Sunday, November 27, 2011


Christmas really IS about us...sort of.

It's about us - to a point. God gave up His only Son, Jesus, for US so that we could learn of His great love and forgiveness. Though mocked and spat upon, Jesus went from town to town to preach the Gospel message for US, sacrificing comfort and convenience. For US, He bled and died on a cruel cross so that we could know firsthand how very much He loves US, and then he rose from that dark tomb for US that we might have eternal life with Him.

So, from that perspective, Christmas is about us. BUT...because of all He did, shouldn't we turn the tables and make this wondrous season more about HIM and less about US?

I continually catch myself in the trimmings and trappings of Christmas, looking for the best bargains, racing from one place to another, filling up my calendar with "must attend" events, and living out entire days before it occurs that I haven't spoken to my Savior in hours!

Want to join me in the challenge to put Christ at the forefront of all we do? If you're "in" simply post below, "I'm in!" That little gesture will help to keep us accountable.

Love and CHRISTmas hugs...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving! How many times have you greeted someone with that phrase this week? I know I have said it to store clerks, friends, the stock boy who carried my groceries to my car then loaded them in my trunk (yes, our local grocery store STILL carries out that nice gesture), and to countless others in passing, including those with whom I've "talked" in cyberspace. I love Thanksgiving, perhaps as much as Christmas. It's one of those holidays that can't help but make me reflect upon all the many things I'm so blessed to have, and I'm not talking material goods here - I'm talking faith, family, friends, and so much more.

Today, as I gather with the ones I hold most dear - my beloved family - I intend to do a lot of hugging, laughing, conversing, and EATING. Most of all, though, I intend to rejoice.

"Thank you, Lord, for the countless blessings you bestow upon Your children. May I never take them for granted. In Your Name. Amen."

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Life is full of beautiful surprises. Take this picture for instance. At first glimpse, you are awed by its splendor. The serene lake scene, two lovers standing on the shore, their images framed by tree branches. So pretty. And then a closer look will reveal an unborn baby. See it? Now, I view the couple as more than just two people in love; I see them as rejoicing in the wonder of becoming parents.

I love how God surprises us with joy - a red-tinged sunrise, a falling star on a sparkling night, a rainbow in the mist, a golden sunset, or a newborn's first smiles. Lately, our family has been making utter fools of ourselves during our one-month old Mason's every waking moment, trying to coax a smile out of him then leaping for joy when we get that half-second glimpse of one. Today, he curled up one side of his mouth and then broke out into a full smile. Granted, he closed his eyes shortly afterward and drifted into a blissful sleep, but those few seconds brought my family untold JOY.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day this week, let us look for joy in the everyday moments...and give God all the thanks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Photo: LaUnion, HONDURAS

I miss my hubby already - and he hasn't even been gone for 12-hours. I will survive, I keep telling myself.

My husband loves adventure, and he's passionate about missions, so it stands to reason that he would love mission trips. I am writing this at 2 a.m., and at the moment Cecil is either lying on the floor in some remote corner of O'Hare Airport, or leaning up against a cement wall trying to get a little shut-eye before the terminal opens at 3:30 allowing him to proceed through security and reach his gate for his 5 a.m. departure to San Pedro, Honduras. Once there, he will board a beat-up truck and pay a taxi driver $125 to escort him up the mountain to a village known as LaUnion. Here the average villager provides for his family with a whopping salary of $2000 per year. My husband has a great interest in micro-finance; thus his reason for going. In recent months he has "hooked up" with some sharp young college grads who have started a company known as Union MicroFinanza. They make loans of $200 to struggling farmers to help them with their coffee growing businesses. Yes, $200 goes a LONG way in this penniless village. Cecil is going to spend his days there learning how the business operates, talking to farmers, offering encouragement, and attending planning meetings. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I don't know what he's going to be doing. I'll find out more as the days go by and I get emails or maybe even a phone call. This one thing I do know: he's passionate, and he has a big, sacrificial heart--and I am SO proud of him. I love that man, and I just wanted all of you to know it.

If the Lord happens to bring him to your mind, would you pray for him in the coming days? (He will be returning to the states on Tuesday, November 22.) Please pray for his health, his safety, and most of all, that God will bless him as he seeks to do His will.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


The burning bush is the location at which Moses was appointed by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into Canaan. You remember the story. Do you also remember Moses’ response to that calling? Just in case you don’t, here it is from The Living Bible.

“But Moses pleaded, ‘O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me, for I have a speech impediment.’

‘Who makes mouths?’ God asked him. ‘Isn’t it I, the Lord? Who makes a man so that he can speak or not speak, see or not see, hear or not hear? Now go ahead and do as I tell you, for I will help you to speak well, and I will tell you what to say.’

