Monday, January 29, 2007

How Faithful

I am a nature lover. From childhood, the outdoors have intrigued me. Given a preference, I'd be found sitting atop a ridge in the Smokey Mountains, resting the arms of God. His creation awes me - it takes my breath away and when I'm unable to be a part of it, I grow weary. Within our grasp, is a world prepared especially for us. We are fortunate we have a God who is faithful.

How Faithful

She rose to her feet and walked to the edge of the cliff. Her hair whipped in the breeze as she stood and gazed across the valley. This was her home, her territory, her sanctuary. And as she inhaled the sweet smell of mountain, she lifted her head toward the sun absorbing the warmth of its rays. This was a beautiful morning, and she had all she needed.

For a short time this wolf thought she might be hungry, but the longer she viewed the valley below, the more she was filled to overflowing. Her hunger was fed by the beauty. She was glad she’d come to this spot – this haven of rest. It was here she’d find the peace she longed to have. As that same breeze danced about she could feel the fingers of the Master brush across her face. He was watching with caring eyes.

She sat on the ledge, her back arched and her legs straight, and this time she lifted her head and bayed across the pass, echoing her call for all to hear. This wolf was pleased with what God had provided. She was grateful for the watchful eye of the Master.

The beauty of the mountains or the oceans can offer us solitude beyond what is imaginable. For some reason, we feel close to the Father when we are in the midst of His greatest creations. Perhaps it’s the awe that overcomes us, or maybe it’s the peace that freely fills our senses. One way or the other, we quickly find ourselves in the presence of the Lord, and it’s hard – very hard, to not give credit where credit is due.

This Creator of all living things which we call Father wraps us in His cloak of tenderness to warm us from the chill of sin. He fills us with His loving kindness and His undying devotion. This is the God who drew from the clay of the earth to form us, who knew our hearts before we were born, and who prepared a way for us to enter this world.

What an almighty God. What a yearning He leaves within our hearts, and what a promise He has given. The wolf never worries, she simply trusts that the Master will provide her needs, and as faithful as He can be, the Father does just that.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” How faithful. How faithful. How faithful is He.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


The trees stretched their arms toward the sky, reaching for sunlight which warmed their leaves. Their branches turn gently with the breath of God which passes over them.
Their roots are grounded deep into the earth, providing them the necessary strength to stand firm. The ground is padded with the blanket from the fall past, lining the pathway to solitude with their cushion.
The birds rest among the branches and the animals below nestle against the safety of tree's trunk. The silence of the forest is peaceful. And as a doe brings her young out of hiding long enough to feed, those same trees offer them shelter from anyone who might pass.
This is a place of solitude. A quiet and protected place where our arms can reach out to the Father. This is a tender and peaceful place where the Creator walks among His creations.
Take time to walk through the quiet of the forest in search of the God who knows us so well. If you seek Him, you will find Him.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Crusaders for Christ - Another in the Series of Christians with the Heart of a Servant

Meet Heather Ivester
Mom, Author, and Founder of
Mom 2 Mom Connection

Heather Ivester is one busy woman and one of the things that has impressed me most about her, was her priorities. She’s authored a gift book and founded a blog site for moms which reaches worldwide. She writes for Christian Women Online, does book reviews for Active Christian Media and Christian Book Previews….AND she is the online book discussion moderator for a brand new organization, Club Mothers and Wives. Having waded through the accolades, when you read her bio the first thing that appears is, “I’m the mom of two boys and three girls aged ten and under.” Now that tells you where her priorities are.

Heather is a Christian with the Heart of a Servant. Her mission is to connect moms with other moms, provide information and search out mentors – all because she loves being a mother herself.

Enjoy getting to know Heather Ivester, wife, mom, writer and founder.

Heather, thanks for taking time to interview with me. I am honored to have you join the readers of Mountain Breeze Ministries. As a blog founder myself, I have a personal mission to not only improve my own Christian study time, but that of others as well, hence, Mountain Breeze Ministries Devotionals. It keeps me busy. You are certainly not someone with idle hands. How do you juggle so much activity as a writer, reviewer and a mom?

