It was just another summer evening, or so we thought. 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 awaiting 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 count on it being cooler by the lake than in our wooded location, usually.  But, it's been noticeably cooler even at home the … [Read more...]

  Prayer is crucial to our lives. Have you wondered how to improve your prayer time?     It might surprise you, but I've come to the conclusion that my relationship with God is more dependent on me than on him.  This realization has been pivotal in improving my prayer life. You see, God is constant, never changing, always present. Me... I'm up and down, coming and going, flitting all over like the butterflies I've been watching from my balcony garden. There are days that I struggle to write or stay on task for any length of time.  Honestly, I wish it wasn't true, but that's my … [Read more...]

  When we need relief NOW, there is a practical plan to free us from the overwhelm.     When was the last time you were overwhelmed by your to-do list? I occasionally pick up little side jobs.  Lately, it's been painting or cleaning a rental between tenants. The thing about these little jobs is that they are physically taxing and usually don't fit into my schedule very well.  I find it challenging when something quickly comes up and I need to drop what I'm doing to accommodate someone. Especially when I have my own deadlines and projects. We aren't supposed to live with … [Read more...]

  How many times have you asked the question, "What will they think of me?"      My close friend will soon be boarding a plane to attend a special event honoring her daughter. She is touched that the parents of her daughter's boyfriend will be hosting a BBQ to celebrate the momentous occasion.  We chatted about what a lovely thing it is for them to do and how grateful she is for their warm hospitality... and then she texted this, "What will they think of me?" How many times have you thought or worried about what someone will think of you? Contemplating this question is like … [Read more...]

  Do you talk to yourself?     I will admit that sometimes I talk to myself. Talking to yourself can be a good thing. Some might think it's a little quirky, but if they really knew what you were doing when you talked to yourself, they would want to follow your lead and pick it up too. What? Maybe you're thinking... children learning to tie their shoes with rhymes and little old ladies who are trying to not forget things... they talk to themselves... not me. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you too will want to talk to yourself, regularly. If you become a … [Read more...]

  Once the calendar rolls over from spring to summer, I have this heavy awareness that nearly half the year has passed and we're on the bullet train to the end of the year.  That realization usually sparks an evaluation of where I've been and what I've accomplished.  And frankly...  right now... I'm not pleased.     From my work to my health to my relationship with God I want to be in a better place. The first thing I do is analyze why... Why am I in this spot? You know what my biggest challenge is? It's my thinking. My success in all of these areas begins and ends in my … [Read more...]

  Do you need a safe place? Maybe the better question to ask is, "What does a safe place mean or look like to you?"     When we had cats, we used to take them to the vet in a picnic basket. A picnic basket is cute and handy for short trips.  But, once we started moving, we purchased official cat carriers for those long state-to-state trips. I'm not sure why, but our cats liked their carriers.  If we were to leave the carriers somewhere in the house, with the doors open, they would go there to take naps. Whenever we had an open house or outdoor parties or needed a … [Read more...]

  I love the morning....especially the first light of the morning. A few days ago I awoke very early and looked out the window where I was greeted with a most beautiful sight. Imagine the sky as I saw it, still colored in twilight while being gently blushed with a transparent orange cast rising ever so gently from the horizon.   And to my right...a huge brilliant star sparkled.  At that moment, I was in awe and humble adoration of Creator God. In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. Psalm … [Read more...]

  Life is not perfect, except in dreams. And today, on Father's Day, there can be all kinds of feelings... For some... good feelings automatically surface. For others... just the mention of "father" causes a flood of negative feelings and memories.     My husband's father did the best he could.  I'm sure he loved his kids, but having six kids under the age of 10 was no doubt challenging to him. I'm guessing he thought if he showed kindness or told his children he loved them that he would lose his authority or control.  And then there was the alcohol … [Read more...]

  Do you ever long for a quieter life?  A more fruitful life?  A joyful life?     Do some days, weeks, maybe even months seem to breeze by? Do you ever feel like those days are... not great... nothing special... just okay? Are you tired of the ho-hum?  Do you want more? The only way I know for us to have more quiet, fruit, and joy in our lives is to choose it. We need to be purposeful. Oh great!" you're thinking.  "Just heap on my to-dos. Make me feel inadequate when I already don't feel like I measure up." Actually, that isn't my intention. Summertime is a … [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'm sure you want to know... How to Put More Joy in Your Day     Each week here at An Extraordinary Day we observe JoyDay! For six years 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 so that you would have an easy reference point when you … [Read more...]

  Do you remember seeing a movie where the butler walked into a room holding a silver platter upon which there was a slip of paper for someone in the room? At that moment when the butler offered the note and the recipient took the paper, everyone else seemed to pause. Trying to fain disinterest, others in the room were keenly interested to learn what was on the paper and how the individual would respond. The slip of paper required a response.     Each day we are presented with all numerous things that require our response. We could call them silver platter opportunities. … [Read more...]

      Most Friday nights as Tim works, my good friend and I go out on the town.  We live it up big.  This time we split a huge plate of chicken nachos and she did a little shopping for a Mother's Day gift as we talked and laughed nonstop. In between bites at the restaurant, we chat about all kinds of things. Often my friend talks about her sons and her grandchildren.  A real prayer warrior, she covers her family with prayer daily, sometimes even asking me to pray for them, too. I'm impressed with her practical love for them, how she exercises wisdom in staying out of her adult … [Read more...]

    Sunday was a day of rest for me as I was growing up. After church in the summer, my dad and I would often stop at the drive-in restaurant with those huge golden arches.  He always went to the screened window and ordered the same thing, a burger and fries for each of us.  And then, we'd eat lunch in our car in the parking space pushed up against the tall arborvitae bushes with our windows wide open and the breeze blowing in.  Our next stop was always the lake.  Sometimes we'd watch the sailboats race, or a ship come in, or just sit and look at the water. I guess that was my dad's idea of … [Read more...]

  Do you ever think about your love life? No, not that kind of love life!     Nearly every night before we snuggle into our pillows, Tim has been reading to me this great book written by Bob Goff, Everybody Always. (affiliate link)  The book is funny, poignant, and sometimes pokes me where it hurts.  I suggest you read it.  It's got me thinking about HOW I live and love.  The real important stuff in life. Oh, how I'd love to say that I live and love well.  But, I don't.  Lately, I've been grumpy and a bit critical.  I could blame my thyroid and pass it off to not feeling well … [Read more...]

  WHY do I celebrate Earth Day?     Immediately upon rolling out of bed I take a step the to the window and pull hard on the cord that raises the blinds shielding my eyes and bedroom from the morning light. Today as I peered through the panes of my second story window, the blue sky was pale behind the gray sticks reaching upwards to the heavens.  Those dull branches and twigs looked lifeless, yet invisibly life might be found coursing through the pulp in that forest of trees.  In a matter of a few weeks, buds will be bursting with glimmers of green and our sleeping world will look … [Read more...]

  Wisdom is essential for a successful life. Discovering the source of wisdom will give us wisdom for every situation.     I don't know about you...but I want to be wise. People who are wise seem to navigate life more gracefully. They are the ones we seek out for advice. Have you noticed how wise people are more thoughtful, less reactionary, and trustworthy? So how do we get wisdom?  Here's what the writer of Psalm 111 had to say... The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Good sense is shown by everyone who follows God’s guiding principles. His praise … [Read more...]