Friday, September 30, 2016

Another 31 Days?

Last year I joined hundreds of people across the blogging community in a 31 Day Challenge to write something every day.  I had plenty to say as I reflected on the lessons I was learning from Psalm 139.  I was super proud of myself for completing the challenge, but also for being able to convey the messages of identity and security that can only be found in the love of our Creator and Savior.

Tomorrow begins a new 31 Day Challenge.  I don't have a major burning topic this year.  I don't feel like I have any ideas that I could stretch out and write about in a fulfilling way like I did last year.  So I'm going to try something different this time around.

Periodically my writing comes from a prompt on Kate Motaung's website Five-Minute-Friday.  She has partnered with Christina Hubbard at Creative + Free.  They have published a month's worth of prompts  so I am going to try my hand at that.

I am going with a no-stress approach this year.  I don't have a button.  I haven't done anything fancy to my blog.  I am just going to write and see what comes out.  That's the beauty of the Five-Minute prompt.  I only have to find five minutes in my day.  Surely I can do that, right?

Join me tomorrow as I write about "Walk."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016



Man, I miss coffee.  I never thought I would be a coffee drinker.  I used to not be able to stand the stuff.  And then I had children.  Maybe from lack of sleep or just being a little bit older or I'm not sure what, but a good cup of coffee became part of my morning routine.  When I say good cup of coffee, that includes a very liberal dose of flavored creamer.  Caramel macchiato, sweet Italian cream, preprint mocha, pumpkin spice.  I love the creamers more than the coffee, for sure.  

I just love the hot coffee with the cold creamer in the morning.  It gets everything kickstarted, warms me up, and soothes my throat.  Even if I don't have breakfast, I still had that cup of coffee.  And I especially love my coffee during my quiet time with the LORD.  Those two things go especially well together in my mind.

But over the course of the last year, I have had to back off coffee -- at least for now.  It may be something that triggers spikes in my blood pressure.  At first I cut back to only once cup a day.  Then I switched to decaf.  I was still seeing some numbers I didn't like in my blood pressure so I gave up the decaf too early this summer.  I don't know if I will be able to go back to drinking coffee at some point in the future or not.  I would like to try at it some point because I just really miss it.

I have tried to find some suitable replacements for the morning coffee.  Nothing quite feels the same.  I have tried hot chocolate, hot apple cider, tea, and even bone broth.  Some of those things I like better than others.  And I am getting used to hot tea without even any honey in it, but I really don't love it.  

I guess if I can't have a morning coffee, I can at least write about it and wish!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016



Here I stand in the morning.  Looking at the items in my closet as if I were going to get some sort of inspiration from them.  What in the world am I going to wear today?  I wore that the other day.  That doesn't look comfortable today.  That shirt will be too warm, but a I might freeze in this one.  I feel like my closet is full of clothes, but yet I have nothing to wear.  Morning after morning, I play this game, and then it seems like I wear about the same seven or eight things all the time.

What if I spent more time looking at how God wants me to dress?   Proverbs 31: She is clothed in strength and dignity.  Now where is the outfit that shows me strength and dignity?  That is the one I should be putting on every day.  When I get dressed, people should see the strength and dignity of the Creator flowing through me.  I should be reflecting His glory instead of worrying about if this set of clothes makes me look too frumpy or worn out or whatever.

What if I spent every morning getting ready preparing to do battle for the day?  Putting on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth, and the shoes that spread the gospel of peace?  My enemy is not against flesh and blood but against other principalities.  How often do I permit myself to think about that?  Each day I should arm myself to be ready for any fight that might come my way, knowing that I am on God's side.  I know His team wins, and I want to be ready to fight for Him.

As I keep looking at my clothes, I see things that I haven't worn in a long time, but I keep hanging on to them.  Hanging on in case they might someday fit again, or might come into style again.  Why don't I just get rid of them?  Not just the clothes, but the other things that hang around (pride, envy, bitterness, etc.) that have outlived their usefulness, but I keep close by?  It is time to throw off every sin that entangles and run with perseverance.

