Summer reading list

I have said before, I do not consider myself an avid read, only an avid collector of books I would like to read.  The only time of the year that I read a lot is in the summer.  So I thought I would share a few of them with you over the next few weeks.

Back in the fall, a new show came out on PBS (good thing since I was waiting for season 3 of Downton Abbey) called Call the Midwife.  When I was looking for the show times, I saw that the series is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth during her time as a midwife in London’s East End post WWII.  Memoirs are one of my favorite genres to read, so I bought the book and loved it!  Jennifer has actually written 4 books, but I could not get the other 3 here in the states back in the fall.  But my dear friend, Beth Redman, who lives in Brighton, UK, thoughtfully sent them to me!

Last week I finished Jennifer’s 2nd book, Shadows of the Workhouse.  These books are full of great stories of hardship and triumph.  Even if you have seen the show, I still think the book is worth your time.  And if you have not seen the show and do not like to read, you can catch the show on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

Later this week I’ll be back with some vacation pictures!

Have I told you about the time we had head lice?

Last fall I got an email from the kid’s school that said something like, “Hey parents, we have had a few students in the upper grades contract head lice.  Please check your children before sending them to school.”  I didn’t really think much about it.  My kids are in the lower grades.  I let a few weeks pass by and one night, Graham was standing near me and so I thought I would check him for head lice.  As I was checking his scalp, all of the sudden, a white thing jumped out of his hair.

OH MY GOSH!!  We have lice.  We have lice!  I immediately went and got one of those head lice kits from CVS.  I put the shampoo on Graham’s head and then I remembered I had seen a news segment on tv about companies that remove head lice for you.  I decided to do a google search. Sure enough, one popped up about 20 minutes from my house.  I immediately dialed their number.

Now by this time it was 8 pm, but I thought I would at least leave a message.  Then a voice on the other line picked up.

“Pediatric hair solutions.  How can I help you?”

“I think my son has head lice.” I said.

“Ok, tell me what you saw,” she said.

“I saw a white bug leap out of his hair,”  I replied.

“Ok, well how many people are in your household?”

I proceeded to tell her all the ages of the people in our household.  She went on to tell me that it was unlikely that my husband and baby had lice and then she said, “but ma’am, you should know that 80% of care givers and siblings of a child with lice have it as well.”

My stomach sank.  My head suddenly itched.  I have lice.  Oh Lord Jesus, I have lice.  My hair will never be the same again.  I may even have to shave it off!  ”When’s your next available appointment?” I asked.

“Tomorrow at 2.”

“We’ll be there.”

I rinsed the shampoo off Graham’s hair and we all went to bed scratching our heads.  I hardly slept my head itched so bad.  The next day I felt contaminated.  Contagious.  I felt like I was walking around with the plague.  And my head would not stop itching.  2 o’clock could not come fast enough.

Elijah, Graham and I walked into the hair solutions place.  Talk about feeling like you are in a contaminated environment.  This was worse than the waiting room at the pediatricians office.  They called our name.  Graham hopped in the chair.  After about 5 minutes of examination, the woman said, “He has dandruff.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I’m 100%” she said.

“Ok, check me.” I said.

“I can check you but it is going to cost you another $20 and I can tell you right now, you don’t have lice.” she said.

I’m cheap so I didn’t have her check Elijah and me.  As I was paying for Graham’s head check, a woman behind me said, “Are you Holly Furtick?!! We go to Elevation!  Kind of an odd place to meet you but we are all here for the same reason, right?”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????  Of course my day would end like this.

I went on to talk to the lady.  She was so sweet.  I always love meeting people who go to our church even if it is in the head lice place or a public bathroom.

What is my point in telling this long story?  2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

It is not “New Age” to believe that negative thinking is unhealthy.  It is a fact.  It is scientifically proven that what we think about effects us physically and emotionally.  Whether your thoughts are consumed with worry, fear, condemnation, or even just complaining and discontentment, you can actually create that reality for yourself.

