Wednesday, February 27, 2013

dwell in simplicity

dwells in simplicity.sbpage


On this beautiful, anticipating, almost-spring-day…after what seemed- like- forever –cloudy- and- dreary- days… dwell in simple beauty.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How when math is your weakness, it can become your strength


Math is not my cup tea.  In school, it was the subject I struggled with the most (unless it was Physics and you know that includes a lot of math!)  My kids are at the point in school now where if they need help with math, they need to go to dad or our neighbor who offers to help anytime because that is her cup of tea!  Math is my weakness.


But doesn’t the Word say we are made stronger in our weaknesses?  “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor. 12:10)   So my weakness is math but I’ll be made strong through it?   And when I think about it, I am getting strength from math.  Math incudes counting doesn’t it?  Counting is easy and I don’t have to memorize algebraic formulas.  I can count the many things I am thankful for.  I can count the gifts that are given.  I can count blessings. 

God is good with numbers and counting.  He’s counted and knows the numbers of hair on your head.  He knows the number of grains of sand in the world.  He knows the number of stars in the universe and beyond.  He knows how many times we’ve messed up (but so thankful he chooses to erase them).  He knows the number of times we’ve praised him and given thanks to him.  He can count the many times He’s had to discipline us.  I’m sure he knows the number of raindrops that fall from the clouds to the drops that roll down our faces.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if He knows the number of times we’ve smiled and laughed. 

God can also be counted on.  He has filled a Book full of promises for us that we can count on.  He promises us with

redemption (Luke 22:28),

strength from our weaknesses (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

forgiveness (1 John 1:9),

welcome homes (Luke 15:11-32),

unfailing love (John 3:16),

peace (Isaiah 26:3) ,

joy (Hebrews 12:1-3) ,

a future (Jeremiah 29:11),

assurance (Romans 8:28),

hope (Romans 15:13),  and

Home. (Psalm 23:6)

…just to name a few.


When we count our joys and thanksgivings, we can count on God’s promises.


Still counting…

#1227  “True faith makes human hearts fearless – yet humble” (Tim Keller)

#1228  roller skating with family

#1229  hopeful news from friends

#1230  gift at breakfast – read to kids… “Trusting and being thankful are choices that only you can make. And you’ll have to make them every single day, many times a day. Just as with sports or math or any other skill, the more you practice, the easier it becomes!” -God from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

#1231  the wisdom and stories heard from experienced teen-age parents to help guide us into this unknown territory we’re about to step foot in.


#1232  daffodils blooming


#1233  in the process of creating a book for a 92-year-young gentleman who’s written Physics text books and invented medications used today.  Talk about a mathematician!


#1234  an email from my sister (and her family) who love Jesus.

#1235  During Lent, our family reading the story Amon’s Adventure that helps us to focus on the most obvious demonstration of Jesus’ love. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

What longs to be known and felt?


I’ve been reminded lately of joy.  The word has been popping up and it brings…well…joy!  Maybe it’s been showing up because I’ve needed a refreshing reminder.  So, I’ve asked myself “What is joy?  How do you define it?”  (And ask yourself those questions, too.)

Joy is not just happiness-it’s something bigger and better.  Joy dwells.  Joy is deep, overwhelming, encompassing, everlasting, and often underestimated.

Joy is releasable and frees from any restraint or bondage. 

Joy longs to be known and longs to be felt.

Exhibit joy!

I’m thankful there are many ways to describe that word.  Maybe so we can be surrounded by it, especially the times we need the reminder the most.


Here’s those descriptions of joy I’ve read recently:

Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.”                                                                                                                              Kay Warren Choose Joy – Because Happiness Isn’t Enough


Joy is God’s life.”        Ann Voskamp  One Thousand Gifts


Joy is living under the pleasure of the Father’s delight in you”               Greg Ogden Discipleship Essentials


Joy is the art of God”    Ann Voskamp  One Thousand Gifts


Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heavenLuke 6:23


I hope you find joy in a new and refreshing way this weekend!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Full hands


As I’m reminded of beauty as the sun rises on this new day, I think about this past weekend and how it’s been a time of being with family, staying cozy at home as it’s snowed, and being a nurse for our son who’s been sick for a week now.  Even though my hands have been full with taking care of needs and thankfully, full of grace handed to me, I still want to remember the things God has given this past week. 

