Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Time to Catch Up!

It has been a little over a week since I updated you.
Miss me? :o)

Our Christmas was kept low key, as is our preference each year. Years ago we switched the majority of our gift giving to Thanksgiving. However, we do have a precious tradition for Christmas I would love to share with you.

About two weeks before Christmas, we put our five names into a hat and draw them. The week of Christmas - give or take -- we split up teams between "Mom" and "Dad" (aka: the two drivers in the family ;o) ). Nobody reveals who drew who -- but we divide up accordingly so as to accomplish the task yet remain in secret for who it is we are shopping for. Then "Mom" and "Dad" ask our co-shoppers various questions such as "Will Target do or do we need to go to a special store?" We set a small limit on the price of the gift so as to honor our eldest children's desire to use their own funds for the gift they will choose. On Christmas morning, we reveal who drew who and then gift them with the chosen gift. It is a precious way to ensure each knows they are truly valued without allowing gifts to dominant. My eldest son said this year, "Mom, you know I really like that we only do the one gift. It's funny how the smaller the (wooha), the more special it is." (Did a mom's heart proud!)

So, we richly enjoyed a very quiet Christmas. My parents visited us Christmas morning, and stayed for lunch. And then there was the snow that visited us late Christmas afternoon; first time since 1947! Totally wonderful! Talk about giving place and reason to slow down and enjoy the rich gifts of family, fires in fireplaces, hot cocoa, etc.! But I must confess my thoughts did turn to those without such treasures. Snow only represents beauty and warmth in the presence of relational treasures. In the absence of "connectedness" -- it represents a sad loneliness. Even as such awareness came upon me, my heart did rejoice that God is able to reach the loneliest of the lonely. Aren't you glad for Him? Sure hope you know Him!

Over the course of the quiet week leading up to Christmas, we introduced the children to "Charlie Brown Christmas" for the first time ever, as well as "It's a Wonderful Life." That was truly a sweet treat to share them with the kids. Some times there are richer blessings than I even comprehend at the time by not having TV because "firsts" are truly "firsts" -- and to have waited until our youngest child quickly approaches ten was fabulous because they all saw the richness of the stories.

On Christmas Eve, we delighted in a beautiful rich Christmas Eve service at our new fellowship. There is something very surreal about moving on. While I cherish past Christmas Eves at our previous fellowship, the fellowship must fit the season in one's life. To go to a fellowship simply because one has gone there for years is not prudent. If God is nudging your heart to move, I encourage you to follow His leading. Often the obedient step of leaving must come before He reveals where He is directing you to go next. For us, He called us to leave our previous fellowship exactly one year ago this week.

Approximately five months ago, He directed us to a precious oasis. There is an undeniable richness and realness at this present "well." It is without pomp and circumstance; nothing is "worked up" or covered up. It is peaceful, yet its vitality is evident... tangible. The air is rich and clean; it is a place of deep beauty for me as we prepare to embark on the great journeys that lay out before us this coming year. A year ago I was grieving the loss of a fellowship I had called home for eight years. But life has taught me to embrace the hard, confusing things of life because with God, only richness and good things will follow if we are obedient to truly follow Him in the Land of Unknown!

Speaking of oases, as mentioned earlier, I have another one I am enjoying for the next two weeks called "winter break." I celebrated the start of winter break yesterday by staying in my pj's until lunch. Sheer delight, I tell you! I also enjoyed running three miles "at my leisure." I may never have 100% vacation as there are always meals to fix, laundry to do, etc -- but to stop many of the to-dos for two weeks gives the feel of a HUGE break. It is a wonderful "finale" to God's word over me to rest this last quarter of 2010.

Well -- I pray as these last few days of 2010 are before us that you will take time to reflect over your year. I keep a journal; I have done so for years. It is a most amazing gift to be able to go back and re-read my take on previous years. For example, I can go to the last week of December 2007, and read my entry as I looked back at 2007 and as I looked ahead to 2008. Journals are a precious "stake" in time. They are an ongoing record of the movement of God in one's life. I marvel at what God has done in the past decades of my life, and I look forward to recording the decades to come. If you have never journaled, I encourage you to start. They are priceless reminders of God's active presence!

Perhaps I'll be back before the New Year... certainly I know I'll have a little something to say on the New Year.... but until then, do some reflecting on your own. Cherish the days you have here on earth with the Holy Spirit as your escort... ponder what He will show you this upcoming year... dedicate yourself to obedience.... and if you dare, ask Him to rescue you from mediocrity and rapture you into living in the Land of Unknown.... It's prerequisite is obedience, but it really isn't anything to fear. I have come to understand it is where life worth living takes place ....

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

While planning is highly overrated, a life of Godly obedience is profoundly underrated in our culture. What you were meant to do will never be discovered living comfortably with "the pack"....

I implore you:

Don't sacrifice what could be on the altar of 'what if' & fear.

Hold nothing back

Resolve deep within:
"Though none go with me, still I will follow."

And then stop at nothing less than "Well done!"

Love you!

Monday, December 20, 2010

"In the First Light"

My friend, Travis, knocked this one out of the park! As I told him, "You have a gift of preaching through song." Many think of his gift as "worship" -- which he absolutely has -- but he also has a voice anointed with passion that preaches truth! This song preaches the Gospel from beginning to end... and I think it is highly appropriate to share it *this* week! Enjoy!

Rejoice and give the Victor praise!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

This ornament was discovered this year while my daughter and I were out and about one day. For some reason, "penguins" have been a fascination of my children this year, so it immediately caught her eye. Given there are three penguins here and I have three children here on earth with me - it was a fun thing for all of us when we hung it on our tree that day. It has since brought a smile to my face each time I look at it. May it bring a smile to your face, too!