Thank you for welcoming me here, Cindy! This is what I love most about the blogosphere – being able to discover kindred spirits who also share a love of writing and sharing their faith with others.
It’s definitely a challenge to find time to write, yet being surrounded by children gives me a steady stream of funny stories to write about. If I had an empty house and 15 hours a day alone to write, well, I’d probably want to get in my car and drive somewhere to be around people so I’d have something to stir my creativity!
Writing book reviews is something I can easily do right now since I can take a book anywhere. I can read a chapter or two while waiting in the pick-up line at my children’s school or read while perched on the edge of the sandbox.
When my kids were small, I used to work a full-time job and juggle their activities. Something has happened to me as I've grown older. My time management skills have decreased. (smile) It's amazing how we as women always find time for the things we love.

What prompted you to enter the cyber-world and begin Mom 2 Mom Connection?

I went to an American Christian Writers conference in Atlanta in 2004, where I heard a wonderful speaker, Carmen Leal, who now lives in Hawaii. She told us the best way to get started in publishing was to look for local writing markets, such as starting a column. I've attended some of Carmen's classes at Writer's Conferences. She's a very creative lady and so willing to share her thoughts and success. Seems you paid attention in class that day and followed her lead.
A few weeks later, I discovered a new magazine in my area, West Georgia Ladies Magazine, and I wrote a query to the editor. I proposed a column to encourage mothers, calling it “Mom 2 Mom Connection.” It must have been the right timing because she accepted it! I’ve been writing this monthly column for over two years now, and so that led to expanding online to reach people beyond my hometown.
What a thrill for you to be able to write about something you love so much and send a Christian message as well.

Tell us exactly what Mom 2 Mom Connection is?

I think women in my generation have a hard time asking people for advice. We can be stubborn and independent, and we pick up many of our child-rearing and homemaking ideas from the media – books, magazines, radio, and TV. Sometimes the voices we listen to are not drawing us closer to God.

Writing on Mom 2 Mom Connection allows me to seek out mentors who can inspire me and my readers to learn and grow in our faith. Just this past week, a professional organizer gave us all some tips on de-cluttering, from a faith-based perspective. I love hearing from other Christian parents about what works in their home. And I especially enjoy discussing what people are reading.

I agree. Mom's today do depend far too much on television parenting. It's good to know there is someone out there offering them a godly way to find answers to their questions.

You're a stay-at-home mom and proud of it, which is wonderful. However, moms tend to put so much into their children that they lose sight of themselves. How has your faith helped you hold on to “who you are?”

Motherhood has been a very humbling experience for me. When you’re a mom with a newborn baby, you’re tired from lack of sleep. You wonder why everything is not as dreamy as you thought it would be.

Then if you have more children, you can really lose yourself trying to manage your household and children. I try to begin every day with prayer, asking God to help me make the best use of my time. For me, that means carving out a few minutes every day for a quiet time – even if all I do is sit still a minute and pray! Right now I’m reading the Bible through chronologically, and I feel so refreshed after I read God’s Word.

Same here. Since I've begun the daily devotionals, I've grown to cherish the time I spend in study. I love developing that special relationship with the Father, and I miss Him when I fail to appear for "His" time.

Here’s a loaded question. What advice would you offer our readers on being a good mom?

Since I’m the one usually seeking advice, it’s hard for me to give it! I guess the best advice I’d offer is to pray about everything. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault.” As parents, we can tend to worry instead of pray. When we ask God for His wisdom, He’ll give us the strength and peace we need to get through the day.

I was intrigued at your blogsite, when I read your mission and saw the following paragraph:

“You must have a website so that I can read about your book and about your worldview. If I don’t think we’re a good match, please don’t take it personally. There are hundreds of other reviewers who would be better suited for reviewing your book.”
What a statement! You’re not afraid to turn away books that won’t meet the standards you’ve set for Mom 2 Mom Connection. Most people would review anything to draw a following. Tell us what led you to make such a bold stand?

A lot of people find my blog by typing in keywords, such as mom, teenagers, toddlers, etc. When someone writes and asks me to review a book, I need to know right away if this is a book that is written from a Christian worldview.
If the author doesn’t have a website, it’s difficult for me to know what the book is really about. I’m sorry if this turns some people away, but I have to be careful what I review. My name has shown up in several places as endorsements – even without my previous knowledge. I want to choose books that will help people, mothers especially, draw closer to God and grow in their faith.

