Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Different New Year

A Different New Year

We started the year with you here
Now it's been months with you gone.
The days go so slow, but already a new year will begin.

I pick up the phone to call you a few times a week
I still haven't erased your number from my phone
It hurts to not get calls from you or hugs or I love yous
It hurts because you were loved

We drive past the cemetery
We stop when we can
Even though it's just a slab in the ground
It helps to be near you
To think of you

We look at pictures
Of you
With us
We smile through tears
As we remember

I've learned some things to start this New Year
Not resolutions, they don't seem to last.

Not to take people or the time
they so willingly share for granted.
To smile more.
To hug more.
To say I love you MORE.
TODAY when possible not put off for tomorrow
because tomorrow become todays and yesterdays.

Yesterdays are what we remember
But we will continue to live in today
So we'll start our different new year
Like a new chapter in an ongoing book
Characters will come and love and leave
This is not The End...

kl 12-31-15

Friday, December 25, 2015

For When It Hurts

We can KNOW all the right information, but when we hurt? We are not always thinking or focusing on the information we know. Our feelings/emotions can get in the way. We hurt and that is the only thing right then that we are sure of.

As the world seems to continue growing darker and fear continues to try to invade our hearts, minds and spirits, we need a little/lot of peace on Earth, joy, and HOPE.

Hope as defined by

to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence
to believe, desire, or trust:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

It is easy to feel hopeless or less hopeful than we normally would when life seems to block our view of the Jesus of Christmas (birth) and Easter (death and resurrection). Sometimes we focus on one based on the time of the year. In order to see the BIG picture though, we need to remember both. 

Maybe this year has been less ideal than most. Our family dealt with death more close up than we had in a long time when my father-in-law passed away in August. One life ripples into so many others. Sometimes in ways we are not even aware of until much later. He was a husband, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, friend.....

I am finding comfort in remembering that God sent Jesus into this corrupted world to bring hope not just for then, but for now too. Jesus came as a baby. Innocent. He grew up. Made friends. Lost friends. When he lost one of his close friends to death:

Jesus wept. John 11:35

We don't cry alone. God did not intend the world to be this way. A world with pain and suffering. My heart hurts when I see my children hurt. How God must feel the pain of His children and want to step in with comfort. We, like our own children sometimes push us away, sometimes push Him away. To do it on our own. Too proud to acknowledge dependence on somebody else. 

God sent Jesus to this world because the alternative is that we would live our time on this fallen sphere and then we die. God sent us Jesus so that we can live with the assurance that THIS? This is not all there is. He sent Jesus to experience what we experience. For when it hurts.

John 3:16-17: 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.

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
Praise to God for a Living Hope
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

If you are hurting right now more than normal? The following is my prayer for you. Make it your prayer too. 

Ephesians1:17-19 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. 

Amen and Amen!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

No Strings, No Chains

Imagine with me if you will. We board a spaceship. We blast into outer space. We are given the opportunity to view Earth from a distance. All of it. Not just our little corner. All. of. it. One of the things I think I would be MOST amazed by is that Earth is just there. Hanging in the darkness. Suspended. No strings.

Thanks to the internet and satellites, we no longer need to question whether the Earth is flat or alone in the universe. We don't even need to wait to be able to afford to enter space on our own!

Just Google "earth images" and peruse for a few moments. Amazing. No visible means of support. Just there. Perfectly suspended. Rotating in just the right position between light and darkness. No strings.

We can argue HOW it got there. We can argue WHY it's there. We can argue about lots of things. Sometimes the more we know the more we question. Questioning is not a bad thing. It's how we learn.

While I was busy being amazed by the no strings thought for Earth, my thoughts turned to how some people may view Christians as being controlled by seeing God almost as a puppeteer. Pulling our strings that are ultimately connected to a God they may or may not believe in. I'm guessing that if this is how God is envisioned, it is not totally surprising that interest stops there. 

I think I would even go a step further though. Beyond strings. I would go as far as saying that before becoming a Christian (a true Christian NOT just tangled up in religion, but finding a relationship with Jesus) that it was worse than being connected by strings. I was bound. In chains. Chains of self doubt, self pity, guilt, shame, fear, etc. etc. Chains that served no purpose other than being heavy and keeping me from getting where I needed to get in truth. In faith. I was so busy focusing on the chains and on myself that I didn't look for a key or even see if there was something to do to become unbound.

I was busy focusing on my little corner of me. I didn't look at the big picture or look at it from a different perspective.

The day that I said YES to Jesus is the day I said NO to chains. I was free. I am free. Sometimes those chains still try to show up. As thoughts that try to move my focus back to me. Now though I have keys. Faith. Prayer. Fellow believers. The Bible.

There is life beyond our little corner of the world. There is life beyond chains.