"Winter Snow"

Seems highly appropriate to post this song given the recent winter weather on the East Coast. It is so peaceful to listen to, and I posted the lyrics below for your reading pleasure.

"Winter Snow"
Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow
(Yes, You did)
You were quiet
You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh, no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still
It was small
It was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

(Oh, yeah)
To the earth below
You came falling
From the sky in the night
To the earth below

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fish Tank

Since the rain moved in today, our plans were shifted. That was actually okay as I was feeling a bit "nesty" and wanted to stay close to home. (Our original plans were going to take us a good distance from home.)

This afternoon we ventured out in search of new fish tank tubing, new rock, and of course -- new fish. Our fish tank had been sitting empty for far too long, and I could stand the sight of it no longer. There is something really serene about watching fish swim that I have missed.

After much-ado running to this store and that, we ended up getting the necessary supplies to bring life back into the tank. It is strikingly beautiful with the jet black rock that compliments the jet black stand. Each of our children picked out a fish. Each of the fish are to grow to be about six inches with big beautiful fantails. I can't wait! They are hardy and beautiful! A win-win for us!

With the rain, hot soup with hot fresh oven bread was on tap for supper tonight. Yum! Hot coffee is made and pumpkin bread is on the way out of the oven in fifteen minutes ---
a satisfactory end to a rainy day.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

Today, I am going to share two out of three ornaments given to me yesterday by a precious sister. Two weeks in a row, two sisters who know not one another have brought me ornaments... precious ornaments. I can't possibly put into words what such acts have meant to me, but to say they have made a permanent mark upon my heart may give you a glimpse.

The visit from a friend is like water to my soul. I drink in each moment and always grieve their departure. Well, in addition to a visit which is gift enough, my friend, upon her arrival, handed me a small gift bag. Inside the bag were discovered to be three ornaments. She said, as I unwrapped the first two, "I couldn't bring you a tree, so I brought these instead."

A beautiful leaf and an acorn. Symbols of the oak tree.

I was deeply touched by the sentiment.

Then she said there was another ornament in the bottom of the gift bag that she made nearly 25 years ago.


When I unwrapped it, I was again deeply touched.

She said, "There were other angels I made, but they were blonde hair. God said to me,'No.The brown one is the one.'"


Again, my Abba has used one of my sisters to touch my heart in a way words cannot possibly convey ... to gift to me gifts most treasured. It was a delight to hang them on my tree in her presence. We found the perfect resting places for them!

I will value the ornaments from these past two weeks for a lifetime and pass them on to my children with the stories of their origins.

May you enjoy the sharing of my two "A's" ....

the acorn and the angel.

Abundant love to you today!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Empty and Beautiful by Matt Haher

Lyrics to Empty And Beautiful :
My past won't stop haunting me
In this prison there's a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be

This thorn in my side is a grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord

But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Awaiting, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I'm pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keeping it real....

Last week was, well, interesting. I had a sibling who resurrected a past wounding to me that she was not involved in, but observed. Her heart was in the right place, but as I told her, "....reconciliation can't be forced. When God has accomplished His will, He brings people back together."

While I had long since forgiven them and left the situation in God's hands, it did bring the past directly back into my view.

I asked, "Why, Lord? Why now?"

Over the years, He has worked in me "staying power" --
a power that refuses to run the other way no matter how much I would like to run.

No, in Him, we are to face whatever comes our way.

So, I sat with Him, seeking Him as to why the past should revisit me now. It was at this point He began to speak to me about the importance of convictions.... thus my blip that I posted on Wednesday about "being right or in relationship."

To me, this phrase is too much of an emotional manipulative. It implies if you choose "right" over the relationship, you have chosen incorrectly. But we must remember Jesus stood for righteousness and let His conviction drive people from Him or to Him.

Our convictions should cost us if we are walking according to them.

Opinions are different than convictions.
The former is rooted in self. The latter is rooted in God.
Opinions change. Convictions don't.

Fewer and fewer people seem to discern the difference. Fewer and fewer people seem to grasp the importance of standing on conviction despite personal cost. Meanwhile more and more people buy into a life of compromise that supports the corrupt thinking: "just don't upset the apple cart" or "do whatever it takes to get along."

While I don't go around looking for a fight, neither do I look the other way when wrong is done. As a result, I routinely find myself in more than lukewarm water. In the heart of truth and transparency, I don't like that this is the case, but as I see it, I don't have a choice. I'll never live a life of compromise. All evidence supports that over the years He has shaped me into a vessel willing to sustain hot temperatures. And the most recent events bring home His objective: to work in me even deeper staying power.

In a day when convictions are easily forsaken, I pray you will be among the few who dedicate themselves to solidly standing on God's Word.

We are to walk upright before God without compromise.
The Message version puts it this way, "We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don't maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don't twist God's Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God....... We're not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, "I believed it, so I said it," we say what we believe."
( 2 Corin 4 )

So my roots were pushed further into the Ground this week.
He is my staying power, my Life Sustainer. I am ever so thankful for His abiding presence that teaches me:

"Let love be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."
(Romans 12:9)

Blessings always!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

Okay, so this is turning out to be Friday OR Saturday ornament sharing! ;o)

This ornament was recently given to me by a dear friend. She was unpacking a box of ornaments she made as a child with her mother. When she saw this one, she thought of me. How precious is that? So, now it is a cherished ornament of mine that is some thirty years old! It was made out of a seashell! (Remember you can click on the picture to enlarge it!)

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Slippery Slope!

I am weary of the expression, "Would you rather be right or in relationship?"

That's one of those ill-gotten expressions that has the potential to dupe us into a state of perpetual compromise.