Heather, as bloggers we rarely receive financial reward for our work. This is a true heart of a servant. How has God blessed you through your work with Mom 2 Mom?

It’s always a joy to hear from readers who share how something I wrote made a difference to them. And I’m a richer person for having contact with women in other parts of the world.
This past Christmas, I received cards from several blogging friends – and I realized these people are now my real friends! I look forward to meeting them in person at conferences and other events.
I’m also building a wonderful library of Christian books, many of them signed by the author. For a former English major, this is a dream come true!

How has your ministry as a book reviewer grown you spiritually?

I’m simply amazed at how God ministers to me through the words of various writers. My world has expanded so much through reading – and my faith has become stronger as I see how Christians react to difficulties they encounter.
Since I’m on several publisher media lists, I don’t always choose the books I receive; they’re just sent to me. And it always surprises me when I open up a book and read exactly what I needed to read to help me in my personal faith walk. Then I get to write about this!

Would you say Mom 2 Mom has had an impact on your own family? If so, tell us us how?

I asked my husband how he’d respond to this one! He said my blogging has helped connect a lot of our friends and family we don’t often get to see. I’ve also developed a whole network of writer friends, and I get to share them with my family.
Also, it’s given me a greater peace about staying home to raise my children. I can “interact” with people without having to drive to an office or sell a product in the evenings. When I write, I often have a baby on my lap and a little boy running his trains under my feet. This is something women in the 70s couldn’t do; they had to choose whether to stay home or go to work.

Hey, I was one of those 70's moms! And as a single mom in the 80's, I completely understand the desire to be home with the kids. I had to make every moment count. Quality time. I think it's easy for young mothers to become so taken in by their children that they tend to forget they need time to "renew" as well. Too bad blogging wasn't around in the 80's.

How have you hooked up with the contributors to your site? There’s a wealth of information available for moms and families there.

I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve interviewed and the authors whose books I’ve read. These people’s stories have now become part of my own knowledge base, and it’s great to have both a mental and physical library of books to be able to offer people who are encountering various problems in life.
I also learn a ton from people who leave comments – we all grow by sharing with each other.

Last April you hosted a Mother’s Love Writing Contest. Tell us what prompted that contest and its result?

I'm very interested in the topic of mother/daughter relationships. When I was researching my book, I asked a lot of people, “What do you love most about your mom?” I felt like I could spend the rest of my life finding out more answers to this question. The contest was another way for me to explore this topic, and I was awed by the stories people sent in.
What was even more amazing was going to these women’s blogs who wrote the story on their own site – and seeing the interactions that took place in the comments. There were mothers thanking their daughters, forgiveness taking place for the first time, and siblings interacting with each other. I think it gave women a chance to honor their moms in a public way – something we seem to quit doing so much after we’re grown.
The winner’s story was published in the May edition of Christian Women Online ezine, which helped give this writer some good exposure. Also, I just found out that another entry will soon be published in a book from a major Christian publisher! When I read this woman’s story, I knew it was good, and I sent her the deadline for a compilation book that was seeking stories. She submitted it to the publisher and it was accepted. So that was a real joy for me to help make that connection!

It feels great to be of help to someone else. That's when your heart of a servant shows through. Making this effort without expecting anything in return. God blesses you and you are a blessing to someone else. What a reward circle -- and it's fulfilling and fun to share. Will you host it again this year?

Thanks for asking! I was thinking about having a new focus this year of “Traveling with Mom” stories. How many women have taken special trips with their mothers? I think it would be fun to ask people to write about this and post a picture from that trip – even if the trip was something from their childhood.
I think this will encourage us moms and grandmoms to take more trips NOW with our children and grandchildren – even if the trips are only to the park down the street. Anywhere we can go where we give our kids our undivided attention can turn into an adventure worth remembering – and writing about someday!

How do you encourage moms to set aside time for themselves?

I think in sharing about books on my site, I encourage moms to set aside some time to rejuvenate their minds and souls through reading. I often write on the topic of wellness, and physical activity is important for moms, so I encourage women to take walks or do some other type of exercise that is fun as well as stimulating.

