Saturday, December 24, 2016

Heavenly Pieces

As we draw ever nearer to Christmas and the notes of Christmas music fill the air, I hear numerous renditions of Silent Night. Most are familiar with the chorus line: Sleep in heavenly peace......

I've been rolling that phrase around in my mind....heavenly peace. My world this year has felt far from heavenly, let alone peaceful! Maybe your world has been too. Each year seems to have its own joys and concerns. Sometimes a year just seems to be especially filled with issues that are beyond our control and drag us out of our comfort zone.

I could provide a list of all the issues and related chaos that has seemed like our own personal blizzard, but some is not mine to share and some is "just" a different stage of life due to growing up. I will roll it into a snowball of moving into another phase of life with our children that are now "adults" (at least by age) and our parents that sometimes need our help more than they (and sometimes we) are comfortable with.  

Heavenly peace sounds like a package deal, you either have it or you don't. SO in case you fall in the don't column, I have a proposition. We will begin to look for our peace in pieces. Little pockets of time where things are good or at least suck less. ;)

Ongoing health issues have provided us time with family members.

God's timing is always better than ours.

I have learned much about how I and our families function during good, bad and worse times. Honestly, we have come out stronger than when we went in.

Laughter (and tears) solve many issues.

Email, text, cards are all important forms of encouragement and support.

When you need to remind yourself to take a deep breath, you are TOO stressed. Breathe in peace, exhale stress.

God told us that this life would not be easy, however, he also told us that He has had a plan all along: the Christmas that we celebrate, the silent night that didn't stay silent as angels sang to shepherds in a field, the baby that the wise men sought and wise people still seek. So, my dears, sleep. Sleep in heavenly pieces.

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

All About Me homework

I was recently given the opportunity to help with homework! (Note: it was for 1st grade so I actually felt that I COULD help!)

As our children are no longer in school, I am a bit out of practice. I was feeling a bit misty that our daughter graduated this past year. I had no one to help get ready or school shop for. THAT was an odd feeling.

I was over at my nephews and niece's house. They are 6 1/2 year old triplets. 3x the fun....and the homework...and school papers, etc. They had a night before school assignment of "All About Me" It was a fill-in-the-blank and draw pictures of things like: my name is, my favorite food, my favorite thing to do, my favorite character in a book, etc. It was 2 pages. I split it up into a couple sections at a time so they wouldn't have to work on it all at once. I let them do it in the order he/she chose.

The one section they all did last was draw a picture of "What I do best" Each of them really had to think hard about what they would draw.

I'm wondering if it was the word "best" that made them hesitant or if we really learn at that early of an age not to brag about ourselves. I know as we get older it seems more difficult for a lot of us to remember that we are each individuals with talents and gifts that make if anxiety tries to creep in.

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of growing up, we forget that it is OK to acknowledge the fact that there are things we are "best" at. Maybe we don't think of it like that. Maybe we don't feel like we should act too "proud" or we sound conceited. Too often it is much easier to think of the bad and the ugly than the good.

The online world can easily make us feel "less than" what we see portrayed on TV, movies, and the internet.

I urge you to take a bit of time and think about your very own "All About Me" even if, maybe especially if, you are WAAAYYY past first grade.

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.

Jeremiah 18:3-5 (NIV) So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.  But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

It's the thought that counts

"Mints make you cry?" my sister asked me when I sat down after the elevator descent from our mom's hospital room.

I knew my dad had gone to the "dutch" store earlier that day. I didn't think about or know why. When we got to mom's hospital room, he handed me a brown paper bag. Inside was a large container of individually wrapped peppermints. The good ones. He told me when I opened the bag, "You said you don't like the pink ones." I don't.

Peppermints have played a supporting role in my life looking back. From the peppermints we used to get from grandpa V.W. when we would visit in the nursing home to the peppermints we would use in church to pretend we (kids) were getting communion too, peppermints have been a comfort. They also freshen the breath when I am in TOO much of a hurry heading out the door. ;)

It wasn't the mints that made me cry. It was the fact that my dad went out of the way to get me something I like. Something I would not have gotten for myself. It was a day when I really needed a reminder that I was being thought of.

