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Monday, June 19, 2017

Don't Get Ugly


I’ve developed a personal rule to allow myself to complain or whine one time. Just once I’ll indulge myself. 

I’ve been around people, and I’m sure you have too, that indulge a little too much, if you know what I mean. I don’t want people hiding from me when they see me coming. So I’ve chose to do this. 

Because it’s slowly occurred to me that I can spread seeds of negativity pretty easily. Notice that I say slowly. It’s hard to learn this, because we all are rather selfish if you want to be honest about it. At least I am learning right? Better to be growing and maturing in my spiritual walk, then to still be a miserable old cow, (yes I said it!) when I’m in my 80’s. 

And I say easy, because it is so much easier to focus on yourself and indulge in self pity. It’s remarkably easy to spread poison around. 

Again, it comes down to a choice. It always seems to don’t it? I can choose to go around and whine, gripe, and rage to whoever will listen about what a victim I am, how mistreated I am. Or  I can stand up and be the woman of grace that I truly am. Because I’ve been given Grace. I am remarkably blessed. 

Instead of seeing the weeds in the garden of life, I want to see the beautiful flowers. I want to plant the flowers. 
If you want butterflies, you must plant flowers.  If you are focused on garbage, you get flies. 

As I’ve studied the life of Joseph, it became glaringly true that he didn’t allow the ugliness to diminish his integrity. He left such an impression on those around him by his character and diligence. 

Think about it; here’s the favorite son, who’s been doted on, now a slave. He’s doing menial work. The Bible says clearly that Potiphar was so impressed with Joseph that he entrusted his whole household to him. 

Then Potiphar’s floozie wife slanders him and gets him thrown into prison. 

But in the prison, Joseph still shined. It says that the warden eventually put Joseph in charge of those imprisoned. He entrusted him with everything. 

When a person has been mistreated, and reduced to such a lowly position, the temptation is strong to not give a care. Why even try? Just do enough to slide by. Who’s going to care anyway? What difference does it make if I don’t give an effort.

Joseph didn’t do that. He did more than just work hard, he proved to be trustworthy. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that he was a joy to be around. 

And it’s obvious he didn’t bend everybody’s ear to spread negative poison around either. Although who could blame him if he did? 

Very sobering stuff I know right? You can understand now why he has been such an inspiration to me. 

As I was pondering on these things, and writing this blog, I thought of the passage in Romans 7.

“I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” The Message

The pull of self is very strong as you know. But thank God, It doesn’t have me in a stranglehold. I’m not helpless in its pull. I need Him so badly. He’s the Vine to my branch. 


Because of Him, I don't have to be ugly, just because life is ugly. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

False Impressions


False impression....an idea formed in the mind that is based on mistaken ideas. Not genuine or real. Intended to be misleading or deceptive. 


“Don’t go into that department, the women there aren’t very friendly and they don’t want to be bothered.” 

These words were spoken to my friend from her boss. She was told these women were chilly and hateful. So she believed this and stayed away. If she had to venture into this department, she approached reluctantly, expecting the worst.

Slowly over time, she began to spend a little more time with these women as she did her job in that area. A discovery was made that changed her perspective. These women were not chilly and hateful. As a matter of fact, they were rather nice. Friendly and approachable. Nothing at all like she was told. And so a relationship was formed.

False impressions can be damaging. It keeps us from potential friendships or relationships. And it’s all based on lies. We believe a lie about somebody and then keep them at arms length.

We never explore the truth about them. But if we dare to do so, usually we find out that we were mislead. 

So what is your impression about God? How do you feel about Him? Is it based on what you have been told? Has it been shaped from your circumstances? From what someone posted on Facebook, or what the media portrays? 

Did you ever consider that you may be pushing Him away because of false impressions? We do have an enemy of our souls. And our enemy hisses lies into our ears coaxing us to doubt God.

“He can’t be trusted.” 
“He doesn’t care about you.” 
“He will strike you down.” 
“You’re not good enough for Him”
“You messed up your life too much” 
“You’re not worth the trouble.” 
“There’s no hope for anything better.”
“This is as good as it will get.”

And so on and so forth. I’ve heard it all myself. And yes I believed some of those lies too. 

Just like my friend who stayed away from the “hateful” women, I have pushed God away. I have doubted Him. I believed lies about myself. 

These are false impressions, a deception from the pit of hell to keep you and me from knowing, really knowing God. Because when you really know Him, it changes everything. The blinders are removed from your eyes and your whole perspective changes. 

