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...]

  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...]

    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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  WHY do I celebrate Earth Day?     Immediately upon rolling out of bed I take a step the to the window and pull hard on the cord that raises the blinds shielding my eyes and bedroom from the morning light. Today as I peered through the panes of my second story window, the blue sky was pale behind the gray sticks reaching upwards to the heavens.  Those dull branches and twigs looked lifeless, yet invisibly life might be found coursing through the pulp in that forest of trees.  In a matter of a few weeks, buds will be bursting with glimmers of green and our sleeping world will look … [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...]

  We wield incredible power with our words. Do we speak life or death into the lives we touch?     Have you ever been in someone's home and watched as a parent or sibling spoke a few choice words and you observed a physical change in the individual to whom those words were spoken? I intentionally used the term, "a few choice words." When you read that statement you most likely thought I was referring to unkind, demeaning, or hurtful words.  But, actually, "choice words" simply means words of one's own choosing.  And really don't we all choose our words when we speak? Some of my … [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...]

  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...]