#1216  making tomato soup and grilled cheese for sick son

#1217  new sofa for our sunroom.  I’ll miss the other we’ve had for 16 years because there’s been many sweet, hard, fun, and holy conversations on it but I look forward to more on this new one.  {Thanks mom and dad!}

#1218  selling girl scout cookies with daughter at my alma mater

#1219  visit with my twin lake friend

#1220  being intentional

#1221  The heard that just showed up as I peeled potatoes for our family Valentine dinner.  God’s reminders are everywhere.


#1222  making Valentine treats



#1223  son performing in All County Band


#1224  yogurt time after the concert

#1225  waking up on a Saturday morning, lying in bed while watching it snow


#1226  catching snowflakes with your tongue (with our nieces and nephew)




Friday, February 15, 2013



Joining in today with Five Minute Friday where we say, “Ready, get set, Go!” and start writing whatever comes to mind for just 5 minute.  Then “Stop!” 

Today’s word is “beloved” and how perfect for the day after Valentines!



You are my beloved.  It is the kind of love that has no boundaries.  It is the kind of love that that is a deep and big and wide as the sea.  It is the kind of love that constantly lingers.  It is the kind of love that never fails.  It is the kind of love that forgives…and forgets. 

You are my beloved that I hold onto.  You are my beloved whom I cherish.  You are my beloved that I need.

You are my Valentine, but so much more.  You are my beloved.

img_1246 (2)


I hope you have a weekend filled with love of all kinds!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What is resonating in you?

In the busyness of February, it’s time to take a deep breath.  After a short time of respite over the past couple of months where it’s dark so early and it’s so cold and/or dreary outside you just want to hibernate.  

This morning when I went into the kitchen at 6:30am, before I turned the light on, I noticed I could see the silhouette of the fence and trees in the back yard with a pale dawn sky stretching out for a new day.  In the past couple of months it’s been pitch black in the kitchen at that time except for the little night light plugged in the wall.


It’s time to wake up and stretch.  It’s time to be awake and be aware of the life we’ve been given. 

It’s time to stretch our souls. 


It’s the beginning of a time to reflect and relinquish our complacency.  It is the holy time (the 40 days before Easter) called Lent.  I have a friend who wrote such a beautiful description of Lent:  It is a time to “unload, detox, and relinquish any joy stealers, peace disturbers, and love haters in confident anticipation of finding forgiveness, grace, redemption, do-overs, love.”

During this time some people give up their well loved chocolate or habits.  It is also a time to give to God. It can be a time to give a gift to God for the gift of redemption He gave us through the sacrifice of His Son. 

A word keeps resonating in my thoughts this past week.  I’ve been asking, “What can I give to Him?” 

Intentionality.  Be intentional.

Intentionally be IN His presence…it’s a perfect gift He’d love and cherish.

Intentionally be IN conversation with Him each day.

Intentionally be IN the Word each day.

Intentionally be IN family time – closing my laptop from 4pm – 9pm for family time

Intentionally be IN communication with those dear to me and those I need to be.

Intentionally be IN joy.  Enjoy time with family and friends.  Enjoy the little things in life that can recharge.   Enjoy counting joys!

Being intentional is not easy.  It’s easy to get set in your routines and habits.  It’s easy to become lazy.  It’s easy to get so busy you don’t have time to be intentional.  It’s easy to become too tired by the evening to make any effort.  It’s easy to become non-intentional about anything.  I’m guilty of it…and I want to try to change that because when those things happen joy is stolen, peace becomes a battle, and love begins to fall.

Intentionally give grace.  Intentionally reflect and recharge.  Intentionally spread peace.  Intentionally serve.  Intentionally count joys.  Intentionally love. 


Intentionally remember how much God adores you.

What is resonating in you?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The kitchen table: A story from a guest storyteller

What goes on at your kitchen table?  Your meals?  Crafts?  Homework with math problems and questions to answer?  Projects? 


The kitchen table (whether at home or wherever you eat your meal) can also be one of the most sacred places.  At the kitchen table, we are fed.  That table holds the food that is prepared.  We are fed laughter.  We are fed life stories and life lessons.  We are fed love. 

At the kitchen table, we are fed with conversation. 

We can choose to feed on what is good for us.  Sometimes we feed on tough things that’s hard to swallow.  Sometimes we feel full and content afterwards.  Sometimes we still hunger for more.  Sometimes,unfortunately, we become sick to our stomach.  Sometimes what we are given is sweet and we want to relish every morsel.

All of those life experiences have happened at a kitchen table.  And yours?  Over the kitchen table, words surround and memories are made over the plates and crumbs. 


Today I want to share a story from a seasoned person I had the privilege to sit with at her kitchen table and hear her stories.  So pull up a chair (at the table?) and I’ll share with you a story about the kitchen table in her life. 

