Every where you look this time of year... midst the dying...there is beauty.   There's something magical about autumn light. There is more contrast.  And intensity.   And then there is all that brilliant color that greets us... It's as if a bird had flown through the trees with a flaming torch, igniting fire upon fire. Ever notice how individual leaves become red or golden embers illuminated by the sun? And then there is the farmers' harvest...brimming with color.  Apples, pumpkins, squash, peppers, tomatoes. Our world is awash with color and texture and light. Even … [Read more...]

  How to win the mind battle.  Once and for all.   Today I'm sharing a simple, doable exercise to help you win that battle going on in your mind. "Once and for all?" you ask. I know...is that really possible?   And then I wonder, "Who am I to suggest that this battle can be conquered once and for all?" After all, I just spent the better part of a week on the roller coaster of positive/negative thoughts.   Speaking of roller coasters... I'm sure there are a number of reasons that people get on roller coasters.  Many ride because it's fun.  They love the exhilaration of … [Read more...]

Have you ever been sitting absolutely still but found your body trembling? Were you trembling from excitement?  Anticipation? Anxiety?  Or maybe fear?   Lately that is a state in which I often find myself. Some days it's much better than others.   This week has been a mixture of joy and sadness. Over three days I was blessed to have out-of-town guests.  My friend and her daughter came for a brief overnight visit, and another friend and her husband came to spend the day with us.  I can't tell you what bright spots those days were in my summer. It was so good to see far-away … [Read more...]

Faith is believing what we do not see, and the reward for this kind of faith is to see what we believe.   Saint Augustine   You've heard the term "blind faith."  Usually a person with blind faith is looked upon as weak or helpless.   How many times have we heard someone say, "Trust me." In the recesses of my mind, I remember my dad telling me that I could not trust anyone.  I'm not sure what life experiences my dad encountered to help him develop that cynical outlook. Fortunately my dad did not live his life that way before me.  He was a very gentle, kind, and caring man.  And I … [Read more...]

Let me tell you how blessed I am. Every morning I wake up next to a man who loves me with his whole heart. I pretty much jump out of bed each day because I can. Clothes hang straight in my closet sorted by type and I get to put on something to fit the day and occasion. When I go to the kitchen sink and turn the faucet, out pours sparkling clean water. As I grab my Bible to sit on the couch, I turn and look out the window and see the morning mist rising or dancing across the small lake. Turning the pages of my Bible, I read words of encouragement, and I'm blessed that I have the ability to read and … [Read more...]

  Everyday, as I walk, I am amazed by the tapestry along the roadside. Today I noticed leaf shapes. Each leaf was the same tone of green.  Yet, from plant to plant and bush to bush, each had its own exquisite shape. Together they created the most beautiful tapestry in green.     A few days ago we took the rowboat out on the lake just before sunset. In the stillness the lily pads and other water plants reflected the setting sun's brilliant light. We were in awe of another tapestry at the water's edge. A mirror formed across the face of the water.  It captured the … [Read more...]

I've been doing a lot of chewing lately and I'm not talking about burgers, potato salad, or s'mores. Maybe you're like me....one day it's disappointment, the next it may be weariness or lack.  Some days I chew on blessings, a faithful husband, dear friends, good food, wildflowers, and sunset reflections over a beautiful lake.  You can pretty much tell what I'm chewing on.  It shows all over my face. What have you been chewing on lately?     For quite a few years I saved my calendars.  My favorites were always the ones featuring a Bible verse and the artwork of Ellen Stouffer.  As I … [Read more...]

Today I picked up stones and roots while my friend ran the rototiller to prepare for her garden.  Later, I noticed that I had an aroma about me.  It's not what you think!  But, I bet you know exactly the aroma I'm referring to if you've ever pushed a power lawn mower around your yard.     Have you ever thought about your aroma? Did you just tilt your nose down and take a whiff of your shirt?  I'm not talking about your perfume, toilet water, or cologne.  I'm not talking about whether you used deodorant after your shower, though that is probably a good idea. [wink] There's another kind … [Read more...]

