Thursday, October 31, 2013

                          The Heavens Declare

We gather for celebration; aunts, uncles, cousins.  It is not always the case. At times we must gather to mourn the loss of a loved one who passes. It is fun that a birthday is the reason we are together.

I love  these family times. Many miles separate us, so they are few.

We tell stories. I am sure that they tire of some of mine. They are repeats, stories that I love to hear again and again, so I welcome a captive audience. They are patient with me.

We talk about those we miss. We are celebrating, but we spend a bit of time lamenting.

We remember Grandma Terry's final days. We all miss her, our beautiful matriarch.

I share a favorite. Grandma told me that she danced with Jesus. I went to visit her in the hospital a week or so before she died and she told me that she and Jesus had danced, "Right there!" she said pointing to the center of the room. "You haven't been out of your hospital bed, Grandma," I gently remind her. "But I was! Right there! We twirled round and round and round again! It was wonderful!" Her face was glowing; I believe! They believe with me.

Mom tells a story. As she was leaving the hospital after Grandma passed, she looked up and there was a cross in the sky created by two intersecting jet streams."I  felt like mom was telling me that everything was going to be okay," she shares.

  The morning after the birthday bash, our family gathers for church. We are going to worship together for the first time in a very long time. On our way into the sanctuary, I look up and see a cross in the sky created by two jet streams just like the one my mom talked about the night before. 


Was she joining us somehow? Dancing over us? Whispering,  "everything will be okay . . ." Smiling that beautiful smile with a twinkle in her eye? 

Or was it just a hug from God that could be felt?

Either way, I'm basking in the love.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, And the firmament shows His handiwork." Psalm 19:1 NKJV

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

We feed the birds. We love to hear them sing praises. Exalted happiness! Our feathered friends gather in their choir loft we call a balcony. Let all creation sing!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Peter was very sure of himself.

His love for Jesus was immeasurable.

He knew that HE (Peter) would NEVER forsake Him (Jesus).


Jesus made it clear that Peter would stumble . . . horribly.

Oh, the pain of it for both of them!

I have heard it taught that Peter was so full of pride that he needed a good humbling. It is true that a good crushing of self will often reduce us, face down, and Peter was greatly humbled through this experience. 

I think Peter loved Jesus so much that he believed that love had the power to keep him from failing Him. 

It isn't our love for Jesus that is able to keep us from falling . . . it is His grace. 

"And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat, But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

A few thoughts:

The Lord must have given Satan permission to sift Peter. Does that scare you? It does me a little. I don't like the thought of being in the hands of the enemy.We can trust Jesus. He will use this dance with the devil for, not only Peter's good, but for others as well.  Peter's immense love for Christ would not be enough to prevent the sifting. It was destined.

Jesus prayed for Peter. This fact gives me HOPE!

He did not pray that Peter would not fail, He prayed that Peter's faith would not fail. 

Jesus knew that Peter would return to Him. He would give Peter the grace to return.

He gave Peter a command . . . 

"When you come back to me, strengthen others."

My paraphrase, "A transformation is about to take place in your heart. When you come out of the furnace you will have understanding that you lacked before you went in. Share the message . . . it will make others stronger and will help them endure when it is their turn. This part of your walk . . . this stumbling is part of your testimony. It will be used for good! I will see to that . . . if you are willing to share."

Perhaps the reason Peter had to have this experience is so that we could be strengthened. 

What is your story? Do you suppose that someone else might need to hear it? I don't like telling mine either, but I will if it will help you, my friend. Would you like to come by for tea? I would love to chat with you.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen." Jude 24-25 NKJV


Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm warming up my life with a new read.

You won't believe me when I tell you this. We have lived here since the end of July and yesterday was the very first time that I entered a bookstore of any kind in this town. It takes great restraint! They are all around me, some within a mile from my apartment.

I have told myself that I need to catch up on all of the reading that I have to do before I purchase any more books. I have been reading, not buying!

