Archives for posts with tag: christianity

Chase, Wrightsville Beach, NC

Isaiah 26:9  ~  “Cause my soul to yearn for you in the night and long for you in the morning.”

I read this verse this morning and just love it. I love the word yearn…to long for, to crave, to seek after and desire.  It’s a good word when that yearning can be filled. It’s not such a good word when it can’t be filled. The good news is that when the yearning is for God, He’s right there. That longing for hope and life and light and truth, no matter how hard the truth, can be filled. But even more, that yearning for His Presence can be filled as well…

I’m aware of so many needs in the lives of  sweet friends and family right now. Heck, our world is a mess and seems to be spinning out of control…on the global, world-wide political scale, and in the lives of everyday people. But sometimes the thing that causes our soul to yearn for Him are the very causes which we would never choose.  Illness, adversity, loss of loved ones or things, isolation, un-welcomed transitions…these can be causes that cause us to look outside of ourselves.  These causes can remind us that we are not all powerful and can’t change things in the blink of an eye. They can remind us that we are temporal…that life is fleeting and we are here for a short time. They can remind us that no matter how independent or successful or innovative or creative or whatever we are, that there are things in this life, in this world, that we cannot control.

Maybe the flip-side, the beauty, of these unwanted causes is that they point us to,  dare I say, make us long for yearn for, crave, the Presence of the One who is all that we are not. These unwanted circumstances can make us seek beyond what is seen. It’s almost like these causes are an unwanted path, a difficult terrain that is excruciating to navigate…but the walking of them can lead to an awareness, a place, a destination far beyond what we had ever hoped. Or, we finally get that on this difficult terrain, we have a willing and present navigator, guide to be present along the way.  All through the Bible are verses about God’s leading. One of my favorites is :Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


Asheville, NC


And come what may, it’s good to know that we’re not alone and that He is accessible on any path, terrain, or circumstance. No matter the cause, if it causes us to yearn for Him in a new way, to seek Him, to crave His Presence, well, maybe the causes we fight so much wouldn’t be so bad. Because they are a gateway to greater things than what we could’ve gotten on easy street. I’m thinking there’s something in each of us that knows God IS. Maybe sometimes the things we would never choose are the very things which make us not only seek His Presence, but to see Him with eyes of faith all the more clearly.

Just a few thoughts from me this morning 🙂





I planted some seeds in a pot today. The pot has seen so many flowers through the years, but most times, they’ve been the  pre-grown kind I just pick up at Wal-mart and stick in a pot. But these?  These little seeds are going to take a little time to grow.

I took out the little hand shovel and dug a hole, put some seeds in and for now will wait to hopefully see some little sprouts grow. Impatiens seeds (for those who are  not so very ‘patiens’…) takes only about 21 days to germinate.  So, it won’t be long until we see the sprouts break the surface of the soil and begin their debut. I’m so looking forward to seeing these simple little carefree beauties bloom.

And do you know what?  When they start to flower and bloom and fill up that pot…they won’t be daisies or tulips or lilies.  They’ll be impatiens. That’s what I planted after all.

Because what we sow is what we reap.  Not always right away. Sometimes there’s a short germination period, and sometimes it takes years and years to see what we’ve planted  reach the surface and bloom.  But the principle stands….what we sow, we reap.

Daisies beget daisies. Verbena begets verbena. Willows beget willows. Violets beget violets.  Impatiens beget impatiens.

And…much more importantly…Kindness plants seeds of kindness. Hope breeds hope. Lies beget lies and distrust. Love multiplies love. Stealing multiplies voids and needs. Yep, what we sow, we reap.  Not always right away, because, yes, even with these, there can be  years and years of waiting (or dreading depending on what we’ve planted), because like seeds, the way we treat people are seeds sown that may take a little time to germinate.  But, what we sow we reap.