My point of this post is that if you have that little nudging of a feeling to do something nice for somebody else? Do it....even if it doesn't make sense to you. We get those nudgings for a reason. YOU may be the answer to somebody else's prayer....maybe one they haven't even put words to yet! The "something" does not have to cost $$. Maybe it's an encouraging note, phone call or text. Encouragement has a great ripple effect. Try it!

My "dutch girl" mints THANKS dad!

Philippians 2"1-4 (NIV)Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit,if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

1 Thessalonians 5:1 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Recently, while waving my wet hand frantically under an "automatic" paper towel dispenser, a thought hit me. This was after I had waved said hands in a dizzying pattern trying to get the sink faucet to "automatically" dispense water to wash hands. This was after I had made my way from a stall where the toilet decided to "automatically" flush almost as soon as I stood up! This is opposed to the times where the toilet sometimes deceptively looks automatic or I wait or move around enough to make sure said toilet flushes before I remove myself from the stall. I would hate to leave a mess for someone else! side note: I have noticed everyone is not as worried about leaving a mess.

Maybe this is the reason for all the automation? If the item is cleaning itself, there SHOULD be less for a human to do, correct? Maybe that's the point of automation.....less work. AND for the most part? It usually accomplishes the task(s).

However, has our dependence on automation become a little too......automatic? Things that used to take SO much time and maybe even require a walk to get done (dishes, laundry)? Now we have dishwashers, washers, dryers and yes, even sinks, hand driers and toilets. In the whole scheme of life, therefore, we should have MORE time, right? I don't know about you, but I don't FEEL like I have more time.

Back to my epiphany at the paper towel dispenser: Is my faith becoming automatic too?

Lately, life has been even more busy than the "normal" busy I had kind of adjusted to. I haven't been to a church service in awhile. I have not written in my journal or on my blog. I have not opened my Bible. I have not said more than sentence prayers when things are not going as well as I think they should be going. I talk to others about life issues instead of going to God. I have gotten used to thinking that God will just automatically know what I need, when I need it and the best time to make that all happen.

I'm not hiding my frustration very well as I frantically keep trying to do life on my own. I don't have to find the secret pattern to make this work better. I don't have to wait. I don't have to handle my mess on my own. Neither do you.

Check your faith. Are you where you want to be? Time to take a little responsibility back and start working on that relationship! May we get to the point where turning to God first and our dependence becomes....automatic.

Isaiah 30:15-17 MSG [ God Takes the Time to Do Everything Right ] 
God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Two Steps

We often hear 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Life can sure feel that way. We make progress only to find that we have not moved as far as we thought....or we're moving in a different direction...or maybe, we're dancing!

However, when there are issues with walking, two steps can be the difference between getting around easily and having difficulty getting to where you want to go.

Our mom has had a leg brace and her "special" shoe to get around for quite awhile now. She is often in more pain than she lets on. The porch where she enters the house has....2 steps. She has been handling them with the grace that we know and love her for. It might take a little while, but she has made it up and down. There have been days where she needs to wait a bit to get her hip to coordinate with her legs to get her up the steps. There are days where those two steps probably look and feel like 10.

Recently, our dad reached out for help (this is a step in itself!) to help mom. There was a ramp installed that allows a much easier up and down! The ramp goes right up AND OVER the two steps providing a much smoother way in and out of the house.

Sometimes we focus on the two steps and stop. Sometimes we muddle through and do whatever we have to do to get up those steps. Sometimes we have assistance to make moving up the two steps easier. Sometimes we are blessed with people that see the problem, have a way to fix it....and they do.

So, what are your two steps? Are you going to let them stop you? Find someone to help you get up and over? Dance? Your choice. Make it.

Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)
The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;

though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Job 23:11  (NIV)
My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


How I loathe thy name.
Cells that split,
into good and bad.
Cells like soldiers
sent to fight
into red
and white
An invisible enemy
except on a scan.
You try to invade
my body
my thoughts
my mind
Try to take over
My spirit says FIGHT!
My body says how?
My body betrays me
sickened by poisons
meant to heal
But now?
hair loss
reddened skin
My family tries to support
People whisper when I walk into a room
you may win the battle
But I,
I will win the war.

kl 5/12/16
After dad's melanoma back and father-in-law died last August
They were both diagnosed the last few months of 2014. Drs., Surgeries. Frustration, more Drs.
Refusing to use a big "c" trying to give it less power than it already feels like it has

PLEASE go with your gut. If something seems wrong, get yourself checked out. It is better to be wrong than sorry.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

How's Your Day?

