Joy in Listening

“As cold water to a weary soul, So is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25 (NKJV)

There is a friend of mine who lives on the other side of our country. We have been friends for years. I worked with her and her husband for many years, which deepened our friendship.

We have walked with each other through many difficult and dark times. We have laughed much together. We have wept with one another. We have screamed on roller coasters together. We have lived life together. She is family to me.

Next week Dale is teaching at our Wednesday night service. He has chosen his topic and wanted to be refreshed in some teachings from this friend of ours.

This morning they talked with each other. The phone was on speaker so he could take some notes and have his hands free to make references where needed. I sat in the living room listening to their conversation.

At first I was online scrolling through notifications. A normal part of my day. Soon, my attention went elsewhere. The voice on the other end of the line was drawing me in. The voice I know so well. As she spoke I was transported in memory back to a place where she taught and I listened.

The rhythm of her voice, the enthusiasm of the topic she was talking about. The excited exchange between Dale and her. How often did they do this and her husband and I just sat, drinking tea or coffee and smiled at each other, knowing they were sharing their hearts. The two of them both called to the same type of ministry.

Today, as I listened I was filled with joy and thankfulness. From this woman the Lord has taught me much. The gift she is from our Lord is a blessing too great to describe. The spontaneous joy we find when we are together.

Today my heart was filled to overflowing with the sound of a voice.

Count it Joy?

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” James 1:2 (NKJV)

This scripture, always makes me go, “Really?”

At my age I have fallen into various trials, either of my own making or because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens. None of us goes through life without some type of trial. Trials can be short, or really long. Either way they are seasons of life that you wish you didn’t have to experience.

Long ago I figured out that I could go, “Woe is me” and wallow in the misery of what was going on, or I could try to understand this scripture.

I have also experienced trials where I know I need to lean on the Lord and although I try my best, I still fell into depression and discouragement. Not a great season to have.

I would like to think I have improved on this, that I have begun to find joy in all situations, but I cannot. Even in writing this last sentence there are too many “I”s”.

When we stop using I we can begin to find joy in all things. Our Heavenly Father gives us joy daily. Not the giddy happy joy like a celebration, but the joy that is a resident emotion deep withing us.

When you can look at a situation and not see the players in the trial, but see Jesus in the midst of it all. That is when we can begin to see and experience the joy in various trials.

Yes, I am learning to find joy in various trials. We all face them. I am learning because we never will escape trials. Plus, the next verse gives us good reason to count it as joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:3 (NLT)

A long distance runner does not start a race off looking at the 26 miles he has committed to. He sets goals in his mind as to where he needs to be next. As he passes each of his marks, his endurance is growing. When he has run past the finish line he rejoices, for he has run his race.

We also, are in this marathon of life. Our endurance will grow, and our faith will be tested, and we will find joy when we keep running.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrew 12:1 (NLT)


“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philippians 1:3 (NLT)

Yesterday was my birthday. I had a lovely day with Dale. I talked with my daughters via text and phone. I felt an overflowing love from family and friends.

I was overwhelmed, actually.

Today the celebration continued with a dinner with friends. More gifts were given and one of my favorite cakes was there from a bakery that I love. It was a beautiful day.

I was overwhelmed, actually.

I love to celebrate and acknowledge birthdays. I get excited when it is someone’s birthday, it is a chance to show appreciation and love. Except when it’s mine.I like to just sneak by my birthday. I do not like a fuss made over me. I’m just me.

My birthday overwhelms me, actually.

Throughout the year we go about our lives. We see friends and family, we hug, we laugh, we confide and cry, we make memories together. It’s life.

At times through the year I feel lonely, or unseen. I think we all get to those points. After each of my friends has a birthday, there is usually a post on facebook that thanks people for the expressions of love. Gratitude exudes from those posts and they truly are heartfelt. When I read them from friends, I think, “well of course people love you, you are you.”

Each year I am surprised at the love I receive on my birthday. Gratitude is what I am feeling today. Thankfulness for the people who have expressed loving wishes for me. I am overwhelmed.

God has given me the gift of a longer life. He has gifted me with my husband and family, He has blessed me with my sisters. He has placed me in a loving church family. He has gifted me. Today I am spoiled.

I am overwhelmed, actually.

Thank you for loving me and blessing me.

He Knows Me

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT)

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite scriptures. It speaks to my very core. It is amazing to me that our Lord took the traits of my parents and knit them together to form me. I am different from my sisters as we were each knit together by our Lord. As things are made by loving hands, they are never exactly the same, especially knitted articles. The basic layout may be identical, but the variations are different.