Dear Father in Heaven,
May we never lose our amazement of our world just because it can be more explained through pictures and information overload. Help us to keep our vision expanded beyond us and the chains that we may feel bound by. Help us to watch for others that are bound in their own chains. Help us to not be afraid to share how we have been set free. Help us to share that it really is just as easy as acknowledging our dependence on you and not ourselves. Thank you for providing the keys to loosen our chains and set us free. Thank you for the gift of the Bible so we can continue to receive the gifts it contains.

If you've found your way here, read this far and have questions about receiving Jesus as your personal Savior, this is a good place to start:  Need Him

Psalm 107:13-15 (NIV)
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,

Isaiah 52:1-3 (NIV)
Awake, awake, Zion,
clothe yourself with strength!
Put on your garments of splendor,
Jerusalem, the holy city.
The uncircumcised and defiled
will not enter you again.

Shake off your dust;
rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.
Free yourself from the chains on your neck,
Daughter Zion, now a captive. 

For this is what the Lord says
“You were sold for nothing,
and without money you will be redeemed.”

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
The Year of the Lord’s Favor

 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
Freedom in Christ

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Monday, November 23, 2015

FREE (thought) Trash Removal

I'm online paying my trash bill. I'm thinking. I pay to have my physical trash removed weekly. Well, the weeks I remember to get the bin out by the road in time anyway.

I'm feeling a bit blah. Dumpy, if you will. I'm letting the darkness outside creep inside. If I'm not careful, depression will start to try and take over. I'm getting better at realizing it. Most days. When I pay enough attention, before it gets too much of a grip. When I remember that it's OK, preferable even, to TAKE the happy pills I have on hand. When I remember, I don't have to battle darkness on my own. When I acknowledge, it is more of a battle than I like to admit.

Feelings, emotions, thoughts that can get dark easily. They become the mind trash that needs to be dumped. I don't keep physical trash around. Why should I keep mental trash around? Why should you?

We don't even need to pay to have it removed. Well, unless you count therapy! ;) 

Wouldn't it be N.I.C.E. to work on removing some of that mental trash?

N - Notice!
When those thoughts start invading, pay attention. Don't let them get a foothold and lead you down the path of self destruction.

I - Don't Ignore! It may feel easier to just stay in bed at least temporarily. However, if it is becoming preferable to stay in bed rather than participate in life? Get some help. Call a dr. Phone a friend. Reaching out may be the last thing you FEEL like doing, but remember feelings are not truth.

C - Celebrate!
Something. Anything. Find a reason to inject some joy in your day. Turn the radio on. Have a family dance party. Dance by yourself. Find a reason to celebrate that you are here for this moment. BE in THIS moment.

E - Encourage!
Find something encouraging to read or look at or enjoy. Encourage someone else. You never know how telling your story may help someone else on their journey. Others have walked this path, but no one has taken YOUR path. Don't walk alone.

Little lights shine brightest in dark places. Find a way to bring a bit of light into each day. Even if you have to borrow it temporarily from someone else's candle. Then when you're feeling better? Share your light with somebody that needs a spark.

Genesis 1:3-4 (NIV) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV) Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Infusion in the midst of confusion

Ah, the time change. Daylight Saving (no S!) time. I will blame/chalk it up to that. The grumpys, blahs, grumbles, gripes, pick a phrase, ______________ (fill in the blank with whatever you call it when you get in a funky mood!) began to run rampant today. My brain felt foggy and confused. I felt like I was going through the motions....and slow motion at that. Letting life happen to me. I turned on some praise music. Better, but still not where I'd like to be.

However, when I really begin to pay attention, I can see all the little/subtle (sometimes NOT so subtle!) ways that God has been trying to get my attention.

As I type this, I'm hearing a message on grumbling and gratitude (and realizing it is the same one I heard when I got in the car earlier this PM after dragging my feet to head out the door, right time, right place comes to mind) OK God, I'm a bit slow! In that message, I was reminded that not being joyful is a way of grumbling at God. Even on my darkest day(s), I am still SO blessed.

Time for a perspective change What is going wrong? to all the things that could be, but are not going wrong.

Where does the infusion come in? I'm thinking back on my day. I get the thought of tea. To me, tea is comforting. I look up the definition of infusion: the addition of something that is needed or helpful. My overwhelmed feelings = hot water. Adding God (tea) the addition of someOne that is needed or helpful. God infuses my overwhelmed feeling into a more comfortable take on life. I could even go as far as living water.

I also happened to pick up a daily devotional book at the thrift store today. "More Than Conquerors" good title and a good reminder to me. "We are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us." Romans 8:37 I open it up to where the ribbon is placed in the book. Who cares if it was July! I read because I have often found (AND still am surprised) that God has taught me much when I take a few minutes to focus on Him. One page is about having an inborn longing for God (compared it to migration for birds). The other page is about hope in our hearts. The line that stuck out: "If God is the sunshine of your life when things are going well, He is also your lamp in the darkness of midnight. When your heart is overwhelmed and many difficulties greatly upset you and it is all too much to share with other people, put your hope in God, your personal Comforter in sorrow."

