Monday, January 30, 2012




It's pretty amazing the comparison between last year's and this year's winter. I've enjoyed the milder weather, and I'm sure many of you across the northern regions of the U.S. share my feelings - with the exception of you snowboard enthusiasts. Sorry about that.

I'm still enjoying my fireplace and candles, but I'm also enjoying the fact that it's almost February, and being that it's a shorter month it seems like March comes rolling in before we know it! Soon, spring will be upon us, and we'll all be saying, "What? Another year come and gone - already?"

I love the changing seasons, the newness of spring, the loveliness of summer, the coolness of autumn, and, yes, the bitter chill of winter. Each season serves its purpose in reminding us of the pure joy of life itself - from youth to old age we can embrace it in all its splendor and richness. (IF we choose to, that is.)

I feel sorry for those who mourn change. Change is inevitable, something we must all endure whether we want to or not. In two days, my "almost" 89-year-old mother-in-law will be leaving her home of the past 20 years to make her way to a senior living center. She could bemoan the fact that she's reached that point in her life where she must submit to yet another change, this one truly MAJOR; but instead, she remains her positive self, praising God even through this poignant, monumental life change. She knows her next home will be Heaven itself, and that will be the ULTIMATE change. From a blemished, scarred world to GLORIOUS PERFECTION.

As you go about your day today, consider all the changes you've tackled in your lifetime. Did they grow you as an individual or slow your progress? Think of change as a good and positive thing, and you will be amazed at how it affects your attitude and heart.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


The other day I read something that struck a chord with me. It went something like this, though not in these exact words: Jesus is leading us along the high road, but it's full of descents as well as ascents. We see snow-covered peaks in the far-off distance, and we long to reach the top - if only there were shortcuts. Our assignment is NOT to take the shortcuts, but to follow Christ's leading, allowing Him to direct our paths. We should let the heights beckon us, but remain close to our Heavenly Father as we walk this upward journey.

How often do we want to race ahead of God? We think we see the trail He has so intricately mapped out for us that we can easily reach our destinations without any further help. Not. Our paths are winding, bumpy, and loaded with roadblocks. If we fail to seek His daily guidance and direction, we will easily lose our way. Our perfect roadmap is God's Holy Word. Reading it daily and seeking His divine voice in our quiet moments will ensure we take the upward path He's designed just for us. Isn't it great to know we each have our very own life-map? It's up to us to keep checking that map, though, lest we fall into some deadly trap our Enemy Satan has put there just to trick us.

Get out your road map (The Holy Bible) and read your instructions for the day. I pray your journey today will be exhilarating and blessed of God.

Sunday, January 15, 2012



Four days ago the ground boasted of little more than sticks, dormant grass, and a few stray, dead leaves. Today a white blanket of snow, several inches deep, spreads over its barrenness. On Friday morning its fresh fallen beauty awed so many West Michiganders that if you had signed into Facebook at any given moment throughout the day you would have found at least 563 newly posted photos! (Okay, slight exaggeration.) I myself contributed four to the pile, each one of my beloved dog romping in it, sniffing the air, and looking quite mystified by all the whiteness. Aside from his few tracks, though, my yard remained fresh and mostly untouched as the snow continued falling for the next 24 hours.

What of today? Well, now that the snow has stopped falling it's full of tracks, dog and people and sled tracks. Yesterday, the grandkids, Peyton, and Papa played and rolled and tromped through the yard, making tracks of all shapes and sizes.


I'm reminded of my daddy's tracks when I was a kid and how after a heavy snowfall I'd follow in his fresh tracks to avoid getting snow up my pant legs, which begs the question - what kinds of tracks do I leave as I go about my day? Do I leave the kind that people want to put their own feet into and follow behind? I pray so.

I try to follow in the tracks that Jesus made when He walked this earth. I say try, but really, it is only by His grace and strength, and not my own feeble efforts, that I'm able to do so. Somedays it's hard living a holy life. Something as simple as a driver cutting me off at the turn can catch me in an unholy moment!

"Oh, Father, may the tracks I make on this earth be the kind that make a mark for eternity; may my footprints lead others straight to YOU. In Your Name I pray. Amen."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


We've had the most glorious January weather here in West Michigan, BUT...