To know Him personally is liberating. It is freedom. Otherwise you are walking around believing a lie. Robbed of the most important relationship you will ever have. 

The truth is that you were created to have a relationship with God. And nothing or nobody will ever be sufficient. The aching and emptiness remains. And so we attempt to fill it anyway we can. And still we yearn. 

He’s standing at the door of your heart, knocking. He has a place for you at His table. Sweet communion awaits you. Don’t push Him away because of your false impressions. 


I guarantee that you will never regret giving your heart to Him. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Disappointments



As the Cupbearer left the prison, he gave a thumbs up. “It won’t be long now. You’ll be out soon!” For the first time in a long time, Joseph’s hopes were surging. 

This was surely a “God” thing right? He sent this erstwhile cupbearer across his path in the prison. The cupbearer had a dream, and God gave Joseph the meaning. The cupbearer would be freed and retain his position. 

It happened just as God said. He urged the cupbearer to plead his case before Pharaoh. “Remember me and show me kindness. Mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon.”

Every morning he work up with anticipation. Would this be the day? He expected any day now to walk out of here. 

But days and weeks pass and nothing happens. A sad commentary is Genesis 40:23; “The Chief Cupbearer, however did not remember Joseph, he forgot him.” 

One disappointment is bad enough, but when you get hit numerous times it can take a toll. It can become a mindset. You get used to being let down, the second option, forgotten about, ignored. 

You learn new habits: keep your expectations low, close yourself in, tuck in another hurt. After all, you have to protect yourself from another hurt. 

And it’s just a short step from disappointment with people to disappointment with God. We pray for God to move in our favor. That He would change people’s hearts toward us. 

Do you think Joseph prayed passionately in the prison? “Please God, make the Cupbearer remember me. Get me out of here. Move on my behalf.” 

Yes, God did use the Cupbearer, and yes, He did answer Joseph’s prayers. Just not in the way Joseph imagined. It was “beyond what we can ask for or imagine” wasn’t it? 

In my opinion, disappointment has to be a favorite weapon of the enemy. Perhaps there are those who are indifferent; they can just brush it off. 

But I’m sure they are in the minority. And believe me, I’m not one of them. 

The truth of the matter is, if you are walking around on this earth, eventually you will face disappointment. It is inevitable. 

So where does our security lie? 

“The chief cupbearer however did not remember Joseph, he forgot him.” 

Yes, people can forget. People can be fickle. Was the Cupbearer purposely out to get Joseph? No I’m sure he wasn’t. He forgot. 

I forget. I let people down. Do you? 

You may feel completely forgotten, that even God has forgotten. But this is not so. 

He does not treat you as the world does. He alone is your resting place. Your security. 

Psalm 27:10 says, “ Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me”  Isaiah 49:16, “See I have engraved you on the palms of My hands; your walls are ever before me.” 

Tomorrow is unknown to us. But we can walk in confidence and authority because God is in our tomorrows. He is already there and will be sufficient for us. 


He will answer in a way not imagined or even asked for. Trust Him in this and see if He won’t prove true. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rambling Thursdays


I’m sharing another travel location on today’s Rambling Thursdays edition. If you enjoy antiques, flea markets, food, cheese, anything Amish made; then Holmes County Ohio is for you. Click here for a website full of information. 

Holmes county has gentle rolling hills with neat as a pin farms. Charming villages dot the county.  We spent an enjoyable weekend. I would go back again. 

Millersburg is the centerpiece of the county. It is a quant town with plenty of shopping. You could easily spend a day here. Other nearby towns are Sugarcreek, Berlin, and other tiny villages. Click here for maps. Each town has something for you. 

We stayed overnight in Millersburg. Click Here for a list of options. There are plenty of hotels or bed and breakfasts. 

If you can’t find food, cheese or a baked item, there’s a problem. These wonderful items are Everywhere! The hard choice will be what to eat now and what to take home. Make sure you bring a cooler. You will bring stuff home to enjoy later. Here is a list of all Amish Fare.

We ate at Chalet in the Valley, which as the name suggests sits in a beautiful valley. Right across from the restaurant is a cheese house, just in case you didn’t get that cheese fix yet. They serve authentic Swiss and Austrian cuisine. The building alone looked like it belonged in Switzerland. The food was really good. Highly recommend it. 

The county is full of antique shops, flea markets and various other shops. You will find something to buy. I guarantee it! Here is a shopping guide. 