Am thinking I’m glad that I like impatiens. I’m glad (hoping) that I will see the beauty of that sow~reap principle before my eyes every day this summer.  Why?  Because I want to be reminded to sow well. To be diligent about planting seeds that will reap a harvest that blesses others and honors God. A harvest that gives. And I want to be diligent about tossing the seeds and actions that I don’t want to multiply in my life or in the lives of others. I definitely don’t want to be multiplying negative stuff. The world is full of enough of that.And it definitely takes diligence and honesty and tenacity to see the yuck in my own life. Gotta see it before I can toss it. And I’ve gotta plant the good stuff before it will grow.

Here’s to reaping what we sow, and sowing well because we know that daisies beget daisies, verbena begets verbena, and impatiens beget impatiens. Am hoping that this summer my pots will be full of impatiens…and my own little world will be blessed by the harvest that comes from the seeds I choose to plant in my life and the lives of those around me. Yep ~ am so thankful for the reminders that these little seeds gave me today…hope you are too!  Happy Planting, friend.



“Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.

Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD,

that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.”

Hosea 10:12



Maybe “sassy” looks like a 3 inch bird who stares down a 5’6″ human. Maybe it looks like diving into the whole cup of birdseed rather than teetering on the edge and reaching for a few kernels. Maybe it sounds like the song …the beautifully loud and clear tune from a tiny little bird that boldly breaks the silence and fills the air with a melody.  Maybe “sassy” is attitude that looks beyond stature and circumstance. Maybe sassy is a really good thing.  Because this kind of sassy sure sounds a lot like ‘faith’ to me.

… a few thoughts that came to me as I came eye to eye with this sassy little thing  just outside of my window.


“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?                                                                 The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”                                                Psalm 27:1


…am singing from Psalm 42 these days ❤ …

If I fall, let me fall on my knees

If I call, will you draw near to me

If I wade into waters too deep

Will your grasp reach…


If the dark of night lingers long

Will you be with me, be my song

Will the gift of your Presence renew

As I call out to You


If I seek, Oh, Lord help me find

More of you, may my heart be resigned

to rest in Your goodness and truth

of Your mercies new, always new


And when life gets out of hand

May I cling to the Great I Am

Who resides in the here and now

Who presides come what may, some how


Let the bones thou has broken rejoice

May the praise that resounds be a choice

choosing hope that will never let me go

Am holding on to hope


And when deep waters call to deep

You alone will my soul safely keep

Granting rest where none else can go

Granting freedom of being fully known


If I thirst may it lead me to You

as a deer pants and water renews

If a void grows within me so deep

May the hunger be satisfied by Thee (only Thee)

If I pour out my soul unto you

May what’s poured out of me come from You

May my weakness be my strength

As I  just give thanks…in every thing give thanks..


If I hunger, let it be for You

For Your Presence, Your guidance, Your truth

If I thirst, let my longing lead

me to wells of your eternal spring

where thirst’s quench is satisfied

Where the longings change

Where love abides


As a deer pants for waters that flow

Let me press on to seek, to know

You who leads the weary and the lame

You who feed the hungry and ashamed

You who give grace and set captives free

Speak to me, Lord draw me


If I fall, let me fall on my knees

When I’ve called, how you’ve drawn near to me

Oh the peace that will never let me go

Oh the reach that grasps and says “Be still and know….”

I know


When I rise, let it be in your strength

Knowing You, You alone are to thank

For the grace that reaches far and wide

For the place that leads me to abide in You.


Psalm 42, Lamentations 3, James 4, etc…









Just got back in from seeing the sunset as my son (pre-drivers licensed son) drove us around town to run a few errands.  I sat in the passenger seat trying to encourage him to leave at least an inch or two for mailboxes, and practiced my breathing.  He’s my last of 6 children to teach how to drive, and well, let’s just say we need quite a few more hours of practice driving under his belt before he goes for his test.  But overall, we’re making progress because I didn’t feel quite so much the need to will the car to stay on the road and I was able to take some photos as we  (oops, I mean “he” ) drove.

