IMG_7485Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,

for I am gentle and humble in heart,

and you will find rest for your souls.
~Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

This was one of my mom’s favorite Bible verses.  It was so fitting of her too.  She was one of the most peace-filled women I’ve ever known.  She knew how to rest.  She had an assurance and dependence on the Lord that no storm could topple.  Her faith in God, her trust in Jesus anchored her soul and gave her peace, even in some of the most challenging and difficult days of her life.

All of these synonyms cause me to just breathe slower and deeper.  Inhale…exhale…I need this.  How about you?

We are in a challenging time when anxious thoughts, constantly increasing statistics, and daily news can wreak havoc in our hearts, souls, and minds.  There is a challenge to stay relaxed and peace-filled in the frenzy of Covid19 and all its impacts.  Nearly every person on this planet has been affected in some way.  We all share this common threat at some level, on top of the normal daily stresses.

Calgon…take me away.
I still remember that slogan from years ago of a luxurious warm bubble bath.  Add some flickering candles and a few drops of lavender essential oil and it may be close to perfect.  I may not be as “prone to wander” these days, but I have a tendency to be “prone to worry.”  How about you?

One definition of rest at is “relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs.”  Yes, I would like more of this kind of rest, this kind of “peace that passes all understanding.”  Jesus promises us this kind of peace and I saw it lived out in my mom’s life.

After Jesus’s resurrection, when he appeared to His disciples for the first time, His first words to them were, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:1921)  In fact, He told them this twice.  He must have known that’s what they needed the most right then.  Before His death on the cross, some of His last words to His disciples again included the word peace.  “I have told you these things so that IN ME you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” along with “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father.”  When He is comforting His disciples, He tells them to “not let their hearts be troubled“(John 14:1) as well as “Peace I leave with you;  MY peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

There’s a story found in Matthew 8:23-26 that includes Jesus, a boat, and a storm.
Waves are crashing all over the boat, a major storm is raging.  My heart and thoughts can get that way sometimes.  Despite the dangerous storm, Jesus is sleeping/resting on the boat.  He is peace-filled.  His disciples on the other hand, were not.  They woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”  Jesus replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then he got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, and it was completely calm.

I need those words again.  I think I’ve heard it said, “knowing God is with me through every storm helps me in any storm.”  The apostle Peter reminds me to “Cast all my anxiety on Him, because He cares for me.“(1 Peter 5:7)  He cares for you also, dear one.  Paul says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our Father God wants us to come to Him.  He is always there.  He is a refuge and strength in the middle of the storm and He hears our every call.

Our hearts, minds, souls can be at peace when we are resting on Jesus.




Entirely on your


Timing and trustworthiness

He is here to give us some much needed rest for our hearts and souls.

“Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you’ll learn how to live freely and lightly.”  ~Matthew 11:28-29 (The Message)

“Let the Beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields them all day long, and the one the Lord loves (that would be every single one of us) rests between His shoulders.” ~Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV)

“Truly my soul finds rest in God;  my salvation comes from Him.  Yes, my soul, find rest in God;  my hope comes from Him.”  ~Psalm 62:1,5 (NIV)





I miss you…

Dear Mom,IMG_1427

I miss you.
Oh, how I miss you.
Not a day goes by when I don’t miss you.
I’ll always miss you.

Symbolically, I think about my life being like a box of crayons.  So many beautiful colors fill my crayon box.  The colors can be used together to create a wonderful masterpiece. Some days are colored in shades of blue, others in tints of gray, others with vibrant pinks and refreshing greens. They are all needed at one time or another to create the pictures of my life.   My crayon box world is full of so many amazing people and wonderful life-experiences.  I am truly grateful for so many.    IMG_3878

But today, the brightest yellow crayon is missing.   That vibrant hue has not been physically in my world these past 730 days.  You’ve been taken out of my box, out of my world…at least for now.  And because of this there is sadness, there is loss.

But also,  I thank God for memories, SO many cherished memories! I can look back at so many days when that bright yellow color was ever-present, easily accessible, just a phone call away.   Your unconditional love and care were present in my every day, adding your shade of bright yellow.  And, I remember…and it gives me great comfort and joy.



Life without you here is harder, emptier, definitely not the same.   I can’t just pick up the phone and call you when I am struggling or hurting, call you when I want to share good news.  The person who’d be one of the first people I’d go to for prayer is not here anymore, at least not in the same way.  You always had a way of encouraging my heart and lifting my spirits, pointing me to the One who will always be my greatest encourager.  Thank you!

