I decided…and you can, too.

IMG_20190906_092212433I woke up late (at 6:15A ūüôĄ) this morning and found that my wonderful husband had packed his own lunch and gone on to work without a single complaint. His simple act of grace was much appreciated and such a blessing that I DECIDED that I would fill my day with his example. As I walked my way through my prayer list this morning and worked around the yard, I’ve been determined to make this a day when I simply gave God praise for the blessings of life.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve got to tell you that I almost didn’t make it through my prayer list. I almost slipped up and asked for something! (EEEEK!) I’m kidding of course–about the eeeek! I know that God doesn’t mind our asking for things, but my goal for the day is to just tell Him “thank you!”…so…I had to revise a couple of things as I went through my list.

For the family God placed me in and continues to bless me with, I thanked Him for His watch-care and the privilege of a Godly heritage, for strong and healthy nephews, and the gift of actually LIKING my family members. I know that is a gift many cannot claim.

For the friends who encourage my heart and keep me accountable, I praised Him for His personal touch through their counsel and told Him how glad I was for those who know Him and reflect Him in my daily life.

For the ones who have survived and and are still facing hard things, I gave God praise for the strength I see in them because I know it comes from Him.

For those dealing with difficult health issues, I gave thanks that God is our Healer and our Provider.

For the ones with difficult family issues, I told God how wonderful it was to see them love even when it is hard to do so and how proud I am that they haven’t given up when so many others would.

For the ones who have just faced the physical storms and are now facing the aftermath and cleanup from Dorian, I thanked Him for their personal safety.

For those who, like us, are dealing with the heartbreak of dementia within the minds of loved ones, I gave Him praise that we can still lift each other up and encourage each other in our shared experiences. I have become grateful that I can pray for them (for US!) with new understanding.

For the one who has just lost her father, I gave God praise for his legacy and the beautiful picture she posted of the last time they laughed together.

Along the way, I met a new-to-me neighbor, trimmed back some shrubbery and a couple of rosebushes while I thanked Him for the delightful scent of the roses and for places along the stems that aren’t covered in thorns. I also managed to liberate a VERY green frog who had gotten trapped in my rain barrel and I expressed my gratitude for clean water and the luxury of sharing it with plants in need. I found limbs that needed pruning and gave thanks for the right tools to use and the ability to drag the detritus to the fire pit out back.

IMG_20190906_102932890_HDRAs I finished my yard work and made my way to the porch, my phone rang and I rejoiced to have time for a conversation with my brother, whose great joy in getting to cut hay on his birthday made me laugh. I sat on a small pew on my porch, read through some of David’s songs of praise and allowed the wonder of having a hallowed place of my own to sweep over my spirit. I was reminded that I have a hand in¬†MAKING a hallowed place anywhere I DECIDE to give God praise and enjoy the blessings He has provided. We are unusually blessed–and when we decide to think about it, celebrate it, and share those blessings with others around us, we can help them remember that they are, as well.

I hope you remember that and celebrate your blessings today. Feel free to share them with me so I can tell God “thank you!” on your behalf, too!

Grace and peace!




In Dependence

Today is the birthday of 3 very important people in my life. It is also, incidentally, my cat’s birthday, as well. (He’s 13 years old today!! I know that makes you happy. LOL) All of that means this is a big day for me. Why ME? Well, because I’m always excited to celebrate the day that God decided to pack so many wonderful blessing into my life!

Speaking of celebrating…have you ever gotten a present that…well…it was hard to celebrate? I mean, you KNEW that person meant well (or at least you HOPED they did!), but you HAD to wonder what they were thinking when they picked that particular gift out for YOU! Maybe it wasn’t the right size or maybe it showed up in your least favorite color or flavor. Perhaps you even considered if it might even be a joke…one you weren’t privy to or didn’t really find funny.

The main thing you have to consider about gifts that come to you like that is who is giving them to you. The individual who brought the present is the main determinate for me when I get something like that. It is the person who chose it–and not the one receiving it (me…or you?)–that helps me decide what emotion my face, my voice, my words, and even my attitude going forward will be.