Sounds good when you first hear it, but it's a slippery slope down.

God calls us to live a life of conviction, and we better wake up and grasp it!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Pleasures!

It's much prettier in person! ;o)

"You Are Loved"

What a beautiful song...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

Here's our lovely red beauty!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reflective Day...

What a reflective day of depth I have had.

I'm not sure Josh Groban's personal meaning behind the song "Remember When It Rained," but I know when I hear it I think, feel, hear, and see "God."

Long ago God's grace did rain down on me;
I heard Him call my name,
but in the darkness of this world I remain,
unable to avoid all pain.
(D. Kirby, 2010)

Do you feel this way too some times? A craving to breathe fresh, non-toxic air that fresh 'Rain' brings?

As I have listened to this song today, it reminds me to be thankful for His purifying water that brings hope. Yes, in His water I will remain -- so very thankful His water never drys up...

"Remember When It Rained"
(Josh Groban)

Wash away the thoughts inside
that keep my mind away from You.
No more love and no more pride.
The thoughts are all I have to do.

Remember when it rained,
felt the ground and looked up high
and called Your name.
Remember when it rained.
In the darkness I remain.

Tears of hope run down my skin,
Tears for You that will not dry.
They magnify the One within,
let the outside slowly die.

Remember when it rained,
I felt the ground and looked up
high and called Your name.
Remember when it rained,
in the water I remain.

(Bridge)Running down(x7)

This afternoon it began to rain outside....
so precious is He!

And then there is this....
(makes me just sink deep into Papa's arms tonight
with a heart of utter thanksgiving for who HE is!)

Because of Him, I am a mountain dweller!
How about YOU?

"There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly,
but when You come I am filled with wonder,
sometimes I think I glimpse eternity."

So unbelievably fabulous is my God! When I Googled the above lyrics, THIS is the FIRST link that popped up. You must check it out. If you have followed me at all for very long, you know God speaks to me in "tree." Oh how I love Him!

Giving thanks tonight for a God who intimately cares for and loves me....
I hope you know Him too!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Meet the Triplets

Today was just delightful! I spent the day with my daughter going wherever the wind blew us. Tonight as I reflect on the blessings of today I thought I would share some "additions" to our family that we picked up today along the way....

I ask you, "Who could resist those eyes?" :o)

Totally precious.... the children just love them!

Simple pleasures; simple joys!

Isaiah 41:10

This morning I read something I have never read before. Well, I need to rephrase that. I have read the verse more than a hundred times in my lifetime and memorized it, but not the translation I read this morning.

Here's how I memorized it:

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Now here is how it is in the Amplified:

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you;
do not look around you in terror and be dismayed,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties,
yes, I will help you;
yes, I will hold you up and retain you
with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

The phrase "I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties" really stood out to me this morning. If you have read my book, I speak about the necessity to develop deep roots --- holding power -- so that during storms we stand strong and tall... immovable in Him. How special it is that as we rest and stay calm in God through the storms of life, HE strengthens and hardens us...upholds us and retains us!

Have you ever seen a toddler with say a splinter or a cut? They bounce all over the place while screaming their heads off. While attempting to help them, parents are often heard saying, "You need to stay still!" I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a toddler in God's family!

God's goal is to mature us past the "bouncing all over the place, screaming our heads off" place to the place of calmness, knowing He will help. As I often say, God sends the storms and controls the storms, so as to mature us - ever calling us to grow stronger and deeper in Him. We can't grow big and strong with deep roots without passing through the storm-trials of life. Let's consciously pass through them calmly, dedicated to growth!

How I hope you too find a depth in this verse perhaps you have never seen before. Perhaps it is a different phrase than the one that stood out to me. Whatever part stands out to you, meditate on it today.... and be grateful for who He is in our lives! Our ever present, wondrous God!

Time to hit the trail to exercise this morning!

Have a most blessed weekend, my siblings!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

The Story of the Candy Cane

Many years ago a candy maker wanted to make a candy
that would symbolize the true meaning of Christmas -
The hard candy was shaped like a "J" to represent that Jesus is our rock of all ages.
The candy was made of white to stand
for the pureness of Jesus.
The red represents the blood
that Jesus shed to save us from our sins.

(Click for larger view)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"I Will Worship You"

This has been my favorite worship song since the first time I heard it. I play it in the quiet of the evening and in the beauty of the dawning morning.

I pray it penetrates to the depths of your being....
I pray you are able to sing it in spirit and in truth...

PS: New Article found at http://joyinthemorning.com/Teachings.aspx

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"I Will Sail My Vessel"

As I was fixing breakfast this morning, I so clearly heard "I will sail my vessel...." being sung within my spirit. So much so that I flipped off the burner -- set breakfast aside -- and Googled it. (My musically illiterate self is SO thankful for Google. :o)) Needless to say, my kitchen was filled with music minutes later!

What beautiful lyrics! And the beautiful truth is that with Jesus (The Living Water AND my Captain), the river never runs dry and I'm sure to reach my destination!

"Choose to chance the rapids." "Dare to dance the tide." Or my favorite, " Like a bird upon the wind!" Whatever lyrics speak to you, picture it in your spirit... let the reality of "doing" sink deep... and then ride the wave of opportunity when it comes!

Those that are faithful with the small....

If you have a heart to live -- really live -- and you are walking according to God's principles, God will bring the opportunity. But when it comes, YOU have to decide to hit the water.... or in my case, hit the sky! ;o)


You know a dream is like a river
Ever changin' as it flows
And a dreamer's just a vessel
That must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
And never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores...and

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...yes

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

There's bound to be rough waters
And I know I'll take some falls
But with the good Lord as my Captain
I can make it through them all...yes

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Yes, I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
'Til the river runs dry

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Rhythm... It's a Fine Thing!