I drove past a Lifeway store yesterday which I have driven by many times, but yesterday I felt a nudge. I tried to ignore it, but it lingered. I knew that I was supposed to "do a legal u-turn" as my gps would say and take myself back to the bookstore. 

Once inside I wandered the isles forever . . . picked up a half dozen things, returned them to their shelves . . . finally, I whispered prayer, "Lord, why am I here?" 

Two minutes later I spotted this:

I don't know how to describe to you what I felt when I picked up this book. I knew that it was the reason for my u-turn. It is what I need in my life right now that will help me make some spiritual u-turns. 

 "10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer" . . . 


 Our meeting place.

My favorite quote from this morning . . . one of many that I could share . . . 

"Remember, the only thing whiter than snow is a freshly cleansed child of God." (Psalm 51:7) Beth Moore


Perhaps you would like to join me on this prayer journey? With you arm in arm! Would love to hear your thoughts!

"In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

         "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"

I am not sure who asked the question but I have heard it a few times. 

            What would you do?

           Climb Mount Everest

                  Start a Business

            Run a Marathon

My daughter-in-love wants  to run a marathon someday. It is a goal she has set for herself. Her grandpa has ran over 30 of them. Wow!

She has not started running yet. I want to help her reach her goal. There is a park within walking distance of our apartment that is complete with running trails. She could begin there. She could set her goals now,  we could make a schedule (she will need a sitter), she could begin by running short distances. 

She knows she can do it. She has perfect confidence. Her grandpa has demonstrated to her that it is a possible feat! He has been a trailblazer of sorts. He has given her a gift. Not by making it look easy, but by making it look attainable. 

Isn't that what we really need to be successful? A coach? Team spirit? And hey, cheerleaders are soooooo important! 

Isn't that what discipleship is all about? Not necessarily making our walk with Christ look easy, but doable? 

Even with all of that, we need lots and lots of grace to make it to the finish line. 

Your thoughts?

 " Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" Hebrews 12:1-2 the Message Bible

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"There was one thing that my dad did for me that helped me get to where I am today. Every evening at dinner he would ask us, 'What have you failed at today?' He would be disappointed if we hadn't failed at something. If we had experienced failure that day, he would high five us." Sara  Blakely, creator of Spanx

Sara Blakely is the world's youngest female self-made billionaire. 

Her secret?

She is not intimidated by failure.

 Her story is impressive. Her dad is the most impressive!

He taught his children that it is common to experience failure on the road to success. And it's okay! His idea was that if you weren't experiencing failure, you weren't reaching high enough. You were not trying. He would tell his children, "If you are not failing, you are not trying."

I hate to fail! I have a horrible relationship with it. I am not good at falling down, brushing off the dust a good fall brings, and moving on to do better or do something else. That is why I am not a billionaire! 

I wish I had heard this story a long time ago . . . like when I was five. It might have changed how I perceive failure.  And I would have taught my children to embrace the times that they fail . . . I might have even encouraged it. 

Isn't it interesting that the lady who grew up in an environment where failure is not a bad thing, where it is encouraged, created something that covers flaws? Something that will take out the humps and bumps and make us look smooth and shapely. Flab-u-less! God bless her! 

What does the Lord think of failure?

He knows that we will have them. 

He is tender.

He is patient.

He is loving.

He forgives.

He wants us to try again.

He knew from the beginning that we would need mercy every single day of our lives, so He provides it. Do you need it this morning? I know that I do. It is available because . . .

that is the kind of Father that He is. Great is His faithfulness!

"The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy." Psalm 103:8 NKJV

Monday, October 21, 2013

"I am so happy that you are getting to enjoy the babies. The happiest times of my life were when your kids were growing up." 

My mom said that to me the other day. 

We decided to move to Kentucky when we realized our grandbabies were going to move here. We weren't getting to see them much and we were aching to hear their first words and see them take their first steps. 

This would be very hard for my mom and I knew it. Heartwrenching! I despised that part of it. 

