I am uploading all of my 8mm video tapes onto my computer.  I have been going thru old memories, revisiting precious moments of my life.  My kids have gathered round to watch certain moments of their lives–birthday parties, special Christmases.

I’m hoping to share these moments with my family and friends.

It’s amazing what technology we now have, and the ability to share memories with each other.

When I was young, my uncle used to take movies of us–and he put them on a Reel TO Reel.  I’m not even sure where the movies are now–perhaps they are lost in the ravages of time.

Much of our history gets lost to the ravages of time.  I remember my chemistry teacher telling me that if things are not taken care of they will decay at a very fast rate.  They will still decay, even if they are taken care of–just at a slower rate.

When I was a young bride, my husband’s family took a trip to Canada to visit family.  As part of our trip, we went to an old town that my husband’s grandfather had lived in growing up–except no one lived there anymore, and the town had reverted to dust.  There were a few stone foundations left standing–but the town and its structures had literally disappeared.  It was very eerie.  

What is my point?  My point is that everything eventually will decay and disappear.   

This is a really good reminder for me.  I can tend to think–”oh–having this experience will fill me up, or—if I had financial security–I’d really be happy, I could have lots of beautiful things in my home, and I could throw beautiful parties and give lovely gifts—and then I’d be really, really happy.  Then I’d be loved”  

The truth is—God is the only One who can fill me up.  My security is in Him.  I am already loved by Him.  All the other things–they are gifts from Him–that He may choose to give or not give to me–but they are not Him.  When I start thinking others things can fill me–be it people or things—I have made them idols in my life.  

Ultimately–the “things” will not last.   But God–He is eternal, and He has given me and you and all of us– eternal souls.   We will last beyond the ravages of time.   Therefore what we choose to invest our lives in–should last beyond the ravages of time as well.  

God has the answers for each of us—but those answers will be centered on love—love as He defines it–not as we define it.   1 Corinthians 13:1-8   All of this is really great news—for God is able to satisfy each of our heart’s desires.  He has placed eternity in our hearts–and  saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.

May We Be Encouraged!!

Your part in the story will go on….

Today, I reread an old journal of mine. I found this journal that I kept right after my son Sean died.  In it, I share memories of Sean, and I pour out my grief and sorrow.  However, as I read it–I was struck by a quote I wrote down from the movie, “The Return of the King, (Lord of the Rings). ,  “How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.” (Frodo Baggins). “

At the end of the movie, Frodo says to Sam, You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the story will go on.

It struck me because just recently I wrote in my journal: 

Father,  I have been saying, , “You are worthy of loving, You are worthy of serving, You are worthy of obeying, You are worthy of trusting, you are worthy of praising even when my world and circumstances are horrid.”   For one thing–You will always be worthy regardless of my life and circumstances.  For another thing–there are wonderful moments as well as the horrid ones. 

There is my sweet 6 month old grandbaby giving us her mostly toothless grins, and the sweetness and vibrancy of our one year old granddaughter, the charm and laughter of our two year old granddaughter, and exuberance and tenderness of our six year old grandson, the thoughtfulness and compassion of our 8 year old granddaughter.

There are the conversations with my dramatic and daring daughters–where they show me who they are, and I hear about the moments of their lives.  There are the conversations with my usually silent sons, where they let me into their worlds and their hearts.

There are many sweet, loving moments with my servant-hearted husband,  and our long conversations with each other.

There are many, many acts of love from my family.  There is such sweetness in the times we get to talk and the times we have with one another.

After Sean died–I wanted to die too.  But, I knew I still had a job to do here on this earth.  I knew that though I did not know how I was going to pick up the pieces of my life–that my part in the story must go on for many years.   And lo, and behold, I have found that in spite of all the pain, in spite of all the continued pain–that time does not heal—I have gone on.  I have enjoyed life.  I have enjoyed the many, many gifts of life.  I have come to the conclusion over and over again that—”There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”  (a quote from Sam to Frodo–as they fight to save the world from the forces of evil.)

“There’s some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.”   God is the One who gives us all that is good in this world–and He is worth living for, He is worth dying for, He is worth everything!!  When darkness threatens to fall over our entire world–let us remember–that:

“There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it is worth fighting for.”