I woke up stinkin' early Monday morning.... like 4:00 early, thank you very much... with a revelation. (I just love waking up to His intimate presence... like He is just waiting for my eyes to open so He can say, "Good morning, my dear.")

For the past year, I have felt -- well, "out-of-sync" a bit. I lost my rhythm at this time last year through a major shift God brought to our family. And while A LOT has been accomplished this year to His glory, I have missed "rhythm" being a part of my life. But a God-shift brings a new season, a new season brings growth, and growth brings a new rhythm. Oh the thrill at 4:00 am Monday morning when God woke me up with the gift of a new rhythm. As such, it is already impacting myself and my children.

I haven't set an alarm clock in years. (Thank you, Mom, for instilling in me an internal alarm clock!) But I now find God has set my "early wake up time" to an even earlier wake up time. (I don't mind; I actually love that He jealously enjoys our time together as much as me!) After our one on one time together, I fix breakfast and then call the children to rise for the day at a set time. We have breakfast together, devotions together, exercise together, and then hit the books by 9:00 am. Our goal is to have school completed at 2:30 and have "snack time" together. No one gets snack until everyone has finished their school work.. (grin) ... Let just say it facilitates diligence. (double grin)

Thereafter, whatever I am doing -- unless I give them free time -- they are doing with me. Yesterday afternoon, we all pitched in and got over half the garage in order. Today, we will hit the other half. Our goal is to make half of our garage into our work-out area. We have a treadmill, located now in the master bedroom. We have a weight bench and weights, located now in my eldest son's bedroom. But we all agree it is time to pull it all together so we can more easily work-out as a family. We are stoked! We have made it our goal to do an "-atholon" together of some sort in the next six months. Whoooha!

So, praise HIM;
Mama's got a NEW rhythm, and it is a FINE thing indeed!

If anyone knows anything about me, it is that I am not a person who defaults to "the slack"... and I never permit those who surround my life to do so without encountering the highest form of resistance possible from me! At the core of my being is "All things are possible.... in Christ Jesus!" Period! As such, I have raised my children that ceilings are meant to be busted through ....

There are to be no barriers between us, God, & our purpose,
No "can'ts" .... no "won'ts" ... no nothing;
ONLY purpose, passion, and persistence.

I have written this, said this, taught this,
and with dedication, set out to live this!

Reflecting back, I see last November that I encountered a ceiling.... and through an incredible God-shift that ceiling was busted through. Over the last year, I was gifted with growth. And on Monday, I was gifted with my new rhythm!

"Onward, troops... onward!"

Are there ceilings you need to bust through? Don't be content to live at the ceiling! To do so is to squander life!

With God, bust through, siblings...
Live a dedicated life of purpose, passion, & persistence!

A God-shift brings a new season,
a new season brings growth,
and growth brings a new rhythm...

Praise Him!

Love to you,

PS: A new article is coming in the next 24 hours to the website! Be on the look out! It's called "Dying Roses."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"It is well."

I was awake this morning before 5:00 am and finally gave in to the early wake up call, rolling out of the bed and meandering downstairs. I confess I took my pillow and a blanket in the hopes sleep would fall upon me again.
It didn't happen.

As soon as I walked into the room, His Word was there before me. Within minutes I was reading in 2 Kings of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. A couple of key phrases popped off the page at me.

"..... that I may run to the man of God...."


"It is well."

If you have a bit of time, I encourage you to read the account in 2Kings 4.

Already God was speaking volumes to me. Then -- having my laptop on, ever ready to make journal entries -- I came upon a web page of an apparent Christian sister. Let's call her Suzy Cue. Suzy Cue's web page was filled with all things "warm and fuzzy," and that's great if you happen to have lived and are living such a life.

In contrast, I have lived my life, by and large, in the trenches. Still to this day, life is not what I would call "warm and fuzzy." Storms and pain are a routine part of my world. And while I may not know what smooth sailing is about, I do know intimately how to traverse ridiculously rough storms. I may not necessarily like that I possess such knowledge. And yes, I am tempted to be a tad on the green side of Suzy Cue, but if life has taught me anything it is that my life is not my own. My life belongs to God, and He can do and shape whatever He wants to within it for His purposes. As one of my recent favorite songs says, "I bow to You." (Follow link if you care to hear it.)

Furthermore, 'smooth sailing' never fully teaches a person what a incredible gift we have been given in that we no longer have to "run to the man of God" as the Shunammite woman did. No, I am blessed with the privilege of running to God Himself. And not only am I blessed with sitting with Almighty God... my Abba... my King... my Helper at 5:00 in the morning, but I get to hear His voice. I will NEVER stop reminding myself just how incredible that is! His voice is my lifeline. There is nothing like it.... nothing. And the day I think hearing God's voice is ordinary, mundane, or a causal entitlement is the day I will have lost ALL proper perspective and grounding.

No. Perhaps I may never know what smooth sailing is all about, but I wouldn't trade my deep roots to find out...
and I mean that.

The Shunammite woman reported, "It is well," even though her only son had died.

How does this happen? Deep roots -- that's how. Let's just be real a moment... sometimes life just bites... and it bites HARD. But truth is, depending on what kind of plant one is, for roots to go deep -- they have to hit rocks once in a while... they have to endure droughts ... they have to pass through hard soil.

I'm a deep root tree. A few weeks ago, I was given a compliment I am still meditating on, "You're an oak." I don't live on the surface. I don't talk "surface" talk. I can't. I can't recall what life was like at the surface, much less talk frivolity. Depth happens because storms happen, and since I don't control the storms... I have but one choice when they hit... grip the ground and press down.

