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13th of December

#MeToo And Then Some


Who would win Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”?  Who would be revealed on last Wednesday’s cover. For the first time ever, I was curious. Turns out, the “winner” isn’t a person, per se. Turns out, the “winner” is . . . The #MeToo movement—a movement that has become a tsunami of women standing up to sexual harassment and abuse. Isn’t it sad that this year’s winners have lost so much?  But there’s good news:


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5th of July

Abundance from Dependence


What do you do when your dreams aren’t coming true? What do you do when your heart breaks from the ache of wanting something so much and it looks like that one dream may never be yours?  Like Hannah who wanted a child.  Desperately. So what did Hannah do?  Instead of lashing out at her tormenter Peninnah, Hannah went straight to God with her lament and her request.  (1 Samuel 1:1-20) In short, Hannah poured


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12th of April

What Happens When the Hurting Seek Help


He comes up to me and leans in close to my ear. Will you pray for me? Of course, I say as I look into his eyes starting to well with tears. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handkerchief, dabs both his eyes, and with trembling voice tells me straight . . . I don’t feel God’s love.   Instinctively, I reach out and wrap my arms around this silver-haired man in


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22nd of March

UNRAVELING THE UNKNOWNS


He’s in critical condition with broken bones and a ripped up brain in an induced coma. He’s the 16 year-old brother of one of my former art students.  Our families attended the same church for a few years. Headed to school last Friday morning, he comes to a curve.  His car tumbles sideways—three times, I hear.  I see video of  his car being dragged out of the woods.  But he’s not out of the woods


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15th of December

The Presence of Peace in the Midst of Grief


The second week of Advent, we light that second candle.  The peace candle. Peace. I want that flame to touch every wicked thing around the world this Christmas. I want peace on earth and goodwill to spread towards all.  This is what we sing this season, isn’t it?  Peace?  Goodwill? And yet, Aleppo’s without water and there are reports of civilian executions and it all’s so far away.  But there’s the “bombings” we don’t see


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29th of June

Through Thick and Thin


Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2 Hayfield came down the other day.  At least part of it.  We split the harvest with the farmer up the road who has his cows. He’s got the equipment. We’ve got the grass. His cows and our horses need fed during the long stretch of frozen Wisconsin fields.  “Can’t cut it all today. Gonna rain. Can only cut what


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13th of June

Massacres and Scepters


Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the


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26th of May

Slaying That Dragon—Again


Sometimes the dragon you thought died—the one you thought you slayed with God’s word and your heaving, desperate prayers and every other right thing you knew to do at the time?  Sometimes that dragon comes back from the abyss as if it had never died and been buried.  One day, you turn and there you are, facing the Beast, fire-hot breath bating you . . . And you thought I was gone!  Ha!  I’m back.


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Glory Hunting
19th of May

Glory Hunting


I wake to the the sun streaming on my side of our bed.  A new day. My first thoughts?  A prayer formed from words in Lamentations about hope in the midst of affliction. Oh God, because of Your great love we are not consumed, for your compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.  Great is your faithfulness!  And then I roll over and face my husband, his eyes just opening. His first words? “I


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Who Guides You When You're Anxious?
12th of May

Who Guides You When You’re Anxious?


The Lord is MY shepherd . . . Psalm 23:1   Sometimes the fog rolls in on this farm covering pasture like cotton plucked and pulled thin.  Sometimes anxiety rolls in over me too, shrouding me.  Sometimes I just shake for lack of vision, for need of compassion, for someone to reach out and touch my head and tell me I’m not alone. In the fog and the fear, I hold one verse like a


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18th of November

Running on Full


I hate running. It hurts.  So why do I run?

I run because I have a gazillion things to do every day. I run because everyone else seems to run and I get caught in the current of busy.

Busy.  Busy.  Busy.

We are all so busy.

Sometimes I feel more machine than human.  More like a factory with as little down time as possible, except when this body must sleep.

Productivity reigns!

I am the product of the Industrial Age.  Aren’t we all in our culture?

Like being busy makes us so important, so useful, so wanted.

I hate the lie.

All the demands of life can leave me in a tizzy mentally and worn out physically.

Sure, some of the demands are self-imposed and important.  Like my husband, my kids, my other family and friends and all their legitimate needs.  All these people I love are wonderful gifts who deserve my time and energy.

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And then there are some other choices.

My husband and I chose to move to the country—to a horse farm—known to be therapeutic for kids with disabilities.  It is.  It has been a positive place not only for our family but for many others over the years.  But we’re also twenty-minute drive from any decent grocery store (sorry to the “Half-Pig” in town— the FULL Piggy Wiggly being 20 minutes away—but you don’t carry things like bok choy and spring mix and French baguettes freshly baked).  Just sayin’!

And then there are all those other necessary stores like Target, TJ Maxx (f0r all us “fashionistas”!), PETSMART (for those like me who can’t say “no” to the animals-in-need), and Home Depot (light bulbs and such) also a twenty-minute drive.

Oh!

I forgot COSTCO, my go-to for everything in quantity.  That’s thirty minutes away, the other direction.

And every single physician, dentist, orthodontist, hospital, speech therapist (a BFF Jennifer Eggert!), occupational therapist, physical therapist, reading specialist, etc.) is at LEAST twenty minutes away!  And two of our three “of-age” kids can’t drive so I have an invisible TAXI sign on the top of my car, lit all the time.  Can’t you see it?!

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So I’m out in the country acting like the chickens who live and die around here.  You know . . .

Chickens!?

No heads!?

Running, running, running!

Busy, busy, busy!

No brain.  No eyes.

Just emptying out the last of themselves before they drop over, dead on the dusty ground.

Lovely picture.

