Saturday, December 24, 2016

2017 - In the Stillness

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

I love my early mornings. I mean I really LOVE them. There is a very special “air” in the morning that I am utterly convinced is specific to the early morning hours.

I've been (happily) up for four plus hours now. I don't have a list of to-dos this Christmas Eve clamoring for my time or attention. I don't suffer from insomnia. I'm not weird or deranged.  (grin)

Simply, I habitually go to bed early and rise early.

This Christmas Eve morning I was pondering "stillness" and what 2017 holds for me.

Last week at some point I took one of those humorous "What does 2017 hold for you?" Facebook quizzes because I had seen a post from a friend, linking it.

(FYI, she's going to be a millionaire in 2017, according to the quiz. It turns out – I'm going to get married. Do you hear me laughing? You should! (grin) )

I did the the quiz on my phone, and without realizing it, it posted to my Facebook! Oh, boy.

What alerted me to this fact is that I saw where someone whom I haven't spoken to in years wrote a negative comment and signed the comment AS GOD.


(Shaking my head at their lack of clear judgment.....or too much judgment....or both?!)

Moving on.

Back to 2017.

I know, I know; I hear you saying, ”It's just now Christmas; New Year's is next week.”

But, 2017 IS “just” NEXT week. Yikes!

Not unlike many of you, I have had a lot on my plate in 2016.

Prayerfully, I intend to simplify my life in 2017. I already live a pared-down existence, but with deliberation, a further thinning will occur.

This past week on my personal FB page I wrote, “There is a stillness experienced in the early, early morning that simply cannot be experienced any other time. The sky was particularly clear, and the moon and stars were particularly bright.....and not a sound anywhere. Time such as this morning causes me see to a greater level just how busy this world is that we live in daily. #visionworthearlybeginnings”

Stillness is my fuel. It truly is. It's my “secret ingredient” that grants me the ability to accomplish what I do on a daily basis without frazzling myself.

Bless my Mom and Dad! They raised me to consistently put Him first....not by their word only...but by their  deed.

I have fond, fond memories ...all the way through my high school years.... of waking early in the morning, to find my parents in their den chairs; silently, individually reading God's Word... and then sitting in silent meditation for who knows how long but God Himself.  They still do this... and I am blessed to capture those current memories every time I return home for an overnight-er.

THAT was (and is)  my example, and at nearly fifty years of age, my time in the early morning with God has been a cornerstone for as long as I can recall.

Psalm 63 is one of my favorite Psalms:

O God, Thou art my God; EARLY will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
2 To see Thy power and Thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.
3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.
4 Thus will I bless Thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips:
6 When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.
7 Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice.
8 My soul followeth hard after Thee: Thy right hand upholdeth me.
9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by Him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

My prayer for YOU, as you take this upcoming week and weigh what your 2017 holds, is that you exercise stillness in YOUR 2017. If you consistently do, you will develop a “spiritual six-pack.”

Thereafter, rise from your time with God in the morning, and live, out large, John's words: “Let us not love with words or speech, but with action and truth.”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See you all in 2017! 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

What is Your Why?

After a long, long day at work yesterday, I was a tad wired.  It was only 7:30 pm, so I decided to exercise.  Put in five miles. It's what I do.😊

While exercising, I had this internal nudge, "Go to the movies."  I didn't think there was anything noteworthy or interesting to watch, and so I thought, "Tonight?"  The nudge affirmed...."Tonight."

So, after putting in my miles and getting cleaned up, I went to the movie theater.  It was then I saw that "Collateral Beauty" was playing less than thirty minutes from my arrival time.  I hadn't heard of it. Truth is I tend to be one of the last ones to hear about the movies currently playing.  It had a familiar cast, so as is my hard and fast habit, I "common sense media" searched it, and found there was nothing objectionable in the content.

Grief.  That appeared to be its theme.

(Spoiler: after watching it, I can attest that if you look beyond grief as the "surface theme".... life is its "deep theme.")

Okay.  Deep breath.  I purchased the ticket.  I can only describe my internal sense was "this is going to be good."

I know.....sort of illogical to pair grief with "it's going to be good."