That’s an especially good thing to consider when the Giver happens to be GOD…and the gift is something WAY less than you’d ever hoped or dreamed about receiving. THAT is when it becomes really critical to know all you can about the Giver.

The Giver. Yep. That’s one of His many names. In fact, 1 Peter 5:10 spells it out even plainer when Peter–the ULTIMATE reactionary when receiving/hearing anything he didn’t like!–tells us this:

And God, the giver of all grace, who has called you to share His eternal glory, through Christ, after you have suffered for a short time, will Himself make you perfect, firm, and strong.

I don’t know about you, but that verse has some pretty stout stuff in it for me right now. It has felt more personal these past few months than it has in quite some time. Why? Because some people I love are having a pretty hard time of things right now and because I love them so dearly, that means my life is affected, as well. Right now I’m tired. I’m tired of waiting for the phone to right with good news. I’m tired of seeing the texts that say my prayers aren’t being answered…yet. I’m sick to death of seeing people I love struggle with hard things like mental illness, physical pain, substance abuse, and not knowing what to do or who can help them or their loved ones. I’m ready to see some solutions, sing some praises, and dance in victory over some of these things!

In his book, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, Francis Chan asks the following question:

‚Äú…Why would we need to experience the Comforter if our lives are already comfortable?‚ÄĚ

Well, phfft! Why did he have to go and make Scripture practical again?! (You know I’m kidding, right?! Scripture is ALWAYS practical. WE–and our interpretations of it!–are the ones who all too often aren’t.)

And yet, long before Frances was ever a thought, Peter drove right up beside all of our hard circumstances and told us that God is the Giver of Grace. Grace means “unmerited favor” and, I’ll be perfectly honest with you and say that some of what is going on in my life NEEDS some Grace, but it doesn’t feel very much like it has arrived just yet.¬†

img_20190109_151124788Some of us are right smack-dab in the middle of those “suffering” times and it can be mighty difficult to see those times as a gift,¬† and¬†yet,¬† (oh, how I love that word!)¬†because we know the Giver, we can also have some hope. Oh, we’re always ready to share in some of that glory and who doesn’t want to be considered “perfect, firm, and strong” in life?!

It’s the getting to it–or, rather, the getting through to it–when the going gets rough and the cheering crowd gets a little thin that we have to gather up all we know about the goodness of our God and keep moving. Hard or not. Cheers or not. No matter what hard thing we are facing right now, we need to remember this, as well:

  • For right now, He is giving us the GIFT of greater dependence on Him. While we long for INDEPENDENCE, He knows it is best for us to be IN Dependence on Him—and who would seek it if we all remained comfortable and able to completely handle quickly and efficiently every circumstance that comes our way?
  • ALSO right now (YES! In the MIDDLE of our hard time!!), He STILL has a plan–and it is for our good. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • AND right now, He is right there beside us…in this thing–whatever it is!–with us! (Hebrews 13:5) We are NOT alone!!

Take courage, friends, there IS a way through and His name is Jesus. There IS a Plan, a Planner, and a Giver Who knows exactly what we need even when we fail to recognize it, like it, or appreciate the value of it in the midst of receiving it.

I’m counting on it. Better yet, I’m counting on HIM.¬†I hope you are, too.

So, Happy Birthday to all of my loved ones and Happy IN Dependence Day to us all! While we’re here, we might as well celebrate!

Grace and Peace!

Sharing time, history, and beauty

40472“We seem to have lost the gift of patience, of waiting for time to unfold its story.”¬†~Mary Irish

I found this quote today and I love it! Too accurate by far, it reminds me, most unfortunately, of myself! Patience has never been one of my virtues. I like things to happen when I want them to happen–and so, dear friend, do you. (right?)

40468The one place I’m most content to practice the “gift of patience” is out in the garden. I love counting days by what’s in bloom and what stage this plant was or it will be by the next year or season. After being back in Georgia for a little over four years, I’m better acquainted with my surroundings, the timing, the expectations, the new growth, the dying back, and the filling out of this place.

