Monday, December 2, 2013

Intentional Living

Somehow we have made it to the end of another year - almost. November is a bit of a blur. I participated in NaNoWriMo - the novel writing month, and for the first time (3rd try) actually reached and exceeded the 50K word goal for the month. It's a great start on book two of the series I hope to pitch to an agent in January. 

I've worked on a writing calendar to help me organize my writing projects, and this year I will actually set a daily/weekly word goal. 

I want to learn Spanish. It's on my list of New Year's goals every year. This year I took advantage of Black Friday sales and bought the Rosetta Stone series. I can't wait to start. 

Maybe it's my age (over 50 now!), but I find myself trying to be very intentional about the second half of my life. I want to be productive and useful, and joyful in the living out of my purpose. Do you?

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11:

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to

God always has the best plans, doesn't he? How frustrated he must be with me when my life is so full of extraneous things that there is no room for the blessings and challenges of his plan.

I've been making an effort this past year to free myself of some obligations that take not only time, but emotional energy as well. It has taken almost the entire year to do it, but I am ending the year with fewer entanglements than when I started. 

It feels good.


...and scary. 

There are things I need to be doing if I am to be obedient. Getting to church regularly has been an issue for me for a long time. (I can't tell you how difficult it is for me to acknowledge that in writing.) I have no excuse anymore. Not that I've ever had a good one. Part of God's blessing for me AND his purpose for me is in being an active part of the body of Christ. 

I'm taking a long, hard look at my priorities. If you need to do the same, start with where you spend your time, AND where your mind takes up residence most days. Where are your thoughts? Where is your heart? What do you day dream about? 

Do you need direction for 2014? I do. The best way to get it is to ask. God is waiting to talk to you about his plans. Have a conversation with him. A little talk/listen session. Write down your goals and dreams for 2014 and pray over them. Ask for a nudging from the Spirit regarding which to keep and which to discard. Even a good goal can distract you from God's plan if that's not where he wants you. 

This year I want to consider these questions as I plan for 2014:
  1. Can I honor God by reaching toward this goal?
  2. Will the time, energy and focus I spend on this goal take me away from the things I know I need to do?
  3. Will working toward and reaching this goal provide me with opportunities to serve others?
  4. Do these goals reflect my desire to love and serve God with every aspect of my being: spiritual, emotional, physical?
  5. Do I have a plan? Am I ready to be INTENTIONAL in meeting these goals, or will I just sit around and wait to see what happens! 
  6. Am I willing to let go of the things that interfere in my pursuit of these goals? Am I ready to sacrifice?

I want to acknowledge him in every aspect of my life this next year, because I want his direction. Proverbs 3:5-6

I want to live out the greatest commandments every day.

I want to acknowledge that I do nothing in my own power, nor by my own will power, but by His strength

What are the dreams of your heart for 2014? 

Praying for you, 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mama's In the Mason Jar!!

Yesterday, Veteran's Day, my family spent the day remembering, honoring and saying goodbye to my sister's father-in-law. It was a fitting day for it as he was a WWII vet. 

His grandchildren - my niece and nephew - had never been to a funeral before so the whole experience was new to them, and in typical fashion, they handled it with grace and much humor. 

One such moment came when they were with my sister buying what they came to refer to as "funeral clothes". My sister was talking to them about the funeral and happened to mention that our parents have made arrangements to be cremated. She said, "I've already told Nana that we are NOT keeping her in an urn on the mantle!"  to which my niece replied, "Let's put her in a mason jar and put her on the couch everyday so she can watch Jeopardy!"

Moments of belly-laughing joy in the midst of sadness. Isn't God good! 

I should explain that Jeopardy was my grandmother's favorite show - along with Wheel of Fortune. She watched religiously every day. We like to say that grandmother didn't really die, she just moved into my mother's body. 

Oh, and for the record, Papa wants to watch NCIS from his mason jar. It's good to plan ahead. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

God never looks away...

No matter how much pain it causes him to look...

Morning walks are a great 
way to be still before God. If you leave the phone at home or in the car and simply set out on a journey - even a familiar route - the newness of each day draws you to the Father. 

Sometimes the strangest things pop into my head when I'm walking. I tend to alternate between daydreaming about story plots or scenes in the book I'm working on, and praying. It's a nice way to spend the morning. 

Sometimes the things that pop in have nothing to do with the current themes running around in my head, but they can be so profound - and simple. 

Today as I walked I watched a man with a beautiful German shepherd walking ahead of me. I've seen him there before. The dog is never on a lease but is so well behaved and content with his master I know that he is well loved. I've seen the man stop walking just so he can reach down and love on his pet. It's beautiful.