While you are in the area you must visit Lehman's in Kidron, which is just to the Northeast of Millersburg. The 35,000 square feet store is a unique shopping experience. There are items here that you will not see anywhere else. Plan to visit for awhile, it’s that big! 

Just to the west off of US 30 is Orrville, home of Smuckers.Yes, the jam. They have an awesome store. We’ve been here a few times and always leave with a bag full of goodies. There’s a cafe where you can get a toasted PB&J with of course... Smuckers jelly. 

As you can see, this is a wonderful getaway to enjoy great food and shopping. Perhaps not so much for kids, although we did drive up to Canton to the Football Hall of Fame. Since both of us are huge football fans, we loved it. Kids would love this. 

I highly recommend visiting Holmes County. We loved our time there and would go back. Happy Vacation Planning! 

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Pregnant Pause



I'm sharing this blog post from a few years ago. It encouraged me this morning. I want you to know that in whatever season you may be in, that God has not forgotten you. It is not a wasted season in His plan. 


Pregnant Pause: A pause that gives the impression that it will be followed by something significant. 

Since we have a DVR, I love the pause button. It comes in quite handy when a interruption breaks up a great show or scene. Instead of missing out, I can pick up the remote and click pause. After tending to the interruption, I can click play and pick up right where I left off. 

Needless to say, this has transformed my TV viewing. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could apply this to life? If we could pause those nasty interruptions that barge into our lives? Better yet, if we could click play and go back to the much longed for days we had before? A nice thought, but alas it can never be. 

I read the definition of a pregnant pause this morning. The pause I’m in right now doesn’t feel like a pregnant pause. I honestly feel sometimes nothing significant will come from this.  Perhaps you feel the same way about yours. 

Do you think Joseph felt that his situation was a pregnant pause? We all know that yes, something very significant happened at the end. But in the middle of a pause, the outlook can be quite grim sometimes. 

Somewhere along the way, Joseph began to see that God had him and this situation well in hand. Genesis 45:5-8 reveals his awesome faith in his God. Listen to what he said when he revealed himself to his brothers:

 “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God."

Reading this really elevates your faith doesn’t it?  When you know your purpose and whose hand is on your life, the interruptions of life will not sway you.

It also means that the pauses of life aren’t wasted seasons. We don’t just endure this “wasted” season of our lives until favorable conditions return. There isn’t a pause in His presence, His grace, in His purpose for us. 

God is working now. He is preparing our hearts. Changing us from the inside out. Easing the bitterness out of the wound, and creating a tender heart. He is blessing others through us now. Yes even now in this pregnant pause. 

Joseph was a blessing to his master, and to his fellow prisoners. God used him powerfully in the middle of the pause. But you and I have to let Him do this don’t we? It’s alway a choice isn’t it? 

I don’t always want to choose the right way. The old twisted sister would love to wallow around in self pity, moan and groan to whoever will listen about my sad lot in life, indulge in those ugly thoughts, and just be miserable to everybody. 

Like David, I’m speaking to myself the truth. That my God is still at work now. His purpose for me has not ended. I can be a blessing now. 

This isn’t just a pause, an interruption. It’s a pregnant pause. Because of the faithfulness of my God, something significant will happen. 

The Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:6 NIV

Monday, April 24, 2017

Identity Scam


I became a victim of identity theft a few months ago. In spite of all we did to protect ourselves, nevertheless this happened at my husband’s job by a fake email scam. Because I recently worked there, my Social Security number was stolen, along with many others. 

As a result our lives will probably be altered from now on. We had to freeze our credit reports and keep a watchful eye on all our accounts. 

I had to make an inconvenient trip to an IRS office to clear my identity, which meant gathering written proof of who I am. Social Security card, Driver License, Tax Returns, Birth Certificate, Bills, etc...

Thankfully the IRS agent was very helpful and cleared it all up. After looking over all my proof, there was no doubt of who I am. He couldn’t deny the truth after that.

My identity may be in doubt. I may have to prove it again. Another trip to the IRS may be in order in the years to come. But I’ll just pull out the proof again and hopefully it will be cleared up. 

I have my own unique identity, which has been formed since my birth. Formed from my surroundings, circumstances, and my choices. What is my identity? What do I believe about myself? 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my own identity scams. Lies I believed about myself. Negative garbage I’ve heard, or perceived about myself.  