I like to wait at least a year before I start making too many changes just so I can see what’s already in a place before I begin to add in the things that make me call a garden “home” and take away those things that don’t add to that particular comfort. I agree entirely with Sydney Eddison,when she says,¬†“Gardens are a form of autobiography.”

That’s absolutely true for me and as I think about the parts of my autobiography that are left in all of the different places I’ve lived, it makes me smile. Oh, I’m aware that none of it is just like I left it. That’s as it should be! Someone else is the caretaker now in each of those places, but when I ride by and see the maples that we planted grown strong and tall in the yard of our first home, see the roses or ornamental grasses grown tall there to the side of that place, and the herb garden grown more mature and permanent at that one…well, it’s a part of my story even now just the same as it is for those who were there and planted before me.40469

I think about the plant gifts that have gone with me as I left for new places and the ones I’ve sent out into the world where others have also come and gone–it’s good to share beauty, you know?! I don’t need a whole lot in this world, but beauty can always find a home out in the garden. This morning was no exception, so I snapped a few shots and fulfilled the quote below electronically. I hope you’ll enjoy them, too

“I thought about giving you a bouquet of flowers, but then I thought, why don’t I take you and show you the garden instead with all the beautiful flowers in it.” ~Anthony Hincks

Grace and Peace, Everyone! Just enjoy the beauty and ignore the weeds! (That’s pretty good advice for just about everything! grin)


Being well

I recently got an email from Pinterest with “18 Mental Health Pins” for me to investigate.

How did they know?!

Seriously. I’ve been struggling a little bit because I’ve just “lost” almost a whole month…yes, a month. Gone. Just. Like. That (snaps fingers).

It all started the day I was transplanting the magic beans and managed to hurt my back. Yes, magic beans. At least that’s what my Uncle called them when he shared them with me a few months ago. Actually, I think they’re called hyacinth beans, but I like that magic beans thing better. (Insert silly kid Grin here.)

Anyway! The beans got transplanted, the back muscles suddenly went into DEEEEEP spasms with (thank you, God!!!) no disc involvement and I began what has been quite a long recovery process. It really wasn’t how I saw my July happening, you know?

I’ve said it for years: I’m the most blessed person I know. Still true. Absolutely positive about that…and yet…I will admit without any wiggle room whatsoever that I am a horrid patient. Because I’m not. Patient, that is.

Sitting still, moving slowly, reconsidering even simple chores, letting things go, ASKING FOR HELP!–All of these things make me cringe. They might actually be my top five things to avoid…well…in the top 10, anyway…right after reptiles, rodents, the plague, reptiles (on here twice because I REALLY despise those things!), and cancer.

And yet, this was my month…complete with an adoring husband, kind friends who called and prayed, and a disgruntled cat who was being denied his favorite perch (my lap), and me…being whiny and negative and frustrated because for the first time ever I couldn’t depend on my body to do what I told it to do. That takes some getting used to physically…and mentally, as well.

Interesting things I discovered this month:

  • the world ran just fine without me.
  • many, many things happened without my input or my presence.
  • you can’t even breathe without it affecting your back muscles.
  • I am not a fan of whiny people…even or ESPECIALLY when it is me.
  • my husband likes being the caretaker more than being taken care of…for the most part.
  • it is never a good idea to do a spiritual assessment of yourself when you’re grumpy and in pain.
  • I am not as far along on that “being ok about giving up control” thing as I would like.
  • if you have been praying for patience for me, you can stop now. Really. I mean it. Stop it. Now. Feel free to pray for strength and endurance, but let’s just let that patience thing slide on out of the picture, ok? I am serious about this one.
  • pain can actually make you a more dedicated prayer warrior for others.
  • God can and will show up and give you stuff to do even when you’re confined to a chair.
  • sometimes, having Margin is good for situations that you wouldn’t really expect…or want.
  • chiropractors can actually help with some issues (pardon me if you are one or love one, please. I had never been to one before this month. They were kind and helpful and caring–and Bama fans, which made me smile even though it hurt.)
  • people in pain are much more sympathetic to others in pain than people who are rarely ill and have abnormally high pain tolerances (me…I’m talking about me¬†although I would REALLY have preferred to find this out a different way, God!¬†BIG eye roll–at ME, again!)
  • Pinterest, who sent me an earlier email with suggestions for my “RED” board that were 98% YELLOW (?!), might not be the best place to look for mental health tips.

