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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

    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...]

  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...]

  Yesterday, while working on a project, I thought about and prayed for some friends who have had one unpleasant surprise after another.  The guy said to Tim, "I feel like Job, only I still have my wife and kids."  No doubt you relate.  All of us go through days, weeks, months, and sometimes years, of challenges. As I attempted to encase a mound of fiberfill pushing to be free while applying just the right amount of pressure to the sewing machine pedal, this verse came to mind... Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God … [Read more...]

    Joy is the serious business of Heaven. C. S. Lewis   We talk a lot about joy around here. Joy is a funny thing. It can completely engulf us and yet be entirely elusive. It all depends on us.   You see, Jesus not only made a way for us to have joy... big, bright, unbridled joy. He wants us to have the very same joy that He has.   I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. John 15:11 As Jesus was entering His final hours here on earth, He prayed for us. This prayer to the Father, … [Read more...]

    Do you start your day with a spring in your step and a happy expression on your face? Maybe you find yourself plodding through the day with a fake smile awkwardly affixed to cover what you're really feeling? No matter where you are on the spectrum, I sure you want to know... How to Put More Joy in Your Day   Each week here at An Extraordinary Day we have JoyDay! Over the past four years (Yes... I just celebrated my 4th blog anniversary.) I've chatted with you about joy and living a joy-filled life.  But, what I haven't done is put some of those thoughts together in one spot … [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...]

  Lord...  I will exalt you in praise... For you have done extraordinary things. Isaiah 25:1 NET Download this frameable 5x7 graphic for personal use HERE.   3 Ways to Overcome Overwhelm It's a brand-new squeaky-clean week.  Are you excited for what lies ahead? Sometimes we cannot wait to greet the first day of the week!  We're full of joy, ready to zoom off at full speed. Other times, we feel used up and worn out and it's just Sunday.  We look ahead and sigh, already worn down with not-so-positive anticipation. Where are you as we begin a new week?   Not long ago I came … [Read more...]