This story was set in the late 1930’s to the mid 1940s in a small southern community.  In a small and meager home with only a few rooms.  In it, the kitchen is where this family spent much of their time.

     “Our furnishings were very meager.  In our kitchen was a table that seated six.  There was also a stove and small counter.  Back then a loaf bread was not very popular in the area we lived. If we did get a loaf because it cost 11 cents. It was a treat to get a loaf of bread. In that kitchen Mother would make biscuits three times a day every day. She would pour the big bag of flour in that bin and the cabinet had an enamel top. Then mother would pull out the enamel board and make the biscuits. I used to love to go turn that crank to get the flour. That was fun to do as a child to get to do that.   I learned a lot from my mother. 

     The kitchen table was a special place because we ate all of our meals there together as a family – my father, mother, brother, sister and I.   That is where we cooked, talked, shared and laughed.  That table is where we did our school work. There was a lamp that hung down over that table. The rest of the house was heated, in the early 1940’s when electricity was being put in houses. But during the time we rented that house, people used oil lamps. We had an oil lamp.  We all had to sit around that table under that one light bulb.  Daddy always made us turn it out at 8:00pm. He couldn’t pay the light bill and it probably was only a few cents when I look back on it now. As we got older, schoolwork became harder and I remember I couldn’t get some of mine done. In grammar school when I was getting older, I sometimes had to go into school the next day without it being finished.  We had light from the fireplace and light from the oil lamp.

      Most of our gathering time was there around that table.  I remember exactly how we sat around the table. We had some good times and bad times around that table. We had times where there was hardly enough food around the table to feed us. I can remember it broke my mother’s heart. I remember one time we had eaten potatoes for days on end. That’s all we had to eat. Daddy didn’t have any work in the latter depression years. At that time mother didn’t have any work either. Daddy did get work later in the hosiery mill downtown during the night. One night Mother cooked potatoes and put them on the kitchen table for us to eat. Just about time we got ready to sit down, Daddy walked in the kitchen and he saw potatoes again and he grabbed up that whole bowl of potatoes and threw them out the back door. Then we had nothing to eat that night, except the biscuits. He was so frustrated that he couldn’t feed his family better. He said, “I can’t swallow another potato!”  (who wouldn’t get emotional during a time like that?")  But I thanked God that did not last forever and eventually work became available and we were fed more again.  Since then I have been very well fed and I feel blessed.”


Oh, how life was then.  Oh how people are still like that today.  Oh how I thank God for our blessings.   I thank God for the crumbs in life that are little reminders of how blessed we are.  I thank Him for our stories.  I thank Him for our kitchen tables. 

What memories do you have from your kitchen table.  What memories are you making now around your kitchen table?  Feel free to make a comment and share yours!


(This is an expert from a life story book I created for her.  If you’re interested in getting more information about Life and Faithbooks contact me!   I’d love to help!)


Thanking God this past week for:

#1209  Quote by C.S. Lewis  “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”

#1210  Listening to George Winston while I write

#1211  Daughter receiving two awards at school


#1212   Son receiving award at school

#1213   words of encouragement

#1214  Daughter having her special friend come over to cook together.


#1215  Memorizing Romans 1:5-6 relating to studying Jeremiah 29:1-14

“Through him and for his name’s sake, we receive grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.  And you also are among those called to Jesus Christ.”

Friday, February 8, 2013



Joining in with Five Minute Friday to write about what comes to mind when today’s word is “bare”.  


In the depths of who we are, everyone longs to be filled. We were not created to feel barren or hollow.

When we bear the image of Christ, we are no longer bare.

I just read this yesterday: 

“God sent Jesus as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) to restore the image of God in us.       


I don’t think Jesus ever felt bare, even though he really was a homeless man and yet was able to live on the physical bare necessities of life.    Jesus’ bare necessity…his only necessity… was his Father. 

God wants us to call him Father, Abba, too.  We are not to feel barren.  We have His cloak of love put around us.  He gives us a crown of righteousness to wear as the king’s children whom he deeply loves and be part of his family.  We are given the sturdy sandals to wear as we are his disciples.  We are given the same confidence in God as Jesus has.   We are given beauty.  We are given hope.  We are given deep joy.  

We are given a cup that constantly overflows with the riches of God’s grace.  


quote by Greg Ogden


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do you hear a voice within?



The Spirit of God is arousing us within.  God’s Spirit beckons.