A moment later my mind flashed to those late night commercials about animals that are abused and neglected. I can't stand to watch them - ever. I react physically and emotionally to those commercials - which I guess is the point, to the extent that I can be emotionally affected for hours afterwards. I change the channel every time, without fail. 

My next thought was how God never does that. Every second of every day somewhere in the world an elderly person or a child or an animal is being neglected or abused. They are scared and without hope. Most of those we will never know about. Sometimes that thought is overwhelming to me and I ask God how he can stand it. 

He sees it all. He feels it all. Whatever is done to "the least of these" is done to him - good and bad. He never flinches. He is there in the suffering and the fear and the pain bearing it with us. 

I know there is an entire theology on suffering. I'm in no way qualified to explain it or understand it. I'm just so thankful for the reminder today that God never leaves us to struggle alone. Not ever. 

It doesn't matter what your struggle is or how it compares to someone else's. Whatever is happening to you know that God is there. He may be silent for now, but he will never leave you. His love and strength will take you moment by moment until he brings you through it. 

Praying for you today,


Monday, September 16, 2013

"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised..."

A woman named Dianne Price wrote a six-book WWII Romance series called the Thistle Series. She contracted with Ashberry Lane to publish her books.

Timing was critical. Dianne had cancer. Her publishers worked feverishly to complete the first book before she died. They did everything in their power to make her dream happen. 

In August of this year - one week before her first book was to be released - Dianne Price died without ever seeing her dream come to pass. 

I didn't know Dianne so I don't know what her last thoughts might have been, but I think she left a clue in the dedication of her first book:

"Foremost, to the glory of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And for my husband and best friend, True, who always wore the “Colonel’s cap” in our family, but only with calm Christian dedication, love, and compassion. See you in Heaven, my luve!"

The words of a woman who saw with heavenly vision and knew that God's promise for her dream had already been fulfilled. She could rest secure in the knowledge that God always keeps his promises and never does anything without purpose. I think they are the words of a woman who trusts that God has plans for her dream far beyond herself. She does not need to be here to see it happen, she trusts God with her dream as she trusted him with her life. 

In Luke we read the story of Simeon, a man filled with the Holy Spirit who had been promised a glimpse of the Savior before he died. He didn't have to live to see Jesus crucified and resurrected to know God would keep his promise. He saw the infant Jesus and was able to say, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised..."

I have hopes and dreams for the stories I will write. My prayer is that I always write for God's glory, and that I trust God to fulfill the promise of those dreams in whatever way he sees fit.

What dreams do you hold in your hands and in your heart? Do you trust God to fulfill the promise of them, whether you see it happen or not? 

Let's pray this for one another. I am praying for you.


Book one in the Thistle Series is Broken Wings. You can get the e-versions from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The print version will be available soon. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Joy of the Dream

You know that feeling you get when you catch a tiny glimpse of your dream... and get the feeling that it might actually come true? 
Here's a prayer for that day...

"God did you feel it? I thought about my dream and my heart somersaulted across a wide-open field, then lay down on the tippy-top of the hill and launched itself down - rolling over and over, shrieking with laughter and the pure joy of imagining all of the 'what-ifs'.

Did you feel it? 

All day long I have tried to be a big girl - all grown up and responsible, when all the while there is a little girl inside me, jumping up and down, waiting with not one smidgen of patience for the fun to begin. 

I always thought only little girls played make-believe. That was before I grew up. Now I know that grown-ups are the biggest pretenders of all. Thank you for giving me a dream, and for the promise of making it come true."

Have you seen evidence of God working to make your dream happen? Have you expressed your joy and thanked him? Stop and do that right now. 

Praying for you. 


Monday, August 19, 2013

A Perspective on Conviction

A Question
for you...

Does the Spirit of God convict us of something we should or should not be doing because:

1) If we don't comply God will punish us severely for our sin because we're bad and deserve it...


2) Because he knows what is ahead for us and wants us to be prepared: strong and ready to stand against the enemy and for Him.

I believe in natural consequences. That is how God set up this world. What if the natural consequence for my disobedience is that when I face a trial in my life I do not have the spiritual strength or maturity to weather it well? 

It's easy to keep doing (or not) what we're doing if there are no immediate consequences. How many things  in our lives do we ignore simply because any negative consequences won't happen until later - we think we have plenty of time?

  • good health habits
  • spending time with loved ones
  • taking time to check on your elderly neighbor
  • saving for the future
The list could get very long if we're honest. If every bad choice we make had the same result as putting our hand down on a hot burner, we would live life very differently, don't you think. 