"How's your day?" asks the teller at the bank oh so casually. She was busy processing my transaction. She hadn't really glanced up or she probably would have noticed the teary look on my face. Or maybe she would have thought I always looked like that. She doesn't know me. It was my first time at that branch. Even a teller at my own "home" branch probably wouldn't have noticed. I pride (?) myself on thinking I hide my feelings so well. HA! I'm discovering I am only fooling myself. I have a horrible poker face. Emotions on sleeve. Check.

"How's your day?" SUCH a loaded question. Is he/she just making pleasant conversation? (Probably) Does the person asking REALLY want to know? (At a bank? Probably not) Do you answer truthfully? (Crappy thanks. And you?) Just say fine to get it out of the way and get the business you need done? (Just take my money and move on. No need to be pleasant!) Answer back almost parrot-like, "how's YOUR day?" (tempting.....)

Quite honestly, today was NOT the greatest day. I honestly answered after I hesitated a bit...."I've had better" to say fine would have been lying....mostly to myself.

I have had better. I have also had worse. I am not usually so honest with a stranger. I am not even usually that honest with myself! My mind repeats....fine, fine, fine. My heart goes....not so much, not so much.

When the not so fine, I've had better days are few and far between, I feel like I at least have a grip on life. When those days are coming closer and closer together, like they have been lately? Oh, the grip is not quite so tight. The smile is not quite so forth-coming. The tears are much closer to the surface and sometimes even spill out.

However? I am beginning to realize that the way of handling those days is much more important than how I answer the question.

There will always be something that can turn even the best day quickly into what seems like frustration overdrive.

Having a less than stellar day? Try some of the following:

Acknowledge - If it sucks? Say so. Even if it is only admitting it to yourself.

Better - There WILL be better day(s). It may not be today or the next day, but take your better whenever and however you can....even if it comes in increments and not the whole day.

Grateful - Find something, ANYTHING to be grateful for!

Laugh - Find a way to stretch those smile muscles.

Strength - When you feel weak, borrow somebody else's strength until you feel yours coming back.

Ice Cream - When all else fails, do what you gotta do. Get sprinkles. Everything's better with sprinkles.

**Nudges - Pay attention to the nudges. If you feel like you are supposed to take a little extra time to do some praying, devotions, etc? DO IT. I'm finding out this is God's way of providing that extra strength I'll need....before I know I need it.

**That nudge this AM made this an "I've had better" day instead of a curl up in a fetal position in bed day when I made it home.

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Give Up!

I believe we are born to be fighters, not quitters....not giver uppers.

Give people a cause to get behind, and we don't give up even when the outcome looks bleak.

In sports, players/individuals go to the last 10th of a it their all, pouring it cross the finish line, to score a point, to make a goal, to beat their own best time.

I think that is why my thought process to give up is so counter intuitive to my very nature. Probably yours too. That may be where many of our problems stem from.

In the past, I have been much better at feeling in tune with God. Those are also the times that I was having a time of devotions sometime during the day. I was reading the Bible. I was listening. I prayed more...not just sentence, "help me" prayers. I danced and sang to praise music. I went to church. I took time to be close to God and, more importantly, to let Him be close to me.

Recently, I can feel myself slipping. I don't take as much time to just be in God's presence. I rely more on ME than on HIM. This has not turned out well in the past. Maybe it seems so temporarily, but then LIFE starts to creep up and get the better of me....and I am reminded....again. Still?

God is not pushy. He waits patiently, often on the sidelines because that is where we PUT Him. God doesn't just want to be a cheerleader, there to encourage us. He wants to be IN the game. The captain even.

God wants me to give up. Not give up on myself, but to let Him in to deal with some of the life stuff that is just TOO heavy to carry on my own! Oh....I've been trying. Not very successfully, when I'm honest with myself. Honestly, we can be our own worst enemy when we try to be honest. I can put on a nice smile. I can sound like I'm doing all the "right" things and God feels far away. GOD DIDN'T MOVE!