Romans 8:23,14


Why did my heart beat a little faster when I just finished reading those words in Romans?  I just told a friend this morning that I’ve been feeling a little “spiritually stagnant” lately…especially when it comes to blogging.  But being in the Word this afternoon, I just asked God “What?”.  I was reading Romans 8:12-17.  Lately I’ve been studying NIV or The Voice versions but I I feel led to open up The Message.  I brushed off the dust from it and read those verses.  But 8: 14 jumped out at me: 


God’s Spirit beckonsThere are thing to do and places to go!” ” 


And high lighted below, years ago, was verse 8:21-25..


“…the joyful anticipation deepens…the Spirit of God is arousing us within.”


Are you feeling beckoned?  Beckoned to start something new?  Beckoned to not give up?  Beckoned to go somewhere?  Beckoned to make a difference in your little (or big) world?  Is there a voice arousing your heart deep down with anticipation of…something? 

Monday, February 4, 2013

That means YOU too!



I saw a challenge at the beginning of January.  It’s already February.  Another resolution became just another thought put on the back burner on very low.  It was a good idea, but knowing myself, I’m telling myself there’s no way I can do it.  I’ll start off strong but in a month or so, it will have become a “that would’ve been nice but…” or a “I give up and that’s just a dream I’ll have to just keep dreaming”.

The challenge is to memorize.  MEMORIZE?!?!  That is so not me.  I’ve never been good at memorizing anything.  So, I tried to forget about it.  I tried to come up with excuses.  A month ago around January 10th or so, I thought… “I’m going to be gone for a week next week and I’ll get far behind…I haven’t even started it yet so that in itself is a good enough reason.  If I was going to do this, then I should’ve started a week ago!”

But that pesky tug wouldn’t go away.  “OK…I’ll look into it.  Well, that looks pretty cool. It can be done at your own pace?  Anyone can at least try it.”  Well….alright.

But those weren’t the main reasons I signed on.  Being it’s to memorize some of the book of Romans in the bible…that is a big reason why.  Having just studied Romans last year, I know I learned so much from it.  Paul’s letter to the Romans is the foundation for believers (and nonbelievers searching) and is probably one of the most important pieces of literature ever written on how to live a life for Christ.  It’s the gospel: the Good News, how to live as believers in a pagan world, relationships, spiritual warfare, how to have a servant heart, and hope that comes through righteousness and faith. 

This Romans Project is challenging whoever wants to try (that means you can too!)…to memorize Romans chapters 1, 8 and 12.  Those entire chapters.  I’ve never done that before...memorized an entire chapter.  I have a handful of verses in my lock vault that I pull out when I need encouragement but an entire chapter?!  I always just thought of rabbis doing that. (oh but aren’t we to be rabbi’s too?)


So, there’s post-its in the car and on the bathroom mirror.  And even cooler is how you memorize it on the website.  You type it at your own time and own speed and it really is pretty clever whoever thought of using this in a way to help us memorize.  I’ve told myself: “Just do the best you can.  I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’m not expecting to remember all the verses exactly word for word (but I’m willing to try!) but I’m believing God will take some of these verses and teach me. 

And it’s happened already. 

I’m in the middle of a study called Living in a Pluralistic Society by Tim Keller.  Boy…I’m learning some things I’ve never known were in the bible and it’s eye opening to see how our country today is so much like the Israelites during the days of Judges, Daniel and Jeremiah. (that’s a whole ‘nother topic someday!) 

Today was a day to reflect on that study and what I’ve learned.  Jeremiah 29: 1-14 are the instructions the Israelites, who were living amongst the pagans, were given from the prophet Jeremiah.  God didn’t want them to seclude themselves from the pagans and live in their own little bubble and criticize the non-believers.  God didn’t want them to only be joy-filled and confident people and know his commands, but to also live by discipleship and get their hands dirty and serve.  God wanted the believers and non-believers to live in a community together so they could help each other.

Keller says God purposes to bless the pagan cities with the presence of Christians, just as he purposes to humble and teach the Christians through the pagan cities….God is loving, wise, and holy and Christ brought the love, wisdom, and holiness of God down and showed it to us in concrete form.  That is what we are to do.  Christians to be truly ‘incarnate’ in the culture, yet our ‘citizenship’ is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).  We are to bring the love, wisdom and holiness into the midst of our culture, yet without sin.”

OK..that’s revealing, convicting and makes your heart evaluate your life and motives.  Just be an example.  Live amongst, work for, work with but stay obedient to God’s truth.