“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;  You encourage them, and You listen to their cry.”   ~Psalm 10:17

There is no one here just like you.  You will never be replaced.  There is no one who loved me exactly the way you did.  Oh, how I thank God for you.  Oh, how I look forward to seeing you one day again in heaven.  What a glorious, tear-filled, overflowing-with-joy kind of moment that will be!  That gives me great hope and peace even as I miss you now…

The gift of your life/your love will carry on.  Every yellow leaf, yellow flower, brilliant gold finch, fluttering yellow butterfly that crosses my path reminds me of you.  Every anchor reminds me of God’s faithfulness during this part of our journey.  Your strong faith and devotion to prayer, your constant desire to bless and serve others, your uplifting, positive, hardly-ever complaining demeanor, your peace and your quiet strength…all continue to remind and inspire me in this life.  Your faith and love, joy and hope will leave a legacy that will go on well into the future.



You lived a life of impact.  Thank you for impacting me!  You showed me how to truly live, how to truly love.  For that, I will forever be grateful.

Mom, today I miss you.
Today I remember you.
Today I take the time to thank God once again for you.
I love you. Always and Forever.

Your daughter, Amy

“Now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.”  

~I Corinthians 13:13 on this April 13.

Have You Dusted Today?


As he got to the end of the field, he readied himself as he turned to plow down the next row.  The rotary hoe attached to his tractor sliced several lines into the dirt and lifted up the weeds beginning to grow in between the rows of soybeans.  The hot wind blew in his face like a furnace.  The farm-hand took 3 deep breaths and made a 180 degree turn.  This time as the rotary hoe plowed up the dry earth behind him, the steady wind pushed a thick cloud of dust around him, surrounding him on every side.  It was hard to breathe. He covered his mouth and nose and continued to forge through to the end of the row, trying not to breathe in too deeply.  At the end of this row, he turned his wheels another 180 degrees and now was met again with a blast of hot wind.  The dust was blowing behind him once again. He could breathe in deeply…until he got to the end of the next row.

My husband has had dozens of dusty experiences in his life.  He grew up on a wheat farm in the midwest.  Working for his dad all throughout high school, he remembers being “caked with dust” often as he worked out in the fields.  Cleaning grain bins, gathering hay bales, harvesting wheat and soybeans…all were very dusty activities at times.

In 2002, he was stationed in the desert of Kuwait at Camp Doha with the army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The dust was so fine it hung in the air like a thick blanket.  He said he got used to it and it almost wasn’t noticeable, but the air all around had a tan-colored tinge most all of the time.

Dust is everywhere.  Outside.  Inside.  It seems to be an ever-present part of life.  Some locations are dustier than others but all places need some dusting.  I’m always amazed how quickly it accumulates.  Dust is everywhere.

Dust was the material God used to form man originally.

Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a Father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him;  for He knows how we were formed, He remembers that we are dust.”

Our Loving Creator knows that we are fragile, easily broken and weak at times.

(Photo Credits:  Yellow Tractor by “PaulR 1800” and Green Tractor by “Lutz Blohm”


The Great Thaw

IMG_2440As sub-zero temperatures cover much of the Northeast/Midwest and wind chills plummet into the negative digits, I am thinking about ice and cold.  Even down here in the South, we’ve experienced temperatures below freezing for several days.

Growing up in the Northeast, I experienced many icy cold days of winter.  When I was younger, I don’t think the cold bothered me as much.  As children, we would be thoroughly bundled up before heading out to play in the winter white.  I remember putting on two or three layers of thick socks and then sticking my feet into empty plastic bread bags before putting them into my winter boots.

Snow pants, coats, hats, scarves, mittens, boots…
It was quite an endeavor to get ready to go outside, but we didn’t let that stop us.  We loved traipsing through the thick snow to build snowmen, make snow angels, play “Fox and Chickens”, go sledding, and have snowball fights.

These days though, I’m grateful to live in the Southeast where winter temperatures tend to stay quite mild.  I am thankful for a warm place to come home to and a snuggly blanket to wrap around my shoulders.  Later this week it will warm up outside, but right now it remains wintery-cold.  My bird baths have been frozen solid every day this past week.  Each morning, I’ve gone out and poured hot water on them in hopes of melting the ice so the birds can get something to drink.  Most days I’ve gone out more than once to try to melt the ice-covered bird baths.  As the ice melts, it always starts at the outer edges and moves to the center…

MELT:  The Dictionary definition is “to make or become liquified by heat.”  Some synonyms are: thaw, defrost, soften.
THAW:  The Dictionary states “(Of ice, snow, or another frozen substance, such as food) to become liquid or soft as a result of warming.”
MELT: definition 2.  “to make or become more tender or loving.”

