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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday - You're No Accident

Your presence on this earth at this very point in time is no accident. You are here for a reason. You were born for a purpose.

You don't have to do anything, or be anything but your unique self, which, in itself, is extraordinary. You were placed in your family, in your relationships, your school or work place, to interact with those very people who are there. You make a difference in their lives that only you can accomplish. You're the only one who can love them like you do and push them to be their best selves.

You can be sure that God is working within you. He will accomplish through you exactly what He planned from the creation of the world.

"...for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." Philippians 2:13. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Timeless Tuesday - Remember the Right

Is there anything more frustrating than being remembered for the things you do wrong? We frown upon parents who admonish a child for getting one B amid all A's. Or how about the wife who makes dozens of wonderful meals, but burns one? That's the one the family remembers.

Let's make a pact right here and now. Let's extend grace, wipe the slate clean, of someone who blows it. Let's say things like, "That's not like you" and "It's no big deal" and "What's one mess up in a lifetime of successes?" How would that change our little corners of the world? How would it affect our relationships?

Starting today, remember the things done right. That doesn't mean you don't see the wrong, but you don't dwell on it. You hold up a mirror to the person in the wrong and let them see themselves as you see them--a person who's doing their best in their given circumstances. Give encouragement, not discouragement. Lift up, instead of tear down. Hold out hope, rather than shame and doubt. It's contagious, you know.

Let's start an epidemic of kindness.


Monday, March 28, 2016

26 Weeks Letter Challenge: A

I've decided to participate in the 26 Weeks Letter Challenge, where I'll post photographs of things that begin with that week's letter. Feel free to play along in the comments or on your own blog. It's a great way to use some of those pictures taking up space in your computer. Let's get started!

Arizona sky

Arizona desert beauty

Adoption day

Aspens in Glorieta, NM


Friday, March 25, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 5

If you had a shelf for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronic devices, and things stored on them, people, or animals), what would you put in it?
My Bible, my wedding ring, my glasses, so I can see the beauty all around me.

If you had a box labeled ‘happiness,’ what would you put in it? 

  • A jar of bottled sunshine. Nothing makes me happier than warmth. 
  • Pictures of my family, who give me more joy than one person deserves. 
  • Someone to help, because there's no greater joy than giving of oneself.
What do you want more of in your life?
I want more of Jesus in my life. I find that the more I become like Him, the more my life has meaning. I become less me focused, and more others focused. When I keep my eyes on Him, I can see the rest of my life in better perspective.

Daily Life List: What do you do on an average day? Make a list of your usual activities you do each day.

  1. Shower, make my bed.
  2. Feed the dogs.
  3. Eat my strawberry, blueberry, and banana fruit bowl with a cup of coffee with sugar-free hazelnut cream while I read my Bible.
  4. Post my blog posts on social media.
  5. Check e-mail and Facebook.
  6. Write blog posts for the following week.
  7. Throw in some laundry.
  8. Do dishes.
  9. Get the mail.
  10. Fold and put away laundry.
  11. Work on my writing project.
  12. Make supper.
  13. Watch TV with the hubby.
  14. Crochet or play computer games while I watch TV.
  15. Go to bed around 11.
The only regular variation on that is on Monday mornings I volunteer as a peer counselor at Choices Pregnancy Center from 8:30-1:00. And on Tuesday mornings I go to my writer's critique group, Tuesday's Children, from 9:00-12:00. Some days I substitute going to the grocery store or some other errand that needs to be run instead of doing laundry. At some point I also do bookkeeping for my husband's computer company. I wear lots of different hats around here.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I'm grateful we found an RV my daughter can travel in while she works with the Renaissance Fair at a price she could afford. Now for the fun of fixing it up! I'm also grateful to be getting over this cold that started Monday afternoon.  I look forward to Easter weekend, the great celebration of my risen Lord and Savior, Jesus!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday - Being Carried

I remember as a child the security I felt when I was carried by my parents, especially my dad. We might be walking through a crush of people and he'd swing me up where I was protected in his care. I felt invincible in his arms. He was strong, tall (compared to me), and confident in where we were going. I was safe up there, not lost in a crowd of legs or walking through mud or trudging up giant hills on my own. I relied on him, his strength, his direction. I knew he'd get us to our destination, so I didn't have to worry. He wouldn't stop until we arrived. I could rest in his arms.