As much as perhaps Suzy Cue's life is tempting if I had the choice, I appreciate my purpose over my comfort. My prayer --- my absolute prayer -- is that God will use me in increasing measure to stand by others when storms hit and to share the "how to" of not just storm survival
.... but

This week there arrived in the mail a necklace. It was a precious gift--a priceless gift -- from a sibling in Christ. I was tempted to take a picture of it and share it, but there is a deep sense of intimacy about it right now that I dare not violate. It is of a huge tree, showing both large branches above and deep roots below. In the background is a huge rendering of the sun (aka to me: the Son). Along with the gift there came a precious statement that included the following verse:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
"This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Yes, Lord, it is well ... it is well...


Friday, November 12, 2010

Ornament Sharing Friday!

Oh how I pray your Friday has been good to you! Mine has been so very busy! Praise the Lord, I am just about to wrap up, but honestly this day has felt like three in one!
"TGIF" has rarely ever been a more exacting phrase!

Well, as promised, here is Friday's ornament! Several years ago, the children and I made ornaments. Our tree has lots of these beautiful crosses all over it, and I love them!

Well, may you have a blessed night and a blessed weekend! I am ready for a hot supper with the family, not to mention dear daughter is baking cookies as I type! Can't wait to have one with my evening coffee! Yum!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Rescue Me"

Meet the One who totally captures my heart and attentions:

--- my Knight in Shining Armor ---
The only One who causes me to rise above everything in life
that has attempted to pull me under!
He alone causes me to rise above!

Do YOU need to be rescued by His power, His authority -- His very essence!?
His skills are unmatched!

LORD, I love You so!

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Encouragement Through Song...

I discovered this great song on a friend's website this morning. I'll share more about her website later, but for now, I wanted to pass the song on for all those out there who feel like giving up -- Don't!

Have a listen and be encouraged! Love to you!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

"Help Me, Lord"

To love as Jesus loves means a death to self. I want to reach out to those who are feeling such a death overtake you... you are not alone.

"In your relationship with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant....and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted Him to the highest place....and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Do everything without grumbling. Therefore, my dear friends, ....continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose."
Phil 2: 5-13

Hugs to those hurting this morning......

Friday, November 5, 2010


Traditions are a fine thing, a fine thing indeed.

One of our family traditions is that every year we go to a particular holiday event. It is always scheduled within the first few days of November to usher in the season. A few years back we decided it would be special to allow each of our children to pick out a new ornament for our family room Christmas tree. The event is always much anticipated! Well this year was no exception. I thought I would share the picks of this year with you. If you care to, you can click on the individual pictures to enlarge them.

I just had a thought. I think I will share an ornament off our family room tree each Friday until Christmas Eve. That will be fun...now won't it!?

Have a precious weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bug Bite

I have been bit by the Holiday Bug -- the non-commercial variety bug. It's the only bug bite I like! ;o) Thanksgiving and Christmas, oh how I appreciate all that you represent!

Even as I sing praises of thanksgiving for the season that is upon us, I know there are those out there who struggle through this pending season. My heart goes out to you!
I pray with Him you find the spiritual moxie to steer and to speak to your emotions, instead of letting them steer and speak to you. Please know you will be on my mind, in my heart, and covered by my prayers....truly.

May we all snuggle into Him in deeper measure this season!

Hugs and blessings to you all!

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Reviews Just In!

More reviews of my book, "Beyond the Greenhouse," have shown up on Amazon.com!

Please take a moment to read them, and then ask God if there is someone who could benefit from reading it. Perhaps that someone is you, a relative, a friend, or even an acquaintance God puts on your heart. Thank you in advance for following His lead, knowing He is purposed!

If you have read the book, feel free to add to the reviews at Amazon. (FYI: You do not have to reveal who you are or where you live.)

If you intend to purchase the book, I would ask that you do so through the ministry's website: http://joyinthemorning.com/Store.aspx Thank you!

Blessings always!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Picture Time!

Good morning to you!

It's picture sharing morning! (I have to confess as I am writing this the theme song to "Picture Pages" is running through my head. Do you remember that children's show from back in the early 80s, I believe? "Picture pages, picture pages, time to get your picture pages....")

Anyway -- here are some pictures from our sons' birthday. They were born on the same day, exactly five years apart. We always have a blast celebrating! And then following the birthday pictures are some pictures of our boat/coast trip that we took two weeks ago tomorrow. Enjoy!

(As always, you can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them for a better view.)

Birthday bash -- September 2010

Let the good times roll!
We took the kids to a small theme park for laser tag, arcade, and go-karts.

Adventurous fellow!

Focused beauty!

Strong young man!

I was proud of Andrew, as the big brother. He let Victor pass him and win some of the races, though Victor certainly did give him a run for his money! In years to come, there will not be any "letting" him win... It will be "full-on" competition between them!

Boat/Coast Trip -- October 2010
(To review the details of this trip, follow this link.)

We stopped by an uninhabited island with wild horses on it. We had to be very quiet, but it was totally a treat seeing these wild animals in their natural environment! Beautiful!

We returned back to the harbor wind-blown, tired, and wet! But what a fun time!
(The boat we went on is seen in the background.)

Now -- time for dry clothes and supper!

After supper, we went to the beach, hunted seashells, and watched the sun begin to set.....

To me, this is one of the better parts of the beach.
Cool, DRY sand!
We all pitched our shoes in the car and enjoyed bare feet!

Super fabulous memories!
I'll share more later!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just for Fun...