Last week as I rewatched episodes of The Chosen, the Lord impressed upon me something that I had never really thought of. I love it when things like that happen. The scene showed a mute/deaf man being healed by Jesus. The scene showed the actor touching the man and feeling his neck. The man was healed (Mark 7:31-35, 31 Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. 32 There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. 33 After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. 34 He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). 35 At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.” (NLT))

While I was familiar with this scripture, I knew what would happen. But, what came to mind is this, when Jesus walked the earth, and He put His perfect hands on individuals, He knew them. He knew how they were created. He knew how they were knit together. He knew the way the body was formed. Yes, today, physicians know the body and how it is formed, and they heal through medicine. But, our Lord, KNEW and knows each of us.

What an incredible thing to be able to go to Jesus and ask for healing. I believe He still heals today as Hebrews 8:13 tells us,  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ” (NLT)

How wonderful is it when we can go to the One who knit us together and ask for healing?

A Smile Today

“Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.” Proverbs 25:25 (NLT)

Today I received a couple of cards from a friend. One was to make me laugh and one was to talk about our friendship. This friend has been a lifelong friend. We bonded over a science project on snails in the fourth grade.

Her family became like my family and her Mother was like a bonus mother to me.

The card about friendship blessed me, as I feel the same about her.

The card to make me laugh showed a picture of a wheat tare on the front. It said, “When did our wild oats” and inside it said, “Become shredded wheat?” This struck me as hilarious and as I walked to the house from the mailbox I laughed loudly.

I think what really brought the point of the card home was the fact that as I came back to the house, I was making oatmeal for Dale and I.

Those wild oats are not only shredded wheat, they also have become daily oatmeal. Time passes so quickly. The years seem to become the flashes of cities and towns while looking out the window of a speeding train. It can become dizzying, but, oh! the fun of traveling quickly.

Today my heart feels joy. Joy for the journey, joy for this life. May you also have joy for your day today.

A Path to Walk on

“Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” Amos 3:3 (NLLT)

While living in San Diego I had two friends that ended up being walking partners. The three of us didn’t walk together, but for a season I walked with one on a paved path around a lake. It was a big lake and we only made it around the entire lake once or twice.

My other walking partner and I lived closer together and we walked on a dirt pathway around a small lake by both of our homes.

These times together were wonderful. They were times when friendships deepened. It was a time when confidences were shared and prayed about. I cherish the memories of these times.

This morning one of my walking friends called. As usual, it was an uplifting conversation. After we hung up, she texted me a quote on friendships and thanked me for the conversation. I replied that all we needed was a path to walk on.

After I hit send, it occurred to me that friends always have a pathway to walk on, even if it is long distance. When a gift of a friend is given to you, the Lord already has a plan for the two of you. The longevity of a friendship determines the length of the path you have walked together. It also makes you look forward to the path ahead of you.

Friendships are a gift. These gifts are different, each of them. They are like sweaters hanging in a closet. One may be for cold weather and hard times, these are sturdy sweaters. Some are for warmer weather and happier times, these are light and breezy sweaters. But, we always have our old faithful sweaters that are worn through each season and provide comfort when they are put on.

I am blessed to call many, friend. Each is a gift to me. Each hold precious memories that hold a special place in my heart.

We are unique and individual. The same is true for the path we walk with friends. Some paths have gone up steep mountains that eventually lead to refreshing mountain streams. Some paths have been dark and full of thorns and thickets. These are difficult pathways that need help in navigating. Other paths lead to coffee shops or restaurants for gentle conversations and laughter. Some paths are quiet paths, where conversation is muted and still and peaceful.

I have walked many of these pathways through the years. Today’s conversation reminded me that distance does not change a friendship, it only changes the look of the path in front of you.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17 (NLT)

Lesson from Lucinda

Lucinda is my granddaughter’s cat. She got her for her birthday and she is a cute cat as far as cats go. I always wanted a cat until I worked as a vet tech while living in Japan.

The job forever jaded my view of cats. I was bit at least five times a day by cats. I was only bit once by a dog. So, my affinity for cats diminished greatly. I still hold the same view.

But, Lucinda is part of the family now. She is a sweet little thing, but I often remind her that I don’t like cats and that if she knew what all I helped participate in with cats (spaying, neutering) she wouldn’t like me.

That being said, Lucinda is carried upstairs each morning to participate in waking up our Little Miss. She knows her routine and will wait for you to carry her up the steps most mornings.

I say most because, still being mostly kitten (she is about 9 months old), she gets the crazies some mornings. One morning in particular, I chased her around trying to grab her to carry her up the steps and keep Little Miss’s schedule. I finally grasped her and she fought. The result being a long scratch in the palm of my hand.

At that point, I was not happy with the cat.

Today as I woke up, my mind went to a few things. One was this scripture, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—  my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11 (NLT)

The past couple of days have been full of emotions for me. I titled a post Emotions yesterday, but, I could not write. As I went about my day this morning, it occurred to me that sometimes, although we feel okay and will answer ‘doing good’ when asked how I am, that is not always the case.

Emotions run deep. Sometimes we are not aware of how we are truly doing. We are functioning, we are going about our day, we are giving God our praise, on the outside we are doing good.