That last one is important. I am much better off talking to God about what ails me–body, mind, or spirit–and counting on the truth of His Word to keep my mind headed in the direction that’s best for me–and you are, too!

“You will keep the mind that is dependent on you¬†in perfect peace,¬†for it is trusting in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (CSB)¬†

As I am recovering, I am feeling the truth of that verse more and more. It’s not over…but neither am I. Returning strength gives me yet another reason for praise, another reminder to pray for those who still need it, and another call to gratitude for all my blessings: physical, spiritual, and mental.

May you be blessed and may you be well…in every respect.

IMG_20180720_194723477(and BTW, the magic beans are doing just fine…and so is Grace! In fact, she ought to be ready to transplant just in time for the Fall–although someone else may be digging THAT hole! grin)

Grace and peace!IMG_20180720_194741388

Weeks of water and wonder

God’s been on a mission around here lately. He’s been answering some prayers and watering my plants–and everyone else’s!–with abandon…for days and days.

As He’s done so, that low place in the driveway filled up and made a spectacularly large birdbath delighting me¬†and¬†the birds who have taken full advantage. The hard Georgia ground has softened up to accept a few more new plants so¬†I¬†could take advantage¬†of a break in the downpour and finally¬†get around to planting some iris rhizomes that were gifted to me at the beginning of April. (Yes. April! I know. Blessings on you, Cyndi, and please thank Will, again, for his patience about returning his bucket!) Though I won’t see anything from them this year, they’re already holding a promise for the Spring–and isn’t it just like God to use something we normally complain about to help us become more pliable and full of beauty for the future?!

As we’ve watched the waters fill up buckets and overflow rain gauges, God has also filled up our home with guests and laughter. He sent us out to minister to others and helped us enjoy seeing that adding margin to our own lives can actually become a blessing to those around us, as well.

Our guests have been delightful and nourished us much like the rain has blessed our plants. We’ve seen some incredible growth in both plants and relationships–and both are beautiful. I’ve lost count of the number of hydrangeas arrangements have left this place to find new homes and, hopefully, give cheer in their new locations.


It seems that nature has used this rain to fullest advantage…and now we have a new, though unplanted crop being enjoyed by our local squirrels. Although their abundant presence in our yard often annoys me as I work to stay ahead of planted nuts growing into trees in all sorts of odd places, I laughed to see how the squirrels have nibbled all around the edges of a string of mushrooms all lined up like a buffet. I guess God thought He would provide for those guests, as well.

As I wandered through the yard this afternoon, I couldn’t help be be reminded how blessed we all are and along the way, I found a few more things to share. For those of you still asking after Grace, I’ve included a picture of her below. She’s showing out these days…just like God.

I’m looking forward to seeing what God does next…and to home-grown tomato sandwiches and a caprese salad or twelve, as well. In the meantime…

Grace and Peace!



You don’t even have to round the corner to smell it; it almost assaults your senses as soon as you step out on to the small back porch. Confederate jasmine run amok…a neighbor’s gift to the previous owners untrimmed and unmitigated in the slightest for the four years or so that we’ve lived here.

It was tidy once, but no longer. It has taken over the small trellis meant to support it, reached on up for the branches of the maple tree at the corner, wound its way over to the roof…and…I’ll have to do something about it this year. I caught a few tendrils trying to reach in through the crack of a window sill casing.

Beautiful, abundant, breathtaking in both scent and beauty…and intrusive…or trying to be, anyway.

I love the scent of this beautiful invader but, to tell the absolute truth, when caught in the right wind, it can be downright overcoming. It will almost smother you with the goodness of it–some kind of aromatic cross between gardenias and honeysuckle and all here within reach and easy viewing.

It reminds me of something Paul wrote to the church at Corinth long ago, when he said,

For we are to God the pleasing aroma¬†of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.¬†To the one we are an aroma that brings death;¬†to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NIV)

I see this flowering vine and I’m reminded that as followers of Christ we, too, are called to be abundant in our production and reach those around us in ways that they can’t avoid noticing because we’re just that different. We’re supposed to “smell different” from those in the world…and act that way, too…because we’re called to BE DIFFERENT from the world.

