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 … [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...]

  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...]

  Have you ever had a friend ask you to pray for her? Have you ever thought about the power you are wielding when you take her up on her request and purposefully pray? Earlier in the week I had been feeling poorly and was not doing well at all. I messaged my friend and asked her and a mutual acquaintance to pray. They did. I was greatly improved the next day. So much so that I had an extremely full and productive day.  A very good day. The next day I was up at the crack of dawn and running on full throttle.  It was pretty amazing considering how busy I was the day before. When my … [Read more...]

  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...]

    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...]