If you listen to today's news or watch images of violence and hate flash across your screen it's easy to become discouraged. Maybe that's why this quote from the 1600's by English Puritan and clergyman, Thomas Manton, struck me.  It's incredibly relevant for the 21st century... more than 400 years after it was first penned.What an excellent ground of hope and confidence we have when we reflect upon these three things in prayer ~ the Father's love, the Son's merit, and the Spirit's power. --Thomas Manton Click HERE to DOWNLOAD this free 8x10 Thomas Manton QUOTE Printable for personal use.  Slip it … [Read more...]

  You know that phrase, "He/She is a pain in the neck." It's amazing how debilitating a neck pain can be.     This week my neck was so tired that I felt like it could hardly hold up my head.  It sounded like I had gravel in my neck when I turned it and it was painful, too. So I called the chiropractic office to see if I could get an appointment.  Fortunately, I could get in that same day. That afternoon, the doctor massaged my neck before manipulating it. After he finished the adjustment, he suggested that I think about those muscles in my neck that he just worked on and … [Read more...]

  This week I was greatly hurt by the insensitivity of a long-time friend.     Friendships are all so very unique, but one thing is sure, a great friendship is always based on mutual respect. When relationships fail, generally it's because one side of the relationship fails to respect the other.  When that happens you can be pretty sure that things will get messy. Have you experienced a deep hurt or the loss of a friendship? How did you deal with it?     As I was working through my hurt, I was reminded that I have one friend that I can always count … [Read more...]

  Yesterday I felt off... all day. Kind of like the black clouds of doom hiding the most brilliant sunset ever.     My neck didn't feel right, my head didn't feel right.  When I went to the store I felt like I was going disappear into thin air, I was tired from doing little, and doing the things I love to do left me empty. And it didn't help that the sun has refused to shine for more days than I can count and though it's fall, when I walk outside it feels more like winter. Maybe you've had days or weeks like that?     This morning as I was having tea … [Read more...]

  One of my favorite times of the day is first light. There's something magical about seeing the darkness being overtaken by the light each morning. What a spectacular beginning to the day.     There's an anticipation that fills my spirit. I look for interesting changes in the light. Color in the sky. And this time of year...I can't wait to see the first rays of the sun illuminate the colorful leaves gilding the trees.   In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;     in the morning I lay my requests before you     and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 … [Read more...]

  What is your source of joy and delight?     More than anything God wants us to find our delight in him. He wants to be our source of joy. He wants to be the one we go to for everything. He wants to be our all in all. Please "pin" and share this image. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4   Have you noticed? God leaves it all up to us. He knows the benefit for us when we delight in him. Yet, he doesn't make us delight in him. Instead, he gives us every opportunity to know him, to delight in his … [Read more...]

  Do you battle with anxiety?     After a few incidents with slippery roads, like the time I uncontrollably coasted off an icy road and skated between a power pole and a row of cars in a used car lot while driving my husband's new car, I became fearful about driving or riding in a car anytime the roads became even slightly dusted with snow.  I still struggle with it to varying degrees, though all-wheel drive has helped those fears decrease a bit. [wink] Maybe your anxieties are over getting in an accident while driving or not having enough money to put gas in the car. These … [Read more...]

  This week I was reminded of these words from Corrie ten Boom. "I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!"     Tuesday evening we were leaving our apartment around 5:30 to get a quick bite to eat and go on to small group.  As I stepped out into the hallway, the top landing between two apartments, I noticed that Tim's brand new bike was gone. Immediately I stepped back in and asked him if his bike was there when he came home around 1:30.  He said it was.  I then said, … [Read more...]

    Today we were walking through one of the big home improvement stores when we heard a nearby forklift call attention to its presence with a "beep beep."  Something we never give another thought to hearing.  But, right in front of us, walking down the aisle, was a mom pushing a shopping cart with two small children.  A little girl seated in the front of the cart started calling out, "Beep Beep!"  "Beep Beep!" as her mom pushed her towards the checkouts. My husband heard the little girl and brought her beep beeps to my attention.  He had the biggest grin on his face. There's something … [Read more...]

  Do you have those lightbulb moments when you just have to share your "Ah Ha!" with someone else?     On the weekends my husband works at our local men's transitional shelter.  There is a volunteer who regularly pours herself into the ministry by cooking delicious meals for the men there and getting others from her church to do the same. It's a gift of love that the men greatly appreciate. Especially on Friday nights.  Previously a nutritionist was preparing their food, but on Friday nights, they usually just had a salad and frozen pizza. The men are always grateful for any … [Read more...]

    The day after my birthday I received a surprise phone call from a special friend and longtime reader of the blog.  Though we have never met, over the past five years or so we have developed a lovely friendship based on our love for the Lord and our similar interests.  We pray for each other and encourage each other through life's challenges.     During our conversation Debbi shared how she had been feeling a little down before the start of this school year and then she remembered something the Lord had done for her.  That started her down a path of recounting … [Read more...]

  What is it that you've been ruminating about? What are you carrying in the back of your mind all the time? What are you wringing your hands over?     Most of us get caught up in worrying or fretting at some time. It takes a millisecond for a thought to take off and then... there you are... chewing on it like a dog on an old bone. It's all consuming and about as useful as that old bone. I try to not worry about things, but then I get that pain, or that email, or my husband says something, and then... if I'm not mindful of things I can jump right on the worry train.  … [Read more...]

  This weekend I attended my class reunion. It's been a LONG time since I've seen my former classmates. I had mixed feelings about attending.  Two of my friends would be there, but beyond that, I had no idea.  How in the world would I be able to chit-chat with people who weren't in my circle all those years ago? Since I didn't want to regret not attending, I went. A few people attended that I hoped would be there. Yet, silly me, I never thought that there would be people who were hoping that they would see me. It was wonderful hearing old friends say, "I wondered if I would see you!" "I … [Read more...]

  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...]