For those of you who have read my book, you know I referenced the T-Shirt Brian was wearing the day we met. Well, this morning I was in our closet re-organizing things a bit, and of course, when I came upon the T-shirt thought, "It would be fun to take a picture and post it for my readers to see."

It is over two decades old! Years ago I confiscated it away from Brian so I would have it for posterity. So here it is!

On the back are the words: "Run with endurance... our eyes fixed on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith." Heb. 12: 1-2

It is the theme to our marriage, to our life ... and it will be so until we breathe our last!

Run to the finish, siblings.... Run to the finish...



Friday, October 22, 2010

Thankful heart... What a Week!

It is hard to believe this week is coming to a close, and our normal schedule returns. I journaled today, "Lord, I am feeling overwhelmed this morning." It is a good thing to look back with a thankful heart over the past week!

As you already know from a previous post, we began our time last Friday with a boat trip, had a tremendous time Saturday with life-long friends, and made our way into this week with "R&R" being the main course on the menu!

We went to the State Fair and had a wonderful time. In the morning, we saw some of the most gorgeous gardens, looked in on some rabbits (One of them was the largest rabbit I have ever seen. It was larger than our dog!), and took in a BMX/motorcross bike show. At the point where one bike sailed off a ramp, flew through the air about 25 feet up, the rider TOTALLY letting go of his bike and then grabbing the rear of the seat to pull it back under him --- I stopped watching. Mercy! At lunch we headed home for a rest and some lunch. We returned later in the afternoon. The kids had such fun on the rides... maybe a bit too much fun. My eldest son went on a number of rides that spin, go vertical, and backward all at the same time. Oh yes, he did! Even the sky-loving, plane-riding kid that he is challenged his equilibrium almost to breaking point! My dear daughter LOVED the Draft Horse Show. I have to admit the animals were just stunning; seventeen hundred pounds of beauty! Mercy, I wonder how much those animals eat in a day! And our littlest one who isn't so little anymore... well, he was just thrilled with anything that moved. The wilder it moved, the better. He has always been full of life, and the Fair really brought that out of him! It was fun to see him bound off the rides and exclaim, "That was awesome!" We stayed late, arriving home at eleven, but it was a fabulous day!

One day we took the kids to see "Toy Story 3." If you are a parent and are ever feeling weary from the season of parenting, go see the movie or rent it. It brings home the reality of the fleeting parenting season! I know it certainly recharged my batteries to make the most of the season and to cherish every moment I am given with the three precious, fabulous children that surround my life!

In between our fun out and about, we have enjoyed long meals around the table (especially the breakfast meal), pitching in together and cleaning up the garage, bike rides (husband with dear sons), casual fun shopping (mom with dear daughter), and working in a few runs to the dump .... I LOVE decluttering! It has been a fabulous week, and to be honest, I grieve its departure!

Over the weekend, we have a camp-out to attend. Well, I should say my husband and youngest son have a camp-out to attend with Scouts. I am the Grub Master to the family meal at the camp-out, so I will be getting food together for 70+ people today. Dating back seven years to when my eldest was in Cub Scouts, it is an event that brings back a lot of fun memories!

Also over the weekend, my eldest two children are going to a corn maze with their youth group. Can I just share my "mama's heart" with you for a moment? I thrill that my two older children LOVE their youth group! I thought my heart would just burst when I picked them up after their very first visit and heard them both exclaim, "Wow, Mom, that was great!" They have been going now for a bit, and they still have such a positive take on this group of young people who flow God's realness to the world.... and NOT the world into the Church! I am so thankful God has rewarded their patience.... that He led us to such a place for their sake! Just this week, they were talking together about something they learned in youth group over TWO weeks ago! How cool is that!? It will be a precious place for them in the coming years!

Well, I pray you are following God wherever He leads. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Hold loosely to the things of this life, so that if God requires them of you, it will be easy to let them go." God's nature is to give us the things we need most, but too often we are unwilling to give up what we have for what He has for us. Do we think of Him so poorly such that we mistrust His intentions, His requests, and His leadings?
Be careful what you give place to in your mind, siblings!

Follow Him, no matter where He leads. I have found such wisdom to be my finest treasure! Is it always easy? Absolutely not..... that is what makes it a treasure!
Worth the cost -- worth the flesh's perceived risk -- worth everything!

Blessings to you as you wrap up your week and snuggle yourself into the weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Blessing of Today

Life is amazing and rich because of GOD!

May He who inhabits me and surrounds me with surreal love, endless protection, and countless blessings consume every fiber of my being!

Here's to the gift of today and His company through every second of it! Let's knock it out of the park, siblings, with God today!

Much love to you!

PS: Pictures coming soon! Upload of pictures on the blog site is currently disabled...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fun Times -- Continued!

Yesterday, we went shopping for a fire pit! And lo, we arrived home with one! We have long since desired one, but to be honest, when out and about, it has never advanced beyond just a thought. Well, yesterday we had additional motivation! On tap for yesterday afternoon/evening, a bunch of siblings in Christ were coming over for a shindig... and the time had come to advance our thought and desire to action!

It was a fabulous evening with our lifelong siblings and their children! The vast majority in attendance have been in our lives +/- 20 years! Needless to say, we have A LOT of history together! The Lord bonds us together far closer than many "flesh and blood" families. I so look forward to many more decades with these precious souls!

We had a few new siblings join in on the fun. It is an absolute thrill when Father brings along previously unknown siblings who cross our paths in very special ways, and then He causes their paths to run parallel with ours!

So much fun and laughs were had by all the whole evening long .... and you know, one cannot close out a wonderful evening around a fire pit without pulling out the necessities to make s'mores! Oh yeah! YUM!

So... day two of "fun" was yet another HUGE delight!