The week had lots of highlights.  There was lots and lots of time well spent with four of my six children.  And do you know what some of my favorite moments were?  Coming into the kitchen and seeing all 4 of them sitting on the deck talking …for hours.  Yep, I’d say that’s time well spent.  Then they took goofy pictures and laughed. hopeandboys5

This next photo was taken when I had just finished talking with their brother in Sweden and shared some crazy news with them about some of his fun adventures…Here’s their reaction…hopeandboys1

….and then, here’s the traditional posed shot…


Hope and Josh got to catch up after not seeing each other for a long time…


Yep.  Thankful as all get out.  I also got to see my parents after not seeing them since Christmas, and that was time well spent as well. So fun.

There were some sweet surprises this week.  On the way back home from church, we saw a doe and a fawn…still had spots.  I was amazed at how tiny the little guy was, and he didn’t get more than a few inches away from his mother.  When I stopped to watch, they watched right back, and I was amazed at the lack of fear.  I even had time to grab my camera and take a photo.  deer

The mama doe sure looks proud and protective.  I know just how she feels…

So after the weekend, Monday was full of fun as we celebrated with students at school.  We had awards ceremonies and parties and celebrated victories. One of my favorite moments was when our therapy dog, Skye, granted us one last visit. She comes twice a month to my classroom for reading, but mainly, it’s for connection. So many of my students have some difficult backgrounds and are pretty emotionally detached.  Sweet Skye helps bridge those gaps for a lot of the students, but especially for one little guy. He hardly smiled, except when Skye was around, and he was totally engaged when reading to her.  So on this last day of school, he got to hug her and walk her one more time and we all were thankful for the time well spent. thankfulthurs22

The next day the staff corralled children and tried to keep them occupied which wasn’t easy without much structure in the day.  At 11:00 the teachers lined up and waved gleefully at the buses leaving the campus.  (Dare I say that some of the teachers even danced!!)  And then, we as a staff were off to…an entertainment center to celebrate as a team!  I almost missed out on the fun because my list of “to-dos” was longer than I could stand, but reluctantly went because this team of teachers and staff are a team worth celebrating with.  And I’m so glad I went.  We got to choose from bowling and putt-putt and laser tag, and I chose…laser tag!  Was so much fun I couldn’t stand it! And I came home and announced to my boys that we should all go as a family soon so I can show them my skills, ha!  They laughed so hard and seemed shocked that I’d choose laser tag over bowling or putt-putt. Not sure if I should be offended by that or not, but I’ll let it go for now.

I also got to hold a sweet little brand new baby boy. Has been a while since I’ve held a little one in my arms.  And, it so reminded me of all of the little movements and mannerisms that little ones have.  The sights, the sounds, the smells…nothing like a baby.  I got to hold the little guy for awhile, and when I gave him back found myself just thanking God that I got to be a mom for all those years with little ones in my arms and at my feet. They’re so grown up, now, but my heart and mind can go back to those days in a moment’s notice.  Sweet sweet memories.  Well, most of them, anyway!

So, the next day, Tan’s baseball game was cancelled and  I felt relieved that there was a little space in my day.  We (he) drove, and we ended up down at the Greenway for a walk.  It was absolutely beautiful, and so fun to spend time catching up with Tanner.

The sun was just going down and seemed to dance on the water.  Loved our time.  We even got to see one of his favorite teachers who also happens to be the mom of one of my older children’s friends.  Was so good to see her and catch up a bit. Yep, lots to be thankful for.

The next day, the game wasn’t cancelled and we got to enjoy a good game.  Well, actually, it might not be classified as a ‘good’ game cause we lost 16 to 2.  But boy oh boy did we cheer for those two runs, and every victory.  One of the little victories was a catch that Tan made out in left field!  (It was after missing two out there and when the ball started flying over shortstop my heart started praying like crazy that he’d make the catch.)  He made it and I said “Phew” and a grandmother sitting near me on the bleachers smiled a sweet smile at me and said, “I bet these kids prayer lives are getting pretty strong out there.”  Yep.  Probably so.  And probably their parents’ as well…Oh, and it was cool to hear, “You got this kid” when the “kid” saying it was my kid coaching his younger brother.  Chase is out there for every game helping the  team.  Love that. He’s the one in the photo holding the clipboard and giving me a goofy look.  I guess that’s what I get when I ask to take his picture…

So, that brings me to today, and the ride with Tan, and the conversations.  He and his teen-aged bearded scruffy self did pretty well driving.

