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Occasionally I enjoy reading the various predictions for the coming year. Most times things fail in coming to fruition, but at the start, negative predictions bring a deal of anxiety. The start of 2023 portends much uncertainty in just about every sector. From geo-political to finance and the economy, instability and uncertainty…READ MORE
Though many people find the prompting to gratitude with the turning of the calendar to November, maintaining a regular gratitude practice helps me battle discouragement. Moving beyond the simple graces of gratitude for myriad everyday blessings, learning how gratitude redeems the hard places revealed the value of those experiences long…READ MORE
Captivated, my eyes, hearing the unspoken story held so poignantly within the photograph hungered for more. Longing for connection, I sat held by a moment in time which spoke a story only heard with my eyes.
Patiently listening, my heart ached as I heard the familiar refrain. A family member expressing the overwhelming feeling of being “lost”. Not only facing a loved one’s steady decline, but reeling from world events and feelings of despair. I felt the depth of her pain as she wondered aloud if she had …READ MORE.
Though the summer solstice is still thirteen days away, once Memorial Day closes, most thoughts turn towards summer. While my thoughts have yet to turn in that direction, childhood summer memories filled with the joy of planting pennies, bring a smile to my face.
Throughout the summer we receive them often; so often in fact, I pay little attention to the emergency broadcast system alerts. Living in open farm country, tornados pose a frequent threat in unstable summer storm patterns. Though at times indifferent, we secure fragile outside items and plants, grateful for the warning. At times, when life offers no warning for impending trials, staying anchored in…READ MORE
Are you an impossibility thinker or a possibility thinker? One of those ice breaker questions thrown out in a recent seminar peaked my interest. When asked for a show of hands, more negative nellies braved recognition than their more positive counterparts. Still waiting for the dust to settle, I stared at the powerpoint slide’s proclamation: “How to…READ MORE
Softness, joy, kindness, and just a hint of mischievousness peeks out of the deep blue of his eyes. Sandy hair blithely caresses his forehead, while his casual grin captivates my heart. My hand gently wipes the fallen tear from the glass of the photo frame as I place it back in the box, closing the lid. How many tears tell…READ MORE
Pondering the theme of Love throughout the month of February drew me into creating more intention both in loving God and loving others well. Jesus summed this up as the first and second great commandments in Matthew 22:37-40. This week taught me the impact of savoring the unchanging intentional love of God on both…READ MORE
Beloved. The tenderness of the term caresses the heart as it flows from the object of our heart’s desire. The deepest longing of the heart is the knowledge of another’s paramount love for us. Sadly, in our broken world, the cry of many a heart is that of rejection, indifference, even abandonment. Though human…READ MORE
We are all familiar with the truth of God’s Presence with us through the Holy Spirit. But how many of us truly experience His Presence throughout our days? Personally, I enjoy a…READ MORE
Imagine, in just two days we will step into the brand new year of 2021. This thought evokes a myriad of emotions for most people, influencing exactly “how” we step into the new year before us. I believe this is common for each new year we face, but given what we experienced in 2020, stepping into the new year with hope feels…READ MORE
In this season of waiting, what are you waiting for? Many anticipate the excitement of Christmas Day, gifts, goodies and family. Some eagerly look forward to a new year, hoping 2021 brings a brighter view to our world. As I journey through Advent, I contemplate the theme of each candle as a gift to receive. Many Advent devotionals point to…READ MORE
All eyes at Christmas turn to Emmanuel, the baby in the manger. We give tribute to Mary, Joseph, the angels and shepherds, even the wise men. All of which appear in many of our nativity sets. We read the familiar Christmas story throughout the Advent season, hailing the Son of God come to earth as the Greatest gift. But do…READ MORE
November 29th marked the first Sunday of Advent for the year 2020. I especially enjoy when Advent starts right on the heels of Thanksgiving. While I strive for a grateful heart at other times, Thanksgiving keeps me focused more intently on gratitude. And what better heart attitude than gratitude with which to begin Advent? I rejoice at the opportunity of…READ MORE
It seemed both mesmerizing and calming all at once. Each time I started to avert my gaze, another drifted slowly to the ground. One of my favorite autumn past times of watching the leaves fall held me captive. Each year the leaves remind me of the beauty of letting go. Watching them elegantly drift to the ground appears carefree, easy….READ MORE