(Dear Lord, I sure am enjoying this rich season of refreshing and fun! Thank you!!)

Well -- off to see what day three holds for us!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The FUN has begun!

I am going to make this brief because I am about to fall directly on my face. It is now 11:30 pm. Three hours ago we arrived home from a day trip to the coast.

We had a blast!

We boarded a 100 ' boat and set out to dolphin watch today. In addition, while on the boat, the children were surprised with the opportunity to try their hand at fishing. The weather was beautiful. Several times I just closed my eyes, took in deep breaths, and richly enjoyed the wind in my face. We had the delight of docking on a deserted island that has wild horses on it. My daughter was totally excited about the prospects of seeing a wild horse. And sure enough, we were not disappointed. We slowly and quietly explored the island, and came upon three horses grazing. Amazing! After a bit of time exploring, we boarded the boat and began our ride back to the harbor.

We arrived back around 4:00 --- changed clothes -- and headed to a waterfront restaurant for an oh-so yummy supper! So thankful for recommendations from the local people who disclose the best places to eat!

After supper, we headed to the beach to look for shells. The sand was so white, so soft, and so cool to the touch. As the kids walked up and down the beach, Brian and I sat close by the ocean and watched the waves gently roll in. We watched the children gather their treasures. We watched the birds chase one another like remote controlled cars. We watched the boats and speculated about how long it takes the large freighters to cross the Atlantic. It was such a delightful time by all!

Then the time came to head home. We burned a trail up the highway, and arrived home in time to watch a late night movie with the kids... After all, it is Friday evening, right?!

So now it is nearly midnight... the children turned in around 11:00 - and now it is my turn! The posting of pictures will have to wait until tomorrow...

Night all!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never Stop!

A treasured friend posted this video on Facebook this morning, and I knew immediately that I was to post it here.

As I told her, "It takes time and effort to push our roots down into the soil of our faith and God's Word -- necessary and essential roots that support us as we grow, drawing closer and closer to the SON's transforming character."

I pray this video ministers to all my siblings determined to grow in the face of the elements in life..... WE will GROW because our Creator reigns supremely, watches over us with great care, and enables our growth~!

As Eric Liddell said, "....when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give it up would be to hold Him in contempt."

Giving up is not an option because of who HE is in us!

Love to you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I am so excited to finally share this picture with you!

When my book, "Beyond the Greenhouse," was signed off on and out of my hands, my hubby and I came upon this picture while out browsing the shops one day. We both knew it had to come home with us! It now hangs in a very prominent place in my study.

For those of you who have read my book, you should know immediately why! I could hardly believe the picture when I saw it, and I tell you the truth... I know that I know Jesus was smiling from ear to ear when I "happened" upon it! Oh what a gift He did give to me!

For those of you who haven't read my book yet, read the reviews and then grab your own copy! You will not be sorry!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Just Another Day in Paradise"

So I woke up this morning, and during my time with God, the phrase "just another day in paradise" came into my thoughts. I googled it and discovered it is a song. (No, I am not an innate music person. :o) ) When I read the lyrics, I smiled. As crazy as life can be at times, it is worth embracing to the fullest.....


Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Day

What a gorgeous Fall day this has been! Perhaps it is just a tad warm for my "ultimate" ideal Fall day, but even as I look out the window right now, I have such an appreciation for how the sunshine slants and adds the neatest shadows across the land.

Today has been a mixed bag kind of a day. My three children are currently working on homework, and meanwhile I am daydreaming about our pending Fall break! Oh how I pray time slows down so I can enjoy and marvel in every second of the break. I want to play already!!

Well -- I have to run! Got to get supper ready!
Enjoy your night! It's going to be a great one!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Goodness, I started this month off with gusto.... and I am killer sore as a result!

All day Tuesday I worked out in the yard trimming shrubs, weeding, spreading mulch, planting mums, and tossing down lawn food. It looks beautiful, but yesterday my muscles were screaming... loudly.

Yesterday I reorganized and decluttered my kitchen, as well as shopped for a new knife set. I haven't shopped for knives in nearly twenty years, so I was a bit in shock at the prices. Nevertheless I found a set I liked that didn't break the bank. It felt good to replace the old ones that were way past their expiration date. I may not be a cook, but a kitchen without knives is like a car without wheels! Now I just hope to keep my fingers intact.

I also managed to shop for beds for our three children. Two of our children have gone through their teen growth and are now just about six feet tall. It doesn't bode well for nearly adult children to be sleeping on the beds they grew up on. They are excited about getting new comfy, cozy beds delivered next week, and I am thrilled to have another to-do accomplished!

So this has been a super busy week, but my goal is to get the to-dos done this week and relax the rest of the month. Feels good.... really good to be getting the list accomplished... I might actually get to throw the list away instead of adding to it.... Imagine that!

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

October, how I love thee!

So, how's life been treating you out in "blog world"?

I trust you all are rejoicing with me that October is finally here! October is my favorite month! (Did you happen to hear me singing the Hallelujah Chorus on October 1st 'cause I was sure singing it!?) Last year, I felt robbed of it because of a crazy Fall schedule. This year, I am protecting it with the determination to enjoy every breath of crisp air... to delight in some of the bluest skies the mind can imagine... to take in the birth of colors hidden in green for the last few moments of summer's season. Oh indeed October will be a blessed month!

My precious husband came into the kitchen this morning and said he sensed God really desiring I partake in FUN this month. There is a degree of weightiness that comes with my walk, so when he shared this, I fought back a few tears ... joyful tears of pleasure, mind you, that Father has seen the last few months of intensity. It's like the boss noticing when an employee puts in hours of overtime and comes to the employee and says, "Job well done... take some time off." My response? "Gladly! Thank you, oh thank you!"

