Baggage by Nicole Johnson

While putting together this new blog format and platform, I ran across my Nicole Johnson files. I first discovered Nicole when I was at Women of Faith back in 2004. Most of her sketches were humorous that year and being of the bulimic mindset that if a little is good well then the whole thing must be wonderful, I bought her entire set of videos and watched them all in one sitting.

I do that you know, binge on things other than food. That’s part of what this whole blog series is about, the effects bingeing and purging, and trying to find balance and peace instead of control. I don’t just eat one cookie, I eat the whole bag. I don’t just buy one book, I buy the whole set. If I find a sweater I like, I buy every color in my size.  I don’t just join a health club to rehab my knee I, fill my living  room with machines and wear myself out.

 After a while guilt kicks in and I have a garage sale and purge my home of all evidence of my extremes.

Fortunately for me, I hang to my DVDs.  

This particular video is on Nicole’s Fresh Brewed Life You Tube page, and I think it’s very profound. This sketch was written for the Revolve Tour for teens and speaks to the baggage we all carry around with us.  Enjoy. Please note that the young woman acting in this video is not Nicole but rather a young woman named Katharine. Katharine Everett is a graduate from Baylor University and is a gifted and I dare say anointed young actress who really brings these sketches to life.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic, all rights reserved. September 18, 2010. Confessions is not a bible study or teaching, but rather a resting place for the stories of my life as I learn to give them voice. In everything, test the Spirits, go back and look up the scriptures mentioned, read the commentaries and learn for yourself what God’s Word would reveal to you. Disclaimer: No goods or services were received in exchange for this post. I only write about resources that I find encouraging and want to pass on to others.

Women of Faith: Tulsa Oklahoma, Imagine Tour

 Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Real Women

Real Life

Real Hope

I can still remember the day back in 2004, that my friend Rita stopped me in the hall, pointed to me and said, “YOU need to go to Women of Faith this year. It’ll change your life.” I seem to think I rolled my eyes at her and laughed. I was tired, beaten down with life and grief (I’d buried 10 friends that year), and frankly I was not in the mood for some churchy, happy, smiling faced, woman’s conference. I was falling apart and the last thing I wanted to do was sit around and listen to a bunch of women who had it all together tell me how great they are.  Don’t mind my pity party or self loathing – or the fact that I lived in constant comparison at that time – and always (in my opinion) fell short of everyone else – I was apparently enjoying it because I stayed there for an awefully long time. There is defeat brought on by life and there is the kind of defeat brought on by ourselves – I was losing hope.

The truth is, I was already secretly handing in my ministry resignation to God — going to a conference was not (in my opinion) going to fix me. I’d already convinced myself that I was too broken to be of any use anyway. Basically while I hadn’t given up on God, I had pretty much given up on myself – and thought he has too.

Ever been there?

Feeling smug in my ability to ignore my friend’s recommendation, I was not amused when I got a flier in the mail inviting me to a Women of Faith Conference in Oklahoma City.  Nor was I amused when a gal in my bible study announced that she was going and wanted someone to come with her and decided it would be me.

I’m a believer that God speaks through people. When I hear something once I might pay attention — but when the message comes to me three times in one week, I’ve learned to listen even when I have a broken heart.

I’ll never forget that first conference. I was introduced to wonderful teachers and speakers like Kathy Troccoli, Sheila Walsh, Patsy Clairmont, Luci Swindoll, Thelma Wells, and Marilyn Meburg. I laughed. I cried. I learned and I leaned into Christ for two solid days. I had no idea Christian women could be so honest with eachother.  Chonda Pierce was even there – which is how I met her, but that is another story.

I knew then and there, if I only go to one conference a year WOF was it.  Every year, God breaks my heart open just a little bit more and makes room for His healing touch in my secret places. He fills my heart with scriptural truths, joy, and tears and faith in what He alone can accomplish.  This year was no different.

This year I got to go with a bunch of gals from my church who had never been before and since it was in Tulsa they thought “Why not.” — What a joy it was to be there with them, laugh and cry with them — and stretch out to God with open arms — knowing that He was reaching back. One of the gals even asked if it was always like this and when I said yes, she said “oh this is a no brainer, I’m coming back next year.”

How cool is that?

Women of Faith is totally Christ focused. It’s full of gifted communicators and teachers who share their life stories, and share a faith in Jesus that always leaves me astounded – and hungry for more. I love it.

I’ll give you a brief recap of the Imagine Tour and some of what we learned. If you want to know more about the speakers, just click on their names to go to their web pages.

