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...]

  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...]

  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...]

    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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  Are you in a place of waiting? It's a challenging place to be, but, what if you could find joy in the waiting rather than despair?     Waiting is so hard to do. Whether you're waiting in a long line at the grocery store or you're waiting for test results or a package to arrive or for your circumstances to change... it's all hard.  And yes... some waits feel almost impossible. This week I talked with two friends in the waiting. One friend is overwhelmed with the wait.  She feels like she's in murky water over her head and getting tangled as she tries to walk through the tall … [Read more...]

  Here's a prayer for those times when you have no idea how to pray.     This past week held some events that troubled my heart greatly.  This one brought me to tears. The neighbor children which God placed right smack in front of us to love and care for... moved.  What a change!  No longer are we interrupted by their taps on our door multiple times a day.  Sure, I'll get more work done now, but the thing is, I don't want to get more work done, I want to make a difference in two kids' lives.  To make things worse... we have no idea where they have moved.  Their mentally ill parent … [Read more...]

  Do you live in fear? You can stand and face your fear square on with these tips.   When there's a catastrophic event or a tragedy like the horrific school shooting in Florida many of us find fear paralyzes us. Events like this cause parents to hold on tightly to their kids. Students and adults alike are worried about the future and about potential violence entering their smaller worlds, like schools. And this event is just one of many gone awry in our world.   Jesus said in the midst of very tumultuous and troubling times... not entirely unlike … [Read more...]

    “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...]