So, here's to deep breaths and family R&R.... and FUN!

I hope you enjoy your October too!

Richest of blessings to you!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

May We Never Forget....

Today is the Jewish Yom Kippur or "Day of Atonement". I circle this day on my calendar each year. May I never forget to do so!

I will spend the day with Father, reflecting on His ultimate offering of atonement --- His Son, Jesus. As we begin our day of reflection, I want to share this video with you. May we never become desensitized to the message nor to the cost!

Do YOU know Him as Savior and Lord?

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. " I John 1: 6-9

"Thank you" hardly begins to cover it..........

Thursday, September 16, 2010

West Coast, here I come!

I have been invited to be a speaker at a women's conference on the west coast. Wow! I am so humbled and excited to spend time with these precious souls Papa already has lined up! The date is still being locked in, but needless to say I will be soon taking to the air for the Kingdom's advancement. Praise Him, my journey with Papa continues..... Kingdom focused all the way!

Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


I know... I know .... It is an old slow song, but if you actually take the time to listen to it, I believe it will be a blessing..... I know one thing... It is my heart... How about you?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Celebrating My Kinsman Redeemer

I have been studying and meditating on Ruth this morning. I simply marvel at the type and shadow of Boaz as Jesus. Boaz was Ruth's kinsman redeemer.... and praise Him, Jesus is ours! He covers the helpless and raises us up!

I took a bit of time in the latter morning to watch "Love Comes Softly." Again, another depiction of an obedient covering. Clark, kneeling at the riverbank, praying. He gets up and approaches Marty who has just buried her husband. He offers her shelter in exchange for a "woman's hand" for his daughter -- even offering to pay her passage back East in the Spring if that is what she desires. Having no where to go, she takes the offer. They wed, but honorably Clark moves out of the house and into the lean-to. From that point, there is depiction after depiction of love and understanding without corrupt expectations. Eventually Marty gives her whole heart over to Clark and their union truly begins.... Just an incredible story of covering the weak, helpless, and mourning.

I believe I will continue to just meditate, marvel, and bask in the knowledge that Jesus went to unthinkable measures to be my kinsman redeemer today. He is my knight in shining armor, and oh, how I love Him so!

Take a bit of time and read Ruth today!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


(Please note that the article that is referred to in this blog has been replaced with other articles as time has moved on.)

I am about driven to distraction concerning the insistence of churches today to cling to the practice of the tithe. Honestly, it renders me utterly dumbfounded.

Every time I hear the word "tithe" the Spirit within me literally does a back flip and righteous anger just floods my being. To dare to put such a yoke on my brothers and sisters is incomprehensible to me. I'll be candid to say that I was called out of a fellowship, in part, because I dared to write an article on Joy In The Morning titled "Church Debt and Tithing." Mind you, I never called them out in the article, but I suppose the Spirit did that all on His own because it sure ruffled some feathers. I completely stand by my article as truth.

I was going to take the time to write out a more extensive article to explain why it does NOT belong in today's "church language," but I felt God directed me to a most incredible article that already extensively lays it all out.

Please understand my intent: To get my siblings in Christ to think about why they do what they do. Sometimes we find ourselves doing something because we are taught to do so without seeking out the truth in the depths of the Scriptures. We must be willing to take a hard look at why we do what we do, and be willing to honestly assess whether our actions line up with the Word. To follow a formula is to stunt your growth! This is an excellent article worth your time!

If you want to know the truth about tithing -- real Biblical truth -- I strongly encourage you to sink your teeth into this article. The article lays it out so plainly that I found myself shouting, "Yes... Yes... YES!" as I read it. Take the time! Honestly, we will take a few hours of our day to watch a ball game on TV... or go to coffee with a friend.... or go shopping, but rarely do we take the time to chew on God's truth. You will be thankfully free (and more educated) if you take the time to read this article.

Tithing is not what "unlocks" heaven's blessings. It is OBEDIENCE based out of a surrendered loving heart towards a deeply loving Abba. We are to give of His resources that we steward.... when HE says to give... where HE says to give.. and how much HE says to give. Period.

Toss out the antiquated formula of the past! It has no place in the church today!

May churches all across America cease from using the word "tithe" -- educate themselves in the Word --and exhort their members to obey Abba extravagantly!

Please! For Jesus' sake, STOP!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Amazon listing!

I am delighted to report that my book is now available on Amazon! (Albeit, I encourage you to order it from my website as the profits go to support the ministry. ;o))


I should tell you too that the publisher said it will be available in ebook format in about a week! So for all my Kindle readers out there --- stay tuned --- it is coming!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Take Me In...

Take the time today....

Love to you,

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Preparing for Quiet

I went to bed last night with Father's instruction to "turtle" into Him again. I am thankful... so thankful. For those who have just come across my path, turtle times are concentrated, lengthy times where I pull myself away from all of life's clamourings to listen to Him and rest. After the past ten months, it is profoundly welcomed.

Before departing, please allow me to share my joy with you! In the past few days, I have come into the knowledge that God is instructing people who bought my book to now turn around and purchase it for specific people. I believe that is both just beyond cool and surreal. It richly blesses me to have the awareness that He is using it to impart hope and His perspective to others. I cannot praise Him enough for this! It is my highest desire that people encounter the God I know! It would appear He has full intentions of using the book to do just that.

Lastly, I heard from the publisher that my book is to be up on Amazon before the week's end. Please lift up a praise to God with me that He already has the people lined up who are to "stumble" across it there!

Well, you may not hear from me as frequently during my "turtle time", but do know I will hold you in my heart --- and I know Papa -- I will return with fresh bread to share with you!

Much love to you today!