I can trust my heavenly Father the same way. When I don't have enough strength, when my compass is off, when I'm flat-out weary, He carries me. In hindsight, I sometimes have no idea how I managed to make it through difficult times, except that God carried me. There is no other logical explanation. He's a loving Father who delights in me and when he swings me into his arms, I can lay my head on His shoulder and rest while He gets me where we're going.

Do you trust God enough to let Him carry you through rough times? What's stopping you?


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Timeless Tuesday - Lifting Others

Lifting others is so underrated. But that's the very thing that garners respect, both from others and ourselves. When we see someone, anyone, helping another, encouraging them, cheering them, supporting them, we are moved. That's why there are so many viral videos flying around the Internet that show one athlete helping another cross the finish line. It's extraordinary because it's rare that a person puts his needs behind someone else's. We live in a me-first, looking out for number one, society. When we witness someone doing the opposite, putting someone else first, it's a thing of beauty. Our esteem for them rises. 

Who can you lift today? Don't miss the opportunity to rise to greatness by bending low to serve.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Me Monday - Prayerfully Paying Bills

It's Me Monday, and I wanted to tell you about how I pay bills. I mean, it's not earth-shaking or anything, but it may include one element some folks leave out.

Whenever I sit down at my computer to do my online bill paying, I pull up my bank account and check the balance. Either it looks good or it doesn't. It might cover all that we owe or not. Regardless, I pray.

My husband is self employed in the computer consultant business. He works super hard and is better than anyone I know at drumming up business without ever spending a cent on advertising. But sometimes customers don't pay for his services in a timely fashion. We have to wait for payments. Sometimes they come in before bills come due and sometimes they don't When the account is low, barely meeting our financial responsibilities, I pray for God's provision. I speak to God about our trust in Him and that I know He cares for us. I ask for increased faith that will allow my husband and I not to worry about money, because that's not where our true treasure is. I tell God that I know he sees our needs and we trust Him to provide at the perfect time.

You know what? He has never once failed us. Just about the time we think we're going to have to pay a bill late or borrow some money, God comes through in spades. We receive an unexpected check. We get that late payment from a customer. Or we get a notice in the mail that our account was incorrectly billed and we don't owe as much as we were originally billed. God really does care about the details of our (and your!) finances.

When our account has more than enough to pay the bills, I thank Him. I reflect on the times we didn't have enough and God's faithfulness to us even then. I thank Him for always providing and loving us, showing us what a good, loving Father He is. I ask Him what He would like us to do with the extra money He lavished on us. It's a great time of thanksgiving and worship.

You can truly worship even when you pay bills. That includes paying your taxes or any other task you might find less than appealing. Any time you focus on God and communicate with Him through prayer, you're worshipping.

I just finished a bill-paying worship service this morning. This month it was a time of thankfulness for all He's given us. I don't know what next month holds, but I know God's provision will be enough.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 4

What one thing are you really glad you did yesterday?
I'm really glad I got around 1300 words written on the next chapter in my book. That is nothing less than answered prayer. So to my faithful prayer warriors who know how I'm struggling with this book, thank you! Also glad that I finished my second crochet project, a prayer shawl that turned out much wider and heavier than I anticipated. But I'm getting better at this new craft, so I'm pressing on to project number three.

Are you generally focused on today or tomorrow?
I'm usually focused on today, because if I don't take care of today's things, it affects tomorrow. That means I plan today what I need to do so my tomorrow runs more smoothly. So maybe I'm focused on both?

Would you want a guardian angel/mentor? What would they tell you right now?
I've always loved this guardian angel picture. I believe I do have lots of guardian angels. Here's what the Bible says about that:
"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalm 91:11).
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 18:10). 
What my angels would tell me is not to put my trust in them, but in the God who commands them. He is the only One worthy of my complete trust and angels can do nothing without Him.

Would you rather live in a cave house or a dome house made out of glass? 
This is a tricky one for me. I tend to be claustrophobic, so a cave house might be out (you can read about that here). But I'm also a very private person who wouldn't like a see-through glass house. I suppose curtains could fix that though. And I do love sunshine pouring into my house. So I guess I'd rather live in a glass dome house. Bring on the window coverings. I might be able to manage one like this.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? (Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.)
I'm grateful for little bits of news that give me hope and things to look forward to. News from family, new opportunities to work and serve all encourage me and give me purpose. Next week I'm looking forward to my church's Good Friday service, which always puts my mind and heart in the right place to celebrate with gusto on Easter Sunday.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday - Becoming Beautiful

It's hard to see beauty in the dark. A lot of it has to do with how badly you want to see it. I think of Helen Keller, who somehow managed to "see" beauty in her darkness by touching, feeling the world around her. Her desire was greater than her disability, and the world blossomed around her.

