put on a weekend teaching module which required much prep and a couple sessions of teaching from me.

No, this week of setting aside things didn’t mean a quiet and restful week but it meant being more intentional with my ‘freetime’ being focused on Him. And it resulted in a rest in my spirit and my soul.

Funny thing was, when He spoke to me so many days ago, I didn’t connect that, with the scheduled module, I would actually be teaching on rest last weekend. (I’m a little dense sometimes)  A lifestyle of rest is really important to me, yet over the last few months my insides have been anything but restful. I’ve told my husband and several others over the last months that, I feel restless in my soul. And, after several months of this, the Lord was about to bring rest for my soul. And it took me a whole week to put all the dots together. He was really speaking and doing something powerful.

Next Friday, I’m going to be getting a little more practical on why a lifestyle of rest is so important for us to embrace. I hope you will join me for part two of my thoughts on rest!

How to Really Be More Productive

How to Really Be More Productive

Productivity. A big word among us humans. It is “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance or bring forth goods and services”. There are so many articles and blogs, books and ebooks, pins and posts out there to help you out in this area. One book that challenged my thinking and impacted me the most is “The Four-Hour Work Week”. Even as a non-business person, many of the tips and strategies in this book can apply easily to a normal, busy mama like me.

The thing about ALL the ‘helpful’ tips out there is that you still have to figure out what actually works for YOU. In an article with ’10 tips to have a more productive day’ – there may be only 5 that actually work for you. In a cookie cutter world, it’s important that we don’t force ourselves into someone else’s mold. There’s nothing wrong with discipline and hard work but when you feel like you’re working against yourself, the method probably won’t last long or at best, can make you unhappy and tense.

It’s obviously important that we are productive people in this life. We’re not on this planet to be idle, inert blobs of flesh. We’re here to be and to do and to get a sense of accomplishment by producing abundance and beauty in life. But, in all our striving to be the most efficient possible, we must only stick with the things that work for us. There’s all kinds of great ideas out there. Find what works for you and you’ll be the most productive YOU you can be!

I’ll mention just one mold-breaker for me. The get-dressed-as-soon-as-you-wake-up law of productivity. (Sorry Flylady!) I understand the idea. Jammies feel like sleep and lounging. Clothes make you think “get ‘er done”. But for me, when my mornings can slip right past me as I take my time getting ready – this works in reverse.

Usually, if I’m going to get some work done around my house, it’s actually better for me to grab a cup of coffee and then jump right in. No wasting time showering or putting on real clothes and tennis shoes. Sweats and bare feet, with hair pulled back, is my work uniform for being productive.

I can knock it out of the park with house cleaning, baking, laundry and paying bills when I’m in my jammies. I can curl up with my computer and get blogs written, articles scheduled and chapters laid out for my ebook when I’m in my jammies.

Most often, my most productive days are those that I don’t get my shower in until late afternoon.The days that my house is ready for company before I am. Those are the days that I’ve generated, created, enhanced and brought forth goods and services and come to the end of my day with a sense of accomplishment in my productivity.

What about you? What tips and tricks work for you? Or which ones don’t? I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts!

 

**Thanks to @lindsaylongstudio over at Instagram for spurring this blogpost!

Food, Glorious Food

Food, Glorious Food

We’ve been on the road this week. A trip to Texas means lots of ministry and lots of EATING! When I’m home, I eat THM (Trim Healthy Mama) style for the most part. It’s easy to do with very healthy but yummy foods. When we travel, it’s not practical to bring my whole kitchen and though you can stay ‘on plan’ with THM while eating in restaurants, I’m an eclectic food lover! There are restaurants in Texas we don’t have in Nebraska. There’s certain foods that they just do well here in the south. Thus, I try not to gorge myself but I certainly don’t pass up the experience of good food in the moment.

Saturday: The day of the 14 hour drive. We were in the Dallas area at dinner time and wanting something a bit more substantial than fast-food  but we were also wanting OUT of Dallas as quickly as possible AND we were in traveling clothes (read sports bra, tee and shorts) so I didn’t feel anything too classy could be on the option list. We ended up at a Denny’s outside of Dallas.

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Sunday: After being in Palestine Sunday morning, we had traveled back up to Dallas for an evening service Sunday night. The congregation was African, primarily from Ghana and they had prepared some of their native food for the fellowship time after the service. We got some sort of sweet donuty things and some tea. Oh. My. Goodness. The tea! I googled it and I’m nearly positive it was Ginger Tea… which I’ll be making when I get home. Yummy stuff!

We hadn’t really had dinner so I made Mitch stop by In-and-Out Burger for late night deliciousness. For a moment, I thought we were back in Cali….

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Monday: Oh how I wish we had pictures of the best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had! Some friends gave us a drive by tour of Fort Worth and we went to The Stockyards to H3 Ranch for lunch. Alas, no food pic so here’s a cute one of my Journey Joy.

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Tuesday: The food highlight of the day was a drive through our favorite coffee shop in all of Texas – one owned by our dear friends – Cream and Coffee. Earlier, I had remembered how much I loved their chai so that’s what I ordered from my happy place.

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Wednesday: A stop at our favorite frozen yogurt place, Sweet Frog, was what Journey had been waiting for for days.

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Thursday: I wanted donuts for breakfast but didn’t get them and instead found out that if you eat a piece of sea salt caramel with a handful of peanuts, you have a Payday! The weather was beautiful, so lunch at one of our favorite Italian places, Switch, was out on the patio. And their Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce is delectable!