Some people will love us for it and some will hate us. Others will just be annoyed. The one thing we shouldn’t be, though, is easily ignored. We are to put Christ on full display in our lives and turn Him lose to take over everything in His way. Another thing we shouldn’t be is so full of our own goodness that we fail to be approachable or willing to share our Jesus with those who may not look like it, but so desperately need Him.

In a world where it seems every news cycle is full to the brim with the latest misdeeds of those we should be able to trust, this is a hard thing. Who IS equal to the task? Certainly not me. Not on my own, anyway. Not you, either, I’d suspect. We’re often too full of ourselves and yet too aware of all of our own misdeeds…and that’s part of our problem. If we belong¬† to God and have asked for His forgiveness, we ought to be bold enough to celebrate the forgiveness–sweet, overwhelming, totally invasive forgiveness–that comes by asking the One who never sinned to cover ours. Once those have been covered, we need to make the choice to celebrate the Forgiver in no uncertain terms and live our lives in ways that honor and glorify Him. It may seem a little too corny for some in our “sophisticated” society, but I believe Chuck Swindoll had it down when he said,

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”

I love that quote and had it on my office wall for years to remind me that each interaction–whether patient or staff member, phone call or personal encounter–was an opportunity to live that out…and in so doing, live out what Christ had called me (and YOU!) to do for Him.

I want to be pleasing in His sight and I want to be an aroma of Christ before God. That will require both submission and pruning…and a willingness to let Him sort out which one is needed when and who needs to hear about His work in my life next. My job is to be available for either, let Him scent the air, and give Him free reign to make me equal to the task.

Grace and Peace!

Found objects

I was really blessed this past week to have friends who stopped by and wandered around the yard with me. There’s always something else to do when you have a yard and mine is total proof of that statement! The autumn and end of last year was¬†supposed to be a time of clean-up and prep for Spring, but that didn’t happen–at all!–so I’ve had plenty of tasks to keep me busy this Spring. Along the way, I’ve “found” several new delights.

IMG_20180428_133626944_HDRThe hydrangeas in the back that only gave me three blooms in season last year suddenly started blooming like mad in late December and continued right up through the first hard frost, so I never got them trimmed back. Right now they are loaded with blooms on the old wood and it is entirely possible that they may take over my house before the summer ends.

There are blueberries on almost every bush and I spotted some blackberries blooming near the edge of the woods. My newly planted herbs and tomatoes are setting up nicely and I am ever so glad to have the debris piles burned back…and now, started over!

IMG_20180502_170042955_HDRAs we wandered around to the front, my friend Jaybrena was entertained to see that I had decorated my front porch with an old iron floor grate. She said she had done her best to avoid those as a child and we laughed at how it had gone from something slightly scary to becoming an item of interest. I guess that’s the case with a lot of things in life. The more we grow, the more we know…and it’s always fun to see something in a different light and give it a new purpose, right?

IMG_20180503_193438992I think my favorite surprise out in the yard right now has to be the daffodils blooming–late, but beautifully!–out under a tree I can see from my kitchen window. The bulbs were a gift from my friend Audrey and intended to brighten my winter, but they never bloomed inside–or even sprouted greenery!¬† I honestly wasn’t certain if I was planting them or just burying them earlier this spring! Look at them now, though! They’re showing out and reminding me that my schedule isn’t God’s and that waiting on Him is always worth it.

If you’re waiting on something special today, I want to remind you to stick with it and not lose hope! God is on the move whether or not it seems evident to us and He loves you very much.

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

In the meantime, do your part as well. Look for the good things, try to find a new way to use something you already own, and don’t forget hope even if you have to plant/bury those things that appear dead to you…you just might be in for the surprise of your life to see what beauty God can bring from them. As always, the following verse makes for a good plan while you wait:

“Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually.” Hosea 12:6

Imagine that! God has a plan…and it’s for your good!

Grace and Peace!