Without giving everything away for those who want to go see it who haven't yet, there were many excellent life points.

Here is the opening scene....

It's a fascinating movie.  Sort of like "A Christmas Carol" .... but not.   Love, Time, and Death are personified.

In a key scene, Death asks a woman, "Who are you losing?"  The woman answers.  Then Death makes a peculiar statement, "Just be sure to notice the collateral beauty."

Being the optimist that I am, as well as a word study nut, this apparent oxymoron type statement struck a deep core in me, so much so I googled "define collateral"..... and proceeded to dig at the definition for a time (last night after the movie) until my mind was able to couple the two words together through the window of my own personal life experiences.

Beyond the clip above, allow me to share a few of the quotes from the movie:

"I'm Love.  I'm the fabric of life."

"Remember me? I'm Time. You wrote me because you need me.  I'm a gift, and you're wasting it!"


This life is fleeting.  So grievous to think that so many live the precious few minutes they have here on Earth wearing masks, pretending they are connected, while they live isolated.

I have been accused more than once of being too much to handle.  I have come to understand that those who live life without fear.... who live life large.... with a determination to find life's treasures while they have been given opportunity to hunt for them.... intimidate life's spectators, those who dominantly sit on the bench and with vigor call to those on the field to sit with them.  No!  May it never be!  As long as I have breath, I will LIVE!  And when this life passes, I will continue to LIVE!   

Will Smith's character had to find his way out of  a grief loop wherein he was.  A Christian's perspective of death it the death of a relationship, an opportunity, or a physical passing....has to become as God's perspective is.  It must be stewarded well.... and then released.

This life is a sowing field.  It is a tremendous opportunity and a gift, but it is not to be idolized.

I took much away from my time with God at the movies last night.  He is the best of dates.

I encourage each of you.... feel the weight of today.  Use today to build your muscles; dig into life's treasures today while you have opportunity.  Not having tomorrow is not meant to be an ominous proposition.  No!  It is to be motivation to be wise stewards with your NOW.

You can't explore life's wondrous mysteries and beauties while wrapped in a "self-bubble".  If you are sitting on life's bench, get up.... make a friend on the field!  Allow their bravery to rub off, to teach you a thing or two.

There used to be this expression, "Go big or go home."   Well, I don't want anyone to go, until I breath my last here, I'll cheer you on to go big.... and with bravery,  take notice of the collateral beauty.

 As Will Smith's character so aptly stated,

"Life is about people. We're here to connect."    

Are you?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Intentionally Positioning the Heart with Thanksgiving

I was impressed this morning to come along side
 those who have a "mixed bag" this Thanksgiving.

Joy with Pain.... 
Gratitude with Sorrow....

And God beckons us in the midst...

As perhaps you, in the company of many, 
search for what defines abundant,
it is through the storms He brings forth a beauty deep within
...a quiet beauty... 
...a resilient beauty...

It's a challenging lesson upon the flesh, is it not? Joy with Pain.... Gratitude with Sorrow...
He is and forever will be


Lord, thank you that You take our offering of praise... it a shout or a whisper...
...and You make it beautiful...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

To The End of Love

“Friends with benefits.” I have heard this expression, but never really paid heed to it because it was always “out there” – it didn't involve me personally.... until the other day...

…..I have had an interesting month.....

Seriously.... I have.

I honestly – and naively – thought that expression was solely for fictional movies or TV shows, but this is a real (and apparently common) arrangement in our society.

Recently I saw on Facebook where a gentleman named Leonard Cohen passed away at the beginning of November. I didn't recognize the name (apologies to those who do), so I googled him. Among my findings, I came across this song.....

I was so taken by the beautiful portrayal of time and love as seen particularly in the elderly couples depicted throughout the video.

Time. Lust. Love.

We all choose how we spend the precious little time we have here on Earth.

For some, like the man who attempted to offer “friends with benefits," the choice is a clamoring and hollow lust.

For some, like the elderly couples in the video, the choice is a reverent, yet oh-so passionate love.

Such a stark, stark contrast.  

One way is the way of the world; the other way is the way of the Lord.

One way is taking; the other way is giving.