How do you think God has used you through Mom 2 Mom? Have you seen any direct results of the site?

In the same way that I’ve been blessed by other bloggers, I hope that someone has been inspired and encouraged by some things I’ve written or shared about. One of my blog readers met me at a writing conference, which resulted in her being published. I know there have been many “connections” made as a result of my blog – readers connecting with each other, and with books that offer the perfect solution to their needs.

Have you found your site to be a place where women can find Christ?

I hope so! I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I try to point women to God’s Word, which does.

What’s in store for Mom 2 Mom Connection in the months to come?

I’m such a curious person, and whenever I learn something new, I want to tell everyone about it! I just finished reading a book about orphanages in China, and I was so fascinated, I wrote the publisher and asked if I could interview the author on my blog. This is the type of opportunity that exists for any of us who blog – we can explore and dig deeper than the average person.
I hope to continue what I’ve been doing and see what doors God will open.

We can’t let you slip past without offering you the opportunity to tell us about your book. What inspired From a Daughter’s Heart to Her Mom: 50 Reflections on Living Well? Are there other books in the works at this time?

I started writing a tribute to my mom about nine years ago, when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. It was a very scary time, and I wanted her to know how much I loved her! God healed her, but several years later, after attending a writing conference, I was given the opportunity to write a tribute book for daughters to give to their moms.
This was such a blessing, and I was thrilled with the photography that was added to the book. It’s really a beautiful photo essay that God allowed me to be a small part of.
Behind the scenes, I’m working on a non-fiction book proposal for women that I hope will be ready to send out by this summer. And I’ve been writing a middle grade novel since 2004 that I’d really like to finish and start submitting. So I have several dreams in the works!

Thank you so much for your time. Being a mom is probably THE most important job in the world. It’s not a job that pays well financially, but the blessings that come from our work rearing the children of God, make the payout worth while.

The time and effort that Heather Ivester freely gives to the encouragement, and spiritual growth of moms is something we should salute. The work comes easily and naturally when you allow God to take the lead in process. Heather is a beautiful example of a Christian with the Heart of a Servant and a woman on a mission.

You can log-on to her site at . Once you’re there glean through her entries, click on her “connections” and you’ll be amazed at what you find. This is a ministry in every aspect of the word.

Thank you again, Heather. Any final words?

Thank you so much for hosting me here, Cindy! Your questions allowed me to do some soul-searching, and I’ve been so blessed! You have a wonderful ministry here, and I hope we can meet up sometime at Blue Ridge.

***Heather and I have both attended the Blue Ridge Mountain Writer's Conference in Black Mountain, NC. We've never had the privledge of meeting in person, but that too, lies in the future.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Crusaders for Christ -- Second in the series of Christians with the Heart of a Servant


I 'm a firm believer that Christ leads us into the pathways of those who will aid us in His ultimate plan. Whether it be through support, friendship, talents or abilities. With each person that comes into my life, I wonder exactly where they will fit into the scheme of things.
God has blessed me continually by introducing me to people who enrich my life and the lives of my family. Therefore, when Brian Bishop waltzed into our office (already friends with my employer), I knew great things were in store. This young man's sense of humor, zest for life, and willingness to bear the name of Christ greatly impressed me. In a world where our younger generations find more joy in X-Box and Nintendo than Christ, Brian was a breath of fresh air.
Brian Bishop is a financial advisor for AIG VALIC and I met him when he be-bopped into our office to set up our individual financial plans. His heart for his work and blatant honesty impressed me, then when he shared his testimony, I knew this young man was destined for success. Sit back and enjoy learning about the heart of this servant.

Brian, thanks so much for allowing me the opportunity to share your "heart of a servant story." Tell me, how long have you been a financial advisor, and tell me what exactly a financial advisor/planner does?

I've been an advisor for five and a half years. There are various types of specialities in the financial advisory fields, but primarily financial advisors help individuals identify and plan to achieve their short, medium, and long term goals - whatever they may be.

I guess my main objective was simply to retire (laughing). I'm ashamed to admit planning for retirement all seemed so distant. It never really sunk deep into my mind until I jumped the middle-aged fence. Embarrassed as that makes me, the more I talk to people, the more I see I'm not the only one whose been dragging my feet on this issue. Like I said, it seemed so distant -- then one day you wake up staring at retirement within a twenty year time span. It's a little scary! An uncharted pathway, so to speak.

