New Things

Just a quick note before I get to my post.  I have had a good number of comments to my previous blogs that have no name on them.  They are encouraging, and I am always grateful.  I respond with a thank you, but  I would like to know who I’m replying to. Would you include your name if you make a comment?  I appreciate comments in a big way.  They are an encouragement to me, and even more so if I know who sent them. Thank you!



It’s a little bit crazy how much work we put into our Christmas celebrations.  The tree hunting, the decorating, the shopping, the musical programs, the Christmas cards, and let’s not forget the food to buy and prepare.  This year my family chose to pare way down on the gift portion of our traditions.  A choice that created a canopy of ease and simplicity to celebrate under – a shelter to shade the glaring busyness of Christmas allowing us to see more clearly all that truly matters.


Christmas is over and we are looking toward the new year.  Many are looking forward to the fun parties and get togethers on New Year’s Day, but I always look forward to the freshness and the possibilities of the year to come.  It’s a good launching point for new ideas and goals – a running start to make our lives count.

It can be sad to say goodbye to Christmas and all the glittery splendor covering every corner of every home and store out there.  I am may be in the minority here, but I can maybe think of two times in my life when I didn’t take the tree down the day after Christmas (or even Christmas night – once).  It’s just that I know all the work is waiting for me and to linger means to postpone the task of creating a new space(s) to accompany the newness of the coming year.  I never just put everything back to the way it was. Sometimes going back to the old and familiar can be comforting.  But fresh approaches can be an inspirational.

DSC_5681DSC_5622DSC_5627DSC_5629(New place to read my Bible in the mornings – right where the sun rises)

When I rearrange and redecorate my home (something I do multiple times a year), 99.9 percent of the materials come from things I already have.  Thinking up new purposes for things you barely notice anymore can make that item seem brand new.  You’ll find yourself wondering why you never thought of that before!  There are many things you could do on a smaller scale that would still be new and fresh.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve painted that probably aren’t normal to paint.  Like the hood over my stove or my ugly wicker laundry baskets that I couldn’t stand one more day!  I already had a beautiful robin’s egg blue paint that I’ve used to paint a piano bench and the inside of my white hutch (also painted).  Within an hour’s time I had new robin’s egg blue wicker laundry baskets.  No purchase or expertise necessary.


I cleared out enough stuff to fill the back of my car and three more bags in the back seat! I regularly clear out because we don’t have a lot of storage and also the thought of having all of that stuff truly makes me feel panicky.  That’s why I was so surprised to have had that much to give away.  I was ruthless this time.  It felt a lot like making room.

I get distracted very easily.  I am tempted to (and usually do) jump up any number of times to – get this or that done while I’m thinking about it – during my quiet time with God in my mornings.  My life is no different.  Distractions don’t always look like distractions. Many distractions are disguised and deceitful.  Busyness is not the only (although most commonly blamed) distraction.  What about the state of mind I’m in?  Am I upset, depressed, tired, angry, worried?  Maybe I’m feeling inspired, generous, ambitious, or even excited for something that is wonderful.  We all experience these things, but do we let them take off with our hearts and make us forget our bearings?  Can we (I) learn to walk through all of these human conditions and still not lose our focus on Who matters more than anything?  To be still and know that He is God.  To follow wherever He leads.

My desire this new year is to clear out distractions and to be aware when they are hanging around.  I am praying for wisdom and strength to approach things differently when those distractions press hard to take over with their importance.  We’ve all heard it said that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.  But some of our stuff isn’t small or easy at all. May we remember that even the big stuff – be it good or bad – is overshadowed by the power and the beauty and the love of our GREAT GOD.

…And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’…  Mark 12:30




I Will Never Forget That (So I’ll Always Remember This)

* This is a repost from September, 2018

One day, when my boys were little, we all took off from home on a walk as we did most days.  This was a relatively new neighborhood for us and we had no established route.  We were headed over to my best friend’s house that was within a mile and a half from us (with a number of right and left turns on the way).  My oldest son (7 at the time) rode his bike in front of us.  When we were very close to my friend’s house my son rode a little faster and I lost sight of him.  I wasn’t too concerned as I assumed he had sped up and made it ahead of us to our destination.  After arriving and greeting my friend, carrying on with our usual excited chatter, at least five or so minutes later I realized I hadn’t yet seen my son there at her house.  I double checked with my friend that he had arrived before us.  She said he hadn’t.  I thought maybe he was playfully hiding or we had missed him in another room somehow. We called for him and looked through the house.  With a growing dread in my gut, I went outside to make sure his bike was parked out front.  I hadn’t even noticed before.  His bike was glaringly missing from the front yard and I knew that my son was lost.

To make any attempt to explain this feeling of horror would be a waste of time because it goes without saying.  Time needed to stop long enough for me to find my son!  But time was cruelly carrying on in spite of it all – albeit in slow motion; a sound like a train running through my ears.  Take my car!  Go, find him!  Climbing into my friend’s car and turning the key to an unknown future, I began to pray hysterically.  Nothing in the world held an ounce of consequence at that moment.  The only matter in existence was finding my lost son.

Searching, hoping, dreading – up and down every single street – it occurred to me that a miracle could have already happened.  I had the thought that my son may have somehow been able to navigate through the unfamiliar and find his way home.  Breath was hard to come by with this new found hope.  A miracle had indeed taken place in that space where time had begged to stand still.  He had found his way home!  I ran to him!  This trembling, young, precious, scared, and so very brave, smart son of mine clung to me.  We hugged each other and wept.  I can never, ever forget the floating-above-the-earth joy and relief and love I felt on that day, in that moment when I found my son.  It is incomparable.


My husband and I recently held a Sunday morning service at the rehabilitation hospital where I volunteer.  I spoke on the passage in Luke 15 where Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep.  If a shepherd has 100 sheep and one is lost he will leave the 99 others to go and search for the one.  The shepherd will go after the one which is lost until he finds it.  UNTIL HE FINDS IT.  The shepherd calls everyone together to celebrate the one that is found.  Jesus tells them that in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just persons who need no repentance.


I opened my message with the story of my son – lost and found.  I remembered the way I felt having my son safe again in my arms; that overwhelming surge of love that consumed my every thought.  I likened it to how God feels when one of His children repents and is saved; restored unto Him.  As I connected the two stories for the residents who were in attendance, I understood like I never had before, God’s response to our salvation.  His intense and unceasing love for us is tender and He will seek after us until we are found and safe in His arms.


I was taken with the thought of Jesus finding and saving me in the midst of all my sin and failure and despair, clinging to Him as He embraces me with tears of joy that I’ve come home.  I vowed to myself to always remember this connection that has helped me to understand God’s tender love for me more deeply than before.  I want to do my best to stay near to Him and bless Him by regarding His love for me; trying faithfully to not allow anything to put distance between us.  My found soul matters to God, and I will ask for His help to never disregard His passionate love or push Him away.  If we will trust Him we will see that His love is ever being revealed to us.


All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and  the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.  Luke 19:10