All this cold and ice has me thinking about hard hearts.  Do you know anyone who seems to be “hard-hearted” and in need of some melting?

The Definition is “incapable of being moved to pity or tenderness; unfeeling.”  Some synonyms include:  cold, hard, callous, uncaring…stony-hearted, having a heart of stone.”  

I can think of  few people in my life who seem to be this way on occasion.  This world feels so broken at times and there are so many hurting people out there.  I’ve heard it said that “Hurting people hurt people” and very often this seems to hold true.

I know sometimes I can be this way.  When I’m frustrated, hurt, fearful or angry, my soft heart can turn a bit hard.  My angry thoughts can turn to hurtful words.  My impatience can lead to nagging.  My fears can lead to stressed-out actions.  My focus can get very self-centered and self-protective, which doesn’t lend itself to loving and “valuing others above myself” (Philippians 2:3).  My heart can get cold and my actions can get icy at times.

I don’t want to be this way.  I want to have a soft heart, a tender soul, a love that is patient and kind.  At times like this, I need to step back and get warmed back up, to melt (as defined above) and be made “more tender and loving.”

How do I do this?  How do we do this?

I have found there is one true cure for my cold, hard-heart…for all of our hearts.
It is the pure LOVE of God, found in His Son, Jesus.

I believe we all were created for love and we all want to be loved.
Many have sung that “Love makes the world go round.” (Deon Jackson-1946, Jennifer Lopez-2016)  True love is not thinking of myself but of others first, of seeking to bless and to give unselfishly to those around me.  True love battles hate and hurt.  True love changes hearts.

I Peter 4:8 says,  “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Love has a way of softening the rough edges in our lives.  

I Corinthians 13:4-7 describes it this way:  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

God’s kind of love is unselfish and always focused on others.
His love can soften even the hardest of hearts.

It reminds me of the animated Christmas classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”  Even the Grinch thought he could steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville.  But, instead he was welcomed in with loving-kindness, despite what he’d done…and it changed him.  He was changed down to the core.

“But this… this sound wasn’t sad. Why… this sound sounded glad. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing, without *any* presents at all! He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming, it *came*! Somehow or other… it came just the same

He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

What happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say – that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day. And then – the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!”

-Excerpts from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss

Love changed the Grinch.
Love changes us.
Love can take an icy cold heart and make it soft and tender.
God’s unconditional love can change us all.

God says in Ezekiel 36:26,
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

In C.S. Lewis’s allegory, “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe,” the White Witch turned many creatures into stone with her magic.  I love the scene in the movie based on the book, when Aslan, the Lion and Jesus-figure, comes into a hall filled with dozens of stone creatures.  He simply breathes on them.  Right before our eyes, Lucy’s close friend Mr. Tumnus melts from Aslan’s warm breath and becomes fully alive again, taken out of his frozen state.  This breath of life turned the creatures of stone into creatures of flesh once again.

God is always in the business of bringing new life.

Genesis 2:7  “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.”

Ezekiel 37:5 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones—I will make breath enter you and you will come to life.”

John 20:22, “And with that, He (Jesus) breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Spirit.”

2 Timothy 3:16  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

Amy Grant recorded a beautiful song called “Breath of Heaven.” (watch on YouTube)  It was written by Chris Eaton and Amy said the following about the song in an interview,  “It is a prayer that fits a lot of people and circumstances, because it’s a cry of mercy.” (

Are you in need of some mercy this New Year?
Are you seeking some warmth for your soul?
Does your heart long to be loved unconditionally?
Do you want someone to help you soften your rough edges?

May I invite you to turn to Jesus and ask Him to breathe on you with His life-giving grace and love.  May He warm your soul and soften your heart as you spend time with Him reading His Word.  May God melt all your cold places with His love, peace and hope this day and always.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  ~Romans 15:13


I Wish You WELL

What does the word “WELL” make you think about?


Maybe it is a place to retrieve water, like in the photo above.  Or, maybe you think more about a person being wished well, as my title expresses.

