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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]