“You’re not loved”, “You’ll never amount to much,” “You’re ugly”, “You will always be a victim”, “You can’t rise above this”..and so on and so forth. 

I can’t change my past. I can’t go back and undo the pain. I can’t retrace my steps, my choices. Ugly things have been done and said to me. I have the scars to prove it. So is this to be my lot in life? Is this my identity? Will it define me forever?

My friend, if we are believing these lies about ourselves, then it is a identity scam. It’s a scam to get us to live way beneath ourselves. To live short of our God given potential. The cold iron links of lies can chain us for years. 

But it doesn’t have to be like that. My God is a God of redemption. He can free the captive heart. He restores the pain. He can heal those open wounds. I can testify to His great power to do this. 

He healed and restored me completely. The chains have been broken and I am free. He longs to do the same for you. If you let Him. 

Sometimes an identity crisis can happen. Doubt and fear harasses me and I question myself. But I have written proof. Proof that shuts up even the enemy of my soul. It’s the truth that can’t be denied. 

The Word of God tells me,  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 

I’m not merely renovated, I’m transformed. A new creature. 

 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

How can I question the Potter of the clay, “Oh I’ll never amount to anything?” I am His workmanship and I am beautiful in His eyes. 

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7

In and through Jesus I have restoration and redemption. He has lavished His grace on me. 

I’ve only shared three verses. I could fill pages and pages of promises. Written proof that will clear up any identity scam. It is the Word of God that has the power to transform our minds, the way we think. 

I’m ending with a beautiful promise. Let Him free you. 


“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:31-34

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rambling Thursdays


Summer is fast approaching and I’m sure some of you are planning vacations or long weekends. So I’ll be giving you some ideas on my Rambling Thursdays. Today I’m talking about Parke County Indiana. 

Parke County is one of my favorite places to visit here in Indiana. It’s a beautiful rural area; wooded and hilly. Great for a country drive, antiquing, hiking, photography, food, river activities and just getting away from it all. Click here for any detailed information. 

Of course Parke county is known for Turky Run State Park. This is an awesome state park. Sugar Creek runs through the middle of the park. A suspension bridge adjoining each side. Awesome hiking, some of it rugged. It has a beautiful inn, horseback riding, campground, swimming pool, and nature center. You can easily spend a few days in the park, if you so desire.  But there’s much more to do in Parke County. 

Shades state park is also close by. In my opinion, it’s just as beautiful as Turkey run. Some of it more so. It’s also more quieter than Turkey Run. I’ve hiked there on occasions without meeting a soul. Pine Hills Nature Preserve which is inside the park is probably the best hike I have ever done in Indiana. Bar none! Highly recommend it. 

Canoeing and kayaking on Sugar Creek is an awesome way to spend the day. Sugar Valley Creek Canoes is a great way to start. These people will get you started. They also have tubes for floating the river. They do all the work shuttling you around. 

If you love antiques, there’s plenty of shops for you. Click here for a list. Of course Parke county is the epicenter for the Covered Bridge festival every October. 

Yes, Parke County is known for their covered bridges. Here's a list, and also link to a map. They are all unique and quite beautiful. It makes for an enjoyable country drive to visit them.

Rockville is the county seat. It is a very small town, but there are a few nice restaurants and plenty of antique shops. The county is full of tiny towns, but Bridgeton is probably my favorite town to visit. There’s a beautiful covered bridge and a grist mill on the creek. 

Parke county has plenty of options for lodging. Motels, cabins, camping and bed n breakfasts. Here's a list of what is available.

Lastly, if you desire to drive a little further out, Saint Mary of the Woods, just north of Terre Haute, Saint Mary of the Woods is a beautiful place to visit. The grounds are so peaceful and beautiful. And the Sunday brunch is to die for! I highly recommend it. 



If you love pottery, drive south to Clay City Pottery They make beautiful pottery and sell them in a store there in Clay City. 


You will love Parke County as a getaway. I’ll have another vacation idea in my next Rambling Thursday. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Willing Savior Pt 2



There in the garden, they had Him surrounded. The betrayer did the dirty deed through an intimate kiss. Now they closed ranks to seize Him.

The peaceful garden of Gethsemane broke loose in chaos. Swords flashed, blood flowed, and then His words stop everyone. The words still stop our hearts. 

 Put your sword back. People who live by the sword die by the sword. Surely you realize that if I called on My Father, He would send 12 legions of messengers to rescue Me. But if I were to do that, I would be thwarting the scriptural story, wouldn’t I? And we must allow the story of God’s kingdom to unfold. 

