December 15, 2011


I just got a “10 days ‘til Christmas” reminder.  I have to admit though that I am not fully prepared.  I have been busy – decorations are hung; the tree is up; I’ve done some gift planning and purchasing and even some wrapping; attended several holiday events.  But I’m not totally prepared. I stood still today with thoughts on what it takes to prepare.
Prepare.  To get ready.
Preparing for Christmas seems to have become an ordeal of sorts.  Decorating, planning, purchasing, attending, baking, cleaning, traveling…
I reflect on the hustle and bustle of those around me and yes, I’ve gotten caught up in it as well.
I wonder with all that we are preparing – am I preparing my heart for CHRISTmas?  Am I preparing for the coming of the babe in the manger – the coming of the Savior – not a holiday season but the REASON for the season?
For you see, prepare also means “to put in proper condition”.
How am I putting my heart in proper condition?
I think it is a matter of being still and drawing near.  In James, God promises that as we draw near to Him, He will draw nearer to us.  I will focus on the blessings of hope, peace and joy found in the manager.

Luke 2:8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men

November 23, 2011


I find myself continuing to ponder on this season of Thanksgiving as I stand still. When I allow myself to really look at life, I am struck by the overwhelming number of all that is taken for granted day in day out.  Novelist and poet G.K. Chesterton wisely noted, “When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  It is my daily intent and hope to daily possess an awareness of ‘taking with gratitude.’ I want to appreciate the daily, the ordinary, the small, the meager, the moments… all that comprise the bounty of blessing and richness of life. Appreciate.
This word stands out in my thoughts…
In considering why, I looked at what it means to appreciate…
“to be grateful or thankful for; to value or regard highly” - I am grateful – I am thankful for the many blessings God has granted in my life.  There are those that I value or regard highly – a loving spouse, beautiful children, family, friends, my faith, a merciful and loving Heavenly Father.
"to be fully conscious and aware of; to recognize” -  I am conscious of the fact that I am blessed with much and try to be aware and recognize those ‘for granted’ things.
“to raise in value” – this is the meaning I think about in more depth.  As life goes on, have I really appreciated the blessings – have I allowed and  shown in a tangible way or expressed that certain blessings in my life are growing in depth, meaning and value to me.  Do I express often enough the depth of gratitude to and for those closest to me?  Have I given of myself and my time to certain friendships nurturing them to show gratitude or increase in value?  Am I continuing to grow in my relationship with the Lord? 
I want to fully appreciate.  How about you?

Psalm 118:1  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 107:15  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind

November 18, 2011


As I was Standing Still this morning, I paused to reflect on this season of Thanksgiving.  Many pause during this time to assess the things in their lives for which they are truly thankful.  There is often the realization of “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come (-Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day, October 3, 1863)”.  We take for granted what we have in life and who we have in our life as we go through the routines and get caught up in the distractions of our days.  There is often the lack of acknowledgement as to where these blessings originate – “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy (op.cit.)”.

My hope and prayer is that as we all consider what we are thankful for during this season, it “cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God (op.cit.)”.  As YOU list what you are thankful for, also recognize and state TO WHOM you are thankful – the Almighty, Everlasting, Merciful, Loving Father.  Oh give thanks unto the LORD!

Psalm 107:21 Let them give thanksto the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Psalm 69:30 I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise his name.
Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

October 24, 2011

left to lay fallow

Fall has arrived.  Fields are being harvested- Some with great bounty.

Harvest isn’t a word used only in reference to the farm.  In each season of life there have been harvests.  Some brought abundance and joy.  The growth was enlightening.  Some harvests brought peace and calm.  Some brought encouragement and progress in the midst of chaos.  Some harvests may not have seemed so bountiful, but only after going through the drought do you realize you hold in your hand (and heart) a valuable harvest of a few precious seeds that will greatly impact all future harvests to come.

There are times, though, when a season does not bring harvest; for it was a time where things were left fallow. 

Fallow: plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated;
not in use; inactive; undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful.

I think I possess some areas of life that have been left fallow for a bit – uncultivated, inactive.  This is not necessarily a bad thing however.  You see, there are deep correlations between fallow and fertile.  I read that the benefits of leaving land fallow for extended periods include rebalancing soil nutrients, breaking crop disease and pest cycles, re-establishing soil biota and providing a haven for wildlife. 