May We be encouraged!!

The Feast

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a peanut butter sandwich.  It had a few ants in it, and there were a few smudges of dirt on it.  However, it was her sandwich–and in her mind–it was the thing that was standing between her and starvation.

While she was sitting there with her sandwich, hanging unto it, but not really eating it, she was approached by the King of her country.  He told her that she was invited to a fabulous feast. He described the delicious, well-crafted food at the feast.  It all sounded so, so very very good.  

However, the King told the girl that she had to give Him her sandwich.  If she gave Him her sandwich, then she could go into the feast.

The girl thought and thought, she wanted to eat the feast, but she was afraid to give up her sandwich.  She had the sandwich, the feast was still a promise.  Did she have enough faith to let go of the sandwich and walk into the feast?

I think in many ways, I am that girl and I’m holding unto the sandwich because I’m afraid to let go and walk into the feast.

This story is an illustration of faith.  It is an illustration of God promising us His feast, but first we have to let go.  We have to let go of the things we turn to for comfort—and everything we think will feed us–and turn to Him—-our true comfort, and our Feast, our Food—the bread of life.

Let me further illustrate with a story from my life.  I have turned to food for comfort for most of my life.  I remember when I was 9 years old, and a package arrived for me in the mail.  It was a present from a favorite Aunt.  I was hoping it was a box of chocolates.  Instead, she had heard me talk about how my older siblings had a baby book, but I didn’t–so she bought me a baby book, so I would have one too.  Presently, I treasure that baby book, and the thoughtfulness of my Aunt in thinking of me.  However, at the time, I was disappointed that it was not a box of chocolates.  I tell this story to illustrate my problem with sugar.

One might even say that I even have an addiction to sugar—it is what I turn to for comfort, and it is what I crave.    For a long time, the Lord has been speaking to me about this issue, He has asked me to give this addiction to Him.   I ignored Him.

I gained weight, and could not lose it.  I developed a problem with my sugar levels.   Finally, I turned to Him, and gave Him my “sandwich” so to speak.  And My King has given me a feast.

It has not been easy to hand over my “sandwich”, in fact, it seems like each day, and many moments a day, I am faced with a decision to hand over that sandwich.

There are some verses from Romans 12 that have helped me so much:  Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 In offering my life to God, I have seen God transform me.  Physically, I have lost weight, and my blood sugar levels are good.  Mentally, my mind seems clearer.  Spiritually, I am seeing the truth more and more about who God is, and who I truly am in Him.   

Just as a baby grows to be able to walk and talk, but that growth is a process, so too, my growth and faith have been and will continue to be a process.   However, God’s love remains constant each step of the way.  

May we be encouraged!!

Did I ever tell you about the time, my husband lived a block away from Jeffrey Dahmer?

My husband and I lived in Milwaukee, when Jeffrey Dahmer was killing and eating people.  In fact, my husband lived only a street away from where Jeffrey Dahmer lived.  We did not know he was doing this.  No one knew for years–that he was doing this.  However, when my husband and I were dating each other, my husband was very protective, and asked that I call him when I arrived at my apartment.  One night, I got caught up in a conversation with my landlady and forgot to call him.  He showed up at my doorstep, very concerned.  It touched my heart that he showed such protection for me.  At the time, I thought it was a little bit overboard, but in hindsight, knowing someone like Jeffrey Dahmer was out there–it was not too much protection at all!!

We like to think that Jeffrey Dahmer is an aberrant – and that people who go into schools and shoot children are an aberrant– but in reality–we as people are capable of great evil–as holocausts down through ages have shown. 

I’m sure people have thought we have evolved and are beyond these things–but anyone who studies history knows that we have not changed in nature, all that much.

What is God’s response to our evil against each other? We are told that God grieved and regretted making humans. Genesis 6:5,6

 Honestly, when you look at human history, and you see what the Nazi’s did in killing 6 million Jews, or the communists in Russia did in killing a least 20 million people, or the Chinese communists in killing 75 millions Chinese— (and this is just a short list–there are so many, many more atrocities), don’t you wish for some justice—a little wrath of God bringing about the end of this evil!