The Dictionary defines well-being as “a good or satisfactory condition of existence, a state characterized by health, happiness, prosperity, and welfare.”  Some other synonyms include “comfort, ease, and good.”

Well-being that involves being well is something we all most likely desire for our lives and the lives of those we care about.  Living lives full of love, comfort, happiness, good health, and success are truly great blessings.  I’ve experienced all of these things throughout my life in varying degrees and in varying seasons.

And, also, at times in my life some of these things have been harder to find.  Sometimes I  don’t realize all I’ve had until some of it is taken away.  I’ve experienced personally or been close to others who have experienced job loss, broken relationships, declining health issues, disappointments, failures, or the loss of someone they loved dearly.  Life has its share of ups and downs, triumphs and set-backs, gains and losses.

And, although I most certainly wish each one of you wellthere is a deeper kind of “well” I wish for you, too.

There is a story in the Bible about Jesus and His interaction with a Samaritan Woman at a well.  He was tired from his journey and He asked this woman for a drink.  (John 4:7)  There is something about this story that draws me in, just as water is drawn out of a well.  It invites me to look down and peer into the water reflecting at the bottom.

It says in John 4:4 (NIV) that Jesus “had to go through Samaria.”  I wonder why?  He was traveling from Judea to Galilee, and apparently it wasn’t common to go through Samaria.

According to Wayne Jackson from The Christian Courier:

“…since Samaria lies between Judea and Galilee, passing through Samaria was not the only route between the two provinces—in fact, it was not the most common one.

Because of Jewish hostilities toward the Samaritan people (which we will discuss later), the Hebrews frequently would travel to the east when they had leisure time (see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews20.6.1, regarding travel at feast times), cross over the Jordan, and thus skirt the Samaritan territory. Samaria was considered as not belonging to the Holy Land, a strip of “foreign country” separating Judea from Galilee (Edersheim 1957, 12). Such a detour would take longer than the normal three days of travel.”

It was frowned upon for Jews to interact with Samaritans and it says so in John 4:9 (“For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”) But, it also was taboo for men to be speaking with women in public places back then.

“The Jewish attitude toward women was less than ideal. While the Old Testament afforded great dignity to womanhood (cf. Prov. 31:10ff), the Hebrews over the years had imbibed some of the attitudes of paganism.

A Hebrew man did not talk with women in the street—not even with his mother, sister, daughter or wife! (cf. Lightfoot 1979, 286-287).”

Jackson, Wayne. “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman.” Access date: November 12, 2017.

Jesus wasn’t afraid to break cultural norms/traditions to engage with others.  What amazes me is that after Jesus’s conversation with this woman, she not only left her water jar at the well, but she seemed eager to return to her town and tell people the following,

Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (John 4:29).

According to John 4:18, she had been married five times and was currently in a relationship with a different man.  She had never shared all these details with Jesus, yet He revealed them to her.  She probably was embarrassed and/or felt guilty about this part of her life,  yet it seems to me that she was drawn to Jesus and what He offered her at the well.  What was it about Him that drew her to Him, despite being “caught” and exposed?

I don’t know about you but I am not always eager to share my own sins and mess-ups with others, let alone my whole town.  I don’t readily proclaim to my neighborhood, “Come and see everything I’ve ever done!”  Sure, I might share the good…but the bad, the embarrassing, the big mistakes…I only share those things with people I trust and feel completely safe with.   So it seems to me that for her to leave her water jar and share this with her town,  there must have been something else more powerful driving her to do so.  I would like to think that although her mistakes had been exposed, she was overwhelmed with the loving-kindness and grace Jesus offered her.  Surely she didn’t feel condemnation for why would she have been so eager to expose all her “dirty laundry” to the town?  Back then she could have been stoned to death for this.

Romans 8:1-2 says, “Therefore, there  is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Even though her sins and mistakes were exposed, it appears she wanted something more.  She wanted to be spiritually well and she found it at a literal well.

Jesus told her earlier (John 4:13-14)  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.  But, whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life

I love that phrase.

Have you ever had tears “well up” in your eyes until they spilled out and ran down your cheeks?  My mom had this happen all the time.  She was frequent “cry-er” and one of the finest.  So very often the tears that fell from her eyes were tears of joy, tears of love.  Sure, they fell at sad times, but they also fell abundantly at joyous times, times of reunions and happy moments.  When tears fell, we knew how deeply we were loved.

