“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” --C.S. Lewis,  The Weight of Glory Recently I have been struggling with getting a decent night's sleep. Usually, I get up early, make breakfast, make the bed,  and see Tim off to work. After getting just a few hours of sleep, he encouraged me to stay in bed and attempt to get a little more shut-eye.  Fortunately, I don't usually have a firm early work schedule or appointments. Somedays I managed to sleep... other days I just lay there in the quiet.  … [Read more...]

  It is just as the Scriptures say, “What God has planned     for people who love him is more than eyes have seen     or ears have heard. It has never even     entered our minds!” 1 Corinthians 2:9     If you're thinking... JoyDay! on Saturday? ...I totally get it!! First... I need to come clean with you. Since Christmas, I've been struggling physically.  I won't say what because I refuse to own it... but I've had too many sleepless nights and have just plain struggled to have enough energy to get through the day.  Essentially, things have gotten way behind.  Photo shoots … [Read more...]

  God generously pours blessing after blessing into your life.     Have you ever thought about those blessings in a spatial kind of way? Maybe that seems a bit weird to you, but what if those blessings were actual objects you could hold in your hand?  For visualization purposes, let's imagine that these blessings were in the form of a very soft putty, kind of like the slime you make with your kids.  Imagine some of them so small that dozens would fill the palm of your hand and other blessings so large you need help moving them. You are grateful for every blessing... large and … [Read more...]

  Do some days feel as if you're barely surviving? Discover how to do one thing to thrive in life...     Can you believe we're already into the second month of the New Year?  Me either. I had great plans for January.  Actually, I had great plans for ME in January. However, my great plans didn't exactly start off the way I intended. Did you begin the new year with great expectations and new resolutions that you just KNEW you were going to achieve THIS year and now just a month in, you find yourself struggling? It's okay. Seriously.  It's okay. Let go of the guilt. If you … [Read more...]

  Remember that last time you were feeling overwhelmed? Here is a way to help you out of that spot.  PLUS... a free scripture art print to download.     There's no doubt you can identify with me... Earlier this week I had a task looming before me that I absolutely was not looking forward to doing. My stress level was creeping up and up by the hour. Feeling overwhelmed, I decided to ask a few of my friends to pray. They did. And the next day that seemingly gargantuan task was accomplished fairly easily. How many times do you live in dread, for whatever reason, keeping … [Read more...]

  In order to navigate through life, this thing called faith is a necessity. Why is it that something so necessary seems so complicated?     Faith.   It's a complicated word. For some...it has great spiritual meaning. For others...it's a bit nebulous.   A long time ago, when one of the girls from my youth group got married, I created some counted cross stitch art for her as a wedding gift.  I stitched these words from Hebrews 11:1... Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Why in the world was I so enamored with this verse … [Read more...]

  We might describe a sunset as magical, but there is something much greater, more life-changing, taking place at that moment for us to embrace with every fiber of our being.      From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,     the name of the Lord is to be praised. Psalm 113:3 During the winter months, I can see the sun rise and set from my south-facing bedroom window.  Through the barren trees silhouetted by glorious shades of gold, orange, and deep pink, I am transported for a few moments to another time and space.  My heart enthralled in the majesty of the moment … [Read more...]

  Choosing a Word of the Year can set the stage for an incredible New Year.  Although my word might surprise you, I'm excited about its potential to make my year amazing.   Several years ago, a young friend, whom Tim had been mentoring for several years, won four tickets to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert.  As a huge fan of TSO and all things audiovisual, it was the ultimate win for him.  It ended up being a win for us as well, as he invited us to be his guests that night.     If you've ever had the privilege of attending a TSO concert, you know that they put on quite … [Read more...]

  The other day as I was driving home from the workshop my phone dinged.  It was a notification from one of my partners in crime, er work.  Since I don't text and drive, I pulled off the road to read her message and reply.  There wasn't anything unusual or special about that text, but as I got back into the lane again I thought, "I love my life!" Yup.  You read that right.  "I love my life!"     If you've been a long time reader or friend, you know that my world was rocked hard and I've spent the last eight years walking through the rubble while trying to find a new … [Read more...]

  Wouldn't you LOVE for this Christmas to be your BEST Christmas EVER?   Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:16-17 When you realize that there are just 29 sleeps until Christmas does it excite you, not phase you, or stress you out? After my more than 29 years of anticipating … [Read more...]

  Did you know that there is a special promise waiting for you to be fulfilled when you trust God?   Life is full of events for which we have no control. June 3, 2009, is forever indelibly marked in my heart and mind. The few words heard at four o'clock that afternoon changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Two months earlier, when I was backstage running through a little message I would be sharing with kids at church, I said the words I would be inviting them to say, "I can trust God no matter what."  And in my spirit I sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, "Can you really?"  … [Read more...]

  Sometime after 8 AM and I heard a little tap on my door.     If I had known that it was an invitation to open up my heart and day to spending 5 prime hours with two neighbor kids, I might not have answered. Then again. That morning's invitation was God's way of letting us know he has two little lives to entrust to us with the important task of being Jesus with skin on. Frankly, though, it was inconvenient. My to-do list was a mile long.     Somehow all the lovely warm fall weather we have had disconnected me from the actual dates on the … [Read more...]

  These past two weeks I've been laser-focused on making this little apartment our home. I'm been scoping out the second-hand stores, choosing paint colors, and painting thrifted furniture and accessories. With the few funds I have available, I want to 'get it right.' And I don't want to waste precious time.     For the past 10 months other than the balcony oasis I created this summer, my decor focus has mostly centered around the table and creating seasonal moments on my console table, another roadside find.  So this passionate approach I've taken to feathering my nest since … [Read more...]

  This week I discovered in a new and fresh way the power of prayer.       On Monday morning, instead of jumping out of bed and scrambling eggs and preparing fruit as I usually do, I stayed in bed.  The night before I hardly slept at all.  My midsection was so uncomfortable it felt like all my organs were swollen.  What was going on?  I had a great day on Sunday and finished it off by cleaning my oven and then baking a blueberry buckle coffee cake with the last blueberries of the season.  Just before going to bed I enjoyed a warm piece of it along with my hot cup of "tiger … [Read more...]

When morning gilds the skies... you are greeted with an amazingly stunning uniquely crafted invitation direct from God that was created just for this day.   This time of year, it's as dark as night at seven in the morning. I peered through the sliding glass door into the darkness to check on the weather.  As I turned my head to the right I saw the most stunning colors etched across the sky. It took my breath away. As I walked into the kitchen and turned the faucet on over a pan of eggs before putting them on the stove, I began singing in my heart the words of an old hymn I remember singing in … [Read more...]

  One day as I was driving to the workshop I tuned my car radio to our local public radio station.  It's one of the few that still plays mostly classical music.  As I was listening I heard a familiar piece of music that moved me in a new way.  My heart engaged so fully I was almost on the verge of tears.     I was listening to a selection from Handel's Water Music. As I listened, my heart was filled with praise to the Lord. I wasn't sure why... so I did a little online research.  Though I knew the name of the piece, I was curious about Handel and if there was a backstory. It … [Read more...]

  It's been one of those days.... extraordinarily warm for October and yet blustery.  With ominous gray clouds to the north and south, it appeared the skies would bust open and pelt us with rain at any moment.  And if I hadn't pulled my ponytail through the opening in my cap, it would have flown off my head countless times there on the beach.     When the winds gust to 37 mph, Lake Michigan throws up some large waves.  Just the kind of waves that surfboarders and kite surfers love and which little sandpipers skittering along the waters' edge seem oblivious to... even though they are … [Read more...]