That was what Jonah was wishing for against the Ninevites.  The Ninevites were enemies of the Israelites and Jonah hated them. So when God told Jonah to go to them and tell them, their end was near—and they should repent– Jonah didn’t want to go.  He knew God.  He knew God was kind and merciful, and that if the Ninevites repented – God would spare them.  He wanted the Ninevites to die!!   You know the story—Jonah disobeyed God—got swallowed by a great fish–the great fish spit Jonah up on the shore of the Ninevites–and Jonah preached his message of doom and repentance.  (The Ninevites had just seen this guy come out of a giant fish–so that lent Jonah a certain credibility–they ended up repenting—and were saved.)  Jonah was sad–he wanted to see justice not mercy.  God was tender with Jonah–God understood Jonah’s desire for justice, but God wanted Jonah to understand God’s desire for mercy.

Actually–there are plenty of times throughout Biblical History where justice was served, and wrath was delivered.   But, these times were after God endured with great patience, many, many atrocities.  

Our sin against each other–our evil against each other, brings about God’s wrath.

Why?  Because God loves us, and He can’t stand to see this evil.  He knows how much we hurt each other.  If we are so bent on destroying each other, He will eventually take the option out of our hands.   I also think God grieves, because He made us in His image—until sin destroyed and distorted us.  Just as we are capable of great evil, we are also capable of great nobility and good.  How He grieves to see His image distorted in us—how He yearns to bring us back into a relationship with Him, and restore us to who He meant us to have been all along.

Why does this God of wrath seem so different from the God of love that we see through Jesus?

Actually, this God of wrath is not at all different than this God of love.  

When Jesus went to the cross and took all the sins of the world upon HImself, the Father’s wrath was unleashed upon Jesus.  Jesus said, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46

Jesus—the second person of the Trinity–God in human flesh– experienced all the wrath of God for your sin and for my sin and for all of our sins.

Since that time, we have been living in a time of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  God wishes for none to perish, but for all to come into repentance.2 Peter 3:9

God has been continually reaching out to us with arms of love and forgiveness.   Apart from God and His Spirit and His power—we are essentially the same humans we have always been—capable of great evil, and deserving of great wrath.   With God’s spirit and power, His image is restored in us.  

It is only in understanding who we are–and how much we need what God is offering to us that we can really appreciate the great gift offered to us through Jesus.  

 Many people have a difficult time believing in God’s forgiveness and love–they feel undeserving of it.  I’m here to say–they are not deserving of it, neither am I, nor is anyone:

”For by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8,9

God’s forgiveness and love are a gift, we can not work for it, we can not earn it.

“ For The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

We earn and deserve eternal death for our sins, but God is giving us life through what Jesus has done for us.  It is a gift—we receive this gift by faith.  Prayer is a way to express this faith.

Here is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You.   Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins.   Thank you for the gift of your life, for the gift of eternal life.   Please come into my life, and make me into the person, You created me to be.  Amen.

Here is a link you can go to to find out more about growing in this relationship with God:   Remember, God wants to restore each of us to who He meant us to be all along.  

As always–May we be encouraged!!

**Picture is of Milwaukee’s skyline


I have to say right now—I love a clean, gleaming, organized home; however, I can count on my hands and toes, the times my home has been clean, gleaming and organized all at the same time.

My mom makes it look so easy, but I know it takes consistency, a plan, and habits.

When I was first married, I realized that I had none of those things—so I came up with a plan.  I made a list of everything that needed to be done in the house, how much time I thought each task would take, and assigned a day to each task.  I was determined to get some habits in place before I had children. 

I succeeded in my goals:  the little house we were renting was immaculate—something our landlady noted when she came to visit.

Then we moved—into the Residence Hall, (my husband was the Director of Housing at a local college where we both worked), and I got pregnant.  Every day, I would run into the apartment and into the bathroom to get sick.  Every single day of my pregnancy.   I remember sitting in the apartment with my husband, when the President of the college showed up at our door, with a group of people, to show off the newly remodeled Resident Director’s Apartment, and the apartment was a disaster.  Every time, I moved in this apartment—I got sick, and so I stopped moving and just sat with a kerchief over my nose to block out newly remodeled smells that were assaulting my senses.  Needless to say—I still cringe at the memory of that occasion and wish I had had more gumption to make my apartment the clean, gleaming organized place, I longed for it to be.