When we are in a dark place in our lives, it can be difficult to find the motivation to seek beauty. If that's where you are today, remember that darkness is always temporary. Eventually, the sun rises in our hearts and things begin to look differently than they did in the dark. Hold on. Reach out your hand and feel for the beauty that is all around, but is so hard to see in blackness. Open your eyes and look for one thing of beauty, however simple. Is the sun streaming through a window? Are birds singing outside? Do you have sight to see the roof over your head? Does a child laugh nearby? A flower grow in the crack of a sidewalk? Do you smell the aroma of food cooking? All are gifts from the One who loves you.

Let that one thing of beauty penetrate your heart. Look at it or listen to it or touch it with the wonder of a child. Thank God for it. Close your eyes and remember its beauty. Before you know it, you'll be a beautiful butterfly stretching it's wings and flying out of the darkness.

What's one beautiful thing you can see from where you sit?


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Timeless Tuesday - Little Feet

Is there anything more timeless than little feet? Here are a few of my favorite feet pictures, courtesy of my grandchildren.
Look closely. Those are dirty, tiny footprints on my wood floor,
thanks to my granddaughter, Lillian.
These were grandson, Solomon's tiny shoes.
These were the sweet feet that wore those tiny shoes.
Lilly painted her own toenails. :)
Silly Solomon feet

Baby Henry's moccasins
These little feet hold a lot of potential. They'll go lots of places. They're not as little as they once were. Now they can run, jump, stomp, and much more. But I pray they'll go out into the world with confidence and share their unique gifts with whomever they encounter, especially the gift of God's love. Ultimately, I hope they'll always find their way back home to those who love them unconditionally.

Happy Timeless Tuesday.


Monday, March 14, 2016


Happy Me Monday! Here's something you may not have known about me. I love doors. Especially red ones. And the more rustic the better.

Mind you, I've never lived in a house with a red door, but it's my dream. My next choice would be a turquoise one.

There's something cozy, cottage-y about a red door. It invites, warms, and welcomes. It makes you think something wonderful lies on the other side, like the scent of Christmas. Check these doors out.

Dreamy, huh? And how about these turquoise ones?

One of my favorite pieces of art in my home is this picture my niece, Megan Crockett, painted. Lovely, isn't it? It used to hang in my mom's house, but when she downsized and didn't have enough wall space for it, I was the lucky one who took it home. Now it hangs in my living room over my grandma's antique pump organ.

Art by Megan Crockett
 So now you know a little bit more about me and my love of doors.

What about you? If your door could be any color, what would it be? 


Friday, March 11, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 3

(In response to Cee's Photography Share Your World Challenge,)

What is your favorite piece of art? (It doesn't have to be famous.)
My favorite piece of art is any that my grandchildren give me. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's actually better if it isn't. But when it's given with pride and a heart full of love, it instantly becomes a priceless masterpiece.
Grandkid art
What made you smile today?
Looking at campers online for my daughter to buy to travel with the Renaissance Festival.

What place do you recommend as a must-see? Please state which country, state or province.
One of my all-time favorite vacation spots is Rum Point Beach in Grand Cayman. It's the perfect spot to relax and watch the sun set.

Sunset at Rum Point Beach
Complete this sentence. When I was younger I used to...
...bite my fingernails. I'm not sure when or why or how I stopped, but I did.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to to in the week coming up? (Because we all need to be reminded that there are many things in our lives to be grateful about.)
I'm grateful for a job I love and out-of-state relatives to lunch with. I'm looking forward to traveling to California with some fellow church members. We'll visit a sister church in need of some encouragement and lead their worship service.

Have a great weekend! And as always, thank you for reading!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday -

I remember as a child asking my patient parents over and over for something when I didn't get the answer I wanted. When I asked yet again, they would say, "What did I tell you?" I'd parrot back the answer they'd already given me. "Then that's the answer. You don't need to ask again."

As adults we often do the same thing. We keep knocking on doors that won't open. We get frustrated, even angry, that they stay closed. But maybe we're knocking on the wrong door.

Try another door. Then another, until one opens. Not all doors are meant for us. And when we find the door that does open, it may look different than we thought it should. But if it opens, find the courage to walk through it. God awaits on the other side.

Are you continuing to knock on a door that isn't yours? Ask God to lead you to the one that is. Trust Him to open the right one for you.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 (NASB).