Too often, sadly, that’s me.

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I’m a chicken on a chopping block—a fish on a hook—a ‘possum in a trap.

I’m caught in our culture’s judgment of what makes humans most worthwhile, bound tight in a sucking whirlpool pulling me down, spinning me around, faster and faster still.  My soul is sick from the concoction of cultural message and social example.

My soul screams . . .

STOP!

STOP with the cell phone!

STOP with the laptop!

STOP with anything and everything God has not called me to DO!

STOP with all the pushes and pulls, the menacing morass that does violence to our souls!

My solution?

One of old . . .

Though not Catholic, their tradition provided me with an idea . . .

Many centuries ago, a bell tolled thrice daily—the Angelus bell.  The ring summoned the people to prayer.

To stop.

Still today, some Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans still stop, three times daily, and pray.

Though a Presbyterian, I joined their ranks.

I decided to be like-minded and like-willed.

I carved more time out of every single day to STOP . . .

and be quiet . . .

and still . . .

with God.

I’ve found that I need more than my once-in-the-morning, Evangelically-inspired “quiet time”.

As the world speeds up, I feel the need to slow down.

So I’m stopping.

And I’m letting myself breathe deeply and take in spiritual refreshing that seeps into my soul— slowly— drip-by-drip—calming my body and mind.

One thing I know . . .

I don’t do well when I’m RUNNING with God, thinking he’s tagging along behind, me in the lead.

In my worst, I run through my days, shooting up little prayers here and there, mostly HELP ME or HELP HIM/HER or HELP THEM. prayers in the car.

Not bad.

But  if that’s all I do, I end up dry and desperate and downright depressed.  Because non-reciprocal relationships are not true relationships.

What does God think?  What does God want?  How does God feel about the way we run our days?

Sometimes God calls us to run with him.  Most times we choose to run without hearing him calling us at all.  Most times we run after our own needs to fill holes in our souls, plugging them up with everything and anything but God.

I, for one, have found that I can’t live in daily spaces where I run dry, ground into the ground, without being tapped into the constant undercurrent of Living Water. I’m not a cactus like the many I saw in Arizona last week while visiting my father.

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I can’t survive long with just a ten minute sip of God and the Bible in the morning. And who, the pastor asked from our pulpit on Sunday, has even spent TEN MINUTES in the entire past week drinking from God’s word—praying, listening?

And we wonder why we have such existential angst in our world today?

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Our greatest threat to body, mind, and soul in these terrorized days is disconnection from Jesus and his Word.

“I am the true vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you will wither.” John 15:5-6

Though Jesus promised to never leave or forsake us, we leave him all the time. We go through our days harried and worried, terrified, not tapping into the well of abundance available through prayer— reading the Bible and talking with Jesus, our Living Word.

Our greatest threat today isn’t external.  Our greatest threat today is not KNOWING and BELIEVING and DOING God’s Word. How can we satisfy our souls if we don’t stop running and taking time for a good long drink of THE WORD? (John 1:1)

That’s why I have stopped running.

That’s why I am taking time, making time, all throughout each of my God-given days to STOP and drink up Jesus, wherever I am.

(Specifics? If thirsty, you’ll find them at the end of this post.)

Even though we live in a fast-paced world getting dizzier and crazier and more terrorized by the moment, we can STOP ourselves from drowning in the whirlpool of frenzy and worry.

Connection with God is our sanity.

Jesus IS our peace. (Ephesians 2:14)

Let Jesus be US!

Jesus IS — US, his followers, the antidote to ISIS, even if we are martyred for our faith.  The end of this life is the beginning of the next, for those of us who have placed our faith in Christ.

Start now.

Today.

Who will join me in becoming counter-cultural, stopping and listening and joining — with Jesus — to accomplish HIS agenda — specified in HIS word — that we can take in — freely  — without fear — at least in this present moment?

Just do it. (The swoosh company speaks some truth!)

All you have to lose is your anxiety.

All you have to gain is God himself.

All you have to do is give into Jesus — our all in all.  Let him give you ALL you need.  All the world needs.

Love.  Truth.  Peace.

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28 days to form a new habit and transform your life:

  1. Get up before everyone else. Read God’s Word.  What part? Start with the Gospel of John.  Read slow and think about every line. Question Jesus about it. Ask Jesus how it applies to your life. Listen.  Even if you think you can’t hear, Jesus will answer.  Jesus will transform you as long as you keep seeking him.
  2. What particular verse stands out to you? Write it down on an index card. Keep it with you and when you have a few moments (waiting in line, sitting at a red light) read, drink, absorb.
  3. Carve out three times a day, even if it’s five minutes. Morning. Noon. Night. Sit down. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. Open God’s word and drink some more. Quality over quantity. Breathe in (take God’s word in) and breathe out.  Talk with God by asking questions, praying for help to understand and applying his balm of truth on all your angst.  Receive what our soul craves.
  4. Notice the difference just a little attention to your soul makes.  Tell others.  Pass on the goodness of God!

 

 

 

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Finding Purpose in the Sick and Tired
11th of February

Finding Purpose in the Sick and Tired


I have been sick and tired.  Literally.  For exactly two weeks as of today.  I’m familiar with respiratory ailments like bronchitis and I’ve even had pneumonia a couple times in the past but nothing has ever leveled me like what turned out to be Influenza A.  I’ve always wondered why people die from the flu.  Now I know. First, my normally energetic body refused to go anywhere except straight to bed where it laid flat


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Come stroll the trails with me on our 44 acre Midwest horse farm where I seek God in the ordinary and always find Him--the Extraordinary--wooing, teaching, wowing me with Himself. Thanks for visiting. I hope you will be blessed!

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