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...]

  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1   When my friends hurt... I hurt. Today I have friends who have battened down the hatches, filled their bath tubs, and are waiting for Hurricane Irma. Others who escaped to higher ground or other areas to wait. I have another friend who has been betrayed by a person in her life that should always be counted on to be trustworthy. There are the friends who are trying hard to make their marriage work and each day is a struggle. I know people trying to figure out how to rebuild after Harvey. And … [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...]

  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...]

  Do you wonder if you have enough faith?     You think... "If only I had enough faith... I would have handled the situation differently." OR "Things would have turned out differently." I have a friend whose son innocently got in trouble with the law.  It was one of those things where he just didn't think and he offered to help his friends out. The consequences were unimaginable.  And all I can think is what is happening to our justice system? For months we have been praying in faith, believing that God would rescue him from what feels like an unjust prosecutor. We believe … [Read more...]

    Ever notice that sometimes when you look at the face of someone you're close to, their face is telling? The other day we were at the laundromat when my husband asked me if I was okay. I mumbled something.  But I wasn't okay. In addition to internally fussing over the inconvenience of having to schlep my towels, bedding, and clothes to a laundromat (albeit with my dear husband's help), I had a laundry list of items running through my mind which I had allowed to pull my spirit down. I guess it was written across my face.     At that moment I knew I needed to … [Read more...]

  At one time of another, we ALL face mountains. I belong to a mastermind group.  It sounds like a big important group, but in actuality, it's me and two more blogging friends.  We share blog goals, we bounce ideas off one another, we give lots of encouragement when it's needed, and best of all, we pray for each other.     All of us are either going through or have had some pretty big life challenges and one thing we know for sure... prayer works.  It's not uncommon for one of us to be facing a small challenge or a mountain of a challenge and for another one of us to say, "God will … [Read more...]

      Just between us... do you sometimes feel like God doesn't care? It's okay... you're not alone. We all feel like that sometimes. As I was preparing to write this post, I had a sense that you needed to be reminded just how very much God cares for you. God. Our big God.  The Creator of the universe. The One who had you in His mind's eye before you were even conceived. Yes... that amazing, powerful, just, strong, amazing, faithful, loving, and tender God... He loves you and cares for you intimately. And... Just in case you need further validation... here are some … [Read more...]

  My writing chair faces north. Through a wide expanse of windows, I have a beautiful tree top view.  And even though I can't see the sun rise from my spot this morning, I do see fingers of golden light reaching... reaching around as gentle wisps of radiant color into my narrow view.     From this vantage point, my field of vision is limited.  The branches of the tall oaks are silhouetted against the dawn like a line drawing.  The intricacy is incredible... but it is only a glimpse of a bigger world.  For as far as I can see... beyond the trees... are more trees.  Off to the side... … [Read more...]

    Here we are the week AFTER Easter and I find myself reflecting on some of the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection. I think that's the way it was for Jesus' friends and followers, too.  Sometimes we see things in hindsight that were right in front of us but we just didn't see them. Jesus said a lot of things that night of the last supper.  If it wasn't enough that he humbled himself to wash his disciples' feet, he also told them about things to come that were unfathomable and challenging even for us to process when we know the whole story.  You can read all about it in … [Read more...]

    Right now I feel like I'm in the midst of a teaching moment. One where I am the student. It started when I was chatting with my husband about the blog. I have a sense that I need to step up my game.  Improve some technical aspects of the website, educate myself on a few areas where I lack expertise, and overall, be more diligent and purposeful in my work.  And then I said, "But I don't think God wants me to hustle."   There wasn't anything earth-shaking about that conversation or my statements. I'm guessing that when we are in the process of being molded by God, the process is pretty … [Read more...]

  We live in a shaky world.  It seems there isn't much we can count on. ONE thing we can depend on is GOD and his never ending loving kindness. The mountains and hills may crumble, but my love for you will never end; I will keep forever my promise of peace.” So says the Lord who loves you. Isaiah 54:10 Think about the past week. Not to dwell on the negative... but were there people who let you down? And no doubt you let someone else down, too. Some of it may have been purposeful... generally, we try yet we fail, we care yet we're selfish. Though relationships and nations may appear … [Read more...]

  Have you noticed how our hope can waver?  In the midst of winter and the never-ending gray... hope seems tentative.  But... come a blue sky sunny day... hope shines bright! If you're floundering, there is ONE thing YOU CAN DO to find your HOPE again!     On those days when you feel hopeless, you're not alone. Lamentations... the book filled with laments reflects those feelings we sometimes share... I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,     the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—     the feeling of hitting the … [Read more...]

  Students on college campuses across the country were so filled with fear and anxiety following the presidential election that exams were postponed, cocoa was served, crayons and Play-Doh were given out, and counselors were made available. Fear spills out of every news channel as well as our Facebook news feeds. So many people are worried about their future, their children's future, the future of our country and the world. Yet, Jesus said in the midst of very tumultuous and troubling times... not unlike ours...   "Don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about … [Read more...]

  Have you ever had a problem with yellow-jacket wasps at your house? At our first house we had ground bees one summer... but never bees or wasps IN our house.     For the past few months, we've been living in an apartment.  It's in a nice wooded area and we see turkeys and deer across the road regularly. That's how I like to enjoy wildlife... with a little distance between us. So, when I got stung on my foot in my apartment a few months ago, I immediately let the owners know, and informed them that there was a nest in the back outside wall.  We later discovered that there was … [Read more...]

    Like it or not... growth comes through hard times. When you've been knocked down it takes courage to get up and start over again. And then there is that thing called fear.  It's paralyzing... it kills your hope and dreams.   Whether you've been knocked down, overcome with fear, or are in the midst of a hard journey... you need encouragement. You need to know the secret for getting back up... having the courage to stand strong... and the confidence to believe for tomorrow.   So what's the secret?     My husband and I have been going … [Read more...]