Marcus Buckingham: In a world that mainly focuses on fixing what we’re weak at, author and speaker Marcus Buckingham offers a rather different paradigm. Marcus believes that our strengths are gifts from God and he suggests that we find what we are strong at, and grow in those areas.  Now I’ll be honest I reviewed Marcus’ book Find Your Strongest Life Now a few months back and I had a hard time reading through it at first. It’s a bit too technical for me. I read a page of credentials and my eyes start to roll back into my head, but that’s just me. Once I saw Marcus speak and explain his thoughts at WOF’s opening day, I gained new insight into what it means to use the gifts God has given us – not for ourselves – but in order to make a difference in the world.  Strongest Life is definitely one for the tool box. Marcus has put together an easy test that helps you find your strength categories. I’m a Creator/Teacher. If you’d like to take his simple test, simply click Strong Life Test.  and see for yourself. – and remember, this is just a tool — Our toolboxes are only as useful as the tools we place in them. I like adding things to mine.

 Lisa Harper: My first question is how did this wonderful bible teacher keep from being on my radar all these years.  I really like this woman. She’s bright, funny, intuitive, and scripturally sound –  I could relate to Lisa on almost every level. I say almost, because I haven’t lived through everything she has. But close. Lisa talks about a personal relationship with a God who is passionate, powerful, loving, and untamed. She speaks of a Hero in her life – named Jesus and what he has done and continues to do.  She speaks about the women in his life from Mary to Martha to the woman in rags, she speaks of His grace, forgiveness, attention and love that he displayed towards them and continues to display towards us today. My only regret was not taking notes — I really wish I’d done that.

Luci Swindoll: How do you describe a woman like Luci? She’s a painter, a singer, a liver and lover of life. She is passionate about everything she does and brilliant to boot. What I originally liked about Luci was her common sense approach to living out her Christian walk. She embraces the life God has given her and does her best to live it out to his glory and not her own. She’s a giver in every aspect of living. She spoke about the importance of feeding our souls – with important stuff, not stuff of the world, but stuff of God’s gifts to the world – she is also careful to remind us not to be selfish with that, but to share with others.

Sheila Walsh: Even though Sheila is second on the roster, I’m writing about her last. I cried my eyes out the first time I heard Sheila speak – her story is so profound and heartbreaking and refilling all at once that you can’t help but be moved by it. I’ve had a wonderful time watching Sheila grow over the last six years. She is a beautiful, anointed, and gifted teacher, singer and speaker. I can only describe this journey as watching her grow into her skin and be happy there. She’s British (or maybe Scottish, I’m not sure) and it’s easy to mistake the posture that comes with it as cold assurance – when in reality I find Sheila to have this tender heart that just melts anyone’s who knows her. She teaches with clarity and focus and apparent confidence. This year she taught on trust — she spoke of Gideon and Abraham – and to quote my girlfriend – she got “in my business.” and I love it. She has a very gentle and affirming way of combining Gospel and Law in life changing lessons. If you saw only her — it would still be worth the price of the entire weekend.

There were more speakers and skits and singers but it would take a whole week to write about them. They are all wonderful teachers and inspiring women who speak of a faithful and true God. If you’d like to know more about Women of Faith please see their web page at

Have a blessed Monday ya’ll

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. Please note that no goods or services were exchanged for this blog post. I am simply sharing my personal opinion on valuable resource.

The Liturgical Year: Joan Chittister

Click on Cover to preview this book

Please note: If you landed here because you are looking for Reverend Mason Beecroft – you aren’t going to find him here. I’ve noticed a lot of y’all are searching for him. (At least that’s what my stats show) I wish I knew where he was, but I do not. He was a mentor of mine for a while and I too cared about him as many of you. He is a brilliant theologian. For now, he is under the radar. I trust when he wants to come back, he will. In the mean time, grant him his peace and respite from all that entangles.  — God’s blessings, Deana

The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life

Written by: Joan Chittister

Book Description

A journey of the soul through the map of Christian time.

The liturgical year, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent and carrying through the following November, is the year that sets out to attune the life of the Christian to the life of Jesus, the Christ.

This book sets out to open what may at first seem to be simply an arbitrary arrangement of ancient holy days, or liturgical seasons, to their essential relationship to one another and their ongoing meaning to us today. It is an excursion into life from the Christian perspective, from the viewpoint of those who set out not only to follow Jesus but to live as Jesus lived and to think as Jesus thought.