But Moses said, ‘Lord, please! Send someone else.’" Exodus 4:10-13

Many of us can relate to this on so many levels. Moses experienced feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty, and inferiority. God called him to do a job, and he said, “I can’t do it. I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have what it takes. God, I can’t even put two words together, and to top matters, I'm OLD! There must be somebody out there better equipped to do this job. Can’t you ask somebody else?” I’m thinking Moses might have qualified as a whiner, what do you think?

Now, listen, because of Moses' incessant “whining”, God eventually chose his brother Aaron to speak in his place, but we know from the accounts in God’s Word what a great man of God Moses became despite his imperfections: leading the Israelites out of Egypt, parting the Red Sea, and, of course, writing the Ten Commandments!

So, the lesson here is not that whining will get you what you want. (It may work with your spouse but not with God. ha) No, it’s that even despite our inabilities and weaknesses God’s strength can be made perfect in our weakness. So many of us have such low opinions of our potential that it keeps us from becoming ALL God wants us to be. We demean His Name by not trusting in His strength and power to get us through the tough situations of life.

Learn to trust and obey. It reaps great rewards.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I'm 20-minutes late in writing "Thursday Thoughts" - rather, I'm 20-minutes into Friday! Yep, it's 12:20 a.m. and here I am writing, well, yesterday's thoughts. I had a long 'to do' list on Thursday: Take care of my 3-year-old grandson, which entailed a breakfast of waffles, play time, watching a 15-minute segment of "Martha Speaks" on PBS, and going to the library for story-time. Then off to meet my daughter and newest grandson for lunch and deliver my 3-year-old back to her so he could go home for his nap. Next, work on the lesson I'm teaching at a writers' conference next weekend on character development. After that, go to the nail salon, make a drugstore run, come up with something for supper, finish laundry, and, oh! find some time to work on my NOVEL! Hello, is there enough time in my day? Plainly put, no. In between there I had good intentions of posting in my blog. (Incidentally, the nail salon and drugstore got put on hold - and work on my writing lesson for next week's conference is ongoing.)

Let's be honest here; life is B-U-S-Y! And sometimes we let our priorities slip
- GOD first, FAMILY second, CAREER third. Yes, that IS the goal we should strive to live by if we truly desire purpose, meaning, and joy.

Guess what - God is in the chaos. He understands that some days just don't flow the way they should; that we get so caught up in the busyness that we have to lay aside our "to do" lists and change them to "to-be-continued" lists.

I'm thankful for a faithful, patient, understanding God who doesn't expect perfection. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength" is a verse that speaks to me right now in the wee hours of the morning as I wrap up this post.

Today (Friday) I'll bring out my list and check off a few more items. Maybe I'll even find a minute to run to the nail salon. If not - there's always next week! GOD IS GOOD.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Ever run into times in your life when fear overtook you and you couldn't quite get a grip on yourself? I'm raising my hand to let you know I've been there. More than once. I recall a specific time in my life when a wave of panic so engulfed me in the middle of the night that I lay there in a sweat, heart pounding, unsure whether to wake my husband to pray for me or to just deal with it. As it turned out, I did neither - I turned the matter over to my loving Father, the only One truly sufficient to help us in these times of need. A verse I'd earlier committed to memory swept over me. It's so simple, yet profound. Let its truth sink deep into your spirit as you read it.

"I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not be afraid; I will help you.'" Isaiah 41:13

See? I told you it was simple. Once I began reciting this verse in my head a couple of times, the sweetest peace washed over me, and I knew my Savior had come through for me again. I tell you, we serve a loving, faithful, patient God. Next time you experience something too overwhelming to handle on your own - let God take hold of your right hand. Feel the strength of His hold on you and BELIEVE He can and will see you through whatever circumstance you encounter.

Thursday, November 03, 2011



Have you ever been so weary from physical activity you thought you'd drop dead if you didn't take a minute to sit down and rest your aching muscles? While physical activity is good for the soul, mind, and body, it can also be taxing, and if you're anything like me, you avoid it at all costs. Okay, I admit it; I'm purely lazy when it comes to daily exercise. Scratch "daily" and make that weekly. My hubby gets annoyed with me for not taking physical exercise more seriously, and I don't blame him. Exercise is a good thing, and I know it! It's just MAKING myself do it that's the problem.

But exercise isn't the only culprit that makes a body weary. Stress, heartache, disappointment, grief, jobs, relationships gone sour, illness, unemployment, financial burdens -- need I continue? -- are huge contributors. Some days you wake up and say to yourself, "I've had enough, I can't go on. I don't have the strength to even put one foot in front of the other. My life is a shambles, and I'll never be able to put it back together. I'm so tired and weary."

Ever been there? Friend, God is your refuge, your strength, and your help. Be assured He wants to give you rest, and He holds the answers you can't find within yourself. Let down your guard, have a seat in His Garden of Rest, and learn what it means to fully trust Him.