What prompted your interest in the financal advisory field?

I've always known I liked to help people. I was in healthcare while working my way through college. I was a pre-med major my first year, then I realized that being a physician would not allow me to have the kind of family life I wanted. When I talked to my advisor about changing my major, a suggestion was made to try a finance class and see if I liked it. I took the class and I loved it. I lifted the decision up to the Lord in prayer and He gave me a great peace about switching to Finances as my major. After I graduated, I wanted to pursue a career where I could use my education and help people in my local community.

Now, that is exactly the thing that impressed me about your level of confidence. As a young adult in college you were already directed enough spiritually, that you placed those type of life decisions in God's hands. I was also impressed you didn't "ask for a sign." Rather, you prayed for peace in the decision you'd made. If more people would make decisions based on the peace of Christ, they'd find their answers a bit quicker. So many wait for "a sign" instead of looking to the guidance and strength that God can offer us in the decisions we make. I'm proud of you.

Being a financial advisior is a high stress level job, how do you manage to balance the responsibility of the job with your homelife?

I have tons of support at home from my wife. She understands that my job can get stressful and we both understand that my job shouldn't dictate how I live my life. I know that there is more to life than a job, and I'm the type of person "who works to live, not lives to work." I'm a very active member in the community, in my church and with the student ministry, as well as my family. God has shown me that there are much more important things in life other than a job, so keeping that in mind helps me not to get worked up -- even in tax season.Tax season! The dreaded tax season. Can I offer you a bottle of asprin? You made a great statement when you said you work to live and not live to work. Good philosophy. Perhaps more of us work-a-holics should pay attention to that. Let's talk a second about your ministry within your local church. What is your role with the youth?

I work with the student ministry inside our church. This includes middle school and high school kids. My main focus is with my small group. I lead a group of ten tenth grade young men. Every Sunday in Sunday school we (all the middle and high school kids and leaders) meet for one big open session message, then we break into small groups to discuss the message and how to apply them to the student's lives. It's an awesome thing.

How neat. How many kids are we talking about in this student ministry?
We average well over 100 kids in every service. It's also the responsibility of the leaders, such as myself, to set up and tear down chairs, tables, floor coverings, etc. each weekend. Because of our numbers we meet in the gym for our student ministry.

Wow, that's encouraging. You have so many kids you have to meet in the gym. That's wonderful.

Tell me more about the student ministry.
We have a student OUTREACH program every Thursday night, it's called Summit. We have a time for food, our praise band plays worship music, and our youth pastor speaks. This is an awesome event. We've recently done a Summit tour called "The Redirect Tour," where we take the show to local high schools in the area. Can you imagine being able to go into a public school and sing Christian songs, then preach the word of God? God has opened doors that only He can open.
We had ten stops this year and God blessed everyone involved in EVERY STOP. There were over 100 decisions for Christ made during our tour, so GLORY TO GOD for that!
At a Summit, and while we were on tour, I help counsel the kids that made decisions. We go to a quite place, pray together, and I answer any questions the kids may have about their new walk with Christ.

It is amazing you're able to get into the Public School systems. God does work wonders. You said the tour brought over 100 decisions for Christ with these young kids. What about a follow-up program after they've made their decision for Christ?

We get their name, phone number, address, and email address to follow up with them afterwards. This way they know they have at least one person to lean on about their new life as a child of God.

So you enjoy this ministry, huh?
I am so glad that God called me to work in the student ministry. I only hope that I am a blessing to those kids as much as they are a blessing to me while serving them.

Now you see why I believe God leads us into the lives of those who work for His plan? It's a circle of God's unending love and care for His children. You're a part of the plan, placed perfectly to serve.

Let's get back to your job. As I mentioned earlier, you're only a hair older than my own children (sigh...they're grown up, too!) But you impressed me with your willingness to openly say you had prayed for peace in your job choice. That told me immediately you were young, but you had your head on straight. Can you tell me, to what extent you incorporate your prayer life into your business?