Revelation 21:4  says regarding heaven, ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

I’ve often heard others say,  “There will be no more tears” in heaven.  My mom asked me once “How can there be ‘no more tears’ in heaven?”   So many of her tears were tears of joy and love so she didn’t like the thought of not being able to let the tears fall during those joyous times.  Certainly it says there will be “no more sorrow or mourning or death or pain” but there very well may be tears of joy and love, welling up to overflowing when we see one another again.  Oh, what an amazing day that will be!

Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide you always;  He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden–like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Jesus wants us to be spiritually WELL.  He invites us to bring all our mistakes, our sins, our disappointments, our struggles to Him.  He wants to give each one of us “living water” and a soul “welling up to eternal life.”  Only in Him can we find this kind of soul-nourishment and life-giving refreshment that will last eternally.

3 John 1:2, also written by John, one of Jesus closest disciples says, “Dear friend, I pray that you enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

Jesus wants this for each one of us.
Oh, how I wish this for you too!
I wish you WELL.




Wonder Woman

FullSizeRenderShe has bullet-proof bracelets and a tiara that can be used as a weapon.  She is endowed with super strength, lightning speed, great wisdom and fierce courage.  She is a woman of beauty who never ages.  She carries a shield and a sword that can deflect any dangers and battle against evil.  Her golden lasso can be wrapped around people and used to reveal the truth.  This Diana, this “goddess of truth”, sounds like quite a Wonder Woman.

I used to love to watch the TV series during the 70s when I was around the ages of 8-12.  I looked forward to seeing what evil Wonder Woman (Linda Carter) would defeat each week.  She faced danger and opposition with courage and strength.  She wore a pretty awesome outfit with amazing accessories.  She fought against the “bad guys” and helped the “good guys.”  Good would always prevail and she would consistently win in the end.

As much as I’d wished I could be Wonder Woman, I knew she wasn’t real.  But, I’d like to think about being a Wonder Woman in a different way today…and one that can be real.

WONDER is defined as “A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable” or “To be amazed, be astonished, to stand in awe” 

I want to be a Wonder Woman, one who “stands in awe” and notices the awemazing gifts all around me.  I want to live a life of gratitude and thank God daily for the gifts of His creation, His goodness, and His love.

There are miraculous things happening around me every day.  Do I notice them, marvel at them?  The fact that I am breathing, my heart is pumping 60+ beats per minute,  my eyes can see colors, my mind can think of something to write and instantly communicate with my nerves, tendons, and muscles to type these words…all are awe-some things!  The vast array of colorful flowers and birds, the way an airplane weighing over 300 tons can fly (I’ll still never understand how that is possible!), the issue of our earth being the perfect distance from the sun and gravity working the way it does, the micro-details of the tiniest cells, the unique beauty of every sunset,  and the expanse of the universe…all are awe-mazing.

On August 21, 2017, I got to watch the solar eclipse of the sun in my neighbor’s front yard! I had many friends that traveled to where they would see it completely.  I had heard that near Atlanta, the sun would be covered about 98% (not sure that was true but I thought 98% coverage would be enough to experience a temporary darkness).  It was fun to gather together with neighbors, share solar eclipse glasses, eat banana bread and grapes…while above us a rare event was happening in outer space that won’t happen in the United States in a similar NW-SE path until 2045.  The eclipse glasses sure helped to see the moon as it crossed in front of the sun.  I was so grateful to have them and was delighted every time I looked up into the sky!  During the 2 minutes and 43 seconds at the height of the eclipse, the sky darkened slightly, similar to dusk.  We saw crescent moon shapes on the ground, as the light travelled between the tree leaves.  The crickets and locusts started to sing.  In hindsight, I’d wished I’d travelled 2 hours north to see 100% coverage.  But regardless, it was a very cool natural event and another example of something awe-some.

Another thing that happened on that same day was my sister’s birthday.  She excitedly told me that in the afternoon, a short thunderstorm happened and it even hailed.  My Dad was visiting her to celebrate her special day.  At the end of that short pop-up storm, a double rainbow appeared!  If you read my previous post, you heard about the most brilliant rainbow that appeared in the sky over us as we were celebrating my Dad’s birthday.  It was a beautiful gift from God and we felt very near to Mom during those moments.  What a blessing and gift that God sent another rainbow on my sister’s birthday!  I can’t explain it…but I thank God for it.

Mingling within all these good gifts, there are the every day challenges, the daily struggles, the broken things and the hurting people around us.  It takes courage to keep counting the blessings, to continue thanking Him for His goodness, to notice the beauty, to cling to the promises of His faithful care.

