The Glorious One

streamThis was a post from a friend.  It is the prayer on my prayer this morning, too, so I wanted to share it with you.

Praying from Ephesians 1:17-19

asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him.

We honor you as the Lord of our lives. We align our hearts with your heart. We love partnering with you. We look forward to partnering with You and being with you today.

We are confident that all the wisdom we need today is found in you. We lean into you today inviting that spirit of wisdom and revelation into our hearts.

Would you help us serve people and see people the way you do? Our own wisdom and strength is not enough.

Thank you that you share your thoughts with us. When we are wavering or uncertain, you shine your light on our path. You show us which way to go. We expect to hear your voice today. We expect to know which choice to make today. Show us that we might declare truth and speak a word that puts you on display today.

We are your glory bearers. We are your sons and daughters. Lead us with absolute certainty.

It is our delight to honor you today. It is our delight to serve our clients and customers with joy. Make us strong in the strength of your might. It’s You! It’s all for You!

We pray that righteousness and truth would come to bear today on wickedness and perversion. We believe you.

We look to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
You have not left us alone. We are not on our own. You are with us.

I am yours and You are mine.

​From the prayer room, a friend.

Posted in Quiet Time Prayers | 1 Comment

Do You Know God’s Greatest Gift?

sunrise 11:15It was a glorious morning on the swing.  Usually, I’m at the computer writing when the sun comes up, but today the Lord wooed me outside on the swing.

Ribbons of majesty streaked the early sky bringing instant tears of gratitude. How can my words, even of my grandest praise, be sufficient, Lord.

We understand the Lord is with us, a concept taught since we began our walk of faith.  But, rarely do I feel His presence like a guest sitting beside me on the swing. Today was different.

Beside our salvation, the greatest gift the Father has given us is His blessed Holy Spirit.  I knew He was there, as real as an indentation on the cushion beside me,  like an emanating warmth of a body close enough to rest your head.

sunrise 2- 11:15I realized how often I forget He is with me – as if I must search through disciplines of faith to earn His presence, or climb to where He is.  Sad.  And so untrue. The Holy Spirit is with us because Jesus promised  if He went away, He would send the Holy Spirit to each believer.

 “. . . do you not know  that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  (1 Cor. 3;16)

We may nod our heads in agreement,  but do we really know this is true?  Does it change how we live, what we hope for?  Do we walk with reverence, not wanting to insult the Spirit of Grace?

He is our closest friend, and constant companion, our comforter. The resurrection life of Christ, living with, and IN us.

Too often the topic of the Holy Spirit divides us.  We argue if His gifts are for today, but how can we extract a gift from the One who owns it?  If He has come, then all that He is has also come.

sunrise 3 -11:15He is our gift.  The reason we can say, we are not alone.

I felt Him next to me today, and without any effort on my part, my heart ripped open at the possibility that I  would ever grieve, or insult Him, or take Him for granted.  An earnest prayer formed instantly on my lips: “I want to know You, Holy Spirit, like never before.  I want to be more sensitive to Your leading, to Your whispers, and respond to the slightest touch.”

” . . . if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”  (John 16:13)

“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:15)

We need to eat, drink, talk about, study, memorize these verses.  For the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is our hope in these days of darkness.

You are with us, in us, blessed Holy Spirit.  Open our eyes to see You with greater clarity.  


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A Good Conversationalist

sharing coffee:souls“Where have you been?” she asked as she took my coat and poured me a giant cup of coffee.

“Oh, I . . .”

“Just one more cup.” she mumbled as she filled her mug.  “I was worried when you weren’t posting anything.  It’s not like you to stop blogging.  I mean, after all . . . so what’s the story? Do you take cream and sugar?”

“I really don’t drink cof . . .”

“I shared your blog with a friend of mine and she loved the one about bra shopping.  We laughed our heads off.  Are you going to write any more humor?” she asked, and took big gulp of coffee.

“Yes, actually, I . . . ”

“How’s your family?  Things aren’t the best for me right now,” she said.  “I’m having a problem with my husband .  . . Oh gee,” she gasped, “I hope I didn’t upset you when I said husband?”

“No, of course not, I . . .”

impressing parents 72“What have you been doing art wise?  I have your bird picture hanging in my bathroom.  I bet you’re busy every minute in your studio, right?” she waved an imaginary paint brush over her hand then tilted up her mug to get the last drop.

“Why do people hang my pictures in the bathroom?”