Battling Negative Thought Patterns

It's Thoughtful Thursday here at PWAS, so I thought this meme was appropriate. Isn't it the truth? Most battles are waged in our minds. Much of what goes on in there never sees the light of day, thankfully. It's so important to live, and think, with an outward focus.

If I'm thinking of others and how I might help them, serve them, listen to them, make their day, then I can't spend nearly so much time scaring myself with my own thoughts. All those "what ifs" evaporate into thin air. The worries? Poof! They're gone. It's literally impossible to focus on myself and my worries when I'm focused on someone else.

So today I'm going to try to live that out . Less me, more you.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts? One of my friends calls it, "Stinkin' thinkin.'" It may be critical thoughts about others or negative self-talk. Either way, it's troubling. What will you do to change your thought pattern?


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Bit of Our Heart

I know the above piece of advice is true. It's even true when I observe someone else giving a bit of their heart instead of a piece of their mind. I saw this principle in action at our local dollar store a while back.

An elderly woman was at the front of the line. She was slow of movement and slow of mind. She didn't hear well, so the exchange between her and the cashier was loud enough for everyone to hear.
When told the total amount due, she fished around in her purse for her wallet. Finally producing it, she slowly counted out every coin, then got confused and asked, "How much was it?" The kind worker told her again and helped her count her money.

The lady in line behind the old woman started sighing and tapping her foot. She wasn't seeing the beauty in this. Maybe she had someplace she was late to. Or she had to do her shopping after a long, tiring day. But it was evident her patience was wearing thin.

Finally, the woman in the front finished her transaction and the cashier smiled and wished her a good day. She thanked the next lady in line for her patience and rung her items up quickly, generously gifting her with a warm smile as well. The woman hustled off to her car with her goods.

It was my turn. I thanked the checker for being so kind to the older customer.

She smiled and shook her head. "I just try to remember that someday that will be me. How will I want to be treated?"

I agreed. "And I bet it will come faster than any of us think."

That cashier could have been impatient with the older woman. Or she could have given the next customer a piece of her mind for her impatience toward the elderly. Instead, she gave them both a piece of her heart.

It's all in the way we look at the world around us. What can we do to make our little corner of the world a nicer place? Be generous with your heart. A smile, a kind deed, a bit of understanding goes a long way to brightening not only your own heart, but the hearts of others.

Now that's timeless on this Timeless Tuesday.


Monday, March 7, 2016

My Volunteer Work

Happy Me Monday! I thought I'd share with you what I do every Monday morning from 8:30 to 1:00. I volunteer at the Choices Pregnancy Center in answer to the call God placed in my heart last August. You can read about that here.

I finished my training and have been a peer counselor to women for almost three months now. When I'm there, I feel like I'm right where God wants me to be. I'm doing something that makes a difference and helps women who are at a pivotal point in their lives.

Many of the gals who come in just want verification of their home pregnancy test. They're happy to be pregnant and look forward to parenting. For others, news of a pregnancy isn't good. They may be in school, unmarried, financially strapped, or in a bad relationship. We offer them support and educate them in their three choices: parenting, abortion, or adoption.

Some women want to parent their child, if only their circumstances were different. They don't like the idea of losing their baby to adoption or abortion. CPC connects them to resources that can help them financially and support them emotionally. Our center also provides Earn While You Learn classes that allow women and one other person who attends with them to earn baby bucks to spend in our baby boutique. They can each earn up to four baby bucks every time they come to class, while learning about pregnancy and parenting skills. The baby boutique contains brand new baby clothes, diapers, blankets, and lots of other things moms will need for their babies. This is one of many ways CPC supports women who want to parent their babies.

CPC cares about the health, safety, and well-being of women. Because of this, we educate women about abortion procedures and risks, both short and long-term. Pregnancy is a big deal to women. If it weren't, the decisions associated with it wouldn't be so hard. That's why it's important women receive all the information about all their choices. They deserve to know the truth. Abortion isn't a quick and easy procedure with no emotional effects. The trauma that accompanies it is real, as most post-abortive women will attest to. We support whatever decision women make, including abortion. But at least they know that we told them the truth. We also offer post-abortive classes for women who choose abortion, to help them in their recovery process.

There are lots of outdated ideas about adoption still floating around out there. The truth is, it's just another positive way to provide for your baby. The birth mother can call the shots in how open or closed they want the adoption to be and how much contact they want to have with their baby in the future. CPC provides women with referrals to adoption agencies and supports them emotionally through this difficult decision.