We are master's of procrastination and denial. Well I can only speak for myself, but I don't think I'm alone here.

If we dare to get alone and quiet with God today and ask for his insight, what would he show you? What would he show me? 

What are we willing to do about it? 

Praying for you today. 


Monday, August 12, 2013

Sometimes you just have to do laundry!


our dreams. 

One of the biggest killers of creativity - for me - is clutter. I like things neat and in their places. 

What I like and what I get are not often the same thing!

I do try, though, so one of the things on my to-do list for today is to shut down the computer and reorganize the mess that used to be my office. 


Because my husband and I both have to go to work tomorrow, I have to do laundry. Not my favorite thing, but it is a win-win situation. We get clean clothes, and my house gets straightened. 

My office will be neat and orderly again and I won't make myself crazy trying to keep a pile from toppling over because the one page I need is on the bottom. 

I've heard that creative minds are supposed to be messy, but honestly, I think that sentiment was first voiced by someone who just didn't like to straighten up. 

God is a God of order. We see it in the world around us - his creation. We are created in his image. Order just feels right and good to us, doesn't it? 

I'm not talking about such rigidity that you can't put a glass of tea down while you check the mail... I just mean, that over all there is a sense of freedom and rightness in your creative space that let's you get on with your work without your brain urging you to run away and hide. 

Whether your space is the kitchen table, a corner of your bedroom or a fully equipped office, take time to look at it today with an eye to creating order and peace. What do you need to do to make it work?

       Purge    File    Shelve   Label    Decorate   Stock

Maybe all of the above? 

Me too. I'm going to do that now. Oh, and the laundry... mustn't forget the laundry. 

Praying for you today. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Nothing new Under the Sun

Have you ever had an idea for an invention only to see it two weeks later on sale in a magazine? 

What about an idea for a movie, right before you tune into the Lifetime channel and see that very story?

Sometimes life is all about timing isn't it? It also seems that there is nothing new to invent, no new story, no new 'thing'. That may be true, but still every day I see new things and think - what a great idea! How'd they think of that! 

It might not exactly be my cup of tea, but it's still neat, and I can still admire the creativity and work behind it. For example, every once in a while I'll see a posting on Facebook for people who make jewelry from horse hair. My husband knows some people who make jewelry from ammunition. Yep, shell casings. And you know what? It's really kinda' cool. 

You may be thinking do we really need more jewelry? Or purses, or shoes or...
The thing is, no we really don't need them, but we do love fresh ideas, things that are new and different. 

I am working on a line (several actually) of greeting cards for women. Some are based on scripture and some are just things that I've thought up. In doing some research to see what's out there I began to get discouraged because there are actually many great lines of greeting cards for Christian women. Do we really need another one? 

Again, do we need them like something on the bottom level of Maslow's hierarchy? No. Could they be appreciated and maybe make a little difference for someone anyway?  I think so. They are fresh and funny and I think that women will enjoy reading them and sending them to their friends. 

Will everyone love them? Of course not. But there are some women out there who will. And... I am compelled to do this. It's part of a dream, and though it's a lot of work and a huge learning curve, it's fun and exciting to be chasing that dream and to see what God has planned for it and for me. 

There may not be anything new under the sun as Solomon said, but as long as God doesn't change from the creative being that he is, there will always be new ways to do things, and new ideas to develop and new people to carry on.

Do you think there's not a place for your talent or idea? If it is inspired by God then rest assured that he has already prepared a place for you to use it. 

Step out on faith, tell someone about your dream and ask them to pray over it with you. Thank God now for what he will do, and give him all the praise for it. 

Praying for you today.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Spurred on Towards Love and Good Deeds

Good deeds come in all sizes and shapes, don't they.  Just like people. 

As I get older I'm getting a clearer understanding of the uniqueness of each one of us. 

The imagination of God so richly seen in His creation can also be seen in each of us.We are each fearfully and wonderfully made - a unique creation, never to be repeated in the history of the world. Even identical twins have their own personalities and dreams. That is just one of the reasons why we are commanded over and over again not to judge one another. 

I'm still figuring out God's plan for ME. Why in the world would I believe I can stand in judgment of any one else trying to work out His plan?

As I pursue my dreams - dreams that I believe God plans to use for His glory - it is encouraging to me to hear the stories of others who have taken a passion God placed within them, and used that passion to grow a dream that touches millions of lives in ways they never would have imagined. 

One such story is that of David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby. I can barely write that name without wanting to go shop! I love Hobby Lobby and knew that it is a Christian business, but didn't know the whole story. Do you? David was raised in a Christian home,a preacher's kid and the only child of six siblings that didn't go into some "normal" form of "ministry". Of all things, he went into...(gasp!) retail! 