“I met a lady at Bible Study, she invited me for the first time  to her house for lunch and you’ll never guess what she had hanging in her bathroom?  The exact same picture – I said to myself . . . this must be meant to happen. Don’t you just love when God does that?”

“Well . . . ”

“The same picture hanging in the same place,” she said euphorically and filled her cup again.  “You never said if you like cream or sugar . . . so, how is your writing coming? I can just picture you in your office typing away. . . Are you working on a book? What about the blog . . . gasp . . .you’re not going to stop blogging I hope . . . are you? . . . I’ll tell my friend and she will be so upset. . . How are the grandkids?”

“Sorry I can’t stay . . . writing you know.” I carried my full cup over to the sink.

Looking startled, “Oh, well okay.  We’ll have to do this again sometime, I know we were meant to meet after all you painted that picture and  . . . I’ll be looking forward to your next blog . . . I’ll call my friend, the one with the bathroom, and tell her I met you.  Wouldn’t that be awesome if we three got together sometime? Do you hang your artwork in your bathroom?”

She walked me to the door. “Nice to chat,” I waved as I walked to the car.  “Thank you for your hospitality. Next time, what do you say we have decaf?”

                                . . . . . . .

I’ve been working full time on my book: Gifts From the Porch Swing.  This requires strict focus  Please feel free to enjoy some of the older blogs.  And don’t forget to add your comments – a little feedback can really keep an old gal going. Blessings . . .

Posted in Humorous | 1 Comment

Pushed? or Led?

oden 10:15Errr-eeee, errr-eee, errr-eee!  Lovely new sounds in my morning.  Errr-eee-err-eee!

Oden has a new squeaker-ball.  He loves it.  You can hear just where he is in the house because you hear that incessant err-eeee-err-eee.

It’s the gift that keeps on squeaking.  

Oden has six tennis balls, usually hiding under the furniture.  But, NOoooo, he doesn’t want look for those balls,  he wants the one with the annoying squeaker.

Oden, or Odie, is the newest member of the family.  However, after a day on the farm, he’s referred to as Grodie-Odie.

He’s only 6 months old!

Why, such a big dog, you ask?   That’s what I said when my son, Kyle, brought him in the door.

But God knew what He was doing – again. One thing I still miss is morning coffee with my husband.  So, God sent another male into my life.  This one has much bigger ears.

The minute I sit in my chair with my morning coffee, he decides it’s time to play.

oden 2 10-15“No Oden, I’m having my coffee now . . .”

Pleeeeeeeze . . .

Guess who wins.

God knows best.  He knows what gifts to bring our way.  Even though these gifts require time, energy, and training, they come to us with the purpose of being a blessing.


Oden is very obedient, but he wants to lead.  Currently, a walk on the leash looks more like a drag-a-thon  . . . who’s pulling whom?  He has to learn to follow my lead.  It’s going to take some time, but he’ll get it.

Aren’t we like this?  It’s easy to rush ahead with our plans,  and then try dragging the Lord along, almost as an after thought.  “Lord, please bless my plans.”

I think a more excellent way is: “Lord, what are Your plans? I want to move with You.”

Sometimes I get to striving.  I get all un-peaceful, and finally realize I’m the one in the lead.

If you’re feeling pushed by something, there’s a good chance you’re not being led.

The flesh pushes.  The Spirit flows.

He wants us to work hard, press-in, and aim for excellence, but keeping mindful of our peace.  It’s a good rule: the minute your become un-peaceful, stop, and check with the Lord.

Oden wants to lead.  I want him to learn to walk beside me.  Isn’t that what the Lord is trying to teach us, too?

It’s taken Odie a while to learn he can’t leap and grab the ball out of my hand.  He has learned to wait for my lead . . . “Oden, keep your eye on the ball . . . wait for it . . .”

oden 3 10:15














Father, help us be more aware of the Holy Spirit’s leading.  We want to walk besides You, yielded to Your guidance every step of the way.  Show us when we run out ahead of You.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

Posted in Inspirational | 5 Comments

Are You Managing Your Distractions? Or, Are They Managing You?

home to mama 5There are two kinds of distraction: 1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. and 2. Extreme agitation of the mind or emotions.  

(Above – Grandkids are happy, good distractions!)

I was a brand new Christian when my own kids were little.  I didn’t have a lot of patience worked in me yet. I’d blow my stack if I was trying to work on a project and the kids kept interrupting. Then, a visiting speaker said something that changed my life:

“God wants us to be women of action instead of reaction.”

