Blogs & Articles

As the divide between military families and civilians grows, here are some things non-military folks should understand. Reprinted from:  The FEDERALIST,  Author Vanessa Rasarien It’s hard to believe our nation has been at war for over a decade. I was a mere freshman in college when we first headed to Afghanistan, and it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. As if that doesn’t make me feel old enough, I then realize the youngest among our military ranks were barely in kindergarten at that time. They were the age of my young kids and likely can’t remember a time when our country wasn’t at war…or engaged in “overseas contingency operations.” Whatever you want to call it these days. Yet despite the long years and thousands who have served and sacrificed for our country, the divide between military and civilian remains wide. With veterans now choosing to settle down primarily near military installations, the vast majority of our citizenry will likely experience few connections to someone who has worn a uniform. The only exposure they may have to military life is through the skewed lens of YouTube videos, Pinterest boards, and media reporting. In an effort to correct this, and help us connect, let’s discuss some misconceptions of military families. 1. No One Size Fits All Those in uniform (and their families) are as diverse as the citizenry they’ve sworn to serve. From politics to faith to education, it’s a mixed bag within this tight-knit community. They are conservatives, liberals, moderates, and the politically apathetic. They are married, single, or divorced—with many children or none. They are religious, or not. Their spouses stay home full time, work part time, or have their own careers and professional lives. They sign that dotted line right out of high school, earn bachelor’s degrees, attend trade schools, or hold graduate degrees. Nearly any...

Dear Military Families, Some of you know me well, some know me in passing and some of you have yet to meet me. But as a ministry, this note is for you.  I sometimes think that my life has progressed by way of a series of breakdowns and reconstructions. Such times haven’t exactly been frequent in my life, but they have represented important turning points. There have been three times I can recall where I’ve hit a crossroads resulting in significant change, and ultimately significant growth.  Fitting with my personality, each has been associated with work.  The last one was ten years ago … meeting God and following His lead into ministry.  It is always difficult to make changes in life.  They say change will come when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change. Ten years ago God brought me to work at North Coast by way of one of these changes or reconstructions.  I now believe he is releasing me from North Coast and leading me in new directions. At the beginning of my husband Mick and my relationship, we had a short period where we worked together.  We have often reflected that it was the best time in our lives.  We work well together.  That said, a year ago Mick became partner in Premier Signs in San Marcos.  January 1, I will pick up an additional percentage of the company and take over as General Manager.  I have a passion for small business, particularly businesses struggling but with the foundation to grow.  This opportunity and the ability to once again work with Mick has lead me to the difficult, and painful, decision to leave my position at North Coast effective December 31.  I honestly feel God is releasing me and am excited to see...

In Ephesians 6:11, the  bible says put on the Armor of God. "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."  The armor as outlined includes: truth, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God and Prayer.  Romans 13:12:  "The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."  So, how do we put these on?  It's a great visual - easily pictured in my mind.  Each day work towards living a life of truth, peace and faith.  Spend time in the Word of God and Go to Him in prayer. Make sense to me.   Two years ago we spent 12 days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; evangelizing of all things (not exactly my comfort-zone).  The theme of the mission trip, if there is such a thing, was the armor of God. We had gone with the intent of spending most of the time on the streets of the favelas run by drug traffickers.  With Gods unique sense of humor, He moved us to schools and after-school programs talking to kids, mostly about how to not end up as drug traffickers.  We had brought with us a toy costume of the armor of God.  [now it does beg the question WHY had we brought a kids costume when we anticipated talking to grownup drug lords, but anyway...

Where is God taking you? Is He releasing you from one place, one station, one pattern and moving you to another? I just came across the word "release" and was intrigued by it. Release: 1. to free from confinement, bondage, obligation, pain, etc.; let go. 2. to free from anything that restrains, fastens, etc.: to release a catapult. Of course it doesn't have to be bad, release from a bad place. It can just be good change or necessary endings. I think I took it as moving from one station or pattern of growth to another. Then again, how about that word catapult? Certainly, God occasionally catapults us to new stations. I'm a relatively quick adapter, so I am all about the catapult - throw me in, get me muddy. I'll figure it out. But let's get it over with. Slow releases are difficult for me. But telling God to step it up a bit is never a very good idea. I just like to know the full action plan right up front, all laid out. So these days, it's about the whispers. Are you hearing Gods whispers? His promptings? Jeremiah 29:11 ...

So often we look for and almost have an expectation of a roadmap being provided showing just where God intends us to go. Though at least in my best memory, I’ve never found mine. As we get older we have that luxury of the rear view mirror and the backward glance down the long, long road. When do this we can so easily see how God took all these weird and wild places we landed or placed ourselves and used them later in life to speak to others, weave into a story, use to smooth someone else’s path or make another’s journey somewhat easier. But while we’re on the path, we’re just wondering where the heck that road map is. What's amazing is that God can use us ...