Sometimes I think prayer is the only thing that that gets me through my day. There have been many situations where I have prayed for God to give me wisdom for a piticular situation and He never fails me. I meet people from all walks of life. For example: At 7 a.m. I could be meeting with a city trash truck driver, then at 9 a.m. I could be talking to a physician, and by 11 a.m. I could be talking to a widow. I realize two very important things (1) that no human on earth can be right 100% of the time and (2) only God knows what is going to happen in the future. He knows everyone better than they know themselves, so I lift lots of things up in prayer. That way I know I am seeking God's will and wisdom from Him in order to do the right things for my clients and for people that I talk with who may not be clients of mine.

In your field of work, people have to trust you. After all, you're handling their life savings. It can be easy to allow their accounts to roll along on their own, but you don't do that. You remain very active with your clients. How can you say your spiritual convictions have affected your work attitude?

I know that God has put me in front of the every single person I have as a client. This, along with my desire to help people, is enough to make me stay active and be in touch with everyone -- no matter the size of an account. I learned two driving factors to how I treat people and my quality of work. The first is that I know I am a walking testimony. People should see enough of Christ in me to allow a conversation to open and for me to share with them. (And that does happen.) The second is found in Colossians 3:23: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for men." If you live by this rule, there is suddenly a different way you look at everything. I know God wouldn't want me to invest someone's life savings then forget about them for years. How would that pleasing to God?

Do you look at yourself as one who is a servant of God to your clients?

Yes, without a doubt. I try my hardest to serve God in all I do.

How are you able to minister on a personal level with your clients?

I know that I am there for a reason, and I can only hope that I am able to drop a seed to an unbeliever or lift the spirits of a believer when I talk to them. There are many ways to minister to people -- sometimes its a smile, sometimes a handshake, a hello, or sometimes it's simply showing people through actions, that I really do care about them intrinsically. I do all I can, as often as I can to minister to people, but not because of me, rather because of He who is in me...Christ!

That's awesome, Brian. What a wonderful example you set by your personal life and convictions.

What do you do that sets you apart from the average guy when you handle your clients and their accounts?

Well, two things I think. (1) I always put the client's needs, wants, desires, and interest before my own. This is a very rare thing in this industry since we are all commissioned advisors. (2) I know and communicate to all of my clients that investing and or saving are not that complicated. It's all solved by one easy rule: Q+D+Y=FS. Q is for quality. I educate my clients that quality investments are paramount in planning for any occasion. The D stands for diversification. I educate my clients on the different asset allocations and diversification styles then we can, together, better decide how to structure the assets for their particular goal. Finally the T stands for time. Time horizon will always direct the client and advisior as to what needs should be met first. The FS stands for financial success. When you have quality investments, a diversified portfolio and you give them time to work, then you will succeed. When it boils down to it, I educate my clients on everything I do, and this is not very common in my industry. I can, without a doubt, credit this philosphy and discipline to my relationship with Christ.

In a world where the markets shoot up and down by leaps and bounds during a single day, how do you manage to remain calm in your business?

This is a great question. I have peace of mind that only God can give -- that I will do right by my clients in every situation. People often misunderstand this market and how it fluctuates. Sure, markets go up and down, and it's enough to make some people sick. A good rule to follow is, if you are worried to death about your investments, then chances are... you are not in the appropriate investment to begin with. (As you recall from my previous answer - education is a great foundation.)
Another key element is to remember that the first time you invest, you should buy good quality investments, and you should hold those investments and not consider changing until one of two things happen. You should consider changing if your goals change, because every investment is not suitable for every goal. You should also consider changing if the fundamental of the investment changes. For example: If a portfolio manager leaves or if a CEO retires. If that happens it will only be prudent to take another look at that investment. The bottom line is this; if you buy right the first time, and it is a good quality investment, then you shouldn't have to worry about market ups and downs. Always keep in mind that it isn't the market that drives how you invest -- it is the goal you are trying to attain that should drive how your investments.

Brian, it's obvious that your are a firm Christian and that you and your wife plan on raising your (soon to arrive) baby within the the spiritual arms of God. Tell me how you believe God has blessed you, your business, and your family? And you feel, even when things have been shakey, that God has carried you through?