Why did you bring these weapons, these clubs and bats? Did you think I would fight you? That I would try to dodge and escape like a common criminal? You could have arrested Me any day when I was teaching in the temple, but you didn’t.

This scene has come together just so, so that the prophecies in the sacred Scripture could be fulfilled. Matthew 26:52-56 The Voice Bible

Get ready...hold on to your seats! Because this is a powerful life changing truth. Jesus wasn’t forced to die. He could have stopped it. He could have called down armies of angels to clean house. 

He did it willingly. The Almighty God allowed Himself to be betrayed, led away and killed. He was a willing, suffering Savior. Jesus entered my hot mess of a life. He dove deep in my pain and suffering; Felt. it. all.

So this begs the question...if He was willing to suffer and die for me, then how much more is He willing to transform my life? And how willing is He to love me? 

And that is where it gets difficult sometimes. Because to be honest I don’t feel worthy to be loved like that. I am well aware of how unlovely I can be. The enemy of my soul hisses in my ear that I am not worth it. He could never love me. Ugly thoughts harass and torment me. But that’s not the truth is it?

The life changing truth is that we’re not talking about mere human love. This is God’s love. His love isn’t a “soft”, “mushy”, “fickle” kind of love. His love is fiery, passionate, and righteous. 

He never began to love you. He has always loved you. And He will never stop loving you. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3 

I think Charles Spurgeon says it so beautifully: 

He loved you without beginning, before years and centuries and millenniums can be counted, your name was on His heart. Eternal thoughts of love have been in God’s bosom towards you. He has loved you without pause. There was never a minute in which He did not love you. Your name once engraved on the palm of His hands has never been erased. Nor will He ever blot it out of the book of life. 

Since you have been in this world He has loved you most patiently. You have often provoked Him. You have rebelled against Him times without number, yet He has never stopped the outflow of His heart towards you. And, blessed be His name, He never will! You are His and you always shall be His. Jesus says, "Because I live, you shall live also." God's love to you is without boundary. He could not love you more, for He loves you like a God—and He never will love you less. All His heart belongs to you. "As the Father has loved Me," says Jesus, "even so have I loved you."

This transforming, powerful love changed my life forever. I don’t understand it. I even question it at times. Nevertheless, He has my heart. This is what you and I were created for. No other will fill our emptiness. 


He’s wooing you now. He’ll never stop drawing you. Even to death’s door He will call to you. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Willing Savior Pt 1


We all have our own unique cross to bear. We each have burdens, sufferings, and painful situations. Most of the time we don’t have a choice. We can’t avoid it. We just shoulder it and go on. 

But if you were to give me a choice? Would I choose to suffer? To go through pain? No thank you. I would never choose to do so. I want to avoid it if I can. 

But what about carrying someone else’s cross? Shouldering someone else’s burdens and pain? Well, I can help a little. But no matter how much I love them, and want to help, I’m only human. I can only do so much. 

But if I could do it, would I do it willingly? That’s a tough question. I don’t know if I would, to be honest. Sometimes with the ones I love the best, I may feel like I would. I don’t like to see them suffer. Or anyone for that matter. But what about someone who deserves punishment? 

Would I take someone else’s punishment for a crime I didn’t commit? I may feel like a noble, good person, but deep down...I just don’t know if I would do that. After all, sometimes they just plain deserve it. 

Well.....I deserved punishment. I am guilty of sin. I was Simon Peter who fell at Jesus feet and cried, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8  I was Judas who betrayed Him for coin. I was much worse. 

I was born into sin. Nobody had to teach me how to sin, I just did it. It was my nature. It rose up within me, like a underground spring. You can’t cap this. So what’s the answer? 

Do all the good works I can to gain God’s favor? Follow all the rules to a T? Go to church every time the door opens? Give all my money to charity? Or just turn a cold shoulder to God and pretend I don’t care? 

I so love Paul’s vulnerability when he shares the his struggle with the sin problem; But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

 I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 6:17-25 The Message Bible

Yes, thank God, Jesus Christ can and does! Paul goes on to share this gospel, (good news) in the next few verses:

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. Romans 8:1-4 The Message Bible

Dear friend, let this soak in your spirit. Drink it in. It stirs my spirit. Jesus entered my hot mess of a life and took my punishment. He dove deep in my pain and suffering; Felt. it. all. He set me free. I now have a spring of life, bubbling up within me. Wholeness, joy and peace. 