God, our ever light when darkness tries to creep in,
Thank you for the times you arrange for us to be confronted and comforted in truth and love, especially when we least expect them but need them most. Forgive us for the times when we have let overwhelming feelings. emotions and darkness try to block out the light and love you want for us. Help us not to give into those or let negative words come out of our mouths. Help us to remember 1st to praise and say uplifting words to others and ourselves. There is a difference between happy and joy-filled. I pray for my friends that they be uplifted by Your glory and compassion, however You decide to shine it into their lives. May we dance and sing praises long and loud enough to banish even the grumpiest days into submission.
All in the name of your Son, Jesus.

The following verses were those mentioned in the radio program I was listening to. The 2nd time? I was even by a computer! Bonus.

When I look in the Bible, I like to look at the headings. Gives me an idea of what's going on. This one in Philippians is under "Have the attitude of Christ" (uh? Yes, please!)
Philippians 2:14 (NLT) Do everything without complaining and arguing,

(Note: in all circumstances, not FOR all!)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT) Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NLT) Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life. 
Radio mentioned verses 11-12. However, the whole chapter is worth a read:
Psalm 30 (NIV)
1 I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
7 Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.
8 To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.” 
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I recently got a chance to hang out for dinner with some of my favorite nephews and niece. (Quite honestly, ALL my nieces and nephews are my favorites! I LOVE being an aunt!) It was an unexpected due to a change of events that I was able to be at dinner. Since they have been in school all day, our visits are fewer and more time in between than they used to be. Ahhh.... the price of "growing up".

I stood in the parking lot as they pulled in with mommy. The car was barely in park before they were out the doors and piling over for hugs with loud voices (It's OK we were still outside!) "I missed you!"

Fast forward a few hours. I have quiet time. My focus is on listening to God instead of telling him what I need/want. It's been awhile since I've done one of those. My head usually tries successfully to overrule what my heart knows. God is there when I show up. I expect disappointment. I find reminders of love.

I have usually pictured myself entering God's presence with God saying I've missed you and I feel guilt and shame that it has been so long. I realize in my quiet time, I can run with excitement into quiet time shouting, "I've missed you" and I am welcomed and hugged.

I share in case you have similar fears. Too often I put human qualities on God's truth. Greetings! Go get your hugs!

Luke 1:28 (NIV)
The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
(Final Greetings)
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)
(Final Greetings)  Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Smile Hiders

You probably know some. You probably are least sometimes. The times when someone asks how you are and you answer fine, probably even with a smile. We may then ask, "How are YOU?" and get a similar response. Maybe even with a smile. OR maybe the other person is a bit (or a lot) more comfortable actually letting you know how they are. Maybe you ask on a day that person really needs to talk. OR maybe we let it go at fine and a nod of the head and we're both on our way wondering does anybody really care anyway?

In our surface, solve everything in less than an hour (sit-com, drama, psych appointments) or 30 seconds (commercials), 140 character (Twitter) world, most people will let you go at fine and continue on with the conversation or a smile, hug, or even "I'll pray for you" and continue on with the day wondering does anybody really care anyway?

We become smile hiders. We hide behind a smile when we really feel like crying or laughing like a maniac, but we don't do that because what if people see us as weird or crazy? So you hold it in. And you smile and you wonder does anybody really care anyway?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we take time, ('cuz we can't MAKE time), to really LISTEN and see past the smile? If you're not sure, ASK! To slow down enough to NOTICE when someone doesn't really look like they mean it? To show that somebody really DOES care? To share and know that we do NOT walk alone, for a hug, and a prayer....not later, but NOW!?!?!?!

Maybe we can practice. L.A.N.D. Listen/look. Ask. Notice. Do.

It can be uncomfortable to REALLY listen to someone else share their story.  However, in the sharing there is usually something you learn about yourself too.

Especially our surface, solve everything in less than an hour or 30 seconds, 140 character world: Become a person that can truly answer YES, SOMEBODY CARES! Stop hiding behind the smile! Become a person that can truly answer YES I KNOW SOMEONE CARES!

I've been a smile hider and I know I've met some along this journey of life. We ALL need somebody sometimes. We are not meant to be alone. We are meant to be a community. In fellowship with other humans. Sometimes it's scary to reach out and not know if somebody will see past the smile. Sometimes you just have to take the risk. I have met some of my very best friends that way.