Sometimes, walking with a hurting friend demands a bit of a sacrifice. We all seem ready to take that journey in the beginning, but by and by weariness sets in. And worse, our once exhuberant compassion grows cold. We can quickly find ourselves looking for an easy exit or longing for “the way it used to be”. Learning to journey…READ MORE
As Election Day draws near, conversations become heated. Opinions parceled out like candy, abound whether you want them or not. Social justice issues seem as unresolved as they are unavoidable. It feels uncomfortable to discuss any of these issues due to heightened sensitivities. The need for removing judgement to offer compassion, seems especially …READ MORE
I am toying with a new mindfulness idea for better sleep. Actually it’s a brief five minute exercise right before bed to clear the mind, which helps with falling asleep. Using a night journal for a quiet mind at bedtime is a new concept for me. Journaling provides huge benefits for me and this technique peaks my interest. I’ll share…READ MORE
You can tell how someone feels about your gift by the way they receive it. Some people linger over it, while others take a brief look and set it aside. Regardless of what they say, you already know how they feel. I wonder if we communicate how we feel about God’s gifts the same way? How do you receive…READ MORE
Many of us pass through times of suffering and hardship. Jesus Himself told us “in this world we would have suffering.” In Christian hope we grasp at promises like Romans 8:28, believing “all things will turn out good.” But what happens when all things are not good? What happens when suffering only gets worse? Verses like…READ MORE
Do you ever feel like no one understands your struggle with anxiety? Finding encouragement for working through anxiety can be difficult. Many times others only offer quick fixes for stress relief without really hearing you out. This can leave you feeling like you’re the problem or worse, that it’s all in your head. Anxiety is an oppressive emotion…READ MORE
Self-care, meditation, mindfulness and self-compassion are all buzzwords in our present culture. Christians often dismiss any buzzword or part of popular culture as “unbiblical”. Either that, or “spiritualize” it to make it acceptable to “Bible believing Christians”. Recently I faced the question, “Is self-compassion Christian?” You may have wondered….READ MORE
When was the last time you saw something amazing in the course of an ordinary day? It’s easy to find amazing things on vacation or visiting exotic locations. But finding wonder in each day seems silly to most people. That is, to most “grown up” people; children find wonder in every day. Somehow when we grow up and do the important things in life, we lose our sense of wonder. Yet I believe…. READ MORE
Learning to see suffering as worship, is much like a connect the dots picture. We can’t imagine suffering leads to anything “beautiful”. Remember those children’s coloring books that included “Connect the Dots” pictures? They were among my favorites; it was like hide and seek with a pencil. Seeking the final picture remained a mystery unless you correctly connected the dots. God’s plan in our lives… READ MORE
Everyone struggles with some form of pain and suffering in their lives. Perhaps a long standing illness, or unresolved relationship issues. You may be struggling with job loss or financial hardship. Or maybe it’s a faith issue, God seems absent, silent or distant. Pain in some form will always be present in our lives. I wonder many times if there is a purpose to the pain I experience. Let me encourage you with… READ MORE
Peace is not a “thing” or state to have; real peace is a person. Christ offered me His own serenity, “My peace I give you.” John 14:27. All of my striving to find approval and acceptance from others was misguided dependence that could never offer peace. Jesus beckoned me to find real peace and rest in Him; “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28-29. The peace and rest that Christ offered is not found in… READ MORE
Are you finding God in the moments of each day or struggling to recognize His presence? Perhaps you remain content to relegate your time with God to a number of scheduled encounters. Church attendance, weekly Bible study or a brief morning devotional encompass… READ MORE
Fully moving from grief to gratitude requires a change of perspective. Sometimes we get stuck in grief because our focus is only on the loss. No matter the loss, something remains. I see this with the children in our grief programs. A father dies, and mom can’t move past that loss, having gratitude for what remains; her children. The kids subsequently lose…READ MORE
Since mindfulness assists us in better self awareness, it can help with issues of unhealthy dependency on others. In fact, I believe it is crucial to overcoming this destructive habit. Using mindfulness for unhealthy dependency helps your reactive behavior improve. People with unhealthy dependency issues, react compulsively, unaware of their surroundings. Their emotions are so wrapped up in someone’s else’s, they can’t distinguish which emotions belong to… READ MORE
Do you have fond memories of painting as a child? Perhaps some may cringe at the thought, but only if you look back through adult eyes! The very act of dipping brush in paint and swirling colors on paper or canvas is liberating. Conversely, sorting through your emotions feels restrictive and confining. But what if you…READ MORE