Gotta go.  Time to get dressed!

Monday, September 26, 2016



"Mom, wouldn't it be cool if God came down here to be an artist?"

That was a random comment my son made one day this summer.  Not sure where things like that come from for him, but it led to a great discussion for us.

"Don't you think God is an artist already?  Don't you see His beauty all around us?"

He paints the oranges, golds, and crimson reds into the autumn leaves.  With a stroke of brilliance, he lights trees on fire in glorious color.

He paints the wispy white puffs of smoke coming off the Smoky Mountains that we saw on vacation.

He paints flowers with gorgeous breaths of color.

He paints the intricate details on a butterfly's wings.

He paints the blues of the ocean and the sky.

He paints the sunrise with a promise of freshness and joy each day.  He does it again each night as a way to assure us that He has more in store for us the next day.

He paints the stars in the sky, more numerous than anyone could ever count...and He calls each one by name.

He paints you and me.  He knit each together perfectly in his mother's womb.  We are perfectly and wonderfully made.

With the cross, He paints a perfect picture of redemption and grace.  He paints our future, giving us hope.  

He paints an eagle swooping across the sky.  He reminds us that He can carry us when we are weak.  He will not grow weary or faint.  

He paints breathtaking rainbows, with the promise that He cares for us and He has not forgotten us.

All I have to do is open my eyes, and I see God's brush strokes all around us.

Monday, September 19, 2016



Last week I got to take a long walk with my dear friend, Julie.  Our kids were at church practice, and we had an hour and a half to walk with each other.  We talked and walked and walked and talked for what seemed like a long time.  When we stopped to check our time, we still had almost an hour before pick up time.  Wow.  It was amazing.  I can't remember the last time -- if ever -- that we had that much time to talk to each other without being interrupted by a thousand "Mama, Mama, Mamas."

I learned some things that day.  Like she and her husband had made a trip to Minnesota to buy a camper.  And she learned that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law moved to January.  We are the kind of friends who are always there for each other, but don't always get the day to day details.

When we talk to each other, we are most often presenting a prayer request.  She is my number one prayer buddy, and I know I can ask her to pray for anything, even if it seems small or silly.  And she will do it.  Not only that, she will follow up with me as well to make sure things are still going well.  And I do the same for her.

She can hold me accountable in a way that holds my feet to the fire but also gives me grace when I need it.

Julie is a one of a kind special friend.  I have just a few friends who fall into the category where we can spend long times apart doing life and then come together and never miss a beat.

I don't know if the weather and the daylight will cooperate for us to have any more of these walks.  Moments like that are few and far between with us both being working mothers, but I am definitely holding on to the memory of this one.   It was such a refreshing and relaxing time to be able to spend time uninterrupted with each other, laughing and burning some calories too.  I treasure the walk with this friend, and I treasure that we walk through our lives together. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Whisper of God

Listen for the whisper of God.

The other day started a little rough.  I woke with a rib-racking cough that hurts the throat, the lungs, and the ears of anyone who has to listen to it.  I dragged myself out of my bed, desperately wishing for a cup of coffee with lots of cream, or even a little tea with my honey.  (I don't mean, "tea with my sweetheart."  I meant tea with a whole lot of honey.)  Anyway, those are going against everything I am trying to accomplish as my husband and I tackle our first Whole30.  

I was having a bit of a pity party this morning, feeling overwhelmed and sad that a dumb cough would steal everything I was trying to do to reset my body's systems.   My resource also says that statistically more people quit on Day 10 or 11 than any other.  You guessed it: I woke up with this cough on Day 10.  I was determined not to let this deter me.  So I spent time praying about it and asking God to help me through the day.

I also asked my Bible study group to pray for my physical well-being.  I always have trouble asking for this type of prayer because I know there are so many others who are worse than I am.  But, I was feeling a little desperate so I did it anyway.

Throughout the day, I felt little nudges or whispers that God was taking care of me, and that He was by my side.