And that sums up– how much of my mental life has been lived—I have a goal and a standard, I may reach that goal and standard for a while, but eventually I fail—sometimes to my great embarrassment–I fail.  Then when I remember my failure—I beat myself up, and tell myself, “you should have, could have done better.”

I am believing lies. 

Lie number 1:  If you want to be significant, you must achieve (fill in the blank).  Everyone’s fill in will be different—it could be having a great job or position at a job—it could be having a clean house, or well-behaved children, etc. etc.

2.  If you want to be loved: you must be perfect. (You must perform your job perfectly, or be the perfect wife and mother, friend, or all of the above.)

3.  If you want to belong: you must be worthy.  To be worthy you must have position, power and possessions.

1. The truth is:  I am significant because I belong to Jesus.  In fact, I have been adopted into the family of God. (John 1:12: But to as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name.)

2. The truth is: I am loved by Jesus, which means I am loved, I belong, I am significant in His love. (Galatians 2:20b:  The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.)

3.  The truth is: Jesus has made me worthy and all who belong to Him worthy. ( 1 Peter 2:9a tells us:  But you are a chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a People for God’s own possession….)

When I believe these truths, I can be open about my failings and shortcomings, because I am already loved.  I already belong.  I have been made worthy.

When I believe these truths, I don’t have to look any farther than Jesus for my significance.  I can look at everything I do through His eyes—and I am motivated by His love to trust and obey Him. 

So instead of wanting to rush through the process of life and cleaning—I can savor the process of life and even the process of cleaning.  I can ask God to be a part of each moment—even cleaning can become an act of worship!

God is with us, each and every moment.  He loves us, we are significant in Him, and we belong to Him!!

                                                So Be Encouraged!!

Repairing the Damage of Your Words?

In Marriage, in relationships, words are powerful.  They can tear down; they can build up. 

This video, titled Repairing the Damage of Your Words, has been very helpful to us.  My husband and I both share this with you, in hopes that it will help you as well.

If after you have watched it, you think—that is great, but I have tried to control my words, and I just can’t seem to stop being angry or hurtful, what do I do?

First you are not alone.  The first step to healing is acknowledging the problem.

Second, God has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us and change us. If you click on the past sentence it will take you to a website that will explain how you can plug into God’s power, relying on His strength.

Third, we can ask others to pray for us, preferable a small group from a Bible Study, or a friend who will pray.

Fourth, God has supplied the church with men and women who can provide wise counsel. Their role is to help us focus on God and receive His wisdom.

We are praying for you!!  Please pray for us as well!!

May we be encouraged!!

Have you ever had one of those days????

Have you ever had one of those days when life seems so, so hard?  Circumstances seem as if they are about to engulf you and overpower you?  I’m sure you have—you are a human being—and contrary to popular opinion—everyone suffers at one point or another in this life.

When we are suffering, that is when we are most vulnerable to believing lies.  The lie I battle the most is that God doesn’t love me.  I find no proof of this in scripture.  Instead, God tells me:  “I am lovePerfect love casts out fear.  You can come to me with all your mistakes, and all your regrets and all your concerns, because I care for you.”

I think the reason, I can believe this lie, is because I will pray for something that I want very much, and that I know God wants as well, for instance Scripture tells us that God desires none to perish and all to come to repentance.   I may pray and pray for a particular person, and not “see” the answer to that prayer.  I can grow discouraged and downcast.

Then God, reminds me of prayers — that I saw answered after decades of praying.  God reminds me of His Word—which tells me that He loves me with an everlasting love.

God reminds me that my circumstances are temporaland He has eternity in store for me.  He has eternity in store for you as well. 

God also reminds me that all things work together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose.

If you want to be reminded of these same things, you can click on all the text written in blue ink, and you will be directed to the scriptures that remind us of these things.

I hope you are encouraged—I know I am!

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

This is a line from an old song, that I find myself singing to myself these days.  Why?  Because the things of earth have been so, so prominent in my thinking. 