We made it home. Another big “Phew” for sure.  At times it doesn’t feel like such a small miracle, especially when there are 6 cars behind you and your son seems to be looking at them in the rear view mirror more than he’s looking straight ahead.  Great analogy…not good to spend more time looking back than living in the moment of the day and moving forward.  Nope, not good at all, especially when the car seems to have a magnet drawn to all of those perfectly straight mailboxes centimeters away from an encounter with a moving vehicle. So, yes, more praying through things.  The little and the big.  Thankful God doesn’t discriminate between the two, but hears it all and says, “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.”  Love, Love, Love that.  thankfulthurs23

So,  I have a heart of gratitude. Period.  For this moment, right here, right now, and those moments in the week when I’m so aware that life is a gift. Period. Sometimes the moments lead me to pray hard hard hard urgent prayers, and sometimes, they lead me to just thank God big time.  And sometimes, I just find myself clinging to the fact that I am clueless about the next minute ahead but thankful that God isn’t.  And that chases fears away…sometimes quickly, sometimes not. Amazing the catalysts for prayer like baseball and driving.  Praying that God will use the moments of our days to bless and build up and move forward.  Thankful that the ordinary is extraordinary when seen through eyes of faith knowing that we are not alone and not just our own. How big is that truth?  I don’t think that any of us can really grasp the enormity of that.  But thankful for the glimpses.

Well, I’ll close for now.  Thanks for sharing in my little stories of the week..

Blessings ~



“Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.”

Psalm 34:8


Well, it was kind of a long day. You probably know the kind.  The clock seemed to move in slow motion while  the tasks piled up quicker than I could get them done. I had to be in the car by 6:50 a.m. and still felt like I was running behind.  Then I remembered that I had a meeting that I hadn’t yet completed the paperwork for…at 8:00 a.m. of course.  Note to self:  Never plan meetings for Monday mornings.  Especially Monday mornings at 8:00.  Especially Monday mornings when you’re required to be at cafeteria duty at 7:05.

But even though the day was long and the clock just kind of tick, tick, ticked slowly, I made it through with no major faux pas.(I did however, have a few co-workers not so jokingly ask me to quit yawning.  Yikes.  I was just so tired!)    The meeting went just fine, tasks were completed, and we all made it through the day in one piece. Sometimes  making it through a day  is something to feel proud of. Exhale and be thankful you get a fresh start in the morning.

So,  I walked in the door at home, made a cup of very necessary coffee,  grabbed my Bible and went out on to the deck.  I read a few psalms as I  sipped my coffee, and it was about that time that I noticed this loud bird, chirp, chirp, chirping up a storm.  And when I spotted this very loud bird, I realized it was only about 2 inches long!  It was too cute.  It’s whole little body seemed to inflate and shake with each chirp. It was singing its little heart out and just made me smile.


She looks pretty subdued in the photo, but don’t let her fool ya.  She’s quite the energetic one.  And she would fly all around but I could always tell where she was because she would sing the loudest.  It was kind of cool, because I thought about how I could hear a lot of birds, but I was attuned to her little chirp. Then again, she was quite the enthusiastic one, while the others seemed a bit more reserved with their chirping.