Who hasn't read those words splashed across the bottom of your TV screen or heard it announced on the radio, or overheard it mentioned in the grocery store where everyone runs for last minute supplies?

Storms are imminent, both in weather and in life! We can't avoid them. Even in the height of paradise (wherever that may be) one is never immune to storms. I can handle the occasional bad storm--in fact, I rather enjoy them if I'm not inconvenienced by a lack of food, warmth, and electricity! (ha!) No, it's the storms of life that often get me down. Somebody falls victim to an incurable disease, fire burns a house to the ground, an unspeakable auto accident takes the life of a precious husband and father, an innocent child suffers abuse at the hands of someone he/she trusted - and the list goes on.

It's tempting to question where God is when we're busy trying to ride out these horrid storms that threaten to sweep us away, the current so strong we can barely stay afloat. But in my heart I KNOW where He is. He's in the wind, the waves, the mountains, the valleys, and the floods of life. He is there, asking us to trust Him through the darkest storms. How do I know? Because I've tested Him and found Him true and faithful over and over...and over.

"Be still and know that I am God..." the verse states. Next time something sneaks up on you that you weren't prepared to handle, rest in God's protective, shielding arms and simply KNOW that He is God...

And now, I must confess that I am glad I made two grocery store stops today. I am ready for the storm!

Sunday, January 08, 2012


I love fresh starts! It's like sitting in front of a fire on a comfy sofa with a brand new book. Ah, the anticipation, the hope, the loveliness of it all.

That's what 2012 represents for me, a fresh start, a new chapter. (As a writer, I would have to use a book as an analogy, wouldn't I?) Seriously, the New Year represents new beginnings - new diets, habits, goals, and choices. But it also represents the unknown tomorrows. None of us can be sure what the year holds. We all hope and pray for untold joy, but some of us may encounter a few bumps and bruises. Regardless, we can be certain of this; God will be there.

I love this artist's rendering of Joseph and Mary bringing the baby Jesus to the temple to meet Simeon. There they dedicate their newborn son to the Lord. In their hearts they must have known great and wondrous things would happen through him, but they couldn't possibly have imagined what. Had they known that one day their son would sacrifice himself on a cruel cross for the sake of all mankind, perhaps they wouldn't have been so eager to present him to Simeon.

Matthew 6:34 states, "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today."

I find comfort in knowing I'll find Jesus in tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that.

"Lord, although it's tempting to worry about the unknown, please put within my heart enough faith and trust to believe You'll walk me through any trials I may face. Each of us WILL face trials; it's a fact of life. But in those trials, help me, and help my brothers and sisters, to find You sufficient for every need. Thank You for your steadfast, even stubborn, love. It surpasses all other forms of love and is ALWAYS enough. In Your Holy Name I pray these things. Amen."

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


It was a wintery, corn chowdery kind of night.

First thing this morning, I looked out the window at a snowy ground and an ice-gray sky and thought to's going to be a corn chowder night. And so it was. Toward mid-afternoon I gathered my ingredients together, hauled out the big kettle (yep, there's only two of us, so we'll be eating corn chowder for awhile), and started peeling potatoes. Well, shoot, I may as well just give you the recipe! Here it is, my dear friends. Make a kettle for yourself and enjoy... Oh, by the way, Cecil did the spoon-standing-in-the-middle-of-the-bowl test, and it passed with flying colors. This is a THICK, hearty soup, great with a slice of your favorite bread and a small side salad.


2 tablespoons butter
1 chopped onion
1 (32-ounce) carton of chicken broth
4 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 (16 ounce) bag of frozen corn
2 (2.5 ounce) packages country style gravy mix
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (3 oz. bag) REAL Bacon (shredded)


In large kettle, saute butter and onion on medium heat till tender, about five minutes. Add chicken broth to mixture and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are semi-tender. In separate bowl, whisk gravy packets and two cups of milk, then add mixture to the kettle along with the frozen corn, cheese, and bacon. Bring to a slow boil then simmer over low heat till thick and tender, giving cheese time to melt. Serves...a LOT!!!