It’s a gift, a free gift. Yet bought with a price by a willing, suffering Savior. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rambling Thursdays



Winter is winding down and I’m beginning to plan my garden. When it gets into March, I get restless for Spring. Yet I have done a little work outside. I’ve pruned bushes and the peach trees. Tulips, daffodils, and grape hyacinths are peeking out of the ground. 

I’m primarily a flower gardener, yet I love my vegetable garden as well. Flowers are my passion. I’m willing to try new species. I’ve had some fail miserably and others prove a lovely surprise. I keep track of these successes and failures in a journal I’ve kept for about five years now. 

The journal is great for collecting pictures, store tags, and any useful information. I even have a section for garden quotes. I highly recommend it. In today’s Rambling Thursday’s edition, I thought I would share some ideas for your garden this summer. 

Elderberry: This is something new I planted a couple of years ago. It’s a small shrub that I planted at the back of a border. It exceeded my expectations. It has beautiful lacy foliage with pink flowers. It almost looks like a Japanese maple. Very easy to grow. Plant in the sun or partial shade. You may have to prune it every year. Other than that, not much work at all to maintain. 

Anise hyssop: This is my favorite flower. The flowers are pretty lavender spires. Other colors may be available. Very easy to grow, in fact, it thrives just about anywhere. I’ve transplanted a few plants from one flower. 

It can get a bit tall, so it’s a good back of the border plant. The leaves smell like licorice. Another plus...the butterflies and bees adore it. 

Heliopsis.  Another very easy flower to grow. Almost like miniature sunflowers. It’s thrives in the sun. As long as you dead head the spent flowers, it will bloom till fall. 

It can get a bit tall and fill out quite well. So give it plenty of room. It transplants well also. 

I’m sure you are seeing a pattern by now. Easy to grow, transplants well. That’s how I roll! I’ve done all the work, so learn from me. 

Butterfly resting on a Pholx


Coral Bells: I’ve grown to love these plants. They are similar to Hostas, only smaller and more colorful. Beautiful foliage and some have delicate flowers. They grow in partial to full shade. Easy to grow. They are small, squat plants, so you’ll have to put them in front. There are many varieties and colors. 

Catmint: I discovered this flower a few years ago. Fragrant leaves and purple spires. You can’t go wrong with this one. Very easy to grow. Loves full sun, but probably partial shade will be fine. It will bloom until fall. It’s a small plant, but will widen, so give it room. Butterflies and bees love it. 

Butterfly Bush: If you love lilacs, you’ll love Butterfly bushes. It’s a woody plant that produces small lilac like flowers. Once planted, they will establish themselves for years in your garden. They will get tall and wide. Full sun is needed. If you deadhead the spent flowers, it will continue to bloom into late summer/early fall. You will need to prune it back at the end of the season. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love this plant. 

Tiger Lily 


Baptista Bush: This is another similar bush that has become a favorite. My neighbor gave me a start off hers. It has beautiful purple spire flowers and pretty cool foliage. It almost reminds me of a pea vine. It blooms in early summer, but the bush is pretty enough on it’s own. 

Once planted, it will establish itself for many years. So plan on not moving it. 

Hydrangea: I’ve kind of flirted with the idea for years about getting these beautiful shrubs, but have frankly been intimidated. How fussy are they? Is it worth it? I bought a couple and loved them. They love morning sun and afternoon shade. So I found a perfect place to plant them. 

There are a few different kinds, so I would do my research online before you buy. They are beginning to show signs of growth now, so they aren’t exactly delicate in our Indiana winters. I don’t regret planting them. They are beautiful. 

Peony: Of course you must have Peonies! What would spring be without their beautiful, mop head flowers? And wow, so fragrant! They don’t like to be moved about, so make sure to plant them in an well established spot. But once you planted them, that’s about all the work you’ll have to do. 
Just pruning them down after blooming is all the work required here. 

Coneflowers: I love these daisy like flowers. Again, very easy to grow, transplants well, and blooms till fall. Many different colors to choose from. I have many and can’t resist another pretty face when I see one at my local greenhouse. You can’t go wrong with a coneflower. 

All the flowers I’ve listed above are Perennials. They will come back year after year. They’ve been my proven favorites through the years. Start a bed with these in it and you’ll have a great flower garden. Don’t be afraid to try new ones though. Do your research first and go for it. 


Happy gardening! 

Monday, February 27, 2017

A purpose for living?