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It’s a good thing we just have a couple days left on this trek because we’ve eaten enough for a month and it’s about time to get back to my own kitchen… and the gym.

 

 

Make Sure You Laugh Enough

Make Sure You Laugh Enough

Last May, when I found out the son I was carrying in my belly had no heartbeat, a dear friend and spiritual mama in my life, gave me the best advice…. Make sure you cry enough. In that advice, I heard Jesus speaking to me. I think it is imperative to cry enough in life and I also think it is vital that we laugh enough. When you are in a happy moment, the laughs come easy but when life is tough is when I find that I must be intentional about laughing.  Laughing is part of the healing, part of the breakthrough and part of the victory.

A few years ago, we were in a miserable and discontented season. Every believer (probably every person) goes through these times because the tension of ‘being grateful for where you’re at, but dreaming of and knowing that God has more’ is a huge part of the believers life. He’s calling us to not be stagnant but live big and beautiful lives. The paradox of this is the fact that we also need to be grateful and find contentment right where we’re at as well.

Back to the story… We were in a place we knew God had brought us to but knew that it was only a temporary season and when we found ourselves already 2 years in, I was so ready for the next season. We also were beginning the most strangling financial bondage we have ever know. Life was beginning to feel a bit like hell. We were in – but slugging through – the proverbial ‘valley of the shadow of death’. By the Grace of Jesus and the faithfulness of His promise, we are now on the other side. We have crossed through and found ourselves in a ‘promised land’ season.

There’s really only one reason I survived that season, the joy of the Lord. He gave us several ‘joy escapes’ in that season…

First, we were traveling in ministry and were having some beautiful services, full of His glory. He would refresh me often before I had to immerse myself back into the reality of where we were.

Second, He gave us our surprise baby – Journey Joy – who truly brought joy to our entire family in the midst of the heaviness.

And third, He taught me to laugh.

Laughter is not breakthrough but it is the most significant numbing agent to the pain and heaviness I felt. It was what kept me sane and moving forward. If you’re in one of those tough or, maybe even hellish seasons, I encourage you to find things to make you laugh. Laughter can trigger joy, it can numb the pain and it will give you hope that “this too shall pass and I will be in a different season of life”. Because you know what? You will! Keep moving, keep laughing… there is another side!

Here’s a few things I found that made me LOL in the midst of dark times. Maybe they can help you find your own laugh!

  • Seinfeld. Pick your own sitcom, YouTube videos, or movies but ours was reruns of Seinfeld. My husband and I would put our kiddos to bed and laugh hysterically at the ridiculousness of this show. Others I know, have watched old episodes of Friends or the comedian Jim Gaffigan. Just find something to watch that makes you laugh!
  • Babies and Grammas. After nearly 9 years of no new babies, Jesus gave us the most wonderful surprise right in the midst of those stormy years. As my baby grew and changed every day, I was reminded how much FUN they are! So many giggles. And grammas… my Grandma is a down-to-earth, 80-something woman who doesn’t take herself too serious. She can laugh at herself and tell stories on herself. She makes me happy. And makes me laugh.
  • Myself. By nature, I am a more serious person. But over the last few years, the Lord has broken me out of my rigidness and given me a sense of humor. Honestly, I maybe have swung too far – sarcasm and lightheartedness outweigh my desire to have a serious conversation most of the time now. But not taking myself as seriously has brought such a freedom to my soul, not to mention lots of laughter!

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An Imperfect Family Valentine’s Dinner

An Imperfect Family Valentine’s Dinner

A lifetime ago, my husband and I were newly married and celebrated ONE Valentine’s Day together when it was just the two of us. Then we began adding children. I don’t really remember, but I’m guessing the first one we celebrated as parents, we probably took our sweet firstborn on a date with us. But following that year, we began to need babysitters to keep our infants and toddlers if we wanted to enjoy an actual date night.

I’m not really sure how many years into the gig we figured it out, but at some point, we decided that celebrating Valentine’s Day ON February 14th was more stress than it was pleasure. Finding a babysitter on THE most prized date night of the year was nearly impossible. So we, being stress-avoiders, and ingenious problem-solvers (ha!) decided to move our Valentine’s date night to another night around the 14th but never on the 14th. I’m not so attached to a DAY that I couldn’t be flexible – so long as I got some time with my man.

And so, February 14th became our ‘family date night’. I have been preparing a nice meal, complete with dessert and sparkling juice (for kiddos – parents get wine!) for many years now. Most often, us girls dress up in our fancy dresses. During dinner, we all make many toasts so we can *ching* our wine glasses, and one of the most precious moments of the evening, daddy gives each of his girls a Valentine’s Day gift.

With the changes in our ministry life over the years, Mitch happened to be out of town last year ON the 14th and ministry is happening again this year ON our special day. We roll with the punches, and celebrated last year before he left on his trip. This year again, we scheduled our family date night early, celebrating earlier this week.


As much as I love a perfect, well-planned and well-executed evening, that doesn’t always happen and this year looked like a bit of a dud. Not that we didn’t have our dinner, but we had to pull an exhausted Robin from bed and Journey actually slept right through the meal. We did our best to pull off a semi-fun family evening – great meal and gifts for the girls. Mitch and the older girls even watched a movie afterwards. I ended up crashing for a while though and missed dessert. Sometimes you just shrug your shoulders and say, “Ah, well. I’m so in love with my life – in it’s beauty and imperfections.” And so I bring you a brief photo reel of our evening… in all it’s imperfect glory.