Boy, was I convicted.  I was more like an atomic reactor.  So, I began to pray for God to change me. He faithfully brought me into His classroom and I gradually acquired the skill to manage my distractions instead of them managing me. 

(Oops, grandkids just woke up.  Time for morning hugs and breakfast.)

I’m not talking about happy kid distractions.  I GET to be distracted because they are a gift from God. Most of the external distractions, I’m referring to, only need to be turned off, unplugged, or dealt with through better time management.

(Excuse me, German Shepherd puppy needs to go out.)

Caution sign72It’s the internal distractions that are the most challenging for me. These distractions need to be discerned.

The most paralyzing distractions are the ones that agitate the mind and emotions.

Ever have those?

Driving to church Sunday, I was composing a list in my head of all the things  I was not doing “right.”

By the time I got to church I was feeling really down. (duh) Using great restraint, I briefly shared my feelings with a friend.

“That’s a whole lot of condemnation,” she responded.

BM undercloud-2A light bulb went on. Now, I know about condemnation.  I teach about condemnation.  But, when it’s between your ears, it’s easy to let it go unchecked. I was listing all the things I’m NOT doing right and forgetting what I am doing right.  I was listening to all the negatives without discerning where they were coming from. The enemy was having a hay day with my mind.

Sometimes, all we need to do is download the clutter on a close friend – or write it on paper – and we can see clearly that we’re just being distracted.

(Oops, dog wants to go out again . . . puppy bladder.)

I’m so thankful for the close friends God has given me, who help me process my thoughts.    And, I’m so thankful for the freedom we find when we bring our needs to the foot of the cross.

Father, help us be more aware of  what’s distracting us.  Help us manage, and not be managed by them.  Help us be good stewards of our time. Give us greater discernment, Lord, to recognize the enemy’s distractions. Help us lay down our lists of  condemnation and accusations at the foot of the cross, pick up the joy and keep following the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


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The Power of A Hug


There’s something so powerful about a hug.  When my sons wrap their big arms around me it’s the best feeling in the world. It makes me feel the world is a better place and I’m not alone.  My whole family are big huggers.  My son, Kyle, hugs the guys who work for him.  He’ll spread his arms wide and say, “bring it in,” then they give each other a manly back-slappin’ hug.

My grandkids used to call it  a “shhhhnugle.”  The word has evolved and now the littlest one woos me with “Let’s nuggle.”  Their tender nuggles were a big part in healing my grieving heart.

Neuroscientists have studied the affect of a hug.  It actually helps the brain and the body calm down from overwhelming states of anxiety, panic and stress.  It also helps to relieve shame.  They’ve proven hugs calm the nervous system, too.

I read about a woman who used to go into nursing homes dressed in a bear suit.  Her primary purpose was to bring hugs.  Those who might never feel comfortable hugging someone felt totally free to hug a bear. What a brilliant idea, I’ve put buying a bear suit on my bucket list.

So, what do you do if you are hug challenged?  Scientists have proven that the brain doesn’t know the different between reality and fantasy in many ways.  If we think about being held by someone, who makes us feel safe, it has similar effects as an actual hug.

Once again, science and Scripture agree. Meditating on Scripture is one way to receive a healing hug from an invisible God.

David used meditation as a way of calming his heart during the long journey in the wilderness.  “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.” (Psalm 63:5-6)

When the father saw his prodigal son walking toward him, he “felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”  (Luke 15:20)  What a wonderful image to meditate on.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.”  (Psalm 91:4 KJ 2000)

“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him,, and he in God.  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.  For is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.”  (1 John 4:15-16)

No matter how wonderful meditating on God’s Word is, we’ve all been created with the need for physical touch. A warm hug can melt years of frozen pain. There are people all around us who never get a hug.  When my mom was widowed, the only time I saw her cry was when I wrapped my arms around her.

So, let’s put on our holy “bear-suits” . . . You never know how much healing you’ll be spreading around.

Father,  help us meditate on all the tender scriptures that show how You wrap Your arms around us. Allow us to feel Your embrace when we’re hugged by our family and friends.  






Posted in Inspirational | 2 Comments

The World Is Waiting to Hear Your Story

world is waiting to hear your storyHave you ever purchased a book just because you like the author?  Me too.  When the author is God, we can be sure the book will be written with excellence, and have a glorious ending. . . Heaven.