In my last blog, I revealed an intimate picture of a God who isn’t distant and uncaring, but whose heart beats for you. 

This same God desires to give you a purpose for living. He not only wants you to thrive here in the land of the living, but more wonderfully, even beyond death.

That’s hard to picture sometimes in the here and now. I’ve had a painful past and have the scars to prove it. I experience pain and sorrow now. Just because I am a Believer doesn’t mean I’m exempt from that. 

You may come up and ask, “How are you Deb?”. I honestly can’t say, “Completely satisfied and overflowing with joy!”  

To be clear, I have a “joy unspeakable” deep within that cannot be shaken. I have peace with God, through Jesus’ work on the cross. God’s spirit dwells within me. He has lavished His grace on me and I am a very blessed woman.

Yet I live in a broken world. Life can be difficult and messy. It can be downright painful at times. But there is an awesome, powerful truth in all this and I want to share it with you:

 And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.

If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.
1 Corinthians 15;13-20 The Message Bible

Do you see the passage I marked bold? “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.”

Is this all there is to life? To live approximately 80 years and poof, die. The end? 

As a believer, is it all about stamping my ticket to heaven? I’m on my way there and that’s all that matters? Just passing time until I die? 

No, a thousand times no! Look at what Jesus said to His disciples when in a gush of faith they said, “We believe that You came from God.” 

Jesus answered them, “Do you finally believe? In fact, you’re about to make a run for it—saving your own skins and abandoning me. But I’m not abandoned. The Father is with me. I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:32-33 The Message Bible

In a few short hours, Jesus would experience the cross. But the cross was not the end. He did overcome, not just for Himself, but for us. If there was not a resurrection, we would be a most miserable people and life would be meaningless. 

But thank God, He did rise victorious! And this has powerful ramifications for us if we would believe. It means that we don’t have to live in despair. Even through the difficulties, we will be unshakable, assured and at peace just like Jesus promised. It means that His presence and power will be at work in and through us, even in pain and suffering. In this broken and messed up world we have an abiding, unwavering hope. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

I think 2 Corinthians 4 says it so well: 

You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.....So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 
The Message Bible

There's so much more to life than you know. Without Jesus, you are missing out on Real Life. Because He is Life Everlasting. Life in the here and now, and beyond the grave. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Who is this God?


You know, oftentimes I have preconceived ideas about people I meet. I judge them from face value and determine things that in all likelihood aren’t true. It takes effort and time to get to know people. Kind of like a onion, we peel back the onions layer by layer until we see that deep down we all struggle with the same stuff and carry much the same baggage.

I think we do the same thing with God. What are your preconceived ideas about Him? 

Is God unapproachable and distant? Does He care about me? Do I need to go through a bunch of rituals and follow a slew of rules to gain His love? 

I recently read a powerful verse in the tiny book of Zephaniah that hopefully causes us to rethink any ideas we have about God.

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

A picture comes into my mind of a parent holding a child. Quieting it’s cries, singing a lullaby and just holding it close. It’s a intimate scene. 

When anxieties and fears harass me, when I’m at a low ebb, when I feel rejected and unloved, I can crawl into His arms and allow Him to hold me close. I can let go and know peace, security and a strong love. He holds me tight through it all. He quiets me with His love. 

Be still and know that I am God. I’ve got you and will not let go. I am enough for you. 

He is always there. That’s never the question. The question is...”Will I go after Him? Will I let Him love me? Will I let Him close? 

Sadly, sometimes I will muddle along until I finally go to Him. 

But what especially blows my mind is this idea that He rejoices over me. OVER. ME. How can this be? 

I’m so quick to scrutinize myself, to pore over shortcomings and weaknesses. And here He looks at me in this way? No words people. How do you explain this? It’s a wonder to be loved like this. 

You can push Him away, curse His name, and even shake your fist at Him. Hey, He went through much worse on the cross. He still loves you with a relentless love. He’s still as close as your breath. and will come running when you finally give up and allow Him to love you. 

When you do, I guarantee you, sure enough as my name is Deb that you’ll finally find your soul mate. Cause He is the only One who is. 


You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to You, Your face Lord, do I seek. Psalm 27:8

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Broken Vessel


The Israelites were desperate for deliverance. Exodus 2:23  tells us they were groaning for it. Crying out in prayer. The Egyptians were unrelenting slave masters.

In verse 24 it says God heard their groaning. God saw and remembered His promise. He knew. And He had just the person to lead them out. 