When we finally got the nerve to tell her about our decision to move, her reaction to our news totally surprised me! "That's wonderful!" her words were wrapped in genuine happiness. 

She could have made us feel so guilty. She could have asked, "What about me?" She never did.

Her unselfishness has been a huge blessing to me. I know that she is missing me, but she feels so happy for me that it dulls the pain of her loneliness. 

I am so proud of her. She is a very busy woman . . . leading Bible study, taking college classes, helping with a ministry in the community, helping at church. She is not sitting home feeling sorry for herself . . . she is letting her light shine and making a difference for so many people. 

I want the whole world to hear me when I say, "Thank you, Mom! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your willingness to let me go has demonstrated your sincere love for me in a way that I will never forget! That is a legacy I hope to pass along."
"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:7-8

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness." Psalm 107:9 NKJV

Friday, October 18, 2013

Once upon a time, U. S. Senator Sam Brownback, (presently Governor of Kansas) was given the honor of escorting Mother Teresa around the great city of Washington D.C.  When it was time for her to leave he helped her little tiny frame into the car that would take her to the airport. Her parting words were unforgettable.

"Sam, always remember three things; All for Jesus! All for Jesus! All for Jesus!" 

A few years ago I met a man who had met Princess Diana. He was a medical doctor in a hospital in the UK where she chose to spend a day visiting the very ill. 

"What did you think of her?" I asked him.

His reply to me went very much like this:

"She was real. Oh, she was very real. She wouldn't let the press in while she was visiting  with each individual patient. She spent time caressing every one of them with sincere, loving compassion. She encouraged, she loved, she gave hope. She was an angel."  he told me.

I think it is amazing that these two very influential women died within a few days of each other. Princess Diana died August 31, 1997 and Mother Teresa died September 5, 1997.

The photo above is a journal that belonged to Princess Diana. The page showing is a written message to her from Mother Teresa.

It says:

"JESUS is the TRUTH to be told; JESUS is the LIFE to be lived; JESUS is the LOVE to be loved; JESUS is the LIGHT to be lit. LET US LOVE JESUS with an undivided LOVE, And others, as He LOVES you and me." (Mother Theresa) 1992 ~ written in a prayer journal given to Prince Diana

The journal above reveals what Mother Teresa shared with Princess Diana. 

I have been reading the Beatitudes every morning this week.  I see Mother Teresa reflected in every one of them. But the genuine beauty of it all is this . . . she would not want me to see her. She would want me to see the one she lived for and loved for . . . Jesus. 

Your thoughts?
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8 

I want to thank "one of my girls" Dawn Rickerson  for letting me use this picture. She got to visit the Princess Diana exhibit and she said that this was her favorite item shown. Dawn truly understands what genuine beauty is all about. Thank you so much, Dawn! I think you are very beautiful! God bless! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

 Heart to Heart

Tomorrow I will be sharing about this.

I hope you will stop by.

Blessings, sweet friend! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

 The Call

 The word "Gethsemane" is on this page of my dictionary. Do you see it? It is on the lower right hand side. I didn't see it until I was posting this photo. I flipped open the book, set it down, took a picture, posted it . . . and there it was. 

Gethsemane . . .

I haven't even read the definition yet, but I got the message. 

Gethsemane . . . that place where Jesus surrendered His will for the Father's. 

(prayer)"I surrender, Lord"
It is not right to compare a calling to His cross. He carried our sin to the cross. It was ugly. The sinless One bearing grotesque sin of all mankind. His body torn and bloody.  No, I can't compare my calling to His. Not in that way.

On a much smaller scale, I can relate to the wrestling match of wills. The sheer determination it takes to lay down my will for His will. 

Hesitantly, I have picked up my "pen" once again. I am leaning on Him, relying heavily on Him. I am hoping for this kind of message to come every time I write, my friend. The kind where God wants to say something to us and so He does. He can use one word and speak volumes. 


Are you a writer? I have recently joined an online group for writers called (click on it here) "Compel"  It has inspired me so much and helped me reach a level of focus that I have never attained to before. I highly recommend.