Before a good story is written, the author has to decide what He wants to communicate to others through the book.  This is called the theme.

If God is the Author and finisher of our story, what is the theme? It’s easy to mix up the theme of a story and the plot.  They’re different.

The plot of a story is the series of conflicts or struggles the main character goes through.  Most often the character learns or grows as they try to solve their problem.  The basic steps of a plot are: 1.conflict begins, 2.things go right, 3. things go wrong, 4. final victory or defeat, 5. there’s a wrap-up, and then the steps may, or may not, repeat.

The events we experiences is the plot of our story. What God wants us to learn is the theme.

So what is God’s theme for your life?

Most of us will answer by explaining what we do, the plans we have.  But God is more interested in our processing than He is in our plans.

It’s important to note that God’s theme is the same for every believer.  Only the events of our lives will be unique.

God’s theme: that we know Christ and be conformed to His image. (Romans 8:29)

No matter where the plot takes us, the theme will remain consistent.  This is helpful to remember especially when plans and dreams are devastated.  We may not understand why things are happening, but we can be sure He wants to accomplish two things: 1. to reveal more about His character, and then 2. develop that characteristic into ours.

I didn’t plan on being a caregiver. I wanted to help, but in the beginning I felt inconvenienced and frustrated. I spent many hours on the porch swing pleading for God’s help. I knew I didn’t have what it takes.

One pointer He gave me was to take the role of being wrong. I wasn’t to defend myself, argue with her, or try to prove that I was right and she was wrong.  “Just let her be right,” He’d whisper.  It was a wonderful key for keeping the peace. She felt safe, and I had less stress.

writer 1The plot of God’s story for me was caring for her, in my home, for 12-years.  God’s theme was  to learn His patience, long-suffering and selfless-love. Once I stopped kicking and screaming against what He wanted for me to do,  His theme started being worked into my life and I came through a better woman.

No matter what is happening in your life remember: God is the Author, and His theme will never change.  He wants you to know Him, walk with Him and have the likeness of His Son, Jesus, seen in your life.

Father, help us to know You more intimately, walk with You more closely, and we ask that the fruit of Your dear Son be seen in our life.  Amen




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Step Into God’s Story

Work hard for God's approval 100Everybody loves a good story.  I was sitting on the porch swing fumbling through a bunch of disconnected thoughts and suddenly a phrase, as clear as crystal, came to mind: “Step into My story.”

I knew it had to be God because it was much smarter than me. I wasn’t sure how to respond.  What did He mean?  I came across an interesting quote about the power of story. “Stories have power.  They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge.  They help us understand.  They imprint a picture on our minds.” (Janet Litherland )

Want to make a point?  Tell a really good story.  “Our appetite for stories is a reflection of the basic human need to understand patterns of life – not merely as an intellectual exercise but as a personal, emotional experience.” (The Dragonfly Effect)

Each one of us has a story,  a testimony, and God is the author.  

“For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us in christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

We are God’s work of heart.  We have a plot, a purpose, and because He is God, we are written with excellence.  He doesn’t quickly throw together a few dull stories so He can move on to something more exciting.  Each one of us has a story designed and cherished by the Creator.

With that in mind, it’s rather foolish to downplay our story – or compare our story to someone else’s. Our story is one-of-a-kind, and God never writes a bad story.

But our stories don’t always take the direction we hoped.  We get sick, lose our jobs, lose our loved-ones, have accidents.  Loss can make us feel as if we’ve been knocked off plot, lost focus.  It’s easy to think that the good story has ended, and we’re suddenly trapped in a story with no happy ending.

There have been times I haven’t liked my personal story one bit.  I’ve wanted out.  I can remember after Bill died crying, “Okay, God, I’ve been a brave girl, now I want things back the way they were.”

That’s when we have to remember Who is writing our story.

When we’ve lost the sense of plot and purpose, when we’ve lost the vision, that’s when we have to go back to the introduction.

Jesus paved the way so we can step into God’s story.  We are a part of His plans – not our own.  He hasn’t lost the purpose of our story.  When our storyline takes us to the valley of the shadow of death,  Our Author will not leave us there.  He knows our ending and it’s a good one.

“Step into My story,” He whispers today.  It’s all about trusting the Author.  In God, our story always ends well, even if we don’t see it in this life, because it ends with Eternal Life with Him.