God blesses me in various ways. In my business, He blesses me by simply allowing me to earn a living helping people with my skills, education, and my testimony. There are tons of people all around the world that don't have that luxury. I try my hardest to honor God in all I do. Especially in my business because He has given it to me in trust.
My family, is richly blessed. I have a wife that loves the Lord. We put Him first in all that we do, and we plan to raise our little boy (Caleb) to do the same. I see God's blessing every time I look at my wife. Yes, I know with all of my heart that God has carried me and my wife, and even my business, through some "shakey" times. He is our rock, our fortress, our Father... He knows us better than we would ever know ourselves.
The Bible teaches us of a love that only God can supply to His children. Knowing this, helps me and my wife, understand that everything He does, He does for a reason. It isn't our job to understand all things, but to trust Him in FAITH. This alone has carried us farther than I would have ever dreamed.

When the market takes a turn for the worse, how do you feel God helps you manage your clients? Some must panic and worry. I may actually end up being one of those worry warts.

Yes, some panic and worry no matter what. When this does happen God gives me compassion, patience, empathy, and understanding. Sometimes people can get a little rough when it comes to their money. When this happens, it's usually very easy to control just by going back over the goals and reasons for what we have put into place. If that doesn't work, there is a face to face meeting that needs to take place. There we will basically start from square one again. Keeping in mind that God has put me there for a reason, always keeps me in a peaceful state of mind.

Well, I guess you've put the financal aspect in to perspective, Brian. Thanks so much for taking time out to allow this interview.

Brian is a wonderful example of a Christian with the Heart of a Servant. His desire to lead others to success brings him into his own success and peace. In the financial world, everyone is not a willing or helpful soul. It can be a very harsh and tempting world -- one that requires a great discipline and a level of trust. Brian proves that using the heart of a servant to help others, allows personal peace and reward -- not to mention the peace and reward his work provides for others.

Brian and his wife are expecting their first baby, ANY DAY NOW! I wish them the best of luck as they enter into this life changing event. There is a peace knowing that your values lay within the arms of God. Not only does Brian have to help plan our financial future -- he's now got to plan the future of the little one God has entrusted to them.

If you'd like to contact Brian about AIG VALIC or about his ministry with the student outreach, drop me an email at and I'll see that Brian gets it. Keep him and his family, his ministry, and job in your daily prayers. THANKS BRIAN!

Join us again in a couple of weeks as Mountain Breeze talks with Christian Radio DJ, Mike Riddles of WCQR and his heart of a Servant.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Another year has been ushered in and I'm still wondering where last year vanished. It's humorous that as a child the year drags past like molasses dripping from a jar, but as we age...well, there's no need to dwell on the subject!
As I stand in awe at the year 2007, I can recall thinking when I graduated high school in the 70's that my children (should I have any) would graduate themselves in the year 2000. It seemed so "space-aged." Well, that thought came true and my own kids did graduate in 2000. Now, I look back and see the wonder and blessings that God has given me.
I am so fortunate. Never in a million years did I image that God would be using me as a tool to do His work -- a missionary of sorts.
I was always afraid to ask God to use me for fear He'd think I wanted to be a missionary that traveled to the deep parts of third world countries. It never once occured to me that God would use me where my talents lay. Once I came to grips with that I am still amazed at the many blessings which He has poured upon me.
So what's in store for 2007 with Mountain Breeze Ministries? Well, we're still working on publication. That's a personal dream and one I feel confident God will provide when the time is right. But first and foremost, 2007 will bring more devotions, and more in our series of Christians with the Heart of a Servant. There are some interesting and exciting people who have agreed to be interviewed. So look for that in coming months.
As I prepare these interviews with Christians whose servant hearts stand out, I am amazed at their humility. Not one that I have interviewed thinks of their example as anything unique. BUT IT IS! You see, that's the heart of a servant. When you serve with no regard to yourself. When you expect nothing more than the love of God in return. These people are special and unique individuals.
Last month we interviewed Gina Holmes of Novel Journey about her personal ministry with a blogspot that features Christian Authors.
We are all called as Christians to serve, and when we use our talents to serve others, God is pleased and He blesses us with abundance.
May your new year be blessed. May you find your own servant's heart. Then let me know about it. You may just be the next interview.
Happy New Year!