Standing still with my fallowness, I consider that perhaps I’ve been giving these areas a time to balance; a time to break the pest cycles of habits and urgent chaotic activities that interrupt harvests; a time for a haven of sorts.

I consider how God has engineered rest into the very fabric of creation.  Perhaps I need to engineer rest into the fabric of my time – my pace – my being.  What better example to follow.

I will be planting seeds again.  And I know the Creator and Lord will bring forth harvests that are more that I could’ve imagined!

Psalm 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God.”
1 Corinthians 9:10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest.

June 22, 2011

Keeping the plates spinning?

I recently asked a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, “How are you doing?” 
“Keeping the plates spinning,” was the reply.
I immediately pictured those performers that had a dozen or so plates on the end of poles, going from pole to pole to working to keep all the plates spinning at certain speeds so the plates don’t fall off the poles and smash into pieces on the floor. 
A man named David Spathaky, who spun 108 plates simultaneously in Bangkok on television in 1996, holds the Guinness World Record for spinning plates.  Yikes!  Think about the constant evaluation, second-to second judgments, dashing crazily - all the work to keep all the plates spinning.
Familiar feeling?  How many plates are you spinning right now?
I could relate to my friend’s comment too easily.  I knew that feeling of dashing crazily from one responsibility to another; one commitment to another; this scheduled event to that appointment. 
Family, work, events, appointments, a favor needed, a commitment asked…
Suddenly I’m hearing a crash from one direction, then oops…another.  Feeling overwhelmed or exhausted.
It’s not sustainable.
I feel a self-imposed looming disaster when what I should really just do is stand still, embrace the crashing and smashing and shout “OPA!!!”
Can you hear the loud chorus in your head…”OPAAAAH!!!”
An exclamation – a declaration of humorous and joyous affirmation saying “God is bringing you through the self imposed chaos, anxiety, mania, and crazy dashing to a state of the wisdom of a still spirit”. 
We need to come to a state of serene exuberance.  A plate may fall – actually plates will fall.  It’s okay.  Stop dashing around.  Stand Still.  We’ve been blessed with loved ones that will still be there if we drop a plate or break something.
We have a Father who is there to pick up the pieces. 

 Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Psalm 46:10   “Be still, and know that I am God.”

June 9, 2011

Living life under the conditional statement?

“When things slow down, I’ll feel better and relax.”
“When they apologize, it will make things easier.”
“If she just had answers, she could move on.”
“If the house would sell, we wouldn’t have to ….”
“I need to get past next month, then…”
“When I finish this…”
“If...”  “When…”

I’ve been part of several conversations as of late in which people are struggling in very heartfelt ways.  I’ve been holding a couple of these situations quite heavily in thought and prayer.  As I’ve stood still with them, several thoughts have struck me.
One of the realizations that hit me most came from my teacher perspective.  Each of those heartfelt statements was a conditional statement.  “If…, then..”   “When …, then….”
There was a prerequisite to each person having happiness … being content … experiencing peace … having hope.  Life for each had limitations, something restricting them from actually living – a contingent circumstance not allowing living, only allowing existing day to day or moment to moment.
With this thought came a strong realization of how much I actually live life under a conditional statement.
So many people are coping with serious burdens, I do realize … yet each of us struggles with troubles. 
Our Lord, Himself, told us “in this world you will have trouble”
(John 16:33) – not might have – will have.  But our hope comes in what he says next… “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
All of those conditions – fear, anxiety, hurt, pain, meanness, struggle, trouble – exist. But we don’t need to conquer them to have peace or contentment or joy.  Christ overcame and conquered them for us.

In the midst of the storm, we can dance in the rain.  During those days filled with hurt, we can find pleasure in the moment and treasure it.

I think I’ll stand still with the thoughts and knowledge that I can and will live life unconditionally through God’s love.  I invite you to do the same!
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 5:7   Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Psalm 55:22   Cast your burdens on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

June 3, 2011

Clearing the clouds and discovering spring

It has seemed like the grayest stretch of what we here in Oregon call spring. It’s more than the fact that we’ve had the fewest days without a ray of sun on record in a long time. Spring has seemed to have been put on pause.