My bucket list is evolving in the first part of this journal (above). The second half is filled with goals for my writing and a few other areas of my life. I wrote them down yesterday. Do you have a bucket list? What is number one on it? Dare I share one of mine with you? #6 on my b-list: Write at least one children's book and have it published. Can you recommend an illustrator? What about goals. Have you written your goals down? What area of your life are you super focused on right now?

One of my goals is to stretch my vocabulary. I am going to try to add a few new words every week. I receive Merriam Webster's Word for the Day in my inbox every morning. I have been receiving a new word every day for years. I am going to take it to a new level and write of few of them and their definitions down in this little notebook (above). I will write a sentence about the word and hopefully will be able to retain their meanings . 

I'm going to keep reading books about writing. I found the one pictured above at a garage sale last Saturday. It was 25 cents well spent. Thank you, Mr. Zinsser! There are so many good books about writing out there. Scotty (my husband) says I should write one. I think he is thinking of the $ because we writers like to read about writing more than we like to write. I'm not sure how he knows this. On Writing Well is my favorite book about writing . . . at the moment.

Community helps so much! I sensed a kindred spirit when I attended a local Christian Writer's Group last month. I was so inspired by their accomplishments, their goals, but most of all their warm hospitality. I can hardly wait for the next meeting!

I have been running away from this and like callings for a long time. I have felt like a Jonah, sleeping in the bottom of a boat on stormy seas, having nightmares about whale's breath. Well, that is how I used to be. Now I feel like Peter, out of the boat, walking on water, looking at Jesus, knees shaking . . . wind and waves threaten. I'm trusting, though, that should I fall . . . instantly He will offer me His hand and come to my rescue!

Blessings to all writers out there! I would love to hear from you. What are you doing to keep the writing embers stirred? If you are not a writer, what is your calling and do you ever wrestle with God about it? What tools have you found that inspire you to keep going?

"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed saying, 'Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.'" Luke22:41-42

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


A friend called me last night.

 She has a friend who needs a friend. She needs someone who has left footprints on the tough road she is walking now . . . she has been abandoned by her circle. They are weary of providing a shoulder for her tears. 

Would I? Could I step into her world of devastation and be a reliever for a bit of time? 

I want to. I am familiar with the ache of her wound. Healing has come now, joy restored and I feel strength to hold her hand while she travels on this difficult path.

I cannot fix her soul nor can I fix her trial, but I can walk through fire with her as one who has been through fire . . . this particular fire. 

I will pray that her outcome will be as good as mine. I want to tell her that eventually relief will come and all pieces of her wrecked life will be neatly placed back into their appointed grooves. I want that for her, but I have learned that it might not be so. There are times when life's puzzles are completed with pieces missing.

This is her story. It will be her testimony. God will use different means to bring different ends. Someday she will tell how she survived . . . she will be able to explain what it was like to be carried as one who has been in His arms.

 Earthly companions often fail us in these times. They run out of words that comfort. I might run out of words,my shoulder might grow weary. As long as there is grace I want to be there for her. 

I am praying that a season of rejoicing will come. That she will experience the kind of joy you have when the prodigal comes home, the healthy baby is born, or someone is healed of deadly disease. 

"Lord, let her life be heading for happy times."

My pastor made a statement on Sunday that continues to echo in my mind. "Jesus did not come so that we would not have to suffer, He came to save our souls." 

I have felt the agony of suffering . . . I realize there are degrees . . . I know that mine has been minimal compared to others. When you are in your valley it doesn't seem so . . . it doesn't seem possible that anyone could hurt more than you are hurting, but there is always a deeper level of suffering happening somewhere in the world. In times of suffering it is difficult to see beyond your own world. There is no other world . . . at least for awhile. Who has strength for it? The Lord knows this.

The Lord has done great things for me. He has rescued me from the trial my new friend is experiencing . . . "Thank you, God!!!" It wasn't instant relief . . . it came with time . . . but respite from storm finally settled in. 

