Monday, November 29, 2010


Our lives are filled with delightful moments and events. Some of my favorites are tender kisses from my husband, fresh falling snow, time to gaze at a clear night sky glittering with stars and the thrill of a spring storm and a long list of other goodies. My favorite delight is time spent with loved ones.

This morning, my daughter Kristina strolled over to my place and we had a long chat. We talked about all kinds of things--silly stuff, plans for Christmas, and even life-changing decisions that need to be made. When she first showed up, I battled over whether to visit or to stick to my plan and get to work. In the end, time with my daughter won out and I gave myself over to the pleasure.

When my children were young, my office had a sofa and if my kids wanted to plop down on it to take a break from their busy schedules of play so they could visit, I'd made a commitment to always stop and listen. They were a higher priority than my job. They usually didn't stay long. I think they just needed to be reminded that I was there and that they mattered. Soon they'd be off after some new form of entertainment. Now many years later, I think back to those interruptions and I'm so thankful for the delight they brought into my life.

My children are still showing up, but not as often. When they do, however, it is still a delight. And just as in those early days, my work shouts for attention. But for me the priorities are more clouded. What matters most--work of family? My children are grown up. Do they need me "right now"? Sometimes the answer is yes and sometimes it's no. But time together is still as important as ever, maybe more so.

If that's true, why does the question about how to spend my time feel less defined? I'm not sure, except that when my children were young, although I worked, I was still a full time mom. Now, my grown children have their own lives and I have mine. I sometimes have to make the hard decision to work instead of chat. But whenever possible I choose family over work, even if that means working late into the evening (like tonight). I'm not willing to give up the treat of connecting with the ones I love. They are gifts from God.

There is a thing called balance and I believe in it. I'm still searching for "perfect" balance, athough I'm certain I'll never find it. What I do know is that I can't get back treasured moments I've lost. However, work will always be here, the sink will have more dishes tomorrow, dust will reappear and there is always a book to be completed.

Have you let the delights of life go by because the voice of work and responsibilty shouted loudly? Don't listen too closely to that voice, just enough to draw near to balance.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Take time.

Remember who you are in Christ.

Give thanks.

Enjoy family and friends.

And for those of you who dare to venture out -- Have fun on Black Friday.

See you after the holiday!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- Courage

I'm still overwhelmed by what happened today and don't really know where to begin. I pray that I can communicate the exquisite experience in a way that helps you to taste its essence along with me.

I spent the afternoon at a "hat" party. I don't suppose that sounds spectacular at all, but this was a very special hat party. It was held for a dear friend of mine-- Deena. I'm several years older than Deena and I've known her since she was a young, young woman. Today, Deena is fighting cancer. Her sister decided to throw a party to encourage Deena and remind her how much she is loved. And there were beautiful hats and scarves too. Deena is rapidly losing her hair from chemo treatments.

It was a precious afternoon, one I will never forget. As with most parties there were decorations, food and cake and the room was filled with the chatter of friends and family. But there were also deep emotions roaming among us--love, joy, laughter, sorrow, fear, hope and courage. It was like being at a banquet where one was invited to feast on the best of life.

I suppose you might wonder how fear and sorrow can be the best. They provide a reflection--without them how would we ever recognize the rest of life's goodness. So . . . for me the time was rich with God's presence and His love.

I watched Deena, feeling such admiration for her. She most certainly must be afraid; she is human. Still, she looked lovely and strong. I could see weariness in her eyes (after all battling for one's life requires a great deal of energy). What stood out from the depths of her dark brown eyes and the set of her jaw was courage and determination.

The party closed with a hair cut. Deena decided to cut her gorgeous dark hair down to about an inch of length. There are practical reasons for this; it will be less to deal with as she loses it. But I believe it was also Deena's way of standing up to the cancer--to look at it straight on and say "I choose how I'm going to fight. I'll do it my way."

She plans to win. I'm cheering her on.

Life is finite, none of us will live on this earth forever. But while we are here how much better it is to find the strength inside and the courage to live full out. So ask yourself, "What is it you were called to be, or called to do, or called to love or . . ." There is so much to be done, so much to taste. Do it. Now. While you can.

Be courageous!

Grace and peace to you from God.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Be Careful What You Ask For

Temptation, frustration and discontent are part of being human. The television shouts at us, hoping to convince us we can't live without the latest gadget, or the stories streaming across the airwaves do their best to convince us that the troubles of life are easily and quickly resolved. We want perfection from ourselves or our friends and family. We want to be smarter or prettier or healthier. And we go to God with our list of wishes.

