Most of us don't like confrontation. It is something I try to avoid if at all possible.  But, there's something else that recently has made me feel even more uncomfortable... observing friends being shut down for interjecting thoughts or ideas that may be contrary to the listener.     Open communication and a free exchange of ideas are so important to me.  A respectful, kind, and friendly discussion is one where we actually listen and then speak and generally it's a rather enjoyable experience.  I am terribly uncomfortable when people think their ideas are the only ideas and … [Read more...]

    This morning I read this verse from 1 Corinthians and sort of felt like it was a slap in the face. Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.  1 Corinthians 13:4-5 As I think back over the past 24 hours I know I had moments of impatience, selfishness, envy, and pride.  I wanted my own way and though I probably didn't notice it, was probably irritable or touchy.  Grudge … [Read more...]

  "Never take your eyes off the master because he knows things you don't." Lysa Terkeurst Friday night I had an opportunity to attend a woman's gathering at my church, something I rarely do. One of my dear friends mentioned it and we decided, last minute, to go together and I'm so glad we did.  It was a thoughtful time of live worship with an all-girl band at our church and there was a simulcast so we could watch, with other women around the world, wonderful and challenging speakers like Lysa Terkeurst and Ann Voskamp. I took a few notes, but this quote from Lysa -- "Never take your eyes off the … [Read more...]

  When I was growing up I used to hear people talk about how to know God's will for your life. It's a question to which we all want an answer.     Better yet... a direct message, email, a text from God would put us all on the right path.  Or so we think. I know that there are times when I'm perplexed with indecision and I wish for His "handwriting on the wall." God doesn't work that way and even if we had a personalized life plan in our hands Fed-Exed directly to us from Him... we would still pick and choose what feels good to us.  What?!  I hate to admit it... but how many … [Read more...]

  Have you noticed how our hope can waver?  In the midst of winter and the never-ending gray... hope seems tentative.  But... come a blue sky sunny day... hope shines bright! If you're floundering, there is ONE thing YOU CAN DO to find your HOPE again!     On those days when you feel hopeless, you're not alone. Lamentations... the book filled with laments reflects those feelings we sometimes share... I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,     the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—     the feeling of hitting the … [Read more...]

  This morning I prayed for direction in writing this post.  As usual, there were no lightning bolts nor was there any handwriting on the wall.     My heart was open to hearing from God.  And he didn't leave me wondering for long.  I opened Bible Gateway and the verse of the day popped up. Here it is... If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen. The command that Christ has given us is this: whoever loves God must love others also. 1 John 4:20-21 I had already been concerned about … [Read more...]

  We are a week into the New Year.  Already time seems to be going by too quickly. There are so many things I want to accomplish.  New goals being set.  I'm trying super hard to become more productive with my time. And, I even started a little accountability support group of sorts with two other blogging friends.  We learn together, share tips, encourage each other, pray for each other, and speak Truth to each other. Speaking Truth is a big one for us.  It's so easy for us to get sucked into the lies of the world.  You know the lies you have to fight each day.   That's why it's so important that we … [Read more...]

  I coulda... If only I woulda... There's no question, I shoulda... If that's your assessment of the past year, then turn your head, move forward, and never look back. The past few days I've been thinking through the past year and I've had more coulda, woulda, shoulda thoughts than I care to admit. I confess I spent too much time spinning my wheels. I allowed my circumstances to cloud my vision and impede my forward movement.  There were days I made good choices and moved forward... but those days were too few and far between. I don't want another year of that.  I don't want to look back on … [Read more...]

  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own city to be taxed. So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a … [Read more...]

  How often do you hear the statement, "I just want her to be happy." Happy.  Happiness is great... but what if we instead would say, "I what him to have joy."     Joy, to me, seems supremely greater than happiness. Joy is something my heart deeply desires.  It isn't dependent upon circumstances.  It's that deep abiding sense of well-being that transcends our situations. Meeting an old friend on the street, hearing a humorous joke, or watching a comedy may induce the feeling of happiness.  Yet, if that old friend were to meet you for lunch and you were to have a true heart to … [Read more...]

  Peace.  We all want it. Peace for the world.  Peace in our hearts.  Peace in our homes.  Peace in our relationships.     Often, our struggle looks like the kitty here.     Let's take some time together for a few reflections on peace.   For several years, I hosted an annual Christmas open house in my home. One of the attendees had been there for quite a while when she said to me, "I love being in your home, it's so peaceful." How is it that my home was a peaceful place when ladies were coming and going and eating and laughing and chatting? … [Read more...]

  What are you hoping for? A good test result? An interview? A mended relationship?     Hope is a funny word.  To me, it's kind of a nebulous word for a nebulous idea or feeling. How many times do we say, "Oh, I hope so!" To your spouse or child, you might say, "I hope you have a good day." or "I hope you have a great time!" It's kind of like a wish.   Other times it's an expectation for something to happen or for someone to make something happen. We often put our hope in things, in people, in events. Recently, a lot of people placed their hope in a … [Read more...]

  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...]

  Words... Have you noticed that there's been a war of words, especially on Facebook? Granted Facebook isn't REALLY our personal space.... but it feels personal to me. It's where I keep up with my nieces... one lives in Connecticut and the other in Arizona. It's where I keep up with the friends I've made in New York, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and beyond. It's also a work space for me... there are the blogging groups I belong to and there's my biz page for my blog, too.     Words, memes, and other images have invaded the space where I usually I look forward to seeing … [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...]