If you, like me, find yourself disliking the plot in your story sometimes – remember Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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Kiss the Joy as it Flies


grassesBack in the seventies I read a book called “Kiss the Joy as It Flies”, by John Pearson.  I bought the book simply because of its title.

The Lord was teaching me about living the joyful life and how to recapture my child-like faith.

He was getting me positioned for an explosion of creativity.

At the time, my mom had died after 70-days in  intensive care.  My kids had left home, and I was in the middle of hormone crazies.  Also, I’d recently broken a bone in my back when stairs collapsed from a platform at a conference.  As a result of the fall, Fibromyalsia was beginning to alter every activity I loved to do. I guess you could say I was a mess.

“What do I do with my this season of my life, Lord?” I cried.

He surprised me with a song.  This is the chorus:

“Under the shadow of Your wing, I will rest and I will sing.  Yes, under the shadow of Your wing, I’ll braid long grasses, whistle and sing.”

Braiding grasses was something I used to do with my best friend when we were about ten.  We’d sit in a field, soaking up the joy of a lazy summer, weave grassy jewelry, and make up silly songs. We just played – all day.

As I contemplated the words of the song, He whispered, “I want you to learn to play, again.  Do what you love to do.”

What?  Isn’t that irresponsible? I’m an adult, I do adult things – right?  I have work to do.

But, He was showing me that just as the heart of a child delights in playful freedom, we can bring that same mindset into our work.  It’s an attitude, a belief system, a posture of the heart.

Our culture has a product oriented mindset.  We are consumers, and we breed little consumers. “I’ll be happy when I have more.”  “Bigger is better!”  We tend to live from the    outside-in, instead of the inside-out.  We’re all about what’s happening around us, instead of living from the Kingdom within where joy reigns and love abides.

My artwork started to change the more I grabbed onto this concept.  When I approached it playfully, instead of rigid and wanting everything ‘perfect’, my work became more whimsical and even carried a touch of joy.

ArtSch 3-cWhen my grandkids make art they’re not worried about the outcome, they just love the process of creating.  They come up with amazing stuff.

art school - skyline 3





artist painting100 copy



This is James’ orange sky city. Only a child-like heart paints an orange sky.


Creativity is in all of us.  God’s ideas and life solutions rise on the wings of child-like faith and a heart of joy.

Let’s do ourselves a favor, drop the stress, kiss the joy as it flies, and paint an orange sky.

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A Brook, A Puddle, and A River?

streamShallow: of little depth, not exhibiting, requiring, or capable of serious thought.

I was taking a walk around our block one day when I came to a babbling brook and paused to study it.  It was a noisy little stream, splashing and burbling as it wound around every log and rock.  I turned to leave and the Lord spoke to me.

“What’s the difference between a brook and a river?”

I thought long and hard and finally answered, “the depth of the bottom and the amount of water it can hold.”

Then I sensed Him saying: “My people are not to be like a brook, with its direction determined by its surroundings.”

I thought about it for a few moments and then walked on. Next I came to a field with a large puddle stretching out like a small lake reflecting the sky like a mirror.  I stopped to contemplate and the Lord spoke again.

puddle-field“What’s the difference between a river and a puddle?”

“Well, Lord, certainly the depth of the bottom and the amount of water it can hold.”

“My people are not to be like a puddle that collects water and quickly dissipates into the earth.”

I had much to contemplate as I paused to sit on a rock and examine my life.  Suddenly, a picture of a mighty river came into my thoughts.  It wasn’t a particular river, but it ran  through the center of a city.  It was wide and deep and there were houses and schools and factories lining the edges.  And the Lord spoke.

“What do you hear?”

“Nothing, Lord.”

“Listen again.”

Then He opened my ears and I heard a quiet roar.

And I sensed He saying: “My people are to be like a mighty river in the land, not driven off course by every obstacle.  They are not splashy and loud but have the quiet roar of My authority.  Not shallow, My people are built for depth and have the capacity to hold the knowledge and wisdom of My Kingdom and be carriers of My presence.”

He didn’t explain how this would happen, but I knew He was working diligently and I needed to yield the best I knew how.

Since this experience years ago, I can see how He has been working this into my life.  I can also see how I’ve strayed, and allowed myself to be overly influenced by my surroundings.  I can see how I’ve allowed myself to be caught up in the materialistic culture of our times – and I can see how He’s allowed me to feel totally empty and dry because of it.

I can also see how faithful He’s been, and still is, to bring me back every time I’ve missed the mark.  His unfailing love and grace has provided us the place to find forgiveness and a fresh start – at the foot of the cross.