One way leads to death; the other way leads to life.

While there is nothing new under the sun, 
in my lifetime,
 never has it been more clear to me
 just how great the need is
 for God's way to be illuminated and voiced.

Just this morning, I came upon a post on Facebook that highlighted a video from a wonderful man I have known since my early twenties. He does a fabulous job in five tiny, yet significant, minutes nailing the contrast of personal choice....

Which do you choose this day? 

Remember, way beyond “the moment” - personal actions choose life OR they choose death.

Feel the weight.

Love, He, died for you so you could live & love as He does.... the end of love...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Am Woman

These days I find I am in a season of re-awakening. It has caught me unaware. To say I welcome it is an understatement. Perhaps you'll see why.

Stages in life are peculiar. I have lived through the childhood years, the college years, the young adult years, the married-have-kids-live-in-sweat-pants-hair-pulled-back-break-neck-pace-no-rest-for-the-weary-years......
 can you tell which one is most fresh in my mind?

All stages in life have their bitter and their sweet. I'm not here to share my thoughts on that dynamic.

No.  Passion is on the docket today.

Women are the hub to so many things in life. A woman does not have to be a wife or mother to be sought after for her giftings. Her work, her church, or her extended family will – guaranteed – seek her out for her feminine creativity, her feminine instincts, her feminine insights.....those virtually indescribable dynamics that God mysteriously placed into females.

By and large, most women.....even perhaps through some occasional grumblings (grin) ...thrill at sharing their various giftings however they can.

I have spent the better part of my life “doing for others.”  I don't regret one sacrifice.  As someone recently said, “Never regrets.” (I like that....I like that a whole lot!)

But, recently, I took myself out to dinner. Alone. While enjoying a quiet dinner with live jazz music in the background, I was engaged unexpectedly by a gentleman. “Want company?”

This has never happened. In. My. Life.  (Probably because I have always had someone with me.)

And before I could hardly get my thoughts together, he sat before me.

Now, before you jump to assess, “How rude.” It wasn't. It's really difficult to explain how tactful he was. Keep in mind, he had no awareness as to my state in it married or not.

I have been complimented by my ability to express myself by a number of people, but during this experience, this charismatic gentleman exceeded anything I have ever witnessed, much less been the center target. He was both confident and transparent, and within minutes, he had my head spinning just trying to absorb what was happening.

Now. Breathe. I will spare you the details, but I did the right thing.

That said, I want to take a moment to address a pivotal lesson God taught me during this engagement.

I have often said to myself, as a necessary mantra, “God is enough.”

Reflecting back, I think to myself just how much I clung to that golden nugget of knowledge through all the years of diaper changing and homeschooling when my tank was not “just about empty”....but EMPTY! 

And most certainly – He did sustain me. The fact that my kids are functional, thriving young adults bears witness to HIS ability to keep this mama moving on down the right track.

But do you know what I heard God whisper to me in the hours after this unexpected engagement?

“I am not enough.”

Now, before you get in a dither....allow me to explain what He went on to explain to me. God made Adam, and for the first time in the creating of His world we call Earth, HE declared it was not good. God decided it was not good for Adam to be alone. Think on that: God assessed that HE was not enough for Adam. Therefore, He made this mysterious beauty whom Adam called Eve..... “of me, but oh-so NOT me.” (Paraphrased, obviously.)

When God was relaying His thoughts to me, this awareness of what Adam experienced upon FIRST seeing Eve hit me. He had no mother figure to subconsciously program his thoughts from infancy on concerning all the wonders of “woman.” He had no sisters to reference. He had no dating books – no relational self-help books – no magazine articles – no TV shows – no tips, pointers, or anything to compare what God brought before him for him.

BOOM, there she was...she rocked his world by simply being.

Husbands, let me take a moment and ask you, do you induce that “boom” moment in your wife's heart when you see her? Wives know if they spark your being by simply being.....or if your view of them is “a dime a dozen.” If you have permitted whatever to reduce the impact your wife is meant to have on your being,  take steps today to both see her anew and let her know she is your one and only Eve. Every female wants to be their Adam's Eve. It's what we, as females, were created for.  Adams, make it your priority to treat your Eve as the irreplaceable, GOD-created gift she truly is! It's an incredible thought that God cared so much for YOU that He created a gift that only He could create that is meant only for you TO complete you! Think on that. Let that FACT sink in and blow the "dime a dozen" lie right back to hell from which it came!

