A Random Memory

“Father to the fatherless, defender of widows— this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Psalm 68:5 (NLT)

My time of walking is a time for prayer, a time to reflect and often it is a time when random things pop into my head. Today was no different.

What happened today was a memory of my Dad. I don’t often write about my Dad, I don’t know why. I have always looked like my Dad’s side of the family. I have the same unibrow he had, and I now yell at the television like he did. I like to walk like he did. There are many similarities. He was a quiet man. Conversations weren’t always easy with him. He died suddenly which was a shock to everyone. The above scripture is one the Lord gave me on the flight home from his funeral.

The random memory was about a time I spent with my Dad on an early Sunday morning, years ago. I have always been a horrible sleeper. One night must have been one of those nights that I kept my parents up also. This is how I remember the events of that early Sunday morning.

My Dad walked into the bedroom I shared with my younger sister. He said that since I was awake, I might as well get up and dressed to go to early mass. The early mass was at 5:30 a.m.

I got dressed in my new Easter jacket (a short white one, and a red rose covered headband) and off we went in the dark. After mass, the sun was just rising. We drove past our house and continued on to the cemetery. He parked at the far edge of the cemetery and we got out to walk. I had never been there before and honestly, I don’t know if I have ever gone back to that point since.

Spring flowers were just blooming. I remember holding onto my Dad’s hand and listening to him talk. I can’t remember what he said, I just have the memory of his voice talking to me. I felt so special in that moment.

We got to the edge of a hill and watched as the sun continued to rise. Below us ran the Allegheny River, hard to see at first, but glistened as the sun hit it . The sun woke the birds and they chirped as daylight began.

There were few moments like this with my Dad. It was a different time and generation. Dad’s were the quiet head of the houses. They were stern and catered to.

Later in my life, this man became the single parent to three daughters. How strange that must have been for him. I am certain he felt overwhelmed and at a loss as to what to do. But, he was steadfast in being there. Not always saying or doing things correctly, but he was a constant.

As I walked this morning, I realized that our Heavenly Father is a constant also. He is a father to the fatherless. I felt this morning that it has been too long since I walked hand in hand with Him. Like normal families, we often dash in to grab a quick snack only to dash out again to be on our way. Our Heavenly Father is understanding, but I feel like He longs for us to stop, talk, crawl up into His lap and listen as His voice fills our being with knowledge that we are special.

Women’s Heart

As I have mentioned, I attended a Ladies Retreat this past weekend. I have been to several in my lifetime and each one has had it’s own unique feeling.

Most retreats I have attended have had a feeling of getting through the speaker and sessions so it could be playtime. It’s not a bad thing to do this, as the playtime usually brings women closer to one another and forms bonds that cannot be broken. This is what I expected to experience this weekend.

How wrong I was! Yes, there was the chatting and laughter and joking around. Those of us with husbands commented on our husband’s quirks and how irritating it can be. To a casual person passing, the comments could be taken wrong. But, in looking into each other’s faces and laughing over the quirks,(which we determined was a common thing among spouses), you could feel the love each woman has for her spouse. The quirks just made our husbands who they are and they are an endearing part of them.

Other conversations centered around body image, scars, tales of how the scars happened, and laughter. Lots of laughter.

Yes, that was the normal part of a retreat.

Interspersed with each conversation women’s hearts shone through. The hearts continued the feeling of worship and praise. There was a continuation of the services we had. A genuineness.

Usually prayer is only for after the speaker is done. This weekend, prayer was as common as the laughter. Prayer and care were evident in each room you passed. The laughter would lift and then quiet and peeking into different areas you could see women hugging, praying and crying with each other.

Yes, friendship bonds were formed this past weekend. The thing I took away was the care and tenderness displayed through the women. Women are quick to share and get to the heart of matters. We will listen to the pre-story, the lead up and then the heart of a matter comes through. The trust in one another shines forth and ministry takes place.

This was a different type of retreat. The bonds of friendship were made. More important, though, was the bond of caring, of understanding, and of love, which broke through the surface and knitted this group together.

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:14 (NLT)

Dappled Sunlight

This morning as I walked, I saw the dappled sunlight in our front yard. I love the spring and summer sunlight, although I do grumble at the coming heat and humidity.

Today the gentle breeze was consistent and at times sent a shiver down my back. It’s early May and soon I will long for that shiver of cool.

As I walked, I was reminded of how beautiful our property is and how blessed we are to be here. I often write about our home, our yard, about the sunlight and the wind rushing through the trees. I hesitated to do so again.

But, in the midst of this rambling, the Lord showed Himself in a great way. If we quiet ourselves enough, we will see His presence in all things. This morning I attempted to do this. To look, to marvel, and to hear.

What came of all of this was an overflowing desire to praise our God. He is great! He is glorious! He has plans for each of us and will direct our steps.

My time of walking is my prayer time. I tend to start off right away with a list, my list. I pray for others, I pray for family, and sometimes I complain when I see things that need to be done. In the middle of my usual routine today, I stopped. I stood still and it occurred to me that the Lord knows my routine.

I looked around me and said, “Today, I will choose to praise You. You know my heart. You know what I am droning on in prayer. You are already in the middle of the situations I am praying for. So, today is my day to thank You, to praise You and to remember You and Your deeds.”

“Who is like You among the gods, Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11 (NASB)

The Art of Motherhood

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth.” Genesis 3:15a (NLT)

Women understand this verse, especially if we have a child of any age. We can honestly say, been there, done that, have the memories.