And then, I see this….it only took the robin about 30 seconds to fly, land, and catch a worm.  Talk about a quick dinner plan. Wish I could just whip  (dig) something up in 30 seconds for my dinner crowd.  This robin went about her business, hop-hop-hopping in the clover without a sound.  She was very efficient and flew off, probably to the nest of little birds that were waiting for their dinner. littlebirds2

And then, out of the corner of my eye came a flash of blue.  It was the most beautiful little blue bird.  It perched itself on a branch in the tree right in front of the deck and was sat silently for a few moments.  She didn’t seem to have a mission like the singing little bird or the ever-so-efficient food-hunting robin.  Nope, she just sat there looking around.  She stayed at one branch for awhile, then moved to another.  Watching the loudly singing little bird had made me chuckle. Watching the robin had made me think I wish I could be as efficient as she was.  And watching this little blue bird just made me …rest.  It just looked really peaceful and beautiful and content to not be flit-flit-flitting about with a mission. little birds3

And after a long day, I was glad to be sitting in the sunshine, resting, with no momentary mission…just resting.  (I think if I had more moments like that, there’d be less driving my coworkers crazy with the yawning.)

So here’s the thing.  We women are all birds of a feather. We just are.  But, our take on things, our approach, can be so very different.  Some of us amuse each other so much.  We’re the loud little chirpers who let everyone know where we are and what we’re doing and keep things moving.  Some of us are the quiet, stately, ever-so-efficient robins who get the job done quickly and move about our way. We are the organizers, the efficient check that off the listers who ensure that things move forward.  And some of us are the quiet bits of blue that come into others lives and remind them of the need to be still  a while. All three birds are doing their thing in their own way, and all three offer so much in different areas.  Love that.

There’s a host of other types of ‘birds’ out there. And each has something to give, to share. And each could, should be celebrated in others’ lives.  Wouldn’t that be great if we women could celebrate our differences, learn from each other, and offer our gifts and abilities without being threatened by them?  I’m so thankful for so many amazing women in my life who teach me, make me laugh, and encourage me to grow. I so need all types in my life for sure.  Watching  others do their thing without condemnation helps me learn from them and enjoy them.  I didn’t see any condescending little birds out there telling the little bird to pipe down or the blue bird to speak up.  They just let each other do their thing. Birds don’t expect to look the same.  I’m thinking we so shouldn’t either.

Just a few thoughts from my back yard.  Now, off to cook dinner.  (Any “robins” out there have any good, quick dinner tips for me?)

Blessings ~


“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

 Peter 4:8-10


quiet hope

So this one?  She’s at that place where there are lots of “life-changing” decisions.  There are lots of pressures to make the right choices.  There are lots of responsibilities and voices and people saying this and that, this and that and expressing their views.  And that’s all well and good for a time. I mean, it’s true.  But there are some things that we need to remember amidst all the voices and the noise of a world that often screams of what we are supposed to or not supposed to be, do, and think.

Yes…in a world of lots of opinions, and thoughts, and ideas and truths and options and activities and noise to fill our worlds from morning till night, well…it’s always good to have a little solitude.  To enjoy the view.  To see things from your own lens, your own perspective, your own place and space.  It’s always good to breathe a little fresh air and know that in the end, you’re the one sitting in your space.  You’re the one walking in your own shoes.  You’re the one who gets to or has to live with the choices and all that comes with them.  In the end, we find our way by taking time to stop, think, pray, see, and just take it all in.

Cause, bottom-line, there’s a lot of beauty.  There’s a lot of beauty around us.  There’s a lot of beauty within us.  There’s a lot of beauty in how the world around us and the world within us can connect.  And it’s good to find a little time and space away from the noise to be intentional about making that connection occur.  A little solitude is a good, good thing.

I love the verse that says, “In quietness and trust is your strength.” It’s Isaiah 30:15.I’ve quoted that verse to myself so many times.  I’ve written it on reminders on my mirror. I’ve underlined and starred it in my Bible.   But there’s more to the verse.  It says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. But you would have none of it.'”   Yikes.  I so don’t like that last part.  That doesn’t pertain to me, does it?  Of course not.  Or maybe, yes, it does.  Interesting how the strength, the quietness, the trust comes after the repentance and the rest.  There’s a turning from and a turning to.  There’s a turning from the way that’s counter to the way that God would have us live, and there’s a turning to the Sovereign God who  is worthy of our trust.  One leads to the other.