We are facing judgement in this nation, partly because the church have been content being brooks and puddles.  We’ve bent to the world system and bought into the shallow culture of our times.  We’ve forgotten about the search for excellence and yielded to whatever is easy and self-satisfying.  We’re too busy for prayer and too distracted to search until we find.

Father, forgive us . . . and, by Your mercy, bring us back again.

Note:  I mostly know in retrospect that I’ve heard His voice because He confirms it again and again.  I’ve never heard an audible voice.  Thoughts that are clearer, and smarter than me will enter my mind. I have the sense they are coming from my spirit not my mind.  They often come with a sense of surprise.

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Move That Mountain

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”  (Mark 11:23)

wood pile goneI’ve never known what do to with this scripture. Is it meant to be taken literally or figuratively?  Well, when the wood arrived this scripture came to mind.

The pile was fit for boldness, so I asked the Lord to send the angels and then I pointed at that gynormous heap and declared: “Mountain be moved!”  Then I added, “Over by the garage, please.”

One first angel appeared the next week: Autumn.  She worked hard for an afternoon.  The pile shrunk – a little.  Then she had a brilliant idea to ask the youth group to help as a ministry to the widow.  Today they came.

The mountain has moved!

Ten boys, aged 3 to 16, and one grown-up angel named Jen, worked from 10:00 until 2:00.  I ordered a sheet pizza and wings and we took a break for lunch.  They did an awesome job and I must have said “thank you” a hundred times.

But the sweetest story was just to unfold.  When Brady, Bob, and Jonathan’s dad came to pick them up I went to the car to thank the parents for sharing their kids with me.  Dad got out of the car and said,  “You don’t remember me because I was just a teenager at the time, but you came to sing at Jack Moore’s church and I was there.”

He continued to tell me how I spoke into his life and that he always remembered hearing me sing “In the Garden”.  “You were a tremendous blessing to me,” he said.

Think about it . . . twenty-plus years later, his sons are at my house blessing me!
wood stackedOh the little seeds we sow.  One never knows the gardens they help to grow.

I shared the story with my son, and he told me one even more amazing.  About two years ago, he was at Wegman’s in the checkout line when a woman in front of him discovered her wallet was not in her purse.  Her “mountain” was in her grocery cart.  My son quietly gave the clerk his debit card.  She burst into tears and thanked him profusely.  But that wasn’t the end of the story . . .

Probably a year later, a young man came walking down the linear parkway behind the farm and ‘happened’ to meet my son.  They struck up a friendship and the young man ended up being a valuable volunteer with the ‘mountain’ of work during the farm’s corn maze that fall.

“I’m going to bring my mom some time.  She’d love this,” said the young man.

And he did.  When she saw whose farm it was, she burst into tears.  Because she was the woman at Wegman’s!

“You’ll never know how much your kindness changed my life,” she said throwing her arms around him.

My son’s unselfish generosity turned out to be a huge blessing back to him.  Not only did the young man return, day after day, to work as a volunteer, his mother came, too.

We never know how valuable are the seeds we sow.  There are three important things to remember in God’s Kingdom:  sow freely, without expectation of return, and often . . . then maybe you’ll see your mountains moved, too!



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Trusting Acceptance

wait for gramma 72As the last sock and shirt was packed, I left the toys strewn across the floor to pick up later, and bundled the kids in the car.  Mommy was coming home after visiting her sister in California.  She’d trusted me with her precious babies for a whole week, and I’d accepted the challenge.

James and Hazel were at camp, so for most of the time I only had Owen (15), Chapel (3) and Everett (7).  Owen was working on a college history course, so every day I took the two little guys on an adventure so he could study.  We went to the beach, the Strong Museum of Play, the Jump club, the pool, the playground  . . .  It was CONSTANT activity.

On the last day, I’d decided not to tell them mom was coming soon.  We’d just gotten settled back at their house when she came bursting through the door.  The explosion of joy could be heard clear to Heaven.  Then, moments later, daddy came in with the kids from camp. The kids went nuts jumping and hugging each other. Everyone was talking at once.  It was a Kodak moment.

I stayed briefly but left so them could reconnect. Driving home I could feel a strange mixture of relief and sadness. I loved the happy routine complete with peanut butter and jelly packed lunches and extra laundry.  Part of me feels young again when I’m caring for the kids.