Are you ready to give up?

Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)
For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pinched to Priority

Recently, our toilet seat broke. It doesn't matter how or why it broke. There was a large crack across one side. In case you have not had the experience of sitting on a broken toilet seat, it can be unpleasant. Two uneven pieces of wood when sat upon may not be so bad. tries to rise from said seat. We will leave it at an uncomfortable pinching occurs. OUCH!

It only takes a time (OK, or possibly 2, duh!) of being pinched before arrangements start to be made to fix the problem. I will confirm that for a short time, tape of the duct variety did come into play. Surprise? (not really if you know us well!)

I will confess that some of my thought processes do occur while in that same room said toilet is located. I started to ponder the paths of my procrastination and the lengths I will sometimes go to avoid dealing with life.

Lessons from my toilet seat:
(THAT could be a new blog or book title! - not sure anyone would want to read it!)

It doesn't always matter how or why something isn't working. If it is not working enough, fix it or stop complaining.

When life becomes uncomfortable, change it or live with it. It is frequently a choice. Sometimes between the lesser of two evils, but still a choice.

There may be a temporary solution to the problem. Temporary solutions are not usually long-term fixes.

Sometimes we need to get in a bit of a pinch before an issue becomes a big enough priority to DO something about it.

Many times things that we think will take TOO long to deal with? In reality, take mere minutes in proportion to how long we would worry about it by NOT dealing with it.

Drum roll please?!?!?!?!
One of the first things I did today? Buy a new toilet seat. Already installed. Problem solved.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Grace. Amazing!

Probably all of us by now have heard some form of the song, Amazing Grace. There are older hymn versions, newer hip versions, instrumentals, etc. No matter the form....that song gets to me every time.....usually tears are involved.

The word grace has been coming up a lot in my life. Maybe just because I seem more tuned into it lately.

a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

As Easter approaches, I think about grace. So undeserved. So valuable. Amazing grace, but also grace...amazing!

That someone would know all about me (even/especially the bad parts) and love me enough to stand in my place for the punishment I DESERVE is grace.

Wanting to avoid the suffering, but doing it anyway is grace.

Knowing truth and sharing it is grace.

Not always understanding the why, but struggling through doubts and unbelief is grace.
Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone not extending much grace or favor in a situation? Have you ever been on the giving end of not extending much grace or favor in a situation? What does grace look like to you?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Less Later

I've already 'fessed up numerous times about being a procrastinator. Probably more than you like or need to read about. However, I'm guessing I'm not the only one (did a song just run through your head?) I digress. WHICH is probably a LOT of my problem(s)?!?!?!? There are times my mind feels like a hamster wheel. Spinning. and spinning. Getting nowhere.

New Year/January always seems to be worse for me. I think it is because I am more aware that I thought some things would be different by now. Honestly, they are. Change just comes so slowly sometimes that it is hard to notice when you're in it everyday. While change seems slow, days seem to fly by. It's already almost the middle of January. I have been in accounting and payroll for many years now so I think that plays a factor too. There is much to be done at work and always, seemingly, at home.

In both places, home and work, I've been trying to make myself follow the "touch it once and be done" rule. Trying would be a key word in that sentence. This means, especially in regards to my nemesis of paper, get it, take care of it and be done (meaning file DON'T pile). If you have been to my office or my house, you would know that this is a real struggle for me. I like to collect quotes and little tidbits of info that others may or may not appreciate. I think I'll find a use for something LATER (see where this is heading?) so I hold on to it which leads to piles.

I even catch myself often saying I'll take care of/do that LATER. (insert maniacal scream here) WHEN exactly IS later?

So. I know what I need to do. I need to do it. NOW. Quite honestly, we are not promised later. Maybe that will become my motivation. As Scarlet O'Hara says at the end of Gone With the Wind, "tomorrow is another day." It is. Today is another day too. The tomorrow I thought about yesterday. My later. Your later. Want to join me on less laters? More nows?

Matthew 6:34 (NIV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Proverbs 27:1 (NIV) Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.