It was just another summer evening. Tired at the end of a long day, we wanted to have a quiet evening at home. But, we had this nagging sense we would be sorry if we didn't exchange the comfort of our chairs for the sand and waves waiting for us at the beach. So we hopped in the car for the 5-minute drive to Lake Michigan.   We only expected to be there for a just short while, but ended up staying until after the sun set.     You can usually count on it being cooler by the lake than in our wooded location.  But, it's been noticeably cooler even at home the past few evenings, … [Read more...]

  I have a special reminder for you today. YOU ARE LOVED! Yes!  YOU!     If you're feeling unworthy, comparing yourself to someone else, or are feeling rejected today, know... you are loved. If today, you're on top of your game, you're shining brightly, and you're a wonderful blessing to everyone you see... you are loved. You are loved by your Creator... the God of the Universe and he says... "you are mine." Now, this is what the Lord says... “Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1     Sometimes we … [Read more...]

  I wish my mom or dad would have told me this growing up... I wish people who live by this wouldn't keep it so close to the vest... I wish I hadn't lived nearly half a century before I learned this very big life secret...     It's never about me.    We think that everyone notices us. We think people care how we look. We think that people want our ideas or opinions. We worry and fret and spend endless time being concerned about something that we think the world sees in us. Brett Butler's last words to Scarlett O'Hara in the great classic, Gone with the … [Read more...]

  Morning is my favorite.  I love the light and the quiet and peace of the morning.  And though I am an early riser... I love to savor the morning and begin slowly.  It doesn't always happen. But, this morning Tim got up before me and put eggs on the stove to boil and proceeded to get ready for work. As I walked into our living room, the sunshine was streaming in the windows.  The sky... brilliant blue... everything looked extraordinarily crisp and clear.  And then I noticed it... the sunflower in the vase... it was facing the sun.  Its petals glowing. It was a moment.  Could I call it a holy … [Read more...]

  If you'd like to celebrate someone with a special gift but have no idea what to do... I've got a creative and thoughtful gift option for you.     Every Tuesday we get together with some other couples for spiritual discussion and prayer.  We enjoy the time so much, it's the highlight of our week. The daughter of one of the couples graduated from high school this spring.  She didn't want an open house, but we wanted to do something to celebrate her milestone.  Tim thought we should get some flowers. Flowers are nice... but they don't have any staying power much beyond a week. … [Read more...]

  Have you ever read a Bible verse like this and thought "that" sounds so good... but can I do "that?" Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Maybe that's what comes to your mind when you read... Never stop praying? Never stop praying sounds like work, doesn't it?     Over time I've been learning that my relationship with God is more dependent on me than on him. What?  God is constant, never changing, always present. Me... I'm up and down, coming and … [Read more...]

  Do you wonder if you have enough faith?     You think... "If only I had enough faith... I would have handled the situation differently." OR "Things would have turned out differently." I have a friend whose son innocently got in trouble with the law.  It was one of those things where he just didn't think and he offered to help his friends out. The consequences were unimaginable.  And all I can think is what is happening to our justice system? For months we have been praying in faith, believing that God would rescue him from what feels like an unjust prosecutor. We believe … [Read more...]

  When life hands you lemons... what do you do? I've said it before... you make pink lemonade with fresh raspberries and serve it up in pretty cups with pretty pink straws.     Well... as you can see by this photo, that's not exactly what happened. In the wee hours, just as Friday was beginning, we had a storm.  Despite seeing the trees flinging their branches around like they were demented our neighborhood wasn't hard hit.  Across the river from us, winds were clocked at 90-100 mph.  Needless to say, there were lots of trees down and tree debris everywhere and 149,000 homes … [Read more...]

    Ever notice that sometimes when you look at the face of someone you're close to, their face is telling? The other day we were at the laundromat when my husband asked me if I was okay. I mumbled something.  But I wasn't okay. In addition to internally fussing over the inconvenience of having to schlep my towels, bedding, and clothes to a laundromat (albeit with my dear husband's help), I had a laundry list of items running through my mind which I had allowed to pull my spirit down. I guess it was written across my face.     At that moment I knew I needed to … [Read more...]

  At one time of another, we ALL face mountains. I belong to a mastermind group.  It sounds like a big important group, but in actuality, it's me and two more blogging friends.  We share blog goals, we bounce ideas off one another, we give lots of encouragement when it's needed, and best of all, we pray for each other.     All of us are either going through or have had some pretty big life challenges and one thing we know for sure... prayer works.  It's not uncommon for one of us to be facing a small challenge or a mountain of a challenge and for another one of us to say, "God will … [Read more...]

  The lilac in full bloom Is its flower or fragrance The more beautiful?     Do you love the fragrance of a lilac?  I certainly do.  So much so, that I decided that I needed to plant some lilacs to enjoy their fragrance and beauty. My husband jokes that I continuously created new gardens around our first house.  One I created, was a lilac garden near the French doors opening out to our backyard sitting area.  I chose the miniature variety, Miss Kim, partially for its petite size, but also because of its wonderful later bloom and long-lasting fragrance. Its flowers are … [Read more...]

  Do we put too much importance on serving God?   The Bible is clear that we need to serve each other... even God.  Sometimes we get so carried away with being good servants that we may even start thinking that we're doing God a favor by doing all these good things we do.  We may even get puffed up with our do-gooding.  Here's the thing... we aren't doing God any favors.  In fact... we're missing out on the One Thing that really matters to him.     Thursday I dropped my husband off at his job and then proceeded to make my way back home.  After winding my way past a … [Read more...]

  Have you ever participated in a group event where there was a trust walk or a trust fall? Even if you know all the members of your party, and are fairly certain that they will look out for your best interest, do you find it difficult to trust that they will lead you, or catch you, or keep you safe?     Who do you trust?   Maybe you have trust issues that make these kinds of "events" and most people unsafe or scary.   Trust...   A small word filled with the potential power for goodness, tenderness, and love. A word that could be equated with … [Read more...]

  Have you ever embarked on a new project and then found yourself overwhelmed? Maybe you've been working on something for a while, but things just haven't clicked.  Or... Maybe tell yourself that if you read another book on the subject and get some expert advice, you'll figure things out. Somewhere, deep in your spirit, you sense that you were created to do something significant.     Most of us have hopes and dreams. Have you noticed... some people not only know what they were created to do, but they are doing what they were created to do?  While on the other hand, some seem … [Read more...]

      Just between us... do you sometimes feel like God doesn't care? It's okay... you're not alone. We all feel like that sometimes. As I was preparing to write this post, I had a sense that you needed to be reminded just how very much God cares for you. God. Our big God.  The Creator of the universe. The One who had you in His mind's eye before you were even conceived. Yes... that amazing, powerful, just, strong, amazing, faithful, loving, and tender God... He loves you and cares for you intimately. And... Just in case you need further validation... here are some … [Read more...]

    Sometimes we all get it wrong.   We don't mean to.  We're attempting to live good, even godly lives, but in the process, we belittle God and elevate ourselves. Do you ever find that when you read God's word it smacks you in the face?  Take this verse for instance.... Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for … [Read more...]

    Writer and theologian Thomas Merton penned this... We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love. Last week, my small group was discussing options for our next study.  A list of possibilities was presented by our leader.  As the list was being read, one after the other got checked off the list until the topic of knowing God's will was suggested.  Immediately a man commented that he really needed to know God's will.  And with that, a new study was chosen. This morning I opened the new study guide in … [Read more...]