When that gentleman appeared before me, it was by far the oddest thing I have experienced in a long time. It was clear to me that to him no one else was in the room but me. He did not stand back and admire from a distance.  No, he approached to seize.

Here's the thing. He didn't have a reference for me. He didn't know me as Deborah from ______ who is _______years old and been married for _____ years and who has three children who she has raised and taught and launched into the world.

No, I had the experience of not being seen for what I DO.....but simply who I am. 


And in that moment, an awakening of something that had been lost in the basement of my being came rushing to the surface. 


The passion encompassed in those three power-packed words that had been buried through the years of “doing life”....raising children, balancing home and work, and all that jazz..... came on like an avalanche; a very, very unexpected avalanche.

Perhaps you are a woman similar to me. You find yourself relating to the cold of life, where duty replaced passion at some point along life's track.

I don't beat myself up about it. Remember: NEVER regrets! One does what one must. Laundry has to be done, children have to be fed, etc, etc, etc.

But I am thankful I have a long, long history of following God through thick and thin and very thin, and He sees our deficits no matter how they came to be....and moves to correct those deficits. 

Aren't you thankful He moves?  Oh, how He knows I am!

He wired me to LEARN and GROW.
Every day, I look, assess, learn, and grow. 

I have a bracelet I wear frequently. I spied it one day while out with my daughter.....

It's an excellent reminder to embrace ALL situations without fear  for growth.

Ladies, YOU ARE WOMAN first and foremost, with a God-placed passion in your being simply by being! Hear me on this: don't let your duty and all your “doing” bury your passion as I did if it can be helped! Learn from my experience. It happened subtly over the years. “Life” took over and buried it in the waves of “to dos.”

But..... it's back... basement - no more its dwelling ....


Wednesday, October 19, 2016


The Lord never promised this life would be smooth sailing, but if we were honest, we all wished He would have.

No, for the vast majority of people, life is a long, long, long series of hurdles. Hurdles of events, hurdles of work challenges, hurdles of parenting challenges, hurdles of health challenges, hurdles of relationship challenges.....hurdles galore!

My dad, at one time, held state records for track in high school.  One of his events was hurdle jumping.  I am proud of this knowledge, but even today, some forty plus years after discovering his accomplishments I still cannot wrap my mind around anyone liking that challenge enough to compete in it!

I despised hurdle jumping in high school PE class...even the lowest of the lowest hurdles!  Today, as much as my personality thrives in overcoming challenges, I do NOT seek out hurdles in my life.  Trust me, they have found me time and time again..... I have no need to seek them out.... and I certainly have no "love lost" for them!

Nevertheless, they do come.

I have found the hardest hurdles are the relationship hurdles.  I am a giving person at my core. I attribute this to my parents' example, but God took their example, which ultimately came from Jesus' example, and cultivated beyond anything I could ever take credit for.  I will throw myself in front of a bus as I push another out of its path time and time again. Some have assessed me as "crazy" and downright reckless. I usually have this split second knowledge that the pain is going to be intimately profound and oh-so costly.....but love  is just that, is it not?  As a result, I have spent much time being patched up in God's ER and having numerous "consultations" with the Doctor.    Let's just say I am eternally thankful for His skills.

As you assess today's hurdles, perhaps you are feeling defeated.... you gave your everything, but landed on the asphalt with bloodied knees and elbows....or worse.
I can relate....truly.

Can I offer you some encouragement from one "hurdle jumper in Christ" to another?  Stare down the view of hurdles in your current line of sight.... go deep to your core.... find God.... He is there!.... and know that it's not your's His....whatever your personal "hurdle record" is currently or if you are just beginning to learn hurdling.... know that you can "best it"..... blood, sweat, TEARS, and all.... give it your best..... and if you fall....get up.....take a trip to God's ER if you must....but DO NOT leave life's track

What keeps me learning how to "perfect" my hurdling is my love for Him..... His love for me. No one one... loves me like Him.