Psalm 139:11-12 (NIV) If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

1 Peter 3:8 (NIV) Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Heavenly Daddy

Many years ago as a youth group leader, I made a comment. It wasn't even something I planned to say. It just came out. I had been hanging around teenagers enough to understand the relationship (or lack of) between parents and teens a bit better. A lot of them have pretty good relationships with their parents....up until they hit puberty or a bit after. Then the teen starts to put some distance between himself/herself and the parents. Sometimes the parents are not ready to give them the freedom they think they deserve. (Think rewards without the responsibilities!) Mostly, rightfully so, but it was difficult to get teens to see that.

One night I made the comment that the Bible talks about God being our "Heavenly Father". Sometimes, especially if you don't have the greatest relationship with your earthly dad that reference can be a barrier of someone getting to know God better.

Afterwards, one of the girls came up and said she was glad I had said that as that is how she felt. She didn't have a good relationship with her dad. I didn't know that when I said it. I'm almost positive now that I'm older that she is not the only one that had a bad relationship or no dad in the picture.

I have realized that we carry a bit of our parents around with us. Both the good and the bad. The bad can be a bit more difficult to let go. Things our parents said to us when we were younger can rumble around in our head and pop up when we're dealing with a similar situation with our own children. If we're not careful, some of that comes out even though we swore to ourselves we'd never do/say that with our kids.

As a kid, it is hard to understand that our parents don't know everything. We expect them to. We are born right in the middle of their income earning years. They may be dealing with us and their own parents. They may not have had the best relationship with their own parents. As a teen, it is hard to realize that in most cases, our parents are trying to do the best they can with what they know....or learn along the way.

Bad dads is not a new concept. There are even bad fathers IN the Bible. There was a man that messed up even before he became a father (Adam). There was a father that played favorites (Jacob with Joseph). There was a man who became a father by messing around with another man's wife and sending that man purposely into war to be killed (David). The Bible is a genealogy of fathers, of Kings, and Kings that were fathers. Some were good, not all were.

If we can bring ourselves to get past the issues with our human fathers, God gives us the opportunity to be adopted into His family with a perfect Father. For some, it may be quite a stretch to get to that point. I just submit to you to be willing to open your heart a little. I'm not promising it will be easy or perfect. I am promising it is worth getting to know a Heavenly Daddy that has been waiting for you with open arms.

Psalm 68:5 (NIV) A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Psalm 103:8-19 (NIV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)
 Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Matthew 7:11 (NIV) If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Romans 8:14-17 (NIV) For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Ephesians 1:17 (NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.   

Ephesians 6:4 (NIV) Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

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

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Good Intentions

Things I would like to do (in no particular order just off the top of my head): Learn to play an instrument, piano?, Organize our house, Write what's in my head without feeling like I'm going crazy, Take time for devotions, Spend more time with my nieces and nephews, Encourage people, Enjoy life, Live in the moment.

Sounds easy, right? "Like" to do, so why not just do it? We all have a to-do list, goals, dreams, intentions. Call it whatever you like.

The dictionary definition of an intention is: the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose 

Basically, an intention is something we mean to do. It may or may not happen, but we plan on doing it.

We can make lots of plans, but until we actually take some steps to DO something it remains an intention. As a recovering procrastinating perfectionist, intentions could be my downfall. I will hesitate to try something or put it off because I may not do it well or to the standards I have in my head.

For example: I can want to play the piano, but if I never learn to read music or take a lesson my days of tickling the ivories probably will not happen. I could start to doubt and question myself before I even start so I don't start.

Apparently, the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Hell isn't merely paved with good intentions; it's walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too. - Aldous Huxley

While looking up some info to write this, the word intentional also came up. Since one of the intentions I have is to take time for devotions, I have some work to do! I will have to be more intentional about my intentions!

Philippians 3:12 (NIV) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Colossians 2:2 (NIV) My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

Monday, August 31, 2015

Life and death in music

We have gotten used to synthesized and auto tuned music. I even "heard" back up singers that were not there because of a plugged in device that multiplied/harmonized a (singular) singer's voice. I only knew this because I was at a concert and it was explained and demonstrated. Wow! It was awesome, but really hit home the point that what we hear may not always match up with what we see if we are watching music being played.

I have had a thought when I SEE music being played, especially recently. There is something different about watching music being played: a band (marching or otherwise), a symphony, a concert, etc. and just hearing it played as a movie backdrop or on the radio.

The thing I notice though is that while watching music being played, I NOTICE more if an instrument is missing during a certain section OR I NOTICE an instrument being played. I may not know the name of it, but I see it being played and can pick out the sound or lack of.

Music. The tempo of our lives. People. The instruments that play along with us in our own personal symphonies.