Inside though, we may be feeling drained, tired, uninspired, without energy. This is what I finally realized this morning. As I had my quiet time this morning I glanced down at my hand. There is a scar from where Lucinda scratched me.

I looked at my hand and remembered that morning. Usually the routine goes like this, you go into Little Miss’s room, turn off the ceiling fan, turn off her sound machine and gently wake up my sleeping princess. In between you put Lucinda on the bed and she gently snuggles into Little Miss. That morning I did what was needed to be done, and Lucinda who had the crazies jumped all over Little Miss, and ran up and down her bed.

Little Miss woke up giggling. What a great way to start the day, isn’t it?

Those memories came to mind and then I looked again at my hand. The day of the scratch, my hand hurt so much. In fact, it hurt for a couple of days until it scabbed over. When we got home last week, the scratch drove me crazy with itching. Now all that is left is a scar.

As I finished my quiet time, I felt that this scar taught me a lesson (from Lucinda the cat), emotions can hurt, they can give you an itch that is not quenched. You can live with them, but deep emotions can leave you with a scar.

The scar is a reminder of what you have been through. My emotions I have kept at a distance. I still do. I needed to help, and be strong, and do what needed to be done.

Last week I told myself to rest, get caught up on sleep in my own bed. This week, I wanted to do the same. The thing is, you can’t . So, now I am dealing with the deep emotions that are within me. I have never been one to show my emotions, so even writing this is different.

My heart hurts. But, I have and continue to speak to my soul, “why are you downcast oh my soul?” My faith has not dwindled, I know that God is the great physician and healer of both body and soul, but, my humanity is showing.

I will continue to look at my Lucinda scar. It will remind me that pain will heal, and afterwards memories of this time will be sweet, lessons will have been learned, faith will have grown stronger and God is on His throne ever constant and faithful when we have faltered and grown weary.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)


“Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.” Deuteronomy 28:6 (NLT)

There are not many times when I actually think about how blessed I am. It is usually after an event or trial where I will look back and realize that the hand of God was upon the situation and He was blessing it.

Today, although nothing is happening and we have nothing planned, I feel blessed. I can’t even say I am in a particularly great mood either. I have grumbled a lot today. I have felt lazy most of the day. My outward expression has not been made up of smiles either.

But today, deep inside of me, I feel like I have been and continue to be blessed. I have talked with my sisters and it was like a lazy summer day when we were young and we could kid with each other and just be sisters. I have written some things and felt like the words have been there even if my brain was trailing off in another direction. I have been blessed.

I hope as you read this, you will feel blessed also and know that our Lord will bless us daily. We just have to look for it within ourselves.

Doing the Kitchen Dance

Last fall I reorganized my kitchen cupboards. I am still getting used to them.

For three weeks I was at my daughter’s home. She recently reorganized her cupboards. While I was there I did a little jig around her kitchen trying to remember where things belonged and also where things were supposed to go.

I don’t think I messed her kitchen up too badly. I told her to speak kindly of me when she was able to be up and in her kitchen full time.

Coming home, my little jig has now become a full blown waltz. I am so confused as to where I am and where things are and are supposed to be. I find myself opening cupboards and reminding myself that this is my kitchen and where I am looking is where my daughter’s things are.

I am getting much exercise putting dishes away and while I am cooking it is a jumble of frantic motions. I am still trying to figure out what type of music would go with my dancing. I know I will eventually remember where I am and things will once more become normal and mundane. Until then it is a cross between a waltz and a jitterbug.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the meetings of God’s holy people” I Corinthians 14:33 (NLT)

Grey Skies

Looking out my windows after being gone for three weeks I see that my camellias bloomed while we were away. I can see traces of the faded pink and the faded red flowers on my bushes.

The green shoots of my jonquils and daffodils are bright against the winter grass. There are signs of spring appearing beneath our grey skies.

The air smells of snow. Maybe that’s because I want to see the white stuff so badly. I love winter, I love snow. And although the air brings whiffs of cold, the temperature is too warm.

Winter in the south is a weird thing. It gets cold, temps fall below freezing often during this time of year, but snow eludes us. We have had our share of rain and wind, but no flurries.

I often grumble to Dale that the lack of snow is awful, but, in reality, it’s winter. Each season has it’s own share of things to complain about and I am realizing that the year is too short to focus on what isn’t there. Today I read my nieces’ blog (, as always she focuses on the positive. As I read her post I was convicted of my moaning for lack of snow and wintry weather.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11 (NLT)

This scripture then came to mind. Grey skies? No snow? It’s all good. I can be content. I can even be happy. As I read from my niece’s most recent post, I can look for the joy in what I have.

So, although the air has a nip in it, and the sky is filled with what I call snow clouds, I can be thankful and even joyful for the winter grass that is in our yard. I can rejoice in the muddy driveway, and I can smile at the fading winter flowers on my bushes outside.

“in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)