But, I want to
keep looking,
keep noticing ,
keep thanking
Him for the gifts…and in doing so, I can be a Wonder Woman…a woman who gains strength from being grateful, from counting the wonder-full things, from seeing the goodness that is always present in my everyday moments.

Lamentations 3:21-23  says, “Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning;  great is Your faithfulness.”

Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonder-fully made;  Your works are WONDER-FULL.  I know that full well.”

Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.  None can compare with You;  were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”

So, today I choose to be a Wonder Woman, a woman who looks for the wonderful works of God and who thanks Him for them.

Hillsong United has a new album out called, “Wonder.”  May you be blessed and encouraged as you listen to it this day.

The Rainbow


“God is always good and I am always loved.”  ~Ann Voskamp

I have this quote posted in my kitchen.  I believe this but sometimes I forget it…the times that I am struggling, the moments of sadness or stress, the days of discomfort or weariness.    When I start to dwell too much on the hardships or trials, I find myself drifting away from this truth.  Life can be hard and moments can be trials.  But, through it all I do believe that “God is always good and I am always loved.”

It helps me to count the good things, to write down the gifts, to focus on the blessings and thank God for them.  One of my very favorite books is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  She was challenged by a friend to write down one thousand things she loved.

On page 45, she says, “On a whim, a dare, I scratch it down:  Gift List.  I begin the list.  Not of gifts I want but of gifts I already have…That is the beginning and I smile.  I mean, they are just the common things and maybe I don’t even know they are gifts really until I write them down and that is really what they look like.  Gifts He bestows.  This writing it down–it is sort of like…unwrapping love.”

I too began this challenge and it has been one of the best ways I know to remind myself of His goodness and love…to keep reminding myself so I don’t forget.  Taking the time to write down the blessings has helped me worry less and thank Him more.  I have been keeping this list for over five years now and although I may not write the gifts down daily, this simple routine has helped me greatly.  In the hard moments and difficult days, my mind goes back to counting the blessings and noticing the gifts He’s given me.  My mom also kept a journal of gifts.

I wanted to share with you the details of a God-given gift that happened recently.  My dad and my mom celebrate birthdays 6 days apart.  Without mom here now, the week is somewhat bittersweet and especially hard for Dad.   This year we celebrated his 75th birthday! We gathered all together with extended family to celebrate the gift of him.  We sang “Happy Birthday” and he blew out the candles.  A few raindrops had begun to fall…it was dripping lightly on us from above.  Moments after we sang to him, the sun came out and a glorious rainbow appeared in the sky.  This rainbow had the entire color spectrum and even turned into a double rainbow toward the end as it faded away.

Some might say, it was just a combination of sun and rain that came together at the same time to form a rainbow.  I believe it was an extra-special gift from God, sent at a perfect moment with precision timing.  Dad had been especially sad having to celebrate this monumental birthday without his bride by his side.  I don’t know exactly how things work between heaven and earth. But, I do believe that God knew exactly how to show us His love and help us feel close to her at a very special moment.  Maybe she got to see this amazing gift and even got to see the tears of joy that fell from our faces as we gazed up into the sky?  Either way, I am grateful!

Thank you God for the gift of this rainbow, the colorful reminder of your promises and your love.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  ~James 1:17

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” ~Psalm 9:1


In-depenDANCE Day

Happy Independence Day!!14565778851_621f6458f4_m

What do you think about when you hear the word INDEPENDENCE?  Often, we talk about our ability to depend on ourselves, to determine our steps, to be self-sufficient.  In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, one definition says “freedom from outside control or support; freedom from the control of others.”  We are often encouraged to “stand on our own two feet” and be independent in this life.  And although, there are parts of being independent that are profitable and worth striving for…I have found that I need others to live this life well.

I believe we were created for relationship–with God and with others.  We need Him and we need others to encourage us in this life that often can be full of stresses and struggles.  I need guidance in so many areas of my life and although I can be independent (and sometimes stubborn)…I am finding that truly I need more than myself to get through.

It may a bit counter-cultural but I want to live in–dependence upon my Lord and Savior.  I need His help, His strength, His wisdom in every area of my life.  I want to live leaning on Him and His faithful love.  Dependence is defined as “relying on another for support.”  I certainly rely on others for support.  But, I also want to rely on, rest on, lean on Jesus.  I believe He alone knows what I need most…He alone can truly provide what my heart and soul long for.

