Thankful. Today I got up and chose to live a thankful life.  Funny thing is... I did that unconsciously.  And with abandon. I wanted to go down to the lake to see the waves.  The wind had been howling all night, there were snow squalls, and winds were said to be gusting 40-50 mph so I knew there would be big waves. But, first, I need to purchase a new baking dish. It's a thankful dish.  A name brand  9x13 baking dish that was all of $6 at the dollar store.  At least half the price of the supermarket on steroids. Why is it a thankful dish?  I'm so glad you … [Read more...]

  Students on college campuses across the country were so filled with fear and anxiety following the presidential election that exams were postponed, cocoa was served, crayons and Play-Doh were given out, and counselors were made available. Fear spills out of every news channel as well as our Facebook news feeds. So many people are worried about their future, their children's future, the future of our country and the world. Yet, Jesus said in the midst of very tumultuous and troubling times... not unlike ours...   "Don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about … [Read more...]

  You are so very blessed. I'm not talking about the roof over your head, the family that sits around the table with you, or any of the "stuff" of life. It's all good. But there's better.     As we embark on the season of Thanksgiving I am so taken with the knowledge that God takes joy in doing good to us. I will make an agreement with them that I will not turn away from them. I will do good to them, an agreement that will last forever... I will have joy in doing good to them. Jeremiah 32:40-41 Our good is His good. Our joy is His joy. It is His forever promise to … [Read more...]

  Do you remember that old saying, a smile is a frown turned upside down? The other day I found myself sitting at a stoplight and noticed that my mouth was set in a frown. What?!  At that moment I realized my happiness had gotten up and left. If I'm in charge of my happiness... how did that happen?     Before I answer that question, I need to ask... What is your happiness quotient? On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the state of supreme happiness... where do you sit? Are you happy with that spot?     I don't think I'm the only one who has … [Read more...]

  On this absolutely perfect fall afternoon, we took two neighbor kids on a hike. There was so much delight in discovery that Sarah said, "This place is a palace!"     Not 100 steps from our home and we were in another world under the canopy of oaks and beeches. We took them on an incredible adventure... it was if we entered Narnia. As we left the palace of the pines we entered a mighty swath of dune grasses.     At 6 and 10 their imaginations were in full force. "Where are we?" we heard multiple times.  And multiple times we answered. Not a … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had a problem with yellow-jacket wasps at your house? At our first house we had ground bees one summer... but never bees or wasps IN our house.     For the past few months, we've been living in an apartment.  It's in a nice wooded area and we see turkeys and deer across the road regularly. That's how I like to enjoy wildlife... with a little distance between us. So, when I got stung on my foot in my apartment a few months ago, I immediately let the owners know, and informed them that there was a nest in the back outside wall.  We later discovered that there was … [Read more...]

  Have you ever wondered how to pray for someone? Maybe someone in your family or a close friend has gone off to college for the first time. How do you pray for him? Maybe your friend is in a new job... or maybe they are in an old job that has challenges every way they turn. How do you pray for her? There are so many scenarios.  Someone needs prayer and you're at a loss. I have a prayer for you to pray and it comes straight from the Bible....   This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see … [Read more...]

    That got your attention. Good grief... we're taught not to shout. So how in the world will shouting bring happiness?  Good question. These verses from the Book of Psalms opened my eyes... But make everyone rejoice who puts his trust in you. Keep them shouting for joy because you are defending them. Fill all who love you with your happiness. For you bless the godly man, O Lord; you protect him with your shield of love. Psalm 5:11-12     The psalmist pleads with God to "make" all who trust in Him rejoice. That's such an odd thing.  Doesn't it seem like … [Read more...]

  Today is the 15th Anniversary of one of the most dreadful days in American history... 9/11. So much has been written and read... I don't know that I have much to add other than my personal story and my personal call to action.     My story is one of a distant bystander. That fateful morning I had a lazy morning at home.  I had the day off and was lounging in my pj's, reading the latest home decor magazines, enjoying a cup of tea, and watching the "Today Show" on TV. It was a most spectacular day with the brightest blue sky and I had plans to get outside and enjoy every … [Read more...]

