Have you ever read a book that resonated with you? I just put down a well-written, humorous yet poignant, behind the scenes story of a life that looked so perfect to me. But, things aren't always as they appear are they?   I remember wearing a new outfit to elementary school that my mom made for me.  Back then, most of my school clothes were handmade, except that special outfit my Aunt Martha would buy for my birthday or Christmas.  My mom was pretty good with the sewing machine, actually, most everything involving a needle including putting needles in the veins of her patients when … [Read more...]

  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1   When my friends hurt... I hurt. Today I have friends who have battened down the hatches, filled their bath tubs, and are waiting for Hurricane Irma. Others who escaped to higher ground or other areas to wait. I have another friend who has been betrayed by a person in her life that should always be counted on to be trustworthy. There are the friends who are trying hard to make their marriage work and each day is a struggle. I know people trying to figure out how to rebuild after Harvey. And … [Read more...]

    As I opened the door to the lobby, he was standing there wearing a fluorescent green t-shirt and long navy sports shorts with stripes down each side matching his equally bright orange sneakers. At a month more than seven years old, Thomas lives life large.  He's full of curiosity and asks question after question. Counts everyone in our neighborhood a friend and already, at his young age, is a skilled negotiator.  At least once and some days, maybe four or fourteen times he will stop by our door to see if we will play, or fix something, or answer a question.  Did I say he's persistent? … [Read more...]

  This morning I had a conversation with a friend that got me thinking.  Her family has been in a tough spot for several years and she hasn't been able to provide much more than the very basics for her kids. Everything is okay until the kids see what their friends have and then they become very aware of what they don't have.     It doesn't matter where we are on the socio-economic spectrum... we generally want something we don't have.  The old adage, "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," is a perspective that most of us fight at some time, don't we? My … [Read more...]

  This past week one of my dearest friends, after getting her son off for his freshman year at college, turned around and drove south with her daughter to help her settle into a new home for graduate school.  As she was sitting in the hotel lobby, we started to get caught up on the details of these momentous life events when something came up on the TV there and she asked if I knew about the events in Barcelona, Paris, and Charlottesville.  Frankly, beyond Charlottesville, I was unaware of the maddening attacks.  I had hardly been home all week and mostly absent from social media and news media. My … [Read more...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

    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...]

  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...]

      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...]