These two things I desire above all things: 
 that I love Him with my everything..... 
and that my life is a testament to who HE IS!

For these two reasons, you'll find me on life's track....
hurdling away!

Blessings always!

Monday, October 10, 2016

October Solace

Greetings, dear ones!

Pardon my absence here; I have been in a long, needed "turtle season." (Rest, renewing, regrouping)

For some, you may have seen my periodic engagements through Facebook in recent months. I have enjoyed those, and from many of you, I see you have enjoyed them, too!

Life.  What's there to say?

My two eldest children continue to progress through college, and my youngest began high school.  All kiddos are through braces and through Driver's Ed.

Funny how mothers measure life through their children's milestones, but hey, it works.

I was conversing with dear daughter the other day, and it hit me just how much my life is in MAJOR transition. Motherhood - though still very important to this mama's heart - is no longer a central dynamic of mine.  I now have two ADULT children for cryin' out loud!  That demands I shift bearings!

Not only have my bearings shifted, but theirs has too. I recall a very engaging conversation with them in the recent months.  I was instructing them how to "adult" their relationships with one another. For many years, my "virtual shirt" was black and white striped (ie: referee/infraction determiner/penalty assessor).   In the "now moments" we find our adult-selves navigating, I still remain thankfully revered and routinely consulted for my assessments on life's decisions, but I am not deluded into thinking I control anyone or their decisions.

This has upped the ante on their maturity, but I would be amiss as their parent if I did not recognize the need for this "ribbon cutting" -- (others have referred to it as "apron string cutting").  I prefer "ribbon cutting".  It is after all a significant rite of passage into the world of adult-ing and deserving of its spotlight, in my book.

Not only does such "ribbon cutting" celebration mark the shift, but it declares to them that I believe them capable of becoming my peer.  That is HUGE in an adult child's life.  They don't need to think I believe in them..... they need to unequivocally know  I believe in them.

So, that shift has occurred.... and in so doing, my load is now 2/3 lighter in the mama department.  During said season, I have rejoined the work force almost at full-throttle, holding the position of Director of Human Resources for a company.

The position came to me; I did not seek it out.  I can honestly say I have used two plus decades of personal growth "on the job".   You know all the sayings about God using everything in life for a purpose? Well, I am SO thankful He took twenty plus years and "stocked my tool belt" for such a time and such a position as this.

I love what I do.... I love the team of people I work with.... I love its challenges....and its rewards.

It's amusing to me now....typing the words "I love its challenges" because it reminds me of my boss when she looked at me and said, "Where I see a road block, you see a challenge to overcome!"

I love that God RE-wired me to be what I call a realistic optimist!  It's not that I don't see things as they are. I just choose to see past present  hurdles to what a challenging situation can shift, in a positive way, to be through determined,Godly, personal influence and deliberate course of action.

Now, having said that and then circling back around to my earlier statement of not controlling anyone, there are certainly going to be unfortunate circumstances beyond my ability to bring about a different (more desirable) outcome.  Take for example, Sally goes flying down the highway, and I - as her passenger - state, "You know, you might want to slow it down a tad,"  but she chooses to ignore my suggestion and moments later experiences the blue-light "reward" she has coming to her.  Yeah, all I can do at that point is watch her receive her (unfortunate) reward.

I have experienced life situations where not only was I a front-row witness to the pending "reward" - but a partaker. Shoot - live into adulthood, and you'll be saying, "You know that's right!" about your own "front-row witness and partaking". 

You know the situations I am talking about. For example, you have a relationship that for whatever reason goes "south" -- literally and figuratively.  The other person pushes you off a cliff either with a warning or no warning, and the next thing you know, they are hollering at you from above as you lay in a thousand pieces down below, "Come on, get up... I didn't mean to....that's not what I really meant to have happened."

Now, you, as if you have a choice.... but let's say you do, magically super-glue yourself back together. Do you rejoin them on the precipice again?  Risk being tossed off again?   How about again and again and again?  What point defines insanity?