Today I hurried out on an errand, not wanting to be late.  At my final destination I had to stop at a desk.  The woman there greeted me warmly and I responded in my usual fashion.   But, I was surprised when she said.  "You're one of those positive people, I can see it in your face, too."     I had been 'zooming' all morning and here it was 11:45 already. The task at hand was one for which I was grateful, but on the other hand, I so wished that it wasn't necessary.  Really, I can't say that I was 'feeling' all that positive. And then I pretty much put it out of my mind. Until this … [Read more...]

  Camera in one hand and dog leash in the other, I went for a walk hoping to see some woodland flowers along the roadside. At first all I saw were mats and mats of decomposing leaves. After this past winter...that was no surprise. But...remember I wanted very much to see some sweet woodland flowers proclaiming, "It's spring!"   As we walked along, squinting into the sunshine, hope ran high in my heart.   I was not disappointed.   Click here to download this quote as 5x7 free printable.   I doubt that most people would see anything besides the twenty shades of … [Read more...]

  This week my heart was encouraged as I read these verses.... Hurry with your answer, God!    I’m nearly at the end of my rope.Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me!    That would be certain death.If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,    I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.Point out the road I must travel;    I’m all ears, all eyes before you.Save me from my enemies, God—    you’re my only hope!Teach me how to live to please you,    because you’re my God.Lead me by your blessed Spirit    into cleared and level pastureland. Psalm 143:7-10 The Message   Have you … [Read more...]

It's Earth Day! As a gardener and nature lover, Earth Day has mixed meanings to me.  I appreciate the beauty of nature, the first shoots of green in the spring, and the harvest of flowers and fruits as the seasons turn. One of my favorite things is to spend time at the beach and enjoy the sand, sunshine, crashing or lapping waves, and the warm breeze. And anytime of the year, I am game for a hike, or even a walk along a rural roadside. Today, we took a walk down a nearby road.  There's a small boat launch onto the river along that road and we strolled on in there to get a closer look at the now receding … [Read more...]

This week I was prodded to change my outlook on life. Somewhere in this great big invisible world we call the internet I read a phrase that stuck with me. Forget talking about your troubles. If we don't talk about our troubles...what do we do? Celebrate our joys!     I have a good friend that I chat with irregularly via email.  At this time in our lives it's the best form of communication.  It's efficient.  When we get the chance to talk on the phone....it's a looooong talk.  And we usually don't have time to do that very often. Today I did something I don't usually do.  I … [Read more...]

How many times has a good friend asked you how you were and you found yourself telling her some of your troubles? It's something we all do...especially when that friend is someone whom we trust. I don't think letting someone know that you're struggling with your child, or your job, or your health is a bad thing.  Not at all.  In fact, unless I know that you're dealing with something that needs prayer....I can't pray specifically about it for you.     Do you think it would make any difference if instead of talking about our troubles, we would tell people about our joys? You're at … [Read more...]

Okay...I'm going to admit it. I had a very shaky week. [sigh] More times than I can count, I had to dig down, pray, and proceed in faith. Even going for my walk (I try to get in four miles weather permitting) was difficult.  Who put lead in my legs??     For lent I've been getting up earlier than normal. During this time I read a few Lenten devotionals and spend extra time in the word. In that darkness before dawn, I'm reading through the book of Romans.  Slowly. I don't know how you do your reading, but when certain passages jump out at me from my old red leather-bound … [Read more...]

Earlier this week I was sharing my life story. I concluded my monologue with the words, I have hope and HOPE does not disappoint us.  Do you have hope?     This week we hit a few new challenges in our journey in the "in between." Frankly, aside from trusting God, I could throw up my hands in despair. In sharing my story I realized that I am living in hope.   My hope is not the kind you can conjure up. It's not hope based on positive thinking....though I do believe we need to choose a positive outlook. It's simply based on knowing God and believing that he is my … [Read more...]

  How was your week? Sometimes, we arrive at Sunday, the fresh squeaky first day of the week, all used up and worn out.  We look ahead and sigh, already worn down with not-so-positive anticipation. Sometimes, we cannot wait to greet the new week and joyfully zoom off at full speed. Where are you on the continuum?   Lord, you are my God;     I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness     you have done wonderful things,     things planned long ago.                            - Isaiah 25:1 NIV   This week as I came across this verse I had a big … [Read more...]