The next morning the house seemed especially empty. I retreated to the swing for a little while before church.  I felt so torn.  One part of me was glad I was relieved of the responsibility, the other part of me was dreading the aloneness.

Lord, please help me to accept where You have me now.

At church, I shared briefly with Pastor Don.  He shared about Nobel Prize winner  Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book, The Gulag Archipelago. During his time in Soviet prison  he observed how some believers survived and others did not.  The ones that lived constantly hoping for things to change – didn’t make it.  The ones that  accepted where God had them – survived.

Acceptance: the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.  Willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation.

Then it occurred to me:

God has me right where He wants me – or I’d be somewhere else.

Contentment is a treasure that hides in the folds of trusting acceptance.  Fighting against our circumstances, or constantly wishing for change only breeds discontent and unrest.  Learning to embrace where God has you is challenging at times,  but then we have to ask ourselves:  Do we believe God is in control of our lives?  We either trust Him – or we don’t.

God hasn’t lost track of you . . . He’s with you . . . right where you are.

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The Economy of the Kingdom Starts with the Impossible

Yesterday, I came home with a load of groceries, pulled into my driveway and found this . . .

wood pilewood pile 2I’d ordered a load of pallet wood for the wood stove, but never did I imagine anything this huge.  “Lord . . .” I sighed as I stared in awe at the mountain of work ahead.

My son pulled up the driveway behind me, rolled down his window,  “Gee mom, what are you going to do with all this wood?” Not waiting for my answer, the doors flew open and out streamed the grandkids.  “Can you watch them while I run an errand?”

I put the groceries away and tried to enlist some brawn for the task.  They stacked for a few minutes.  “We’re hungry . . .”  I dropped my gloves and motioned inside. By the time I cleaned the kitchen their dad returned and they were gone.


On the swing this morning, in the shadow of my wood pile, I tried focusing on the Word.  Turning to John 6, I was instantly struck by how matter-of-fact is the presentation of the   feeding of the 5,000.

A grassy field filled with over 5,000 hungry people. No money to buy food.  This was an impossible situation . . .  but it was no problem for Jesus. He operated out of the economy of the Kingdom.

The economy of the Kingdom starts with the impossible.

An economy represents the of wealth and resources of a nation. We can no longer face the problems of today depending on the economy of this world.  We have too much week left at the end of the paycheck.  Too many problems left at the end of your strength.  Life is handing us one insurmountable problem after another.  We have to choose which economy will we work from.

God’s Got Good News.  We have to learn how to step into the adventurous story God is writing.  In the God’s economy, each impossibility is an opportunity for the miraculous.

The feeding of the 5,000 has some delightful pointers:

1.  Five loaves – Clearly not enough.  But, wait . . . five is the number of grace. It’s no coincidence that God chose this number.  It’s key. We have to depend on His resources, not our own.

2. “Make the people sit down,”   Take a posture of faith. A whirling mind breeds fear. The disciples first went to Jesus.  Then they did exactly what He said – even if it didn’t seem to make sense.

3. “When He had given thanks . . .” Another key to stepping into the economy of the Kingdom is expressed gratitude.  As citizens of God’s Kingdom we can give thanks in the face of a mountain because our lives, and our circumstances, are in Christ.

4. “Gather the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.”  Jesus cherished the tiny offering, as insufficient as it was in face of the need.  When we place. even the little faith we might have, into the hands of Jesus, it is precious to Him, and it will never be wasted.

Regarding my wood pile . . . I hear Him saying: “Slow and steady  . . . wait and see.”  The miracle is beginning to take shape.  One of many . . .

wood pile 3





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Step Into His Story

grand tetonAs an inspiring writer, I know how challenging it is to place a reader IN the middle of a scene, instead of simply telling them about it. It’s the difference between believing the   Grand Teton Mountains are real because you’ve seen a photo vs actually being there.

A good writer makes you see and feel what’s happening by creating a picture so real you can almost smell the wild flowers and feel the crisp mountain air against your skin.

teton wildflowerToo much of our experience as Christians is like looking at a photo . . . we believe it’s real, but we don’t know how to experience it.

Jesus wants us to learn how to step into the story He is writing – become fully engaged – know, by daily experience, the truth that sets us free.  He wants us to experience a life wrapped with grace, to know personally, the Love that finds no limitation.

I haven’t written in a while because I’ve been covered with the worst case of poison ivy I’ve ever had.  I’ll spare you the details, but believe me, two rounds of Prednisone, antihistamines, and multiple tubes of anti-itch cream only touched the edges of my blistering “itch”.