One of our family's favorite movies has become Mr Holland's Opus for numerous reasons. It is about a teacher by default as music isn't paying the bills. Along the way, Mr. Holland finds out he loves teaching more than he ever thought he would. The music is used to show the passage of time and is almost a character of the movie. The movie has mentions of John Lennon (Husband is a fan of all things Beatles!). There are really good references to history. Throughout the movie, Mr. Holland is always working on a piece of music that could make him rich, famous or possibly both. In the end, he wasn't rich or famous outside of his little town. His family, friends and students were his Opus and they were the music of his life.

In the plot of the movie, I see how this finally tied all together for me. The instruments of our own life symphony are those closest to us. We (most of the time) play well together and make beautiful music. Sometimes more often than we'd like, we hit sour notes....but continue on. Sometimes we lose a member of the band we've formed. Sometimes it is temporary. Sometimes it is permanent. And the beat goes on. But differently.
It has been 2 weeks since husband's dad passed away. Our beat is out of sync. We're learning to live without one of our musicians. More difficult than thought prior. :(
1 Chronicles 15:16 (NIV) David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.

2 Chronicles 5:13 (NIV) The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud,

Psalm 57:7 (NIV) My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.

Psalm 98:4 (NIV)  Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music;

Psalm 108:1 (NIV) My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Hubby and I are journeying on a new road as of Sunday. We have been married 26+ years. We have experienced highs and lows. Sometimes in the opposite order. Sometimes for extended periods of time. We have experienced the joys of our children, the miscarriage of a child, the death of grandparents and pets that have felt like family members, but not until Sunday have we experienced the death of one of our parents.

We are so grateful that at the ages we are that we have been blessed to have all of our parents for as long as we have. We know many children that have not been able to have parents in their lives as long. We know parents that miss their children and that ALWAYS seems way too early.

Sometimes death creeps up unexpectedly or comes crashing into our lives quickly.We were blessed to have some warning so that we had time to take for some special memories to be created and later remembered. We had a chance to say I love you, goodbye and we'll see you again someday. We know too often that we always think there will be a next day and then one day, there isn't.

I'm sure, eventually, we will find a new normal. BUT right now, there are tears. Happy and sad.

There will be tears that will be accompanied by laughter because we will remember one of the many times we shared laughter or near the end, an eye roll when words just couldn't (or shouldn't) be said at that time.

There will be tears that will tear our heart apart.

There will be tears when we pick up the phone to call and we realize we can still talk just in a different way.

There will be tears that fall down our face like gentle rain and tears that will gush like a waterfall just because.

There will be tears of sadness as a memory crosses our mind and we realize there will be no more new memories. They will become tears of gladness as we realize we are grateful for the memories we have.

There will be tears as we realize that there will be others that will pass and we don't know when or how and we don't know how we will even begin to handle all of that. There will be tears as we realize it is a blessing to not need to know the future it is enough to know WHO holds our futures.

There will be a day when the tears don't come as often. We'll be able to mention and talk about our loved one with less tears and we will smile at the memories and thoughts that they bring to mind.

Life will never be the same, but our lives are changed because of the time we had together and eventually we will smile through the tears.

John 11:35 (NIV) Jesus wept.

Psalm 126:5-6 (NLT) Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) ‘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.”

Saturday, August 01, 2015


Necklaces, lovely to look at. Necklaces can be a piece of art. Necklaces can enhance our wardrobe. As long as they are put away properly, necklaces can be a great source of beauty.


Maybe one gets in a hurry. Instead of hanging the necklaces nicely in a jewelry box, the necklaces get jumbled up, knotted and, in general, causing a big problem. Especially when the ONE necklace you REALLY want to wear is right in the middle of the jumbled up knot! Of course, by the time one adds the final piece of jewelry before leaving the house, time has already flown by and the necklace is grabbed almost as an afterthought. The jumbled knot is discovered. Time continues to tick. Try to undo the knots? Pick another necklace? Go necklaceless? ;(

Emotions and thoughts, lovely to feel (sometimes), can be expressed through art, can enhance our outlook on life. As long as handled properly, emotions and thoughts can bring a great source of fulfillment.


Maybe one gets a little bit too much of life thrown at them. Instead of handling emotions and thoughts as they come up, they get pushed down or aside, making us feel knotted up inside and, in general, causing a big problem. Especially when that ONE event you REALLY DON'T want to deal with is right in the middle of the jumbled up knot! Of course, by the time one realizes the emotions and thoughts are heading downhill, time has already flown by and the skills we have learned to deal with them are remembered almost as an afterthought. The jumbled feelings are becoming overwhelming. Time continues to tick. Try to handle on our own? Get some help? Go emotionless? :(

Kind of a silly comparison, but sometimes what life feels like sometimes, doesn't it? The necklaces are just a visual of what our heads and hearts can feel like sometimes. A way to give a picture to the feelings. When thought of like this, maybe we can even feel like we can have a bit of control over what feels like will control us. When we take a bit of time hanging up necklaces (self-care), there is a much less chance of the necklaces ending up all knotted up and in a jumbled mess (feeling like our emotions and thoughts are controlling us!)