It proposes, year after year, to immerse us over and over again into the sense and substance of the Christian life until, eventually, we become what we say we are-followers of Jesus all the way to the heart of God. It is an adventure in human growth; it is an exercise in spiritual ripening.

My Review

How do you solve a problem like liturgy?

How do you explain to someone in the modern world the value of living a liturgical life without sounding pious?

Meet Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, Benedictine nun, international speaker, author of “The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life.” and you answer both of those questions. Joan is well educated and everything but pious. She is humble and very transparent. She is able to answer those questions because she asked them herself and lived to talk about. Joan writes from the heart.

I have to admit that once I started reading The Liturgical Year, my own inadequate knowledge of real liturgy hit me square between the eyes. That was shocking to me because Missouri Synod Lutherans ARE Liturgical.

I’m not Catholic, I’m Lutheran. I’m part of a church plant and I prefer Praise and Worship to Liturgy.  This book and the author’s gentle and pursuasive argument for the spiritual adventures found within the full liturgical year, brought me back again and again to the same question:

Am I missing something in my worship?

Being a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, there are parts of her book that I do not understand or agree with. However, I’m giving this book 5 stars. Why? It made me hungry for more. This book resonates within my own spirit therefor, my husband and I are making the personal sacrifice of getting up earlier on Sunday and attending a High Liturgy LCMS Congregation for early service for one full Liturgical year, (we started the first weekend in Advent) so that we can learn more.  My husband, the praise and worship leader at the mission start, wants to learn more as well.  This extra worship service is on top of our regular church services across town. We will attend both churches for one full year.

Let the adventure begin.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program. If you would like more information on this program see


Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham – Book Review



In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to bring fulfillment, peace, and control into a woman’s life.

In today’s world, can a woman truly “have it all”? A fulfilling career full of passion and performance? A belief that she is truly becoming the best, authentic version of herself? A happy, healthy life outside of work?

Countless women would roll their eyes at the possibility. Work is overwhelming. And for many of them, add the necessities of family and home. It all feels disconnected, out of control, and relentless.

In Find Your Strongest Life, Marcus Buckingham reveals the powerful key to help women draw enough strength from life to feel fulfilled, loved, successful, and in control. Even more, he helps women reconnect with their purpose and gives a starting point for change. A research-based message that applies to work and life, Find Your Strongest Life shows women how they really can have it all . . . the right kind of all.


Marcus Buckingham is a world renowned speaker and corporate consultant. He is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Leadership and Management and graduated from Cambridge University with a Master’s Degree in Social and Political Science. He definately has credentials.

Finding Your Strongest Life was born from a workshop he led for Oprah Winfrey. The workshop was such a hit that 1.7 millon people down loaded the three hour video. When the workshop was featured on Oprah’s show, more than 100,000 unique contributors came online to post messages. There definately seems to be a need for this book and Marcus’ message.

Even though the book is very well written and full of ideas and actionable items, I personally did not read anything new in this book. To me there is a lot of common sense ideas and application. That could very well be because I am 44 years old, I’ve had a corporate career, my children are almost grown and I already live what I consider to be a very strong and fullfilled life. I’m already doing the very things Marcus talks about. If that isn’t  you, and you want to know more about how to live a strong and fulfilled life, check it out.

For more information about this book see the following resource pages.

Marcus Buckingham Bio

Sample Book Content

Purchase Information







Fearless by Max Lucado — Book Review


“Another fear has fallen victim to trust.” –

Max Lucado, Fearless

When I picked up Fearless by Max Lucado, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fear is definitely an issue with me and everyone who knows me, knows that. My husband’s company downsized last Spring, cutting our income by 10%. My youngest son has epilepsy and my oldest just left for college.  There are a lot of things to fear in life these days, and yet Max Lucado doesn’t just write about the problem of fear, he tackles solutions and breaks them down into achievable steps.

Countless times, I have read books on fear and been left with a list of more things to be afraid of than what I started with. That just isn’t the case with this book. Max Lucado covers my real and imagined fears with such solid clarity and scriptural truth that my heart can’t help but feel lighter. This isn’t a feel good, don’t be afraid kind of book. Nowhere does Max over spiritualize the real issue of fear. Instead he meets me where I am, takes my hand and invites me to walk with him in an exciting journey of truth, faith, and hope.

This book gives real solutions to very real problems facing us today and it comes with a study guide in the back for those who wish to go deeper still. I definitely recommend reading it.

 To Preview Fearless – click here –

Be sure to check out these links:


 I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program.If you are a blogger and would like to participate, check out for more information.