Beware, for we have only 20/20 vision at best. But God sees it all. And yet, we often believe we know best, and when God doesn't immediately answer our prayers, we ask again. We may even demand. There are times that He gives us what we demand, even though He knows our desires are not best. Sometimes that's the only way we learn.

In 1 Samuel 8 the people wanted a King, even though it wasn't what God wanted. Through the prophet, Samuel, God reminded the Israelites what it meant to have a king. Their sons would be called to fight wars, their daughters would be forced to cook and bake and make perfumes for the king and his officials. And the king would take a tenth of their grain and the rest of their harvest . . . and a long list of other requisitions. Life lived under the leadership of an earthly king would be unsettled and harsh. But the people persisted. So, God gave them what they wanted--King Saul. In the end they paid a heavy price.

I have my list of wants. Some of them line up with God's plans for me, but there are other desires that aren't part of His will for me. Still, it is a battle to release them. Again and again I must remind myself, "Not my will, but thine."

Some of the tough stuff I live with puzzles me. I don't like it and I ask, "Why?" God's answers gently, "Trust me."

And so I pray and relinquish my desires. The more I seek His face, the more His voice drowns out the world's and my own. And sometimes I am rewarded by exquisite moments when peace rushes in and carries me above the stridency of the world.

God knows best and when we settle into His will we find a quiet place of peace and contentment. If only I could abide there always.

Grace and peace to you from God.


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Quiet Moments With God -- God To The Rescue

We get ourselves into some of the worst situations. When we step into trouble, we don't usually intend to jump into a mess. Making wrong choices because of earthly desires can get us lodged between a rock and a hard place--the consequences of rebellion. Being stuck is usually painful, and getting out can be agonizing.

I've been in such a place, more than once. I've purposely made choices I knew God wouldn't approve of, but have gone ahead anyway . . . because I just had to have it(whatever it was at the time). I'm watching someone whom I care about deeply go through such a place right now. My heart aches as I witness the agony. But I find comfort in knowing that God knows it all. There's no situation, no heartache or joy He doesn't know about. And when we're in a tough spot He's there to rescue us. But . . . we've got to reach out and take hold of His hand.

While I was in prayer this morning I came across Psalm 91:14, which says, "The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name." I love it when God takes me to a passage that goes straight to my heart. Oh, how I love Him!

Although God will rescue us, recovery is not always easy or without complications. But what is our choice? We can count on being overrun by trouble when we refuse God's outstretched hand. Still, we sometimes clap our hands over our ears and our hearts and refuse to listen. The consequences? God lets us have our way.

Why do we desire our will over His? I don't have all the answers but I know we're just human, fallen people. Sometimes our hearts are full of Him and love for others and then there are times when we're more like a two-year-old throwing a tantrum. We want what we want when we want it. We don't have God's perfect vision, or know His precise plan, but that doesn't change the fact that He has one. If only we'd remember and trust.

Sadly, when we refuse to listen and turn away from God suffering can be the result of our rebellion. It can be acute. And the rescue is not necessarily easy. Letting go of what we cling to can be excruciating. And we think--If only I had listened in the first place.

But all is not lost. God will set us on solid ground where we can experience His best and learn to walk a path that produces joy, contentment and an abundance of fruit.

I love fruit--don't you?

Grace and peace to you from God.


Thursday, November 04, 2010

Tips For Triumphant Living -- Crave the Lord

This morning while reading 1 Peter 2:2-3 I was reminded of a time when I was a newborn babe. The scripture says, "Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness.

In those early days of my salvation, I craved more and more of the Lord. I wanted everything He had for me. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning reading scriptures over the phone with my dear friend, Kathy who had helped lead me to Christ. We exalted His name as we read, discovering treasure in the truth of God's Word. We'd had a taste of God's goodness and we wanted more.

How long has it been since you felt like that? Has going to church become a ritual or maybe you don't go at all. Has His Word become stale? Or do you read it at all? Is your prayer time distracted, or maybe you don't pray at all. And you wonder how it is that you've wandered so far from the joy of Christ. Go to the heart of Christ--there lies our nourishment.

I've lived in dry places, wondering where my Lord had gone. The truth is, He hadn't moved. It was me who had walked away from Him.

As I visualize a new born babe he has two great needs--the comfort of his mother's arms and the nourishment she can provide. There is nothing else in his world to distract him from his passion. This is who God tells us to be.

As we mature as Christians, too often that longing fades and our urgent desire for the things of God is lost.

If we crave Him above all else we will live in the middle of his will--resting in His arms and seeking Him only.

Grace and peace to you from God.