I have discovered at my stage in life the canyon floor is not the terrifying place I once assumed it to be from places of let's say - altitude. Granted - and please hear me on this - the canyon floor should not be anyone's deliberate place of destination. But if one should find themselves there,  let me assure you there is life after you meet with the canyon floor.

How is it that I can make such a declaration?  Because life's experiences in which I found myself at the canyon floor, when coupled to my God-created, realistic-optimist core, birthed an understanding that I can soar UP from the canyon floor to heights way above the precise from which I was thrown.

I am not subject to dwell on the canyon floor. I am not subject to dwell on the dangerous precipice from which I fell, nor am I subject to those who choose to dwell on such precipices. 

No, I am subject to One, and only One.  And He says, "I have made you whole! Soar!"

Only when one has experienced the heights extending beyond the clouds TO the depths extending to the darkest canyon floor can one know just how we were created to THRIVE irregardless of life's circumstances.

There are always going to be those who choose to live foolishly on the precipices of life. There is much to be said for not setting up a tent with them, but it is a pretty fair understanding that at some point in your life, someone on a precipice that you come across during your life's journey will intentionally or unintentionally send you sailing off their chosen precipice.  I would say everyone will experience at least one great fall to the canyon floor. What you do in the aftermath -- after you get over the initial "having the wind knocked out of you" and the shock of your shattered condition -- will either demonstrate your understanding of who God is in your life or your lack of understanding who God is in your life.

Let me declare that NO child of God is destined to live in pieces on the canyon floor!

Let Him take all those pieces, putting them together with "His superglue" .....and grant you His wings with both the encouragement and the command to "Soar!"

Life is a string of challenges .....challenges to overcome..... BOTH its heights AND its depths.

It's time, dear one, to leave the canyon floor and SOAR!  
Join me....Won't you?!

Perhaps a different way to hear this song after reading? 
Do you hear Him calling you to rise in the now?

Don't make the canyon floor home!
You were made for more!

Sunday, July 3, 2016


I had this sense God had been carefully placing carrots before me in recent months, and it was all coming to a culminating apex.

This morning I had several what I would call fleshy reasons for delaying going to church or just skipping it altogether.... right down to the critical minutes of go out the door or not.  Almost before I could blink, I found myself behind the steering wheel, leaving my drive, with one destination firmly locked in.

I walked in five minutes late; what would be known to me in a matter of moments as His perfect timing.

The congregation stood mid-song.  I did not.  I sat on the back row, weary in well-doing.  I closed my eyes, focused my thoughts on the One who had lead me to this point.  Almost imperceptibly, the worship leader moved from one song right into "It Is Well With My Soul."

From my focused attention on the Trinity to the soul piercing lyrics, I prayed from under my breath, "Bring me to the point where I can sing the words with Truth."  A tear trickled down my cheek, and then another, and slowly another. As the congregation continued to sing, His presence, with what I can only describe as authoritative, whispered, "You are there."  Be it done according to His word.

Life comes to us, does it not. Yet outside its boundaries resides God.       GOD.

Recently I watched a movie on Mother Teresa.  I was captivated by its ability to depict a truth I have discovered in my own simple life. The more God inhabits within comes also an ever increasing darkness.  Since watching the movie, I have sat for hours in God's presence contemplating her testimony of her life's experience and that of my own. 

Just days after watching the movie, I had a visit from a dear young lady I easily think of as a daughter.  As we talked, I found this intense passion erupting within me.  "Pop-theology has arisen and is attempting to sell us this warped theology that we should seek out Godly self-fulfillment (what a concept of contradiction!) ....and that will bring us both joy and purpose.  All the while, there is this parallel, mostly unspoken concept that it is permissible in reality to forsake the Gospel's call to die to self, or even more offensive to the Gospel than that, that the two concepts can co-exist! One thing is for certain; we cannot seek this so-called Godly self-fulfillment while dying to self, so each of us must decide: which is it going to be?"

By Mother Teresa's own words, she never pictured herself doing that which God called her to do. By contrast, think to yourself just how many times we all have heard "follow your heart - follow your talents."