Psalm 59:17 says, “You are my strength.  I sing praise to you.  You, God, are my fortress, my God in whom I can rely.

I John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is LOVE.  Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them.”

KNOW and RELY…I love those words.  The KNOWING here seems to indicate something deeper than just casual knowledge.  To know someone more personally involves a much deeper relationship.  Trusting and relying on someone goes beyond a short encounter with them.  It happens after much time together, many shared experiences and conversations–having a history of trust-building times with them.  I want to be that kind of person–reliable,trustworthy, dependable.  Often times, I believe I am…but also so many times, I am not.

But, I have found that God is the most trustworthy One.  I’ve experienced His extravagant love, dependable strength, and faithful care.  In all the struggles and stresses of my life, He has proven Himself to be trustworthy again and again and again.  He has answered more prayers than I can list and sustained me through some of my most difficult days with a peace, strength, and hope I could not create on my own.  This is NOT to say life has been easy or stress-free.  But, God has been with me at every moment.  Living life in-dependence on Him is the only way I know how to get through it all.

My mom knew how to lean on God.  She did it with much faith and trust, in some of her deepest places of sorrow and suffering.  I was blessed to be with her the last 6 weeks of her life here on earth.  I watched how she rested and relied upon her Savior in her most difficult days as her body battled pancreatic cancer.  She continued to pray and read her Bible, go to church and Community Bible Study, journal the things she was grateful for, shower her smile and love on anyone who came to visit, go for walks and prepare meals.  It wasn’t a checklist of “good things to do” to her…it was her life and God was her hope.  She had a strong desire to spend time with her Savior and with others.  I truly was amazed how she found the strength to keep living so courageously when she was in ever-increasing levels of  pain and discomfort.  She moved forward on this difficult path as if she KNEW and RELIED upon more than what could be physically seen.  She lived in-dependence on Him and I believe He strengthened and helped her through it all.  I too want to live this way.

I love words and I would rewrite the word independence this way:  in-depen-DANCE.  As I researched the origin of the word, I discovered that the French word is spelled “in- dependance“.  I love the thought of following God being like a dance.  I am not a very good dancer but I know several people who are.  When I do dance, it does lift my spirits.  Watching others who love to dance brings happiness and joy.  With partner dances, there is a “Lead and Follow” concept that is needed for the dance partners to move together well.

Marisa Wright at states, “Lead and follow” is the secret to getting two partners dancing smoothly together. It’s simply impossible for two people, dancing in close contact, to move seamlessly if each person making their own decisions, choosing their own timing and doing their steps independently. They must coordinate their moves perfectly – and the only way to achieve that is for one person to direct the moves and the other person to follow.”

I’ve found that the more I let God direct my life and the more I follow His ways, the more my life is filled with love, peace, hope, and purpose.  I’ve discovered that as I spend time reading God’s Word and praying, asking God to speak to me, looking at life through a lens of faith, noticing the God-given things and thanking Him for them, responding to nudges and interactions that come my way, then I will grow in my dependence on God.  There will be many mistakes and stumbles, and I will need God’s encouragement and grace over and over again.  Learning to listen for Him will take a lifetime of practice, but I believe it is worth it.

At, Chris Lynam states in his analysis of “The Dance Partner” poem–

“One of the greatest aspects of partner dancing is that every dance requires an invitation.”

Every dance requires an invitation…

I believe Jesus gives each one of us an invitation in this dance we call life…an invitation to accept His extravagant love…an invitation to let Him lead our lives…an invitation to join Him on the adventure He has already planned for us…an invitation to lean on Him and find the strength, peace, hope, and love our hearts are longing for.  His invitation is always there waiting for each one of us…

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God will never force Himself upon us.  His invitation of love will never end and is waiting “in our mailbox.”  He is hoping we will open it to learn more about His love!  I’ve heard it said that”the Bible is God’s love-letter to us.”  I have found this to be true.

If you want to learn more about God’s great love for you, may I encourage you to start reading the book of John, written by one of Jesus closest disciples? As you do, notice especially how Jesus loved the people around Him when He was here.  (It may be different than you expect.)

Happy IN-DEPENDANCE Day everyone!

May we join in the dance and may we keep in step with our Savior…may we let Him lead and may we follow with our whole hearts.


Anchored to Hope

This Saturday will mark the second birthday my Mom is spending in heaven. It gives me great peace to know she is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, fully alive in a place of overflowing love and joy beyond anything we can imagine. I look forward to being with her again one day…but the loss here remains and I miss her greatly.