In some ways, I’ve felt my spirit has seemed torpid as well.
Inactive, sluggish, apathetic, lethargic, hibernating… dormant.
Lately my spirit’s season has been overshadowed in life by the clouds of my youngest son’s tough bout with a contentious lung illness; my oldest son had a spiral stress fracture in his foot causing him to have to miss the last half of a sport season; my father had been ill with pneumonia; my mother-in-law is ill with a rheumatic issue; a good friend is leaving; my daughter got a job in another state; I’m volunteering in a couple of capacities in certain areas of our community settings; went through bout of bronchitis; am out of sync with a couple of friends due to stages in mom’s life; still unsure of myself at times skill-wise in this part time marketing position I am now working; had to put on a new roof during rainy season; the 16 year old got his license and is driving – out there – alone. These are just some of the clouds that insist on hanging overhead.
Not sure which cloud was raining hardest before I started wanting a raincoat – how about an umbrella that won’t turn inside out with the next gust life sends. I am giving old Oscar a run for his title as GROUCH; I guess spirit wise I just built up my wall of sandbags and hunkered down – hibernated – went dormant.
Stepping back to Stand Still, I see the full view and shake my head. My Standing Still time as been experienced in the form of evening walks. I got my head above those sandbags I’ve had piled so high; took a look as saw that my life wasn’t as dormant as my self-focused, selfish, grouchy self thought.
While walking I noticed a little window that had grown open in a bank of clouds. The clouds framed a view of the top of a huge, puffy, bright white cumulous cloud tip. There was a stark contrast with the lower level gray clouds and this luminous white cloud above. It was a visible message from my Heavenly Father telling me that no matter how gray those clouds of life fill my sky, He’s there. Larger, brighter. Off the to right of what I had just seen a small rainbow appeared.
I laughed. I thought to myself “okay Lord, I got it”. As I finished the walk I took notice of spring, which even Oregon gray and rain can’t stop. Rhododendrons were in full bloom in so many colors – red, white, pink, purple, orange. Dogwoods have their cross-shaped blossoms open baring the middle ‘crown of thorns’. Irises begin to stand tall. The scent of lilac is in the air…
What was dormant is awakened, revived.
“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther
Spring comes to my soul.
No longer torpid.
Resuscitated and beginning to be renewed.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Not even the clouds of life I allowed to overshadow my spirit - can distance me from my Father.
Here comes the Son… (and the sun).

March 4, 2011


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. - Melody Beattie

On a day that could bring sorrow, I focus on my gratitude.  I have such gratefulness … thanksgiving … appreciation in my heart.  Despite loss, I have gained immeasurably more than I could’ve ever imagined.  Although the ‘why’ may never be known or understood, choosing acceptance and trust allows me to live with joy instead of despair.  I am able to clearly see God’s presence as I reflect on the past.  Today’s peace comes solely from Him.   And it is by His grace I have HOPE for tomorrow and beyond.


I am thankful for time spent, however short – yet precious, with a beautiful curly brown haired daughter.
I am thankful for three amazingly loving, gifted and blessed children.
I am thankful for a strong, loving, faithful and faith filled husband.
I am thankful for friends who are caring and enduring.
I am thankful for extended family that are close no matter the distance – providing love, encouragement and joy.
I am thankful for a Father who is, was and always will be love.
I am thankful for a Savior – Redeemer and Shepherd.
I am thankful for………………………… so many blessings to numerous to name.
I am thankful.

-In loving and grateful thought and memory of Christine Hope… Happy Birthday angel girl!

1 Chronicles 16:34   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2 Corinthians 9:15  Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

1 Thessalonians 5:18  Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

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

Romans 5:5  And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

February 20, 2011


Several years ago our family took a road trip to see the redwoods in northern California. We experienced a profound sense of wonder standing in the midst of the Creator’s handiwork. Recently I learned a few facts about redwoods. Apparently they don’t really have individual root systems. Instead their shallow roots are interconnected as they are outgrowths of a parent tree which grow in a circle called a cathedral. They support each other with merged roots standing against and surviving Pacific winds, fire and disease.
Isn’t this a great picture of a community - roots bound together, supporting each other against adversity?
Community – a group; an association; a gathering; a circle; a body sharing support, a sense of purpose, a goal, a commonality, a connection, and a kinship.