More than a Hobby is a peek into a retail business that has done two things very well: 1) it places God first in every aspect, first in the personal lives of the owners, and then in the day-to-day running of the business; 2) it built on the passion and gifts God placed in the heart of its owner. 

It is clear from the reading of this book how God has used the business to influence hundreds of thousands who work for David, and has used the business ethics of the company to take a clear stand for the right thing - the Godly thing - in their daily dealings with vendors, creditors and customers. 

Do you think that gets noticed?  Every time. 

Do you worry that your gift or passion doesn't look like a real 'ministry'? Believe me, even those things that we consider ministry are nothing more than busyness if they are not of God. 

God doesn't need for all of us to be on staff at a church. He needs each of us to look inside our hearts with his guidance, see the gifts he has given us for what they are, and with his guidance, use those gifts each day as he gives us opportunities. 

Those are the things that make a difference and take our lives from something we just live every day to something spectacular and unique that touches lives all around us for Jesus. 

What is it that you love to do? Have you given it back to Jesus to use as he wants to? If not, do it right now, ask him to use you every day, and get excited about your dreams. 

God never does anything without purpose. He made you for a reason. Be thankful and get busy! 

Praying for you today. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Do we dare pray this for one another?

"May the Lord disturb you and trouble you;
May He set an impossible task before you,
and dare you to meet it;
May the Lord give you the strength to do your best;
and then - only then -
may the Lord grant you His peace."



Monday, April 1, 2013

If you Know it - DO IT!

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."
James 4:17 (NIV)

That's it - no embelishment, no explanation, but then one is not really needed, is it?
What is on your to-do list today. I don't mean THINGS. I mean PEOPLE. Who has God put on your heart today:
  • to pray for
  • to talk to
  • to write a note of encouragement to
  • to cry with
  • to invest in
  • to sacrifice for
This verse is not talking about being busy. Most of us have that down pat. It's talking about what God considers the most important - His children. How can you be the hands, feet, and heart of God to His children today?

Don't sin by missing an opportunity to do what you know is right. Easy right? Hmmm. Right.

Look at your to-do list today. Do you have room for ministry? Wil you make time?

I am praying for you.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

We are free to leave our prison cells because

Jesus had the power to conquer death and hell.

His sacrifice was for you. Live life every day so that those around you salivate with a desire for the Bread of Life and the Living Water. Honor His sacrifice.

Blessed Easter to you.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Is there light in your art?

Thomas Kinkade, the famous painter of light said this about the relationship between his art and the transforming light of Christ:

"Then morning came when the radiant light of Christ penetrated the darkness of my heart with His love. His joy. His hope. And it poured out of my life onto the canvas with a vibrancy I had never seen before. I call it 'The Anointing,' for in a real way, as I was saved, so was my art. I began to see that art is not about me. It's about communicating with someone else - about blessing, uplifting and touching other people's lives with God's message of hope. A hope that is not limited to canvas, but that is true in our lives when we walk in the light of His Word."
(taken from Passages of Light, Selected Scriptures with Reflections by Thomas Kincade, 1998, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Pb, p,12)

Your canvas may not receive oil paint or pastels, it may be a page onto which you pour out the thoughts of your heart, it may be the hearts of the little ones in your classroom or a concert hall where your voice can stir the souls of hundreds.

It may be in the quiet of a hospital room as you sit with a family whose loved one is dying, or in your kitchen where you prepare a delicious meal to share with a lonely neighbor.

Whatever it is, ask God today to let His light shine on it, to redeem it, sanctify it, and use it for His glory. And give thanks.

I am praying for you.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Don't Forget to Pray

Have you ever gotten into the middle of a mess and thought,
"I should have prayed about this first?" Don't let that happen today.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in eveything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4: 6-7 NIV

Talk to God all day long today. Each time you reach for your cell phone to post something to Facebook  or Tweet something or check your email let it be a reminder to connect with your heavenly Father.

Need a reminder? Find a small sticker - or a piece of one - or a piece of colored tape and stick it on your cell phone as a visual reminder to pray. You'll be surprised at how often you'll be reminded.

Nothing is too great for him to handle or too small for him to care about. If you care about it so does he because you are his special child. Try talking to your Father today. Does it make a difference for you?

I am praying for you.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Beauty from Ashes

I am writing a book called Sacred Ashes about a young woman who suffered a terrible tragedy in her past and turned away from God because of it. The story follows her journey back to God as she questions, struggles, and finally accepts the forgiveness and love of her heavenly Father. Out of the ruined ashes of her past, God caused love and beauty to bloom.