This post was written by a close friend of hers recently. Cheryl taught me piano lessons when I was a little girl. I appreciate her insights and hope that her post will encourage you this day.

An Apple of Gold

While HOPE is one of my favorite topics to blog about, I have chosen to emphasize it today in honor of a dear friend of mine, Judy, who went to be with Jesus a year ago in April. June 17 was her birthday on earth, and while she is celebrating that day in heaven now, I want to honor her with the following insights regarding HOPE. She anchored her faith to hope throughout her illness. The anchor with a yellow ribbon pictured above, was given to each of us at her celebration of life service. I still cling to this anchor pin as well as to the spiritual promises of hope.

In the bigger picture, the view from which Judy now experiences it, hope is the eternal full manifestation of eternitywith God. Our eternal hope is promised in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There…

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Measure It UP

IMG_1044How do you measure your life?
What does success look like to you?  

How do you determine your worth?  

Do you find yourself comparing your life, your days, your looks, your accomplishments to others and find yourself feeling “less than?”

I do…

Whenever I start looking to others to measure my worth, I find myself lacking.  There is always someone better, more beautiful, more energetic, more joyful, more productive than I am.  This world continually shows us countless examples of “greater than” versions of ourselves.  In my 50 years on this earth, I have come to realize that I can’t compare myself to others to measure my worth and my success…when I do that, I find myself feeling down.  Many days, I can’t even measure up to my own expectations of myself and what I wish I would be…

I thought that once my boys were in college, I’d get my house in order…get more organized…have more time.  And, in some ways, this is true.  But, I still find myself living within several not-so-organized, not-so-cleaned-up areas.  It helps to know someone is coming over for a visit, and then I can get things a bit more tidy.  Does throwing all the paper clutter into a laundry basket and putting it on the washing machine count as organized?

I know keeping a super tidy home is not the most important thing…it’s the people in my life and relationships that matter the most.  I want to make a positive difference in this world,  love and encourage others, and be a blessing in big and small ways.  But, I don’t measure up to my wishes in this area either.

Maybe I’m not meant to get my worth by comparing myself to others or even to myself anyway…As I’ve gotten older, I am learning…
to rest in God’s love more,
to give myself more grace,
to “beat myself up” less,
to play less of the comparison game.

It’s not easy, but I believe it has to do with where I choose to look…My house may never get organized, but every day is a new opportunity to love God and love others.  And, although I will continue to not measure up by the world’s standards…this is not what gives me my worth.

How do you measure your life?
What does success look like to you?
How do you determine your worth?

I believe our worth is not based on what we do, but on whose we are.

I thank God for the gift of parents that loved me unconditionally.  From the moment I was born, I belonged to them and nothing could ever change that.  I made my share of mistakes along the way, but that didn’t change their love for me.

As a mom of two boys, I understand this kind of love.  I will always be “in their corner” and “on their team.”  I will always want the very best for them.  They will always be my sons and they will always have my love, apart from anything they do or don’t do.

I believe God loves each one of us with this same kind of unconditional love.  But, His love is SO much greater…it is beyond anything we could measure.

Romans 5:8 says, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” and Romans 8:31b-32 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all–how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”  

So, I am learning…

*If I want to measure my worth, I need to measure it UP against His love.*

We are God’s most-treasured creation and He’s proven His love for us in the greatest way possible.  He will always be “in our corner” with open, outstretched arms.  We can lean into His love and He will always be there.

When I was a young girl, I used to pick daisies and pull off the petals.  Maybe you did this too.  The popular saying was, “He loves me…he loves me not…he loves me…”  Even though it was just a game, I always hoped the last petal I pulled would be “He loves me.”
The great news is that with God, every petal says, “He loves me.”  Every single one.  

Luke 12:6-7 says, Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Zephaniah 3:17 (GW version) says, “The Lord your God is with you.  He is a hero who saves you.  He happily rejoices over you, renews you with His love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.”  Psalm 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being.  You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know that full well.”

How should we measure our worth?
*May we measure it UP against His love.*  

One of my very favorite verses in the Bible is Ephesians 3:20.  “Now to Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory…forever and ever. Amen.”

I believe this is not only talking about all He can and does do in our lives…IMMEASURABLY MORE.  But, also His love is IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we can imagine.

*If we want to measure our worth, may we measure it UP against His love.*

John 3:16-17  says, “For God SO loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”