  This week was a double header. No there wasn't any baseball involved. However, I did enjoy two celebrations in one week. And a really big one too.     Tuesday was my birthday and then five days later we celebrated our anniversary.  It's a big milestone kind of anniversary.  One for which you gather your friends for a party or take a cruise or celebrate by purchasing a new fun car.     I'm sure you know our budget isn't capable of  even thinking of such extravagances.  So we did little things... like split a yummy pretzel sandwich and soda at cute … [Read more...]

  If August had an official flower, I think it might be the sunflower. They stand tall.. stretching for the sun... bravely holding their seedy heads high. As our days grow shorter and the sun sinks lower in the sky each day, the sunflowers with rays of brilliant yellow brighten our spirits.     How is it that we see emotion in the sunflowers? Do you think we just might be transferring our feelings? I know, it's a crazy thought, but we anthropomorphize animals and birds all the time, so I guess doing that with flowers isn't too far-fetched. Maybe we see happiness … [Read more...]

  We live along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  In less than 5 minutes we can wriggle our toes in the sand... watch the stillness or the crash of the waves... and stand or kneel in awe of the colors of the setting sun.     After being away for so many years, each night that we could, we'd go to the beach to watch the sunset and stand in absolute awe.  Humbled that our Creator would night after night "paint" the. most. gorgeous. colors across the sky and place thin and thick clouds to catch the colorful hues of the setting sun. Our hearts were grateful. Some nights we would start … [Read more...]

  Let me tell you about the day I settled for second best... It wasn't pretty.     It was one of those days. You know... the kind where you take one cookie... and before you know it... you've had six. I've never thought of myself as an emotional eater. But SIX cookies?!!     Cookies don't make me feel better... in fact... they give me a pain in my stomach.  My stomach was NOT designed for SIX cookies. (Six peanut M&M's, maybe.) So why did I eat them? Because at the moment... their sweet and chocolaty goodness gave me a brief … [Read more...]

  The sky was the bluest blue when we placed our tattered windowpane check bed sheet just inches from the reach of the waves and sparkling waters at our nearby beach. After a sandal was placed on each corner of the sheet, I dropped the large beach bag and then my body onto the sheet.  I sat there, digging my toes into the dampness of the sand.     This little beach excursion had been planned.  Though there have been plenty of decent beach days to take advantage of this summer... the forecast was for a picture perfect day and we didn't want to miss it. At least not until I … [Read more...]

    Like it or not... growth comes through hard times. When you've been knocked down it takes courage to get up and start over again. And then there is that thing called fear.  It's paralyzing... it kills your hope and dreams.   Whether you've been knocked down, overcome with fear, or are in the midst of a hard journey... you need encouragement. You need to know the secret for getting back up... having the courage to stand strong... and the confidence to believe for tomorrow.   So what's the secret?     My husband and I have been going … [Read more...]

    Do you talk to yourself? I remember working with a gal who talked to herself.  More often than not, I would stop what I was doing because I thought she was talking to me.  And then she would say, "I'm just talking to myself."  Usually, she was walking herself through the steps of her tasks.  It seems kind of quirky doesn't it? However... developing a lifestyle of talking to oneself isn't necessarily a bad thing. In fact... talking to yourself can be a good thing. If you read Psalms, you'll notice that some of the psalmists (writers) did the very same thing. Why am I so … [Read more...]

  I'm sure you've noticed, too. This week has been filled with vitriol and gall.  Anger and hate.  Worry and distress. It makes my head and heart hurt.     In the midst of everything... this verse has been swirling around in my head. “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”  John 13:34-35 This verse is directed to Jesus' followers. Those who were traveling the countryside with Him when He was alive and … [Read more...]

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