That story is fiction, but the truth of it is not. We all have heaps of ashes from the day to day act of living. Some are scattered everywhere, some are collected in nice, neat piles that we must step over ever day. Whatever that pile of ashes represents to you may I suggest that you remember the promise of God in Isaiah 61:3-

" bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."

This passage is about the year of the Lord's favor and promises redemption, restoration and healing.

What has God redeemed and restored in your life? That's the story that someone needs to hear. That's the hope in Christ that you need to share.

Maybe you need to experience tha hope in your life. We all do, over and over again. Can you "out-need" God? Certainly not!

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23

What is the need threatening to consume you right this minute? If you will lay it down at the feet of Jesus he promises to never let it consume you and to bring beauty to your life instead of ashes. No matter what.

I am praying for you.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Writer's Prayer

"Dear God

I like the Lords prayer best of all.
Did you have to write it a lot or
did you  get it right the first time?
I have to write everything I ever
write over again.


From Children's Letters to God, The New Collection, compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall, Workman Publishing (c) 1991.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lessons From My Lap Dog

Yes, that really is my dog, Riley, with his nose stuck in a glass up to his eyebrows...

To say he's spoiled doesn't begin to paint an adequate picture. Let's just say he has his humans well trained.

I love him very much and most of the time don't mind that he's a lap dog. He loves to snuggle and loves being held so much that sometimes he will follow me around the house just waiting for me to sit down so he can jump up. Most of the time it's cute, but sometimes - like when I've tripped over him for the tenth time in as many minutes - it can be aggravating. He's such an attention seeker. 

I got to thinking one day - or maybe it was God' Spirit speaking to my heart - that I could learn from Riley. What if...

  • I had his persistence in seeking the company and attention of God
  • I Loved being with God more than anything else in the world
  • it distressed me to be away from God too long
  • my greatest joy was to be with Him. Not doing anything in particular, just being with Him.
  • I lived in the moment - every moment -  with God.
  • I trusted Him for my every need.
  • I wanted more than anything else to please Him
What if...

Now I don't want to over-simplify things. Riley doesn't worry about the future because he's a dog and doesn't think about it. It's not right in front of him yet, so why worry? Oh, wait a minute... isn't there something in Matthew 6 about the birds of the air not worrying? Yes, I think there is. Consider that...

If my word for this year is Freedom, then I can take a lesson from Riley; a reminder that worrying about the future is pointless and a joy killer. The birds simply do what they were created to do. So does Riley.

I was created for fellowship with God. To know Him, love Him, worship Him. Everything else that I do must come from that relationship or it is meaningless.

The story that I'm writing right now, the things I will do at work today, the way I deal with a total stranger this week, all of these things must take a back seat to time I spend sitting in the lap of Jesus, listening to Him speak, feeling how much He loves me just the way I am.

My journey is not about what I will do for God. It is about what I will allow Him to do in me and through me. Why is that so hard to remember?

Maybe we should stop trying to be "good" and just keep our focus on our Creator. The rest will take care of itself - He promised.

I hope this new year is beginning well for you, and that you are starting it in the lap of Jesus. If not, then do it now. There's no time like the present and there's always room. Seek Him not to ask for things, just to be with Him. He'll take care of everything else.

Following the plan,


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Word for 2013 - FREEDOM!

The holidays are over - thank goodness!

There's a new year out there, all sparkly and fresh just waiting for us to step into it and begin... what will you begin this year?

I want to live this year in the freedom of Christ. Maybe I'll make that my word for the year. FREEDOM.

Freedom from fear.

Freedom from second guessing myself.

Freedom from the little box I've been living in.

Freedom from guilt.

Freedom to love others as Jesus loves me.

Freedom to speak my heart.

Freedom to try outrageous things.

Freedom to laugh.

Freedom to become whatever is next.

Freedom to try and fail...and try again.

Freedom to live according to God's mandates, not the world's.

Freedom to step out of the rat race and live a life of abundance and fullness.

"If the Son sets you free, you
will be free indeed."  John 8:36

Sometimes I forget that my cell door has been unlocked and not just flung open, but knocked completely off its hinges. It will never be closed again!! I  remain a prisoner - un-free - only because I have yet to walk out of my cell.

This year I'm walking out! Will you join me?

In my dictionary the word "indeed" means "certainly"  or "truly".

I am certainly and truly free. I like the sound of that. What about you? What would you add to the list above? Add it. Write it down. Say it out loud. Then live free in Jesus.

Following the plan,