And this Sovereign God?  He knows my girl right there.  He knows her better than I do. And He knows her gifts even better than I do.  And He loves her and knows what’s before her and behind.  And He loves her right where she sits. He sees where she will be and what she will do.  My prayer is that she always takes the time to “Be still and know that He is God” and that she’ll know that no matter what the decisions ahead, there’s grace that fills in the gaps, and the love of God that can fill, direct, redeem and renew and restore. Oh, and all of the pressure regarding “life changing” decisions?  Yes, I know they are important, but all is well for those who cling to the God who doesn’t change.  There’s strength in trusting the God who truly Has us in His hand and can use all things for the good for those who love Him and seek Him. Yes, in quietness and trust is our strength. Thankful for that Truth today.

Blessings ~






I remember as a child so enjoying making paper placemats.  Usually, the teacher would instruct on how to cut the template for the placemat.  We’d take a piece of construction paper and then cut vertical slits, careful not to cut through to the edge.  Then, we’d cut long strips of paper in various colors to weave in and out horizontally.  Over, under, over, under, over, under, a beautiful pattern would emerge right before out eyes, and after a period of time, each piece would be in place and we’d have a beautiful placemat to share with our families.

I thought about that pattern as I saw the beauty of this palm tree at the beach the other day.  The tall grasses were blowing gently in the wind, the waves were rolling in, the palm leaves were blowing turbulently with the strong wind, and…the trunk of the palm tree stood as steady as a rock. I looked at the trunk and marveled at the beauty of the pattern, over, under, over, under.  And I smiled.

You see, it reminded me of something I needed to be reminded of…that God’s design is perfect.  It is intricate.  It is beautiful. It is unique.  Oh, so unique. God knows what He’s doing. The pattern of the palm tree was beautiful, but had a purpose. Although I will never really have a total comprehensive understanding of all of the whys of the design, I can trust the Designer with the intricate details and reasons for them. I can also appreciate the beauty of the artistry of the pattern, in the same way that oh, so many years ago, I appreciated the pattern of the beautiful little placemats created by my own hands.

So here’s the thing.  I think God has a beautiful template for my life, much like the piece of construction paper with the vertical slits.  There’s a plan.  There’s a purpose.  There’s a pattern.  There are gifts, and abilities, and a myriad of “givens” that were who I was before I even knew I was alive.  All these things help form the backdrop, the template, the background of a life, again, much like the construction paper with the vertical slits.

Then, there are the variables.  These are the choices, opportunities taken and lost, effort given or not, words spoken or not, and the list goes on with each step forward or back. These are like the strips that are cut and woven in and out.  Some may cut their strips  uniformly and thin, weaving them in and out meticulously.  Others may cut them with wavy patterns, and the strips may be varying in width.  Some of us may weave methodically over, under, over, under, making wise choices along the way, day after day, year after year. Others, much like me then, and me now, might rush things a bit and go over, under, over, under, over, over, under, over, under, “oops I skipped a slit”, go back and pull the strip out and start again,….over under, over, under….  Some of us may see beautiful patterns emerge.  Others of us may be so up close and focused on the tiny little strip that we don’t see the beautiful pattern emerging.

Anyway, all this from looking at a palm tree?  Yep.  All this from looking at a palm tree and being reminded that He creates good things and there is beauty all around to remind me of  that. The heavens declare the glory of God.  So do ocean waves.  So do palm trees.   And it is my hope and prayer that , well, so do I.  Even when my little placemat of a life may have lots of not-so-uniform perfectly cut little strips, I’m praying that His beauty shines through that template that He made, and that His grace shines through the strips that I weave, day after day, year after year.   I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to remember that there’s a bigger picture, and that even though I might not be able to see the design at times, I can so trust that my little efforts each day are woven into a much bigger picture, tapestry, or …placemat, if you will!  Here’s to thanking God for the templates we are given, and being faithful in our efforts to “weave” lives that honor Him.



“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10






sins forgiven

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud.

I have swept away your offenses like the morning mist.

 Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Isaiah 44:22

Silent Sunday

card bird

“He had everything but he possessed nothing.

That is the spiritual secret.”

A.W. Tozer

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