Standing still, I close my eyes and in my mind stand in the midst of the redwood community. I am encircled. I ponder about the communities in which I actually stand – work community; school community; neighborhood; church; friends; and family. Each of these are segments of the community of my life. I think about the groups and how all the segments create a whole. What are the associations I have with the members of our existent community? What purposes are served? What is our ultimate goal? Are there connections and commonalities that draw us together to interconnect and face adversity – some of which will be our greatest trials, our greatest doubts, our greatest attacks, our greatest losses?
Life has shown me that the communities truly rooted in and established in love are those that are strongly rooted, entwined, and anchored in God’s Will and Word. Members of such a community possess love, compassion, patience, kindness, caring, sincerity and encouragement as they live and stand together.

Standing still I began to list those in my community who despite time and distance have held me strong. I have been blessed with:
-Parents whose priority it was for me to be raised anchored in faith on a firm foundation.
-a husband who is my greatest friend walking through great joy and great sadness holding me, helping me through, encouraging me to press on toward the goal
-children who’s faith often provides learning moments for me; a joyful witness; hope, sunshine and warmth as well as insight - all giving strength.
-two extremely loving friends for life who met each other half way, leaving husbands with young children behind as they traveled onward to come meet an angel who had very little time on this earth with us -they came to hold, hug and pray with all of us – compassion, comfort and love.
-friends who accept you where you are but love you enough not to leave you there – they grow you; batten down the hatches in stormy seasons of life but support you as they heave and ho to help you press on.
My community elements have God’s love as a base. I picture a cross in the middle of my ‘cathedral’ community.

Stand still in the midst of your “cathedral’ and picture your community. You may find many positive traits. Weigh what it means or could mean for your community to be rooted and established in love. Are you anchored in Him? Do your commonalities have purposes of love, hope, joy, peace and love? Is it time to reestablish a new community or a make an addition? Maybe a little renovation is in order - possibly a few cobweb sweepings.
My prayer for you is that your community will be rooted and established in love – His Love.

1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
Philippians 2:4 "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interest of others."
Ephesians 3:16-18 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you
Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Job 4:4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.
Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you,
Psalm 36:7 How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings

February 18, 2011


"You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life."- Zig Ziglar

I came across these words. I smiled as I thought of several of those moments in which I had been the recipient of such a blessing – the blessing of encouragement.
I’ve been standing still with the concept of encouragement. The teacher in me dissects the word itself: prefix en- meaning to bring into the condition of, put into, intensification; and courage meaning the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, determination, endurance.
Encourage is to hearten, inspire, prop up, reassure, restore, refresh, revitalize, strengthen, boost, cheer, fortify, invigorate, comfort, motivate, console, enliven, rouse, embolden, urge.
I am awed that a few sincere words can bring so much – appreciation, support, respect, motivation, inspiration, engagement, communication, cooperation, confidence, community and success. (There are so many more benefits that could be added to this list.)
Three immediate thoughts come to mind as I stand still with encouragement.
-I am deeply thankful for those who have offered a few sincere words in moments they were needed.
-I hope that I have offered such in moments others may have needed. And I pray that I develop an awareness of my words – do they more often bring some sunshine to those around me or create gloom? Am I more often lifting those around me up or inadvertently bringing them down? I become aware that I need to develop self awareness – monitor the negativity I may express; avoid speaking subtle criticisms and instead voice respect; support, and encouragement.
-I am especially thankful for Our Heavenly Father who is the Ultimate Encourager. He whispers those words so greatly needed straight to my heart. He speaks to my soul through others around me. He provides His reassurance in the proclamations found in His Word.
In the still moments of your day, may you feel the warmth of encouragement given.

Psalm 10:17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
Romans 1:11-12 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

February 4, 2011

A "roundtuit"

I can remember the first time I saw one. My initial reaction was that it was somewhat playfully ingenious – insightful. People constantly say that things will get done when they get a ‘Roundtuit’.

