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...]

  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...]

    When things go wrong, what do you do? More times than I can count, I'll talk to someone close to me. I'm not suggesting that there is anything wrong with that.... except that GOD should be our FIRST go-to person/place. You see... we need others... even more... we NEED God.   When things go wrong... we need a safe place. There's only ONE safe place we can count on. God. He must be our safe place. What a stack of blessing you have piled up for those who worship you, Ready and waiting for all who run to you to escape an unkind world. You hide them safely … [Read more...]

  Do you believe that God cares about the details you care about? Not long ago, my husband and I were having a conversation about my dream studio. The list included these must haves... nice sized windows and good natural light for photographing, high and low work surfaces and plenty of space for creating, a great view of either a lovely garden or tree tops. Fast forward a few weeks when we were in the midst of settling into an apartment... with just an inflatable bed and a card table and chairs... when I said to my husband, "You realize that our apartment windows provide us with a beautiful … [Read more...]

    “Don’t you mind,” said Puddleglum. “There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan.” --The Silver Chair   I enjoy reading snippets of C.S. Lewis.  So much so that I subscribe to a daily C.S. Lewis devotional.  In actuality, these are not devotionals in the typical sense but are bite-sized excerpts of Lewis' writings from his many books.  Don't tell anyone, but I haven't read the Chronicles of Narnia series.  I haven't even seen the movies.  However, one winter, my husband did read the first book to me as we sat by the fire in the evenings.  That was pretty special.  That's probably why … [Read more...]

    Have you ever come home, expecting that your spouse or your children will be there waiting for you, only to find your house is empty? Immediately you look for a note.  Where are they? Your mind goes a million miles a minute and your thoughts dance all over the place with possibilities.  Most not good. What's the first thing you do?  You pick up your phone. You try to reach them. If your children are younger.... old enough to stay home alone for a short while... but not to leave the house without your permission... you undoubtedly fly out the door and start searching your … [Read more...]

  Sometimes we just need a little perspective...   Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, my thoughts and my ways are higher than yours.   Isaiah 55:9 Those days when things aren't going my way... this is a good verse to ponder. It simply reminds me that I don't know the whole story... see the whole picture... or have the wisdom to know what's best for that situation.  What I need to do instead... is trust God. You have looked deep into my heart, Lord,     and you know all about me. You know when I am resting or when I am working,     and from heaven you discover my … [Read more...]

  The Lord’s love never ends; his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. Lamentations 3:22-23 If there is one truth that we can and should remember every single day it's this.... God's love never ends.  This intimate personal love He has for each of us never stops.  So much so that every morning when we awake... God has more love to greet us in the new day. When my husband speaks to children, there is ONE thing he always wants to be sure they know.  "God loves you."  He repeats it often.  When he was growing up his family sat at the front of the church... … [Read more...]

    Wouldn't you like to have God's blessing? One morning, because frankly, things have not been going as we hoped and prayed, I asked the Lord for a word of encouragement. As I opened my Bible it fell open to Jeremiah.  I'm not sure why, but God has often used passages there to speak to my heart in big ways.  I read a few chapters and came to these verses... But I will bless those who trust me. They will be like trees growing beside a stream— trees with roots that reach down to the water, and with leaves that are always green. They bear fruit every year and are never … [Read more...]

  Do you believe in coincidences?  I prefer to think of them as God moments.  To me those coincidences are reminders of God's hand at work in my life.  I like to think of those coincidences as His attention-getting tools.  He's pretty clever that way.     Recently I received an email that contained a graphic with the word, endurance. I contemplated it for a minute and then was off to the next email.  Later in the day a good friend left a comment on Facebook with a scripture verse.  It was there that the word endurance popped out at me, again.   Have you ever given much … [Read more...]

I have friends and family going through hard times right now. Maybe you're facing some pretty tough days with illness, loss, relationships, or finances? What do we do when faced with difficult times? Cling to this verse and remember... The Lord is fighting for ME! The Lord is fighting for you! So be still! Exodus 14:14 GW This verse needs to be our banner. Our theme song, so to speak. We need to write it down, post it on our mirrors, on our computer screens, on the fridge, over the sink, anywhere we might see it and be reminded. The Lord is fighting for you! So be still! Exodus 14:14 … [Read more...]

Today we had the first sunshine in what seems like a week.  At least. Oh how I missed the sunshine. To say I was elated to see sunshine in the forecast was an understatement.  I wanted to spend my entire day outside, soaking in every single ray of light and warmth from that huge orb in the sky. However, at a whopping 13 degrees... even at 11 o'clock in the morning... I just looked out the window. Fortunately the temps quickly rose to the high twenties by mid afternoon and I made the most of it. Outside. As the day came to a close, we stood on frozen ice soaking in the beauties of the setting sun … [Read more...]

  Have you been facing many challenges and difficulties in your life? Do you resist them?  Do you get angry and frustrated with God?  Especially when circumstances don't change, no matter how hard you pray? My week was full of small challenges... on top of big ones that are already enough. Maybe you identify? Somewhere in the midst of my troubles I have come to realize that my role is not to wiggle out of these situations... but instead to move gracefully through them in God's strength and power. I'm not saying that there aren't ugly moments.  Because there are. I have my melt-downs.  I … [Read more...]

  Did you step into the new year with a new planner and a new plan to make this the best year ever? The success experts encourage us to set goals, to map our days, our work, even our relationships. As you penned those good intentions into your life planner have you set holiness as one of your goals? What?     Who in this day and age, talks about being holy, let alone list it as a life-goal? That's a good question. Most of us would agree God calls us to holy living, but really, making that a penned-on-paper life-goal... whom among us is that purposeful? As obedient … [Read more...]

Last night I spent the night in a hotel room. It was clean, nicely decorated, and the bed was fairly comfortable. But, while I was laying in bed, I moved my arm against the headboard... and it felt like it was buzzing. There was some sort of low-level vibration in the headboard and I felt it in the bed too. It was a bit disconcerting. When I went to breakfast, I noticed that the room next to my room was labeled, "Electrical." On my return from breakfast the door to that room was open and I peeked inside. On the adjoining wall to my room... right where my bed was... were three enormous breaker … [Read more...]

God is good! That's the comment that many make when something good has happened in their life or in the life of another. We know that goodness is one of God's characteristics. God IS good. All. The. Time.   Examine and see how good the Lord is. Happy is the person who trusts him. Psalm 34:8 NCV   It's interesting to me that the psalmist is suggesting that we examine and see how good the Lord is. You might be more familiar with the verse in another translation.  It's more commonly translated this way. Taste and see that the Lord is good; Psalm 34:8a NIV When was the last … [Read more...]

Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.  Romans 12:12   It's been a hard week for me. I won't bore you with the details, but through the difficulties I knew that I could choose joy. And often I did. Choosing to be joyful is a mindset. Some days it's like walking a tightrope with that big long stick.   There's only one way to traverse a tightrope. One step at a time. With our eyes fixed on the finish.     For us as believers... Walking in joy is one step at a time, too. The stick we carry... is … [Read more...]