My cell service at school is practically nonexistent.  Unless I want to go outside and walk across the parking lot.  So I was surprised when I heard my text message ding.  When I saw the message, it was from a friend who needed prayer right then.  That just happened to be a few minutes before my plan time so I was able to pray for her right away.  That also helped me take the focus off myself for a bit.

As the day went on, I received two more texts.  They were both from my Bible study girls checking on me and praying for me.  I know it sounds silly, but the fact that I received any texts while still in the school building was a bit of divine intervention right there.  All three of them were important to me and timely--one when someone needed me and two that showed me people were praying for me throughout the day.

After school got out, we made a quick trip over to the convenience store so I could get the kids some pizza since we were staying for an evening meeting.  My timing was a little off for that trip since we went during the brief downpour that happened.  At the same time we were getting soaked as we scurried across the parking lot, the sun was so bright that I couldn't even see.  Then there it was.  A big, beautiful, brilliant rainbow.  Whenever I see a rainbow, it makes me all giddy inside.  It always makes me feel like that is God's personal gift for me and for me alone.  I know that is selfish as well as untrue, but that's how I feel when I see a rainbow.  It is as if God took the time to whisper through those brilliant colors, "Everything is going to be okay.  Trust me; I've got this."

By the end of the day, I was feeling much better.  Still coughing some, but not much and not the kind that eventually leads to multiple rounds of antibiotics as I fight off bronchitis.  Two days later, it is holding.  I woke up this morning feeling fantastic, better actually than I have felt in a long time.  I can't explain it any other way.  People prayed for me throughout the day, and my cough went away.

I started the day dismayed and miserable.  I ended the day feeling like I had received a personal gift from God and a healing.  God is there.  He is by my side all day long, and He sends me reminders when I need them most that He really does have it all under control.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

One Mistake Left

Do you see it?  Do you see the mistake in my latest project?  It's a little bit like finding Waldo so don't worry if you can't find it.  If I didn't know what I was looking for, I wouldn't be able to find it either.

Every project I have ever done has a mistake in it.  (At least one!)  Each and every time I find a mistake, it reminds me of my Great-Grandma Ellis.  I remember her fondly.  I used to sit on her lap, and I always played with the loose skin on her hands.  I was fascinated by that.  I am sure it must have been annoying, but she never said a word about it.

I remember fishing in her pond out back.  The time when Jon caught a turtle on his line.  The time when Grandpa and Jon took the raft out to the middle and tipped it over.  All the times I wore my red polka-dotted hat while fishing.  Digging up worms in the yard before we could fish.

Grandma Ellis always had orange slices sitting out in her kitchen.  That kitchen that seemed a little small but just right at the same time.  It was a definite 70s color, although I can't remember the exact color.  It went well with the mint green exterior of the house.  There was also the shed.  All kinds of interesting things out in that shed.  Wheelbarrows, flower pots, and I don't know what else.  

Trees to climb.  Fried chicken to eat.     

Sitting in her lawn chair just enjoying all the kids' hustle and bustle around her.  Watching everything with her wise eyes behind the big glasses.

Remembering the time there was a downpour and we ended up staying the night because the creek was out.  Some interesting night clothes that evening!

Talking about education, and how she didn't really want me to be a teacher.  She came from a time when teachers had to resign when they got married, and she didn't really think that was the best fit for anyone.  (Sorry Grandma, it really is what I was made to do.)

And I don't know exactly which kind, but I know that she was part Native American.  If my memory serves me correctly, her mother had been half-blooded.  Whatever it was, I remember her saying this, "Whenever you make something, you always have to leave one mistake for the evil spirits to get out."  Now I don't believe that evil spirits really live inside my yarn and finished projects, but it always makes me smile when I find a mistake.  Smile and think of Grandma Ellis fondly.  She was one special lady!

And if you have ever received or bought anything from me, you don't have to worry about the evil spirits either.  I always leave plenty of places for them to find their way out!