So what does that have to do with memorizing Romans?  Well, this same day I’m reflecting on the lesson about believers and non-believers and followers or just fans, I got onto ScriptureType and was ready to move onto my next two verses.  Romans 1: 5-6.  And this is what it is:

“Through him and for his name’s sake, we receive grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles (non believers) to the obedience that comes from faith.  And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

We receive grace and apostleship.  We are called to live among the believers and non-believers.  In other words, we are given the instruction to tell non-believers or just- Sunday- morning believers about God’s grace and love and what He’s done for us.  Share your story.  Be an example of Jesus in your every day life.  And still make sure to live and commune with other believers for love, encouragement and support.

Isn’t that so similar to what I just learned from the Scriptures in Jeremiah?  I don’t believe that was just a coincidence.  I see it as a little affirmation that I should keep going with the memorizing thing.  I’m OK if I end up forgetting half of it…but I do believe there will be some verses that God specifically wants me to learn from and remember. 

And when I first agreed to do this, I thought, “I’m not going to tell anyone I’m doing this because I’d be embarrassed or disappointed if I couldn’t do it.  So, I’ll just keep it to myself.”  But is that what God called Paul to do, Jesus’ disciples to do?  No. They’re to spread the Good News and God’s promises, so should I keep this to myself? 

Why would anyone want to keep the gift of God’s Word to themselves? 

So, I want you to take this challenge, too!  Anyone can do this!  That means YOU.  Won’t you join me?  Just give it a try?  That’s all I’m doing and we can excitedly wait to see how God can use this avenue to grow us up a little more.   


Giving thanks for:

#1198 a song heard – first song heard today “Remind Me Who I Am” by Jason Gray Please remind me who I am to You, Lord.  Remind me that I belong to You….

#1199 a soft word – “listen”

#1200 where I saw the light – the light on the alarm clock 5:55 a.m…time to start a new day the Lord has made!

#1201  gift found on paper –

But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless soul with life – even though we were buried under mountains of sin – and saved us by His grace.  He raised us up with Him and seated us in the heavenly realms with our beloved Jesus.  He did this for a reason: so that for all eternity we will stand as a living testimony to the incredible riches of His grace and kindness that He freely give to us by uniting us with Jesus.  For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved.  You receive it through faith.  It was not our plan or our effort.  It is God’s gift, pure and simple.  You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.  For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in Jesus to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.

Ephesian 2:4-11 (The Voice) (emphasis added)

#1202  gift found in person – the passion and desire to make a difference in our community

#1203  gift of the Word…taking the challenge to memorize Romans 1, 8 and 12 in 2013  (Won’t you join me?  It’s never too late!  I’m not very good and memorizing things, but I’m going to try and would love to with you!)

#1204  gift at 2:30pm – working on a new book for 93 year-young man

#1205  gift at 6:30pm – dropping son off a church for a Walking Wisely Weekend {W3}youth retreat.


#1206  going to Elon basketball game with a friend and 350 other church friends

#1207 beautiful sunset in January beyond the pre-mature red buds on the birch tree 



#1208 -  20 Years ago today is the day I gave my heart and life to Christ and I’ve never regretted it!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Today’s word: Afraid




It can be as easy as blinking your eye to be afraid of the unknown.

So many special people in my life have been in trials where fear and doubts could shred their hope into pieces if they let it.  And on the outside you’d never know their hearts were as heavy as carrying a ton of bricks.  But inside is different: Fears parents have for their four month daughter that only has half a heart and has already had two heart surgeries.  Fear of a husband and father who’s about to be deployed to another continent.  Fear of the future and the unknown and providing for a family.  Fear that a couple won’t work on a shaky marriage. Fear that pain will never go away.

If hope is not clung to, it can unravel.  If trust in God’s sovereignty is bleak, dark shadows can suffocate the light.  If faith is so rocky, an avalanche can be looming.

I once read that an “underlying sin is lack of trust in God.”  Oh how long that list of the times I haven’t trusted God can be on my chalkboard of life!  It’s so easy to worry and to be afraid of what- if’s and the unknown.  I’m so grateful that because of what Jesus did on the cross allows that list to be erased off the board. 

Anne Graham Lotz wrote that “God is WORTHY of your trust because He is Sovereign…in control and He is totally committed to you.”

So when those whispers of doubt and fear are heard, remember God is totally committed to you and He just wants you to trust Him.



Joined in with Five Minute Friday where we take just five minutes and see what flows from our fingertips onto the keyboard: today’s word is “afraid”

Have a weekend filled with rest, laughter, special moments and good health (especially in the cruddy cold time of year!)