I will tell my new friend that the Lord did not instantly deliver me out of my experience of pain, but He was faithful and always with me. I will try to be that for her, but I will also make sure she knows that I will not be able to carry her . . . He is the one who carries.He is the only one who can. 

"He will lead His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Monday, October 14, 2013

                                something borrowed

 I had to borrow this beautiful photo of Olivia and her "mawmaw". Livvey is wearing her mawmaw's beauty and her bridal gown. They are sharing a moment of pretend.  

There are many lovely facets to this sweet photo.

First, it speaks to me of one generation passing on a legacy to another. Mawmaw's strength and dignity are being passed to this little lovey, Livvey. Compassion, generosity, love and forgiveness are worn daily, like a garment, in front of Olivia, her siblings, and her cousins by this beautiful woman of grace. It is genuinely demonstrated to them so effectively they will have to try it on for themselves.Godly character will  pass from one generation to another. Oh, the wealth of their heritage!

There is a message of confidence . . .  there is an aura of beauty we portray when we are sure of being loved. Olivia's radiant face is beaming because she is sure of who she is. She knows . . . she doesn't have to think or wonder . . . this little girl knows! She is confident. She is secure! It is very beautiful!  Psalm 34:5 came to mind. "They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed." I wonder, would the Lord want us to wear such a countenance of confidence . . .  without a trace of arrogance? I think He does.

Oh, and there is a message of wearing something borrowed, being dressed in beauty that we could not have gotten for ourselves. As Christians, our "wedding dress" was purchased for us, passed on to us.We must borrow, we cannot buy it ourselves. We could not afford it! Sometimes it seems it fits rather loosely about us, this rightness with God that we have been given, no? I hope to grow into it in time, with the help of God's measureless patience and grace. 

It also reminds me of days and seasons past . . . it seems like a lifetime ago, when my "little" girl was trying on my wedding gown. She would float around our house dressed in everything many sizes beyond her own . . .all decked out in heels, veil, gown, jewelery, bouquet. She would light every candle we owned, enhancing the ambiance. Yes, in this photo I see my "little" girl, pretending before becoming . . . playing dress up in wedding attire years before her real, tall, dark and handsome groom actually stood waiting for her to join him at an altar.

It reminds me of a lovely summer day when all those moments of pretend were put far behind us and I was the momma of the radiant bride.

Another facet . . . I don't imagine that Olivia has had one single thought about a groom. That makes me smile! It opens up a whole new plethora of summations for me. 

Mostly this picture speaks to me of love . . . oodles, and oodles, and lots and lots of love.

 What does this sweet photo remind you of? 

" . . . and be found in Him, and not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith." Philippians 3:9 NKJV

Photo used by permission. Thank you, Lezlie, for letting me share this really beautiful photo of Olivia and her "mawmaw"! It is a timeless treasure! 



Friday, October 11, 2013

We have lived in our new home, a little apartment in a brand new state, for 80 and 1/2 days. What joy! We have been 





renewed . . .

I am finding my voice again . . . my writing voice. I have laid this writing thing down for a very long time . . . partly because I had to. Our world was on fast forward and I was not able to keep up. 

Partly because I wasn't sure of it.

I'm wondering now if I ever really had found my own writer's voice. I honestly do not know, friends, but I am back here again looking for it . . . my real, true voice. Thank you for your patience with me.

Fall makes my heart dance. Air crisp and fresh, skies the bluest of blues, trees dressed in glory. How fun it is to explore this beautiful state in this favorite of seasons! 

We have purged ourselves to a state of simplicity and we have found a liberty as freeing as leaves floating on a gentle breeze. We are marveling at creation with renewed childlike wonder and awe. I want to tell about it and many other wonderful and marvelous things. 

Thank  you for stopping by to hear my story!

"You have put gladness in my heart, More in the season that their grain and wine increased. I will both lie down in peace, and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:7-8 NKJV