This man He picked? A fugitive. A murderer. But also familiar with the Egyptian royal courts. Adopted by a princess. Now fallen out of favor and a obscure shepherd on the far side of the desert. 

This was the man handpicked by God Almighty to save His people? When encountered by God at the burning bush, Moses didn’t even want the job. He argued with God. He cringed in doubt and fear. 

But he humbled himself and God used him powerfully. He was the answer for the Israelites. 

Moses has always been one of my favorite people in the Bible. I guess because I’ve struggled much the same way. We tend to think of Moses as this self-confident, fearless and assertive guy. But you know, when you read Exodus chapters 3-4 you may think otherwise. 

He spends all of chapter 3 and part of 4 arguing with God about why he can’t do it. In fact he says, “I’m not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to me, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Finally he even says, Oh, my Lord please send someone else.” 

Yea, I see myself here. The Word once again is a mirror, shining it’s light into my heart. 

The Word tells me that I am a Temple of the Lord walking around. He lives in me by His Spirit. But yet there seems to be a paradox sometimes. I am weak and insecure at times, I certainly am “slow of speech” too. Doubts can flare up. I feel rather inadequate. 

Why me Lord? Why did You choose me? 

I don’t have the answer for that. But like Moses, I just have to give myself, flaws and all, and know He is enough. He is powerful enough to shine through my weaknesses, my brokenness. Hopefully you will see more of Him, less of me. See His beauty outshine my flaws. 

The bottom line is that He came for broken people. The ones crying out for freedom and deliverance. He hears the groaning of your heart. And He hears. He cares. 


And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

In This World....


It had been a wonderful time on the mountain. A most intimate moment with Jesus. They had been ministered to, they rejoiced and saw heavenly things that filled them with wonder. 

How badly they wanted to remain longer here. Soak up the sweet presence of God and ponder upon this experience. 

Never-the-less it was time to leave. They descended glowing still, their hearts full. It was back to reality. And what a ugly thing reality can be. 

They came upon an unpleasant scene. The disciples who remained behind were involved in a fracas. They appeared to be distressed and confused. People were yelling,  pointing fingers, jostling bodies pushed in anger. A group of religious teachers were right in the middle of the melee sneering with accusations. 

Standing off to one side was a father and a young boy who watched sadly. Shoved aside and forgotten in this drama. 

Now I can’t speak for you, but I would probably be tempted to turn around and climb up that mountain to hold onto what warm feelings I have left. Life can be rather difficult at times and it seems much better to escape the ugliness than to bear down and face it. 

Jesus did more than just face it. He rose above the negative atmosphere calmed the situation and touched that father and his son. He was proactive rather than checking out. 

Jesus warned us we would have days like these. “In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

This life and all that goes with it can be quite overwhelming at times. I get tired of the struggles and conflicts. After a while my soul gets weary, I want to escape. Why can’t the mountaintop experiences remain a little longer? How can I keep my mind on higher things when I’m facing ugly realities that pull me down? 

I believe our mindset is the key in how we handle the rough spots. If we are already defeated in our minds, then it stands to reason we will  be defeated. What if a football team comes out of the locker room with their heads down, bogged down in the disappointment of their last loss?  What if they had listened to the press coverage about their opponents, “This team can’t be beat, the won’t gain a yard against their defense...”  What if they listened to coverage about themselves? “They played horrible in their last two games. There’s just too many key injuries that will hinder them. They can’t win this game...”  

I highly doubt they will play well in this game. They are already defeated before they hit the field. How can you face life’s challenges with a mindset like this?  

What are you confessing to yourself? Does everything look so bleak? Are you proclaiming defeat? A negative mindset can surely bog you down. 

Perhaps we need to change our mindset. Does this mean we are blind to reality? No, it means we choose to see the truth. Truth says: I can overcome the world because He overcame it. I can do all things in Christ, because He gives me strength. I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. His divine power has given me everything I need for life and godliness. These powerful sentences are in the Word. 

Can’t God work even in the midst of the rough spots? Can we bask in His presence in the middle of chaos? Is it impossible for God? I believe He can, and I believe that I can overcome. And it all starts in my mind. If it’s all gloom and doom there, then I guarantee that negativity will reign in my world. 


We can be proactive rather than just reacting. We can be a powerful witness. It’s your choice. If you want to remain in the pit of negativity, then you will. You don’t have to remain there. Choose to see truth and confess it.