Most of all, CPC offers a non-judgmental listening ear to women and helps them work through the pros and cons of their pregnancy choices. There are even male mentors available to chat with the fathers of the babies. It's a caring, supportive environment where parents can come regardless of their plans for their pregnancy. We pray they'll feel safe, loved, and more informed because they came.

I'll be walking in the CPC Walk for Life in April. If you'd like to sponsor me with a one-time tax deductible donation, please click here. Thanks!

So that's my Monday work. I absolutely love it and the women I talk to. I love supporting them and sharing Christ with them when opportunities arise. Because that's where true hope and healing begins.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Share Your World - 2016 Week 2

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets?
I don't know if there are extraterrestrials or life on other planets, but I believe there certainly could be. God created a vast universe beyond our comprehension and I think His creative process was not limited to planet Earth. We may never know in this life the answer to those questions, but I certainly think God is big enough to put life on other planets, whether anyone else ever sees it or not.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.
I've lived in four states: Indiana, Illinois, Arizona, and Minnesota.
I lived in only one house in Indiana. Two houses in Illinois, both in suburbs of Chicago. Nine houses in Arizona, all in the Phoenix metro area, and one house in Minnesota. And when I say "houses," that includes apartments or townhouses.

If you were given $22 million tax-free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you'd do?
Thank God! Then I'd start giving it away, starting first with a tithe to my church. I'd enjoy nothing more than sharing my wealth with those I love and those in need.

The Never List: What are things you've never done? Or things you know you'll never do?
I've never sky-dived (dove?) and you can bet I never will. I'll also never participate in the running of the bulls, which I'm sure is one of the stupidest events ever known to man. I'll never quit loving Jesus or living for Him. Same goes for loving my family. I'll never be a concert pianist or a world renowned artist, but I wish I could. This list could go on and on, but I guess I'll stop there.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I'm grateful for old friends who came to visit from out of state. Is there anything sweeter than picking right up where you left off and forging even deeper bonds? I think not.

I'm looking forward to celebrating my sister's birthday and seeing one of my nieces who lives clear across the country in Philadelphia. My family will gather at my house for this celebration of life and you can bet there will be lots of laughter, hugs, and love, not to mention good food. I can't wait.

Feel free to answer these questions for yourself in the comments. I'd love to get to know you better!


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Sermon in Shoes

When I was a kid we sang a song in Sunday school that asked, "Do you know, oh Christian, you're a sermon in shoes?" Christian or not, your life should speak louder than your mouth about who you are, what you believe, and on what you place the most value. There's no getting around it. The way you live says something about you.

It brings to mind certain celebrities who have said they didn't want to be role models. Too bad. That's what you are, even if you're not a celebrity, because someone is always watching. What we do, the way we live does affect others. So might as well make it a positive influence. Why not bring joy, set a higher standard, model grace in a graceless world?

What kind of sermon is your life preaching? Does it draw or repel others? It's not too late to adjust your message for the benefit of those around you.


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Unhurried Time

Have you ever known someone who never seems rushed? Their time with you is slow, deliberate, and unhurried. It's a gift to find such a person.

One of my children was, and still is, absolutely unhurry-able. It didn't matter how late we were or who was waiting for us, she took her sweet time, because that's just the way God made her. She was slow and steady in doing her school work, sometimes maddeningly so. I must admit it drove me a bit nuts until one insightful, Christian teacher said to me, "I love that she takes her time on her work. She doesn't measure herself by others and she's absolutely unaffected by what goes on around her. She's comfortable doing things the way she feels is right, regardless of how long it takes. It's like the peace of Christ dwells deeply inside her already."

That took me aback. She was right. This was a gift and I was blessed that her teacher had the insight and wisdom to see it. I looked at her unhurried sense of time differently after that. It truly was a form of wealth. While I tend to get caught up in the whirlwind of life, my daughter was rooted and grounded, doing things in her own time.

Now, I try to slow down more and appreciate things more deeply. Why rush through the produce section to get to the frozen foods? Why not soak up all its colors, scents, and textures? The frozen foods will still be cold and frosty when I get there. Or take time to stand in the parking lot and let the sun drench your skin. Listen to a friend as if it's the last time you'll hear their voice. Feel the softness of your child's skin when they run into your arms and hold them a second or two longer. Live deliberately, slowly, meaningfully.

It's the only life we have, this side of eternity. Luxuriate in it unhurriedly, and see your life-wealth increase. Now that's timeless.