The implication is that if you do, you'll eventually discover why God put you here.  Yet by contrast, the testimonies of those such as Mother Teresa, George Müller, Smith Wigglesworth, William Wilberforce, to name a few.... laid out a very different path to discovery of purpose; a determined path unto death of self, picking up a cross they NEVER pictured....but God did.

Mother Teresa wrote of her deep personal struggle between that which she had pictured herself doing from an early childhood age to what God was calling her to do.  She had not just a single moment,  but countless momentS in her lifetime where she consciously and deliberately died to herself so she could do that which "God wills" ....her words time and again.   

This past week I saw a link on Facebook to an article whose title was "Marriage Isn't Hard".  Grabbing title, so I took the bait.  I don't know the author, but I agree with her words.  "If you take nothing else from this article, understand this: sin is what makes life hard. When we experience hardship within marriage, it is not because of marriage, it is because of sin. Every marital issue can be traced back to sin. Insecurity, jealously, infidelity, selfishness - whatever - it's sin that creates the void. That is why we see a culture full of broken marriages. That is the point - not discounting hardship in whatever form it appears in your life, including marriage, but to encourage us to view sanctification for what it is - a call to put sin to death. That is not isolated to the bounds of marriage."

When any relationship fails or falters, it is because we loved (and protected) our sin more than the person involved.  Continue to make the choice, and the result can surely become catastrophic.

I read Ravi Zacharias's article - posted yesterday - "The Soul of America".  Profound article worth the time to read.  So many nuggets contained in that power-pact writing.

"How many families will be shattered and offered up at the altar of our foolishness?"

"Our society is being dragged towards the morgue because the law has held the gun to the heart of morality."

"Upholding a lie is a character flaw, sending that lie into eternity."

"There always has been, and is now more than ever, only one hope for rescue. If we abide in God’s truth revealed in his Son, then we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free. That is why I say again and again that we must dispense with our verbal arsenal that speaks only in terms of right and left. We have forgotten there is an up and a down. May God help us! We need His transforming power to change our thinking and to give us a hunger for what is true. True freedom is not in doing whatever we wish but in doing what we ought. That has been buried in America. And only one who knows the way out of the grave can give us a second chance to live: Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life that sets us free from within first, before we learn to deal with the lies around us."

Without a doubt, we are in troubling days.  Days that demand Christians get DEADLY serious about their walk, that they deliberately shatter their theological blender and seek the Gospel in its pure and unadulterated state, seeking then to line their individual life up .... deliberately dying to self  - embracing the increasing darkness that comes from such a life poured out -- to then wholly walk out God's picture and only God's picture.

I am convinced then and only then will we not only understand Paul's words, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" --- but be found living them.

My weighty question to you today is "Are you dying - not theoretically, but deliberately, daily dying to self and your picture of your life -- so Christ and Christ alone can live and be profoundly evident to an oh-so-lost-world?"

Without a doubt, I am on a path.... a deliberate, passionate path.   I will have wasted this life if I do not wholly apprehend His will and His will alone for my existence.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "True Christians need never covet the poor joy of worldlings."  Oh, that we would water that seed of truth such that the trappings of this world would lose their magnetism entirely!

I leave you with this song, "First."  May we all be found petitioning God, "Bring me to the point where I can sing the words with Truth."

As God wills, be it done accordingly.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What a Month!


First, let me express my gratitude and joy at hearing from some of you in the past two months, expressing your concerns at my absence.  So sweet of to be thought of in such a way!

Second, let me say..... I SURVIVED! Glory!  And when you read below, particularly mothers everywhere, will understand, at least in part, my expressed sentiment.

Third, let me say..... I am beyond blessed to have had the inexpressible pleasure of experiencing all that I have over recent weeks.  Words... and pictures... fall so short, but my mother's heart is full to the brim!

Now.... for those interested.....the pictures....

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

PROM 2016

Daughter's 18th Birthday

Our spectators
Full license

Maiden solo-voyage
Happy birthday/graduation!
Meet "Roxie"

 Graduation Day!


Let it begin!