At the peak of misery, I faced a weekend that would test my normal resolve.  Not only was it the weekend for our Creative Hands community Art, Antique and Attic Treasure sale – in MY garage, it was also my granddaughter’s thirteenth birthday . . . parties. 

(There’s no such thing as one birthday party in this family.  Our dearly departed, Uncle Fred, started a tradition he called his birthday triduum.  A triduum is a three-day observance in the Catholic faith like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  This was Fred’s humor.  He believed his birthday deserved as least three parties.

My sweet, new-teen, didn’t realize she was in the flow of such deep family tradition.  Friday was the all girl sleep-over at her house.  Saturday was a tent sleepover with all the cousins in our back fields.  Then, last but not least, after two nights of no sleep, we were all scheduled to go to Stoney Brook Park for a picnic. (with 10,000 other hot, sweaty people – and their dogs.)

After the sale,  I was exhausted. Sunday morning, the grandkids emerged from the fields with all their gear, it was my job to miraculously mobilize myself  to manufacture a  sausage, eggs and pancakes feast.  They sat dazed, their eyes glazed over from sleeplessness, but still consumed a dozen and a half eggs, two boxes of sausage, and a bag of pancake mix.

After cleaning up the kitchen, I retreated to my swing to itch and cry for help.

“Lord,  I’m not going to make it through this trip to the park if You don’t help me.”

Imagine my surprise when He whispered:  “Step into My joy.”

It was as if all the lightbulbs in my exhausted, itchy brain turned on at once.  He was inviting me into His action scene.  He didn’t give me a lifeless word, He invited me to step into the story.

Step into what you need . . .

It was like a cloak dropping around a set of chilly shoulders . . . making what is believed to chase away the cold into an actual experience of warmth.  And so it was, the minute I needed strength I’d say . . .  “Jesus, I step into Your joy.”

What do you struggle with?  What is the “itch” that drives your unrest?  What part of  God’s story do you need to experience?

Father, we need to learn how to step into our inheritance in Christ.  We need to experience the truth that sets us free . . . not just hear it.  Father, help us to step into Your story, written in Christ.  Amen.


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Holy Strength

scarletScarlet got worse as the evening progressed.  I sat beside her on the floor of the laundry room feeling totally helpless.  Her paralysis was increasing.

Of course I prayed . . . until I could pray, and cry no more.  Then, from deep in the folds of my faith came song.  I sang over her and worshiped the Lord.  She seemed to quiet down.  I think she was blind, but she could hear my voice.

Exhausted, I closed the door and went to bed.  At 1:30 a.m. I woke up, got dressed immediately as if I was in auto-pilot.  Ten minutes later, we were on our way to the hospital for the third time in 24-hours.

Surprisingly, I felt strong.  I could remember the same peculiar strength at other crisis moments in my life.  A strength beyond anything normal, deeper, without disciplined thought or determination.  Holy, pure strength, void of all stoicism.

I felt the same supernatural resolve when, as a new widow, I had to put my beloved dog, Molly, down.  I felt it when I leaned over my mother-in-law at St. John’s Hospital moments before she passed.  It came that time I was greeted by a nurse and a nun on the second floor of Hyland Hospital, with the news that my mom had died moments before.  It coursed through me, with a force beyond human understanding, as I administered oxygen and morphine to my husband.  It wrapped around me when my father died and this young Christian heard the Lord’s voice for the first time, “Seek Me when you are feeling strong, don’t wait until you’re feeling weak.”

Yes, the strength of the Lord cannot be described or duplicated.  The strength of the Lord makes even the saddest moments bearable, makes you know that something, Someone, beyond yourself, is carrying and sustaining you.

“There really isn’t anything more we can do for her,” said the Vet.  “She’s very distressed and this would be the kindest choice.”

I knew it was time, but still I staggered at the thought that I would ever hold such power.  What would I want if it were me?  Will I, in my lifetime, ever hear those words spoken over me? Will it become politically correct to end a life and call it kindness, masked in a cloak of  carnal “mercy?”

“I agree,” I said, as the vet handed me a box of tissue.  It was over quickly. I hugged the doctor, thanked the staff and walked out of the hospital empty-handed.

Driving home in silence I felt numb, with a raw sadness I’d felt many times before.

It’s just a cat . . . I tried to tell myself . . .

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