Find what works best for you. Use what works. Have a plan in place that when you feel overwhelmed, you can know what to do without having to add more stress. Phone, text or e-mail a friend. Write in a journal. Pray. Read the Bible. Talk to God. Listen for answers.

We don't have to wait for our lives to feel like a jumbled up, knotted mess. We can start using some of those things ahead of time to strengthen us for when we can't control the knots.

Wear your necklaces, thoughts and emotions. DON'T let them wear you out.They are meant to be shared. YOU have something worth sharing. Keep that jewelry box in your head and heart knot-free. Hugs, my friends.

30 Proverbs 14:30 (MSG) 
A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

Psalm 139:2 (NIV) You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Feeling selfish

When I finally woke up today, I felt a bit blue. Our family has a lot of stuff going on. Everybody does. It would be very easy to just stay in bed, pull the covers up over my head and just have a good cry. Easier, in fact, then getting up and doing the things I know need to get done on a Saturday. I'm even home to do them. Just not really feeling like it. My heart knows not to let my emotions rule. My head sometimes wants to just go back to bed. So, instead I'll write.

I also know that when I take time, even just a few minutes, to acknowledge and spend time with God it is never time wasted. I always learn something. I always feel better when I do. Sometimes I think God will be disappointed that He wasn't my first way of dealing with issues. I'm more disappointed in myself than He ever is.

I got out my Women of Faith Devotional Bible. I read a few different passages. I realized in the front there are different topics....Grace. Liberty. Hope. Joy. Faith. Love. Forgiveness. Truth. Purpose. Peace. Healing. Sovereignty. The one I am most interested in currently is healing. Mainly because cancer has come to visit our family circle again. Maybe even still. Is it ever really gone once cancer has showed itself? The person with a diagnosis seems to handle it better than the rest of us.

The passage I chose to read is in Revelation. The end, the last book of the Bible. (A fleeting thought goes through my head: Is this the end of life as we've known it?) I read Revelation 22:1-6
The River of Life
 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

When compared to life as we know it here on Earth, the river of life sounds pretty promising. Heaven sounds like a FAR better place than here. I start to feel a bit selfish. I know what I/our family wants to have happen. We want to keep our family member(s) here as long as we can. I feel thankful that we have been able to have our parents with us as long as we have. I know there are children that do not get to have their parents around as long. I know there are parents who have not been able to have their child with them near long enough if at all.

No matter what our future holds, I will remain sure that while our days here are numbered we are blessed to be able to be in each other's lives. I believe that God promises a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1) and Revelation 21:4-5 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”

In an effort of not being selfish with good news, I urge you to consider a relationship with God. Not religion. Relationship. God wants the best for you. I do too. get to that laundry. Do One Thing, Do One Next Thing

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Like Me

I put off writing. I put off lots of things. Things that I know will make life better. IF I would just take the time to slow down, be less busy. Things like taking some quiet time and listening to what God has to say to me. Things like praying more. Reading the Bible more. I KNOW what I need to do. I just don't do it. OR I find other things to do, ways to waste time. I don't WANT to waste time. At least I don't think I do. But I do.

If I had a friend that only spent time with me or talked to me when they needed something, I dare say I'd be rather ticked off.

If I had family that I do everything for and they choose not to love me, I would be hurt.

If I wrote letters to those that claim to love me and they don't read them, I might wonder why do I bother?

If I watched a person make choices on spending their time and money in ways that are harmful to them, I would think I would do whatever I had to do to get their attention.

....and there it is. I would be ticked off, hurt, wonder why I bother, try to get attention. Life is not about "I" or "me". When we try to do life on our own, we make it SO much more difficult than it has to be.

God has pointed out to me in numerous ways over my life that He cares about the tiniest details of my life. Things I don't even bother to tell my closest family and dearest friends because it doesn't seem relevant or a big enough deal,

I think that may be part of the issue I'm dealing with lately. Too often I think God is like me. I totally forget that I am created in HIS image. He is NOT created in mine.

He will still listen to me. Even when, especially when, it has been too long.

He will still do everything for me and love me even when I don't acknowledge it right away and maybe not ever.

His words are still in that love letter of the Bible waiting for me to read what I need to hear when I need to hear it.

He knows that I have made choices on using my time and the blessings He has provided in ways that are not the best use of dwindling resources.

He will get my attention. One way or another. He likes me. He loves me. Exactly because He is NOT like me. I am like Him. I can be. He made me and you to be the very best versions of us we can be. WE are the ones that try to find ways to explain things to make us feel better. He already knows. The parts we hide from everyone else. He knows AND loves us anyway.