I just had a phone conversation with my mom, where I found myself venting over all the things I am finding wrong about the “things of earth” these days.

I found myself hoping that my phone was actually being bugged, so that someone in power would hear my rant and fix all the problems I feel so powerless to fix.

My mother reminded me that God is not powerless, and that “the effective prayers of a righteous person can accomplish much.” James 5:16

My mom and I know that our righteousness comes from Jesus—and the power in our prayers comes from Him as well.

So for now, we will—“Turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

May you be Encouraged!!


In my last blog, Life is Hard and Unfair—not a very encouraging blog by the way—I was very sad about my niece suffering from cancer.  Sometimes when I read the Psalms, the author will start out extremely distressed about the circumstances of life, and then, at the end of the Psalm, the author is praising God, remembering who God is, remembering all the ways God has protected and provided and been a refuge in stormy times.

I kind of did that in “Life is Hard and Unfair“— I reminded us that Jesus has a new home free of pain and suffering for us, apart from this earthly home—but I did not encourage us in this earthly life. I think that kind of encouragement is so needed. In Psalms 27:13 it says, “I would have despaired, unless I had believed, that I would see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.” In other words–if I did not have hope in this life on earth, that I would see God’s goodness, I would despair.

So—I’d like to tell a story—a story that I hope will help encourage.

In the year of our Lord, in 2000, I lost my dear, dear friend to breast cancer.  She found out she had cancer when she was pregnant with her 5th child.  She died 5 months after her 5th child was born. 

I was devastated, as were many other people.  My friend was funny and full of faith, and she was greatly missed.  She still is greatly missed, and she died over 19 years ago.  She knew God and when she died, she left this home for her heavenly home.  I know I will see her again in the next life, and that comforts me. But what about the family she left behind?

Her husband was and is full of faith.  He decided that he would stay home with their five children, one of whom was an infant.  God graciously provided for him to stay home with them, and then God also gave him another wife, four years after his first wife—my friend– died.   Then God gave him another job, to help provide for his family.

His second wife was and is an absolute treasure, kind, compassionate, giving, a hard worker, a friend to all who meet her.  She is a great wife and a fabulous mother and she has blessed her family and their church and community over and over again.

Here is one example of the Hand of God working: God brought together the daughter of my deceased friend and the daughter’s husband, (who grew up and lived in Alaska), through this connection with the daughter’s the daughter’s husband is her stepmother’s first cousin.   (I know–I’m trying not to use names, and hope I’m not confusing you too much with my pronouns and descriptions. 🙂 ) Would the two have ever met without this connection? – We will never know.  We know they did meet, and they now have 3 beautiful children.

This wonderful second wife was also the gifted, amazingly talented violin teacher to my daughter Julia—(read “Julia’s Gift” to find out more about this story)—who helped my daughter learn to play the violin and helped Julia’s heart to heal as well.  She also teaches many others on the violin and has been the conductor for a youth orchestra that she started.

When I look at this story, I am reminded that God has a plan, and God’s plan is so, so, so good.  God’s plan unfolds like a great tapestry.  From the topside, the tapestry is beautiful and majestic.  From the bottom side, it is a bit messy, threads may be hanging—it is not at all as beautiful as the topside.

Sometimes, we people are looking at life from the bottom side and it looks messy, we can’t see the pattern, and things look like they are happening without a reason.

However, sometimes, God gives us a glimpse of the topside, and it is an amazing sight.

I want to encourage you, that if you are in one of those times where things seem happenstance, and messy, and you are discouraged, to remember this story.  It is just one.  If you ask an older person of faith—they can give you so many more stories where God’s plan is so evident.   I promise you will find yourself looking up and praising God and remembering just Who He really is.   This story reminds me of the truth of God’s word—Romans 8:28:  For God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.  And also:   Psalm 27:13-14:  I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, wait on the Lord!!”

He knows what He is doing.  He has a plan.  We have the privilege of seeing it unfold!!

So Be Encouraged!!

P.S. Just tonight, my niece told us that the tests came back, and she is cancer free!! We are so, so happy!! Thank you God!! (See–just like a Psalm–I’m ending this writing in Praise!!)