If you spend your day thinking about all the things your husband does that annoy you, you are not going to be excited to see him when he comes home from work.

If you wake up in the morning dwelling on how badly behaved your children are, and how many times you are going to have to punish them today, chance are, that is what your day will be like.

If you head to work dreading your job and the people you have to interact with, you are going to walk into office with attitude of negativity and disdain.

If you walk around your house thinking about all the things you don’t have, you will never be able to enjoy the things you do have.

And if you think you have head lice, your head is going to start itching!

The great thing is, when I sought a professional opinion, my head stopped itching.  And as cheesy as this sounds, as Christians, we have been given a professional! The Holy Spirit is our Counselor!

When you go to the Counselor, he can remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Ps 139:14)

When you go to the Counselor, he can remind you that you have nothing to fear. (Is 41:10)

When you go to the Counselor, he can remind your children are a gift. (Ps 127:3)

When you go to the Counselor, he can remind you that you are BLESSED! (Deut 28:1-8)

Don’t allow negative thinking to keep you from living the life that God meant for you to enjoy!  If you would like to read more about the danger of toxic thoughts and how to actually take captive your thoughts, I love this article by Dr. Caroline Leaf.



Life change inbox

It’s Friday and time for another Life Change Inbox! Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 that our lives are living letters written so that God might be glorified. People often write in to Elevation and share the work God is doing in their lives through our church. When I read these stories, I am reminded that we serve a powerful God who still works miracles in the lives of everyday people. These stories inspire me to keep giving, keep serving and continue praying for those who are far from God. I hope they will do the same for you.

Today we have a video story of a family who came to Elevation from half way around the world. I think you will enjoy their story!

If you have a story you would like to share, email us at


Where strength comes from

Have you ever thought about someone, “I don’t know where she finds the strength”?  I often think that about my friend, Ferris. She has 3 girls and this past spring, all 3 of them had a different serious medical procedure.  Yet I never hear her complain.  It is funny how some people seem to face difficulty with such strength yet others crumble under the slightest pressure.

I have been reading Kelle Hampton‘s book, Bloom, a memoir of her journey to finding unexpected beauty in her daughter’s Downs Syndrome diagnosis.  I love this part…

“People often ask me how I found the strength to see the glass half full when I brought Nella home to begin the next chapter in our story.  First let me tell you something about strength.  You can’t buy it, and you most certainly cannot get it overnight.  It is earned, like muscle sinews that grow and fortify over years of hard exercise.”

Strength builds on itself.  There are things that I have experienced this past year that I would have crumbled under 5 years ago.  And maybe the circumstances of this past year will enable me to withstand the pressure of something in 5 years that I could not handle today.  Psalm 84:5-7 says

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.

You can’t live your life in fear of what will happen to you.  But you must to learn to draw your strength from the right place.  When faced with a difficult circumstance, there is such a temptation to complain and to run to all the wrong people for advice.  But strength does not come from drama.  True strength comes from a power inside you that is activated there by the Holy Spirit.  And when you see someone tapped into that strength, it is hard to understand it.

But when you tap into it, you realize that possibly your whole life you were training for this moment, for this obstacle.  You can face your situation with the mindset that no matter what, I am a conquerer.  I am empowered with the strength to face this.

The strength that gives you joy when life throws you a curveball.

The strength that enables you to forgive someone who deeply hurt you.

The strength that gives you peace when you are worried.

The strength that empowers you when you are weary.

I want to live it out the way Paul put it in Colossians 1:11, “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.”


Celebration Train

Today we will have a memorial to celebrate the life of my father-in-law, Larry Furtick (also known as the L-train).  After a very long, hard battle with ALS, L-train went home to be with the Lord this past Wednesday.  He loved me like his own daughter and I am a better person because of him.  Thank you all for your prayers and condolences over the past several days.