So are you ready to start getting back to where we need to be? Like me?

Genesis 1:27 (NIV) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

"It" Happens

I've been putting off writing. I've been putting off lots of things actually. I've been getting by. I even know OR I'm just willing to admit it to myself, again. The thoughts of this post have been rattling around in my head. I procrastinate. I put it off. I think it will go away. It hasn' here goes.

Life has a lot of crap. I want to use the other word, but I'll keep it PG....and it ties into my I'll leave it at crap. Sometimes Crap! with a Capital C. Sometimes it all happens at once. Sometimes it trickles so you really don't notice at first until you feel like you're in that creek with no paddle. Floating. Honestly? Who wants to just float? I want to fix it. To be in control. To get out of the boat, the creek. I want to MOVE ON. I want it handled.

My problem? It's heavy and I'm weak. Here is an example the best way I can state it.

We have cats. Too many cats. They eat. They crap. We scoop. We bag it up and throw it away. We don't hold on to it. It stinks! I would never GIVE that bag to anyone else to hold on to. Not even somebody I really don't care for. Why would I give it to somebody I claim to love?

Stuff happens. Too much stuff happens. It's messy. We bag it up....and carry it around. No wonder we get tired, anxious, crabby, etc. WHY?

God has offered to carry our burdens. Heavy as they may be. Messy as they are. I KNOW that. In my heart. On a good day, even in my head.

Once again, I have put human qualities on God's sovereignty.

He wants ALL of it. The good. The bad. The ugly. The messy. The things I would NEVER give or expect anyone else to handle. The things that if I would just put down...He will pick up.

What kind of crap have you been carrying around? Are you ready to give it up?

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Dear God,
Thank you so much that you know and understand us better than we can ever comprehend. Help us to know in our hearts and heads that when we give up control it gives you the chance to work in our lives. Help us not to hang on to our messes. Thank you that when we put them down you can and will carry our burdens. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

As Is

If you like to shop garage sales, thrift stores or Craig's List and Ebay OR if you've ever purchased a previously-owned (used!) car, you are familiar with the term "as is". This term is usually used for an item that is perfectly usable except (or more)...imperfection. If it is an item with wheels, it may even be sold "where is" meaning you have to do whatever you need to do to get it to your location.

Sometimes, especially on down days, we can get to feeling a bit "as is" (or whatever you choose to call it: less than, not enough, different, etc). The good news is that "as is" does not mean useless or unworthy.

God can and will pick us up, dust us off and make us the BEST as is we can become, IF (that is a big IF sometimes!) we let Him.

"God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way." - Leighton Ford

Praying that whatever may be standing in your way today that you may feel better than new and never just "as is". God has paid a high price for YOU! He thinks you are worth it. I do too.

Acts 17:27  God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Who Holds the Key?

Who Holds the Key?

Thoughts are fleeting inside of my mind.
There one minute and gone the next.
Sometimes it feels like there is a lock on me.
Then I question:
Who holds the key?

My body gets fragile
Wrinkles appear
I look in the mirror
Don't always like what I see
Sometimes it feels like there is a lock on me.
Then I question:
Who holds the key?

I can be filled with the Spirit
if I'd give up control.
Give up perfection.
Start to feel free.
Sometimes I feel there is a lock on me.
Then I question:
Who holds the key?

As I get older, I realize the importance of balance between mind, body and spirit even more. When I pay attention to one more than another, life can feel like a free fall. Sometimes it feels like I can unlock one....and there's another lock, and another lock.....barriers. On a good day, I can say, "bring it on!" On a not-so-good day, I have to find better ways to deal with and sometimes realize it's OK (and preferable) to give God the key. He's a pretty good key master. :)

Got any locks you need to deal with? They may have been there for awhile. Dust off that key. You've been holding it all along.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thinking Outside the Box

Remember jack-in-the-box? Sometimes "jack" was a clown, or Snoopy, or another popular character. They may have had a different tune, but the one I'm thinking of is *POP* goes the weasel. One would s-l-o-w-l-y turn the handle, listening to the music, knowing that the *POP* would come. UP Jack would pop, we'd laugh (especially if playing with an unsuspecting child!....I know, MEAN!), then "jack" would be tucked back in the box, cover closed, to do it all over again.

I've been thinking how often I have treated God like my own personal jack-in-the-box. The box sits on a shelf until I'm ready to use it. Every couple of days or when something goes wrong, whichever comes first....I pull down the box. I turn the crank.....I read the Bible, I sing a praise song, I listen to Christian radio, I pray....*POP* I am pleasantly surprised God shows up to meet my need. Then I conveniently (for me) push God back in the box, cover closed, to do it all over again.

