Saturday, February 24, 2024

On This Mountain

I don't normally post my poetry, but this one inspired me while visiting The Cove this weekend in Asheville, NC. There's something extra special about this place, and the words flowed. 

On this mountain, a place of peace and

respite lies deep in the forest. A place of

comfort with fireplaces and cozy furniture

arranged in a homey atmosphere. A place to

communicate with my Creator without

distractions. A place of quiet contemplation

to hear the still, small voice of Yahweh, peace 

in the midst of the raging storm that 

awaits in the valley.


Ancient forest displays mighty oaks, tall pines, 

strong cedars, and native rhododendrons, whose

lily-white leaves dot the mountainside in spring.

Trickling brook snakes its way to the creek over

worn rocks. Deer, turkeys, squirrels, and the local

bears sip from the cold mountain stream.


You walk among us on the mountain. Words of

encouragement, exhortation, and instruction flow

freely. May these words cover me as a warm

blanket, may they seep into the broken places and 

bind my wounds.


Your Word is better than life, and on this mountain

I am alive.



Thursday, October 13, 2022

Saying Yes To Mentoring

 I’ve been participating in a women’s mentoring ministry through my church for the last nine months. My mentoring partner, Katy, and I have five lovely ladies we meet with as a group. Our goal is to meet once per month, but with seven schedules to coordinate, it’s nearly impossible, but we’ve still managed to get together. We also meet one on one, sharing life’s ups and downs and everything in between.


As we’re nearing the completion of our time together, I’ve been reflecting on my role as a mentor, a friend, an older lady. Just writing those words feels weird. I don’t see myself as older, yet the calendar tells me otherwise. The mirror does too, but I like soft lighting, and long narrow mirrors from a distance. In all seriousness though, it’s a privilege and gift to grow older. Not everyone has the opportunity to pour themselves into another person because of age, experience, and spiritual depth. 


The devotional I’m reading through this year centered on Moses’ beginning and ending of his ministry. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he challenged God’s request. His response was, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”


God responded with, “I will be with you.” 


Moses continued to question God by saying, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me…?”


You know the rest of the story. Hollywood even recognized the importance of Moses’ eventual obedience. He led God’s people to freedom, with his brother Aaron, and sister Miriam by his side. 


Moses’ testimony at the end of his life is very different from the one he began with: 


Then Moses summons Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into he land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” 

                                                               Deuteronomy 31:7-8


I’d never identified with Moses, until now. 


The role of mentor involves many things, but the one I love the most is reminding these precious ones that God goes before them, and will never leave them. I love encouraging them, listening to the details of their lives, and sharing how God has shown himself faithful to me. 


Moses’ life was coming to an end and he wanted to impart the wisdom he’d gained after following and obeying God for forty years. I can’t think of a better way to end one’s life than sharing the goodness of God to the next generation. 


Sharing the joy and heartache of your life might be the very thing someone needs to hear to know they’re not alone. You could be a Moses to someone when you remind him or her to not be afraid or discouraged. I’m glad someone did that for me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Choose Joy

 I was listening to a podcast this week while walking, taking a break from audio books. I must encourage you to listen to anything Sally Clarkson writes or records. She comes from a Christian perspective, and particularly ministers to women of every age. Her voice of wisdom is like water for thirsty ground.


One of the topics recently was living with joy. I was captivated by her words of encouragement and truth. How do we choose joy when life has dealt us one blow after another? How do we rise to the level of trust in our God when the worst has happened?


Not a single one of us has escaped tragedy of some sort. You’re either coming out of a trial, entering a trial, or are firmly established in a trial. Personal relationships are usually found at the center of our deepest woes, but also financial worries, cultural and political wars, and health issues. The great equalizer of the human condition is that none of us are spared trouble. So how do we respond as believers in a faithful God?


If you’ve lived long enough, you can testify to the fact that nothing stays the same. As I reflect on my 60+ years, I know that life has balance and rhythm. The very thing that tore me apart twenty years ago is insignificant today, and yet it shaped me into the person I am now. Does that mean I chose joy every time? No, it does not. It’s taken a lifetime to recognize the beauty of choosing joy when my world is falling apart.


We all have ongoing pain from a multitude of sources. How we respond makes an impact on our total person, but it also has an affect on those around us. 


There are cliché sayings, some even evoke eye-rolls, but when you truly grasp the meaning behind the familiar words, nuggets of truth emerge.


“God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.”

There are many things I can’t handle, but because I am never alone, His Spirit lives within me, I can truly say there’s nothing I can’t handle. That doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, but it means I can choose to trust the One who walks with me, guiding me in the path I should go. Choosing joy allows me to move forward in trust.


“When the cares of my heart are many,

your consolations cheer my soul.”