So, one could say it has been "Daughter Month".  Truthfully, eighteen years ago I did not see the "event avalanche" coming, but I wouldn't have traded a task, day, a memory
...none of it for the WORLD!  Love you to the MOON AND BEYOND, my beloved daughter!  I am so, so, so proud of you, and overjoyed that God saw fit to grant me the gift of being in your life!

Deborah.....aka: Mom  

And now, I shall.....

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mantel, Mantle...morning reflections

As is my usual habit, I was sitting with the Lord this morning. The house...deathly quiet. Only a few almost silent sounds I heard; the ticking of a clock, the hum of a faithful twenty year refrigerator, the deep breaths of two dreaming pups curled up close, and the occasional tweets of the birds outside calling forth the dawn.

I sit, stilling my thoughts.  I've been looking at the mantel in the room for awhile when I hear the Lord say, "Look at the mantel."  I chuckle inwardly, knowing exactly what He means.  How many of us look, but not see....or see, but not look?  "Yes, Lord. Okay, I am looking at the mantel."

This mantel of mine tells a story. It's but one look into my soul, but a look nonetheless.

The picture hanging above the mantel was the very first picture Brian and I bought, twenty three long years ago. Lord, the deliberation put into buying it. Such peace it brought to me then as it does now; a picture of a simpler, yet I know not easier, time period in history. Just look at that fluffy field and simple home.... and then there are the know me and trees....they'll always speak their lessons to me. I am thankful the deliberation  ended as it did.

And then there are these. The pictures speak for themselves, yet the reflection of them brings tears, even as my heart fights to smile. Lord, how that persevering heart has fought battle after battle through the years.

Do you see the smaller objects?

To the far right, there sits the gas fireplace remote. Fire; now there is something to ponder indeed. This morning, I ponder it in the reflection of Him who is within me; my sustaining Fire, absolutely essential to life itself. The two objects in the center were given to me by my children.  Amber made the turtle years ago.  I kept it because it reminds me of two prophetic words given to me long ago. One was given to me in the form of an email I kept, dated 12/28/2003. Curious; it seems far longer ago than thirteen years; much life has been lived in those thirteen years. The two prophetic words came on the heels of one another, and they both spoke to my endurance and my perseverance. The pine cone, when handed to me by tiny hands then, spoke to me concerning life's abundant potential. I ponder, every time my eyes catch sight of that pine cone on the mantel, all the seeds God generously grants to us, just as I also ponder the squandering of those seeds. And then there is the rose. Oh, the rose. That rose is profoundly symbolic to me, and those who read my article, "The Dying Roses" (scroll over to follow the link, if desired), will understand why. 

And then, there are these.  If you have been to my home, you know there are stacks of books in just about every nook of the house.  I love books.  My mother and father taught me the joy of books from an early age. Weekly my mother would take my brother and me to the library.  Lord, we would check out so many books with every trip! Those memories are sweet indeed! I faithfully passed that habit on to my children.  Even my eldest who bucked those trips in his youth now sees the wisdom in reading.... and the joy! And lastly, but with significance, do you see Dory atop the stack?  Dory, given to me by my youngest in 2008, has been my mascot ever since.....  "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...."  (scroll over to follow the link, if desired)

After my reflections concerning my mantel, the Lord shifted my gears, "Now, what about your mantle?"

Curious how the reversal of two little letters can turn one's thoughts so quickly.

He began the conversation with the question, and He ended it with a "to be continued..."

I know this will be His focus with me this week.

This has been a circumstantially difficult year, but for those who have read my book, you know it is both my experience and my testimony that to grow in God demands both an understanding and a personal discipline where by life's circumstances do NOT shape us.  No, those committed to growth understand it is the ever increasing ability to navigate life's circumstances that shape us.

Circumstances are a given in this life, and though they are ever changing, God is not. Those who are in Him, focus on Him....not the ever changing circumstances of life.

I do not control the things in this world.  I do not control anyone or anyone's choices, but I do control how I choose to navigate through, over, and around all that comes at me as I traverse this land not my home. I am eternal in Christ, but while on this earth and with God as my witness, I will steward my time here well....from the smallest details onward.

So, yes, Lord, what about that mantle?
Your daughter listens.....