Children bring not only pain, but joy, laughter, worry, gray hair. I could go on and on. I have two daughters, both grown, both mothers and both having their own memories.

This past Monday, my oldest daughter finished her radiation therapy for breast cancer. She was diagnosed at the end of last year with surgery in January and radiation beginning in March. I was blessed to be able to be with her for her surgery and for the bulk of her treatment.

As I opened a text on Monday seeing a short video of her ringing the bell after finishing treatment, tears of joy filled my eyes. She has been a rock star through this whole ordeal. Me? I have managed to fake strength and give encouragement, but most of all, I have prayed. The prayers did not make sense really, and most of the time they went like this, “Lord,? You know. Be with her.” Somehow I could not always make definite and flourished prayer.

But God.

God created mothers. He had one. He knows. He knows the struggles we, as mothers, go through.

I have been exhausted this week. I haven’t understood the tiredness. Today, it hit me. The tiredness of walking the floor with teething babies was similar to how I felt. The tiredness of waiting for your teen to come home in one piece, even though you knew they would. That stress was what I was feeling.

The art of motherhood is feeling those feelings. Showing strength when you have none. Showing courage and encouragement when you only half believe Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT). Hiding the tear that escapes down the cheek.

Again, but, God. He answered my fumbled prayers and oh so many other’s prayers. They stood in the gap. They, like Aaron held up the arms for us. We felt them all. And God answered.

For now, the battle is done, for we as mothers, never know what will happen in the next hours. We were gifted our children. We were chosen to be the parent of each of our children. There is a reason for this.

Today, I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus. She learned the art of motherhood from God Himself. She knew she was in for quite the ride with her firstborn. But, although she knew, standing at the foot of the cross while her ‘baby’ hung there for all of us must have taken such strength, and courage. When we look to the Bible for wisdom, we receive it, but sometimes it’s hard.

For those of you who have walked this journey with us, and our daughter’s family, thank you. Your encouragement and prayers have carried us through this latest adventure.

At the Airport

“And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” I John 5:15 (NKJV)

Three weeks ago I sat in the airport waiting for my flight to board. As I sat there I realized that 99% of the people were on their phones. I also had my phone out, but, I stopped and looked around me. People were carrying on business, talking with loved ones, and I even saw someone making a dance video on their phone. It was a cacophony.

I sat silently, placing my phone in my purse. I studied my surroundings. Business never really stops now. I heard one man discuss how he had to be present at a meeting and no decisions could be made without him. When I saw some people talking, it was not a personal conversation. Instead, this group of people were critiquing a seminar they had just attended.

In the midst of all of this noise and activity, I thought of our Lord. How the sound of people praying and asking and begging for things must be for Him. Yet, despite all the noise, He hears each and every thought and sees the heart of the person addressing Him.

This image has not left me. Our God hears. He listens. He answers. He knows each and every one of us. We have not escaped His attention.

Rest Doesn’t Always Mean Sleep

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NLT)

This morning I was conversing with the Lord. I will give you a peak into my thoughts, which is a scary thing. My devotional today was about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, for me. That through His sacrifice, I received grace when I asked Jesus into my heart. While reading that devotional, I wondered if I truly thought of that great exchange enough. Do I stop and think that because of His horrible death on the cross, my sins are now covered because of His shed blood? I know I take that for granted.

After that, I read in Psalms about having joy in the Lord. “A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10 (NLT) I stopped at that verse and said to God, I truly would rather have a single day in His house and relish the glorious worship of Him.

Yes, this is truly what I was thinking earlier. I continued my day with the Lord showing me a few things, and as I was the only one home I said aloud, “I would love to be that Christian that people would look to for an example. ” I said a few other things and realized that the pronoun “I” was in my conversation. I stopped myself and asked for forgiveness, as I in myself can accomplish nothing for the Lord. It is only Him who will accomplish things in me, through me and in spite of me. Most of the time, if not always, it is in spite of me.

After all of the exchange I felt like the Lord said I needed to rest. Rest is like a trigger word for me. The Lord knows that. I said out loud, “I don’t know how to rest.” Too soon, I felt like He not only agreed with me and then I heard “Rest doesn’t always mean sleep.”

The truth of this simple statement quieted me. I do not know how to rest. Rest doesn’t always mean sleep.

There are several definitions of the word rest according to Merriam-Webster. The following are some of the definitions, to rest by lying down, sleep; to cease from action or motion : refrain from labor or exertion; to be free from anxiety or disturbance; to remain confident : trust.

A simple statement, that gives me pause to contemplate the deeper meaning. I need to rest from worry, from fear, from striving, from doing, from inserting myself when I need to stand back and allow the Lord to move.

Come to me all you with heavy burdens and I will give you rest. I am reading this verse now in a different way. Our God will give us rest from all things. This is a basic lesson, yet, sometimes we need to return to the basics so that we will remember and be refreshed.


“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” I Peter 5:7 (NLT)

I had a pre-op appointment this morning. I usually do not fret over appointments, as I know they are necessary.

However there are two things that I will become anxious about if I dwell on them. They are also the two things the enemy brings to mind with every appointment.

The first one is a common one. It begins with, “Step on the scale and let’s see what you weigh.” Those dreaded words. I always picture alarms going off and bells ringing and lights flashing like a game show host calling down a contestant. Let’s see how much this one weighs! I glance at my clothes and although I have planned on wearing the lightest clothes I have, I still wonder if anyone would notice if I was just