Psalm 94:19 ESV


“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

This one is actually true, and you know what I’m talking about. There’s something miraculous about surviving a trial that had the power to take you out. Choosing joy in this situation looks a lot like praising Him in the storm.


“You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with shouts of deliverance.”

Psalm 32:7 ESV




“There’s beauty in the broken.” 

This one I know deep in my heart. Unless we are broken, we cannot help someone else. Have you ever thought God allowed your difficult situation so you could offer joy, compassion, and understanding to another person? If we don’t show the world how to relate to people in kindness and love, how can we expect them to follow the God we love? When we respond with apathy, selfishness, and pride, we lose the voice we have in a world filled with hatred.


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the

Power of Christ may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV



My challenge to us all is to choose how you will respond to any given situation, before it happens. Our emotions have the ability to send us down a painful path when we react before thinking. Choose to be grateful for the little things when the big things threaten to tear you apart. Choose to forgive, even when you’ve been wronged, and the other person withholds forgiveness. Choose to love the unlovable. Period. Choose to allow the other person to cut in front of you in traffic. (I need to work on this one.) Choose to allow nature to minister to your brokenness. A walk in your neighborhood, a beautiful garden, or a woodsy path may be just the thing to help you shake off moodiness, or despair. Find the thing that brings you joy and make it a regular activity. Our creator gave us a multitude of beauty to surround ourselves with. It probably won’t solve our problems overnight, but choosing joy gives us the frame of mind to live with a grateful heart.



I don’t have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Going through many trials, I learned to trust the Word of God. It literally saved my life, and gave me joy. That, my friends, is something I’ll never tire of speaking about.  


Friday, June 24, 2022

The Power of Words

 I have a secret to tell you­–I am a hoarder of words. Words are my love language, the icing on the cake, and the pot at the end of the rainbow. Words bring me comfort when I’m sad, joy when I’m bored or lonely, and encouragement when life is hard. 


Five years ago, we sold our house of nearly twenty years, and downsized to a farmhouse in the country. Due to lack of space, as well as time to pore through boxes, I stored all the memorabilia from the last thirty-five years in a storage building at my husband’s office. The time of reckoning arrived and all the containers found their way to our garage.


One by one I sifted through boxes of cards, letters, invitations, announcements, and other keepsakes. If you sent us a graduation announcement, wedding invitation, or thank you note in the last thirty years, it was there. If you gave me a birthday card or get well card, they were there. If you sent a note saying you were praying for me, it was there. 


I spent time walking down memory lane revisiting old and dear friendships through the written word. Friends that I haven’t thought of in years were brought to mind, treasured stories of my past rekindled. Many times my eyes misted when remembering those who have since passed into eternity. Those correspondences are even more precious than when they first arrived by hand or mail. I was reminded of God’s goodness to me and my family over and over.


The written word is a powerful thing, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Without the written word, history is only as close as the memory of fragile and forgetful humans. We’d have no way of knowing the origin of man, previous civilizations, or the statistics of our favorite sports heroes. Obviously, there are many other things we’d have no clue about without the written account of their happening.


Back to my boxes…my husband says I live in the past. I disagree. I spent hours and hours sorting through evidence of a life engaged with people. We all know that life can be hard and discouraging at times. Sometimes we only remember the things that happen within a short time, and if we’re not careful, one bad thing has the power to overshadow ten good things. Rereading cards and letters brought perspective, and reminded me of how much I’m loved. Those words still have the power they held when originally sent. And in a world where bad news, angry words, and untruths bombard our minds and heart, the gentle and loving words of family and friends also has the power to heal and encourage.


Gracious words are like a honeycomb,

sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 16:24 ESV


Write that note in your own handwriting, send a card when you hear of someone suffering pain or loss, and let your words become part of his or her history.    

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Dear Mom

 Dear Mom,


It’s been a long time since we breathed the same air; too many years, yet the life you lived continues to provide me with sustenance. Thank you for giving me life, and teaching me how to live.


Thank you for exemplifying joy in all things, and for the gift of appreciating the simple things.


Thank you for teaching me the importance of family, and how to extend unconditional love that reaches the wayward soul.


Thank you for showing me who Jesus was to you, and for living a faith-filled life in front of me.


Thank you for protecting me from harsh realities, allowing time for me to process truth.


Thank you for teaching me how to love. Because I lost you when I was so young, I have an overwhelming desire to be present for my family. No sacrifice is too great, no mountain too high, no valley too low. My greatest treasures are not things, but the ones God gave me. 


Thank you for teaching me how to die. Your courage and determination are still alive in my memories. Philippians 4:13, your favorite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” gave you courage to die, knowing Who was waiting on the other side of the veil. 


Thank you for being my mom, fifteen short years on earth, forever in eternity. 

You were a gift to our family; God’s choice for me. You are missed especially on Mother’s Day and Christmas, but also in the everyday moments of life. Memories of you are treasured in the depths of my heart.