Sometimes I convince myself that God couldn't possibly be interested in ALL the things that are stressing me out or making me feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes I convince myself God is only interested in the BIG stuff.
Sometimes I convince myself God is limited by human frailties.
Sometimes I am convinced, I think.....TOO much!

I have limited God to the confines of the little box I keep Him in. I do not allow Him to be ALL He is that can make me ALL I can be. I've known God long enough (relationship) to KNOW that He IS interested in ALL the things going on in my life NOT just the big stuff. He is NOT limited by my human thoughts. He took on the qualities of a human for a brief period in time.

Sometimes we get SO wrapped up in the turning of the crank and the expectation of the *POP* that we forget we are the one that shut the lid!

I want to move beyond the limitations that I have put on God. Want to join me?


John 1:1-5 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Job 11:7-9 (NIV) “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

Psalm 147:5 (NIV) Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

You're OK

Life stays too busy, but what else is new? Truly what makes it busy is sometimes just things to keep me busy so I don't have to deal with other "stuff" and life avoiding.

Our mom had eye surgery yesterday. I went last night to help until my sister could get there. She is much better with medical stuff than I am. I can crunch numbers like nobody's business and help with general "care", but get me near needles and medical mumbo jumbo? EEK! We all have our talents and areas of gifts. :)

After surgery, mom needed more assistance than normal doing everyday things she can normally do pretty well on her own. One eye was covered up. She was supposed to lay on her back as much as possible. This is difficult enough as it is. Life is challenging enough without extra challenges! Understandably, she felt unsteady as she made her way through the day.

Last night, I found myself saying numerous times, "you're OK". As a parent, I have said this to our kids many times. I have personally dealt with anxiety and had close family members that do too. I've been told this many times too. I remember not always feeling OK even though I was being reassured I should feel OK.

I thought I was being reassuring. Later though, I got to thinking it was also kind of condescending.

She didn't FEEL OK. I've been telling, not listening. I didn't take that extra few seconds to find out WHY she/our kids/other people/I might not actually feel OK.

Looking back, I think I meant to say "Trust me. I know you can't see right now. You don't trust yourself. Trust me. I will be your eyes. I will help get you to where you need to go."

It is extremely difficult to be this vulnerable. We are sometimes. We don't want to ADMIT it though! Even if others can see why we might need some reassurance and assistance.

Looking at the bigger picture? I think God has been whispering this to my soul lately. I haven't been doing the best at listening. I find things to reassure myself I'm OK. God tells me I don't need to FEEL OK. I need to TRUST Him!

How about you? Feeling a little less than OK? TRUST.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psalm 56:3
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
Psalm 62:8
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015


A new year has arrived!  In true procrastination fashion, Happy New Year! (and I still write 2014 when dating things...should be up to speed by....let's go with February).

We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.”  Seneca (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD) 

I enjoy social media (ex. Facebook) for the opportunity to share encouragement, pictures, witty quips and quotes, etc. However, sometimes those quips and quotes can hit a bit to close to home OR maybe it's just the day I see it I am reminded of something going on in my or a friend/family member's life. Then those things roll around in my brain making me deal with stuff I would rather not deal with.

One that stuck out recently is: Doing nothing is a choice.

Ouch! Think about that for a couple seconds. Let it sink in.

Even when we are "doing nothing", our bodies breathe, heart beats, blink, etc. However, practically every waking moment we are faced with choices of the big, but usually small seemingly inconsequential magnitude. 

When we are children, our choices are often made for us. It is a wise parent that allows their child to start making little choices in preparation of the much larger choices they will face when the world and friends will be more than willing to assist them in their choice making.

It is always easier to see when looking back that there are certain choices we make that may have been made differently with more knowledge or thought or "if I knew THEN what I know NOW". Even those choices, beget new choices when needing to figure out what do you do NOW that you do know what you know, you know? (You might need to go back and read that part over!)

Then you throw regular day-to-day life in with some stress and sometimes some not-so-regular stress..... No wonder people start to feel so overwhelmed!

Technology has helped us do many things better, easier and more quickly which is WONDERFUL! Except for the fact that sometimes TOO much of anything can be a not so good thing.

By choosing one thing you are not choosing another. From my own life: Candy Crush or ? CHOICES!

We can try to avoid making choices by doing nothing, but even that is a decision.Gary Collins 

So, my choice for now will be to learn to love myself regardless of the choices I have made in the past. I will give myself grace to make informed choices from here on out. I will realize that there will be days my choice will be to go back to bed and not deal with whatever it is right then. More than likely, "it" will still be there when I wake up (hopefully) in a better mood. 

If you made the choice to read this far, thank you! Make good choices (even if temporarily the choice needs to sometimes be "nothing")
While looking up verses for "choice", it was interesting that for most of the Bible "choice" was used as another word for best. hmmmmm.

Romans 8:19-21 (NIV) For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.