If I actually had a Roundtuit I could accomplish all those things sitting in piles around my house - the pile of dishes, the pile of school papers, the pile of house papers needing to be kept filed, the pile of laundry that I never seem to totally complete, the pile of pictures I want to put into memory books. And this is only what comes to mind of what is actually visible. Peek into any other room or the garage and you can find more reasons for my needing a Roundtuit. That circular object would help give me the ability to get those things (and more) done that I’ve been putting off. Just think about it – no last minute struggles, no doubting if it can be completed, no facing what I’ve procrastinated.
Oooh, here’s a thought - I could get Kid 2 and Kid 3 each a Hoptuit. We’d really make things happen and get things done. Then what we really need is a few Sticktuits. All our jobs, projects, and plans would be completed then. Hmmm….

Time to get back to reality! No roundtuits, hoptuits or sticktuits that will magically bring about productiveness. I live with the reality that time is limited; waiting for perfect conditions never allows things to get done; and procrastination ends in slavery to never ending tasks.
So is there an answer or solution? Standing still I come to several conclusions.
First and foremost it is important to prioritize. The ordering of my tasks is necessary. I remind myself how important it is though to set aside the “Be Still” moments with my Father. When I do, all else seems to fall into place and is put into perspective.
Then comes planning. Several quotes come to mind: “He who fails to plan, plans to fail” and “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”. The quotes are contradictory at best. But both are true. Balance and flexibility becomes key to making plans. Possession of each will ensure productivity as I follow through.
Finally, I need to keep my heart into all that I do.

Rountuits, Hoptuits, Sticktuits – are wishful.
Perspective, balance and ‘heart ‘n’ tuit’ – is a productive reality.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you
Matthew 22:37-ff Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

January 31, 2011

Happy or Content? … Content and Happy!

Happiness. It seems to be a national obsession: attaining happiness, the lack of happiness, the search for happiness, the pursuit of happiness. This is so much so, that there are happiness seminars, college courses on happiness, scientific studies and research on happiness, and there is even The Happiness Institute. In a recent survey of college students, happiness was ranked above money and health. Happiness means different things to different people, but it is very much a dictating factor for each and every one.
To be happy is to be delighted, pleased, cheerful, in high spirits or satisfied. It’s been said that happiness is related to: genetics; having relationships; income levels; goals; quiet time; ease of anxiety and stress; if you want to be happy, act happy; discover what makes you happy and keeps you happy.
Maybe those are all factors in happiness.
Standing still with the concept of happiness, I have come to a few conclusions.
Happiness is enjoyable. It is a pleasant and wonderful state of being. But it is temporary. Happiness is often fleeting. It is a feeling which is based on circumstance. It’s not really an attainable lasting state of being that will bring true joy or peace.
The only real way to possess joy in life (‘true happiness’ for those that are stuck in that mindset) is to be content.
Contentment. To have fulfillment, to be at ease, gratification, pleasure, serenity, peace.
People need to LEARN to be CONTENT. Contentment is a state of being which does not rely on circumstance. When one can have contentment, there is no need to possess material things or have outer experiences and actions to attain a feeling. Life will always be filled with challenges, sickness, sadness and obstacles. But, contentment brings peace … satisfaction … joy… and therefore then and only then can one possess ‘true happiness’.

So...I have happiness at times and sadness at times; joys and sorrows. But through it all I am content – satisfied and at peace.
I want happiness in life but I value and enjoy contentment so much more.
I wish all my family and friends happiness but I pray for them to be content - as I do for each of you.

Philippians 4:11-12
… for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

January 28, 2011


I experienced the tears of a friend recently – I hugged her and prayed.

Personally, I have shed plenty of tears - most likely more than some. Tears of frustration, confusion, hurt, doubt, inadequacy, sadness, and those of great loss.

Tears. It’s been shown that once crying stops, the body moves from a state of high arousal to one more associated with relaxation. Breathing and heart rate slows, sweating decreases and the period of the relaxed state tends to last longer than the time spent crying. So actually, crying is a form of stress release. “Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water (French essayist, Antione Rivarol.)”

Later, I happened to view a rainbow. It was my turn to be hugged – by the Father. This sight is His Promise. It is a promise to each of us. A reminder of a covenant. In a very visible way, it is a promise of HOPE.
American poet John Vance Cheney once wrote, “The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.” Rainbows more often than not make their appearance in darker skies.
“Not in the time of pleasure
Hope doth set her bow;
But in the sky of sorrow,
Overt the vale of woe.”
I stand still with the thought of tears producing a rainbow in the soul. There’s a cloud overhead – circumstance blows strongly that vale of woe. But HOPE sets her bow in the soul with the tears that were shed. I marvel at the timing of my LORD. I had the opportunity to comfort a sister – she found comfort sharing the tears. After heartfelt prayer I found comfort as my Father saw to it that “Hope set her bow”. We all find solace and peace in knowing that our tears do not have to be shed alone brought by a burden we must carry alone. Those that love us lighten the load and offer comfort. God, who personally loves YOU, hears your cry (always) and will give you HOPE. From your lips to His ears; He hears and responds personally.
Standing Still with this knowledge may cause tears…of joy.

Psalm 18:6
In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into his ears.
Psalm 34:17
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 55:17
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.

January 23, 2011


Restful insomnia --- sounds like quite an oxymoron especially to those of us who frequently suffer from the sleep disorder. I am somewhat of a chronic insomniac. I never sleep a full night. I have stretches of days when I am unable to fall asleep. Usually I can handle going two nights without the sleep but after night 3 I’m compromised physically, mentally and emotionally. As I cope through Day 3 with minutes of sleep, I sometimes notice raised eyebrows or baffled looks as I, not quite with it, interact with people. “You haven’t slept for a few days have you?’ – friends state the obvious.

The condition is frustrating. Sleep is supposed to be a natural function. For some of us, refreshing slumber and tranquil dreams are unattainable. There are those whose health and well being is quite adversely affected by the disorder. I’ve learned to cope for the most part.

Although I may not sleep, I’ve learned the attitude, habit and value of rest. I use the night to quiet my being. I use a bedside notebook to write down what is on my mind. Some items go on a ‘do’ list. Some items are added to my prayer list. Either way, I am able to release whatever is on my mind. If it is on the ‘do’ list it will wait until it is checked off. If it is on the prayer list, I use some of those quiet night moments to whisper in my Father’s ear and release it into His loving and very capable hands. Mentally, emotionally and spiritually releasing my cares and thoughts prepares me to rest physically.
I am thankful that our God never sleeps.  He is ever vigil.  He knows our needs, our troubles, our anxieties, our fears and our frustrations.  Blessedly, He meets our needs and offers comfort and encouragement as well as strength and rest. Eventually sleep comes… and I am thankful and will be rested.
So….Relax; be at ease; be quiet; have tranquility; lie still.

Psalm 62:5
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.

Matthew 11:29
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 3:5
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

Psalm 4:8
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 121:4
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Proverbs 6:10
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—

January 21, 2011

Problems and solutions

I’ve had a few conversations with people as of late who find themselves in “situations”. One friend is frustrated with attitudes of self-centeredness and combativeness on a child’s sport team. Another is struggling with a familial relationship. Then there was the friend who had gotten an accusatory email questioning motives in handling something.

Conflict. It is unavoidable as we go through life. I’ve stood still with this word before. I’ve learned that conflict isn’t necessarily always a negative thing. Even more recently I learned something about conflict from writer Miriam Fox Gabler. She wisely stated…

“If you look at a problem long enough, you can see the part you play in it.”

My first reaction to this was “nah huh – I’m not so sure.” But as I’ve been standing still with Miriam’s statement and spending time in God’s Word, I’ve begun to see the blaring truth of this statement. Personally, I realize that I have not always been the shining example of grace under fire in those times I find myself in a “situation”. At certain points, I have been guilty of defensiveness, dislike, anger, selfishness, resentment, speaking out of turn, avoidance and admittedly even apathy. I know that there are times when a person can be a victim, a bystander, mistakenly unaware or sincerely wrong when “situations” arise. However, if one doesn’t take pause and care in response and reaction, one can add to things and definitely create ownership somewhere in the problem as a whole.
Solution? I’m continuing to learn and trying to practice looking ‘at the problem long enough’. Pause; breathe; stand still – in prayer – then move forward towards peace. Listen; clarify; speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15); communicate and find the solution. Resolve.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Matthew 7:3-4 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

January 17, 2011


“When in doubt don’t!” I hear these words echo in my head sometimes as I weigh decisions. Funny – I hear them in the sound of my mother’s voice. I’ve actually said these same words to my kids. For the most part I think it is great advice. It helps one avoid the spur of the moment decision – that impulse buy – or a flippant decision which later you realize you should have just walked away. It encourages one to pause – think – weigh. The intention in these 4 words is pretty good advice when facing doubt.
However, there are times when facing doubt in which the saying may not be the best advice available.
Doubt: to be uncertain about; hesitate to believe; apprehension; confusion; dilemma; quandary; fear.
Doubt may hijack the intent of this saying and lead one into becoming immobilized; unable to decided; frozen in uncertainty.
Two days ago I read a quote by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of Cleveland Ohio. She stated, “When in doubt, just take the next small step.” Hmmm… Perhaps Regina Brett was on to something better.

So as I stand still with the topic of doubt – I see good advice; better advice…
I contemplate what would be the BEST advice. The Father’s words given through King Solomon come to mind covering me with peace:
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

So....When in doubt – seek Him; listen and just boldly take the next step.

John 20:27b - “Stop doubting and believe.”
Mark 9:24 – “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

January 14, 2011

Not for naught.

I have been privy to several conversations coming from multiple directions in which people seem to be at the “end of their rope’ (9-1-10). Questions, doubt, anxiety. Once again all I can say is hold on, tie a knot and swing. Soon you will see and understand.

All for naught?! My answer to that question in N-E-V-E-R!!!
One could say…”But I gave it my all only to have failed completely”. I would say that you don’t know that for sure.
You might be thinking that I don’t have a clue what you are talking about – but I do. If it is the effort for a job – the mere fact that you worked giving your all is a success in and of itself and will be rewarded in its own time. If it is effort to guide one down the path of life so they may avoid the dangers and struggles and consequences of choice – your seeds have been planted; ultimately it may not be you who waters or weeds, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” The Master gardner lovingly tends your seeds. Giving it your all – “working at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord …for it is the Lord Christ you are serving(Col.3:23…24b)” – always brings fruition if done or “if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us (1 John 5:14b)” fruition comes. GOD DOESN”T FAIL.

The Hard Part:
You say “I have loved in great amount; I have had long suffering; I have endured pain and it hasn’t made a difference.” The short of it is you are asking WHY? Only God can ever answer that question fully. Sometimes he allows us to see glimpses. He says, “My child – your path and character witness to others”; My child, you aren’t quite listening to what I am telling you – you need to let go of your plans so you can take hold of the plans I have waiting for you. My child, you’ve been on the wrong path – when you are ready, the correct path will be made visible to you – SEEK.” My dear, dear, child – success is not yours; it is not in your hand, your control, your job or anything you do - “It is by grace you have been saved through faith, not because of your works lest you should boast”(Gal. 5). Let go – Let ME. For I so loved the world, I so love YOU, I gave my one and only Son…”
Hard Decisions…Wrenching tasks – “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” He is capable of giving “immeasurably more that we can imagine”.
As a child of God, it is he who succeeds through us. It is not for naught. He cannot, does not and will not ever fail.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

January 10, 2011

The Resolution

Many take the New Year to reflect. Hence, the resolutions – those personal goals, projects or reformations of habit. The top resolutions people make are: to spend more time with family and friends, get fit, tame bad eating habits, stop drinking, quit smoking, enjoy life more, get out of debt, learn something new, help others and get organized.

I recently read that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals.
So reading and considering the prior statistics I wonder – Do I really want to dive in with a resolution of my own and what would mine be?
Where does this leave me with the whole resolution process.
After standing still and having some prayerful consideration, I’ve decided to make my resolution not an action but rather a word:

WILLING - inclined; cheerfully consenting or ready; agreeable; accommodating; amenable; eager; prepared.

I would like to go through this year developing, integrating and cultivating the word WILLING into my life.
This word faces obstacles – my willfulness; some stubbornness; tendencies to be opinionated and stuck in ways; and fears and anxieties. Obstacles that can be huge hurdles to overcome. Obstacles that may result in several detours along the way.
But consciously implementing “WILLING” will bring benefits I would like to reap: a daily positive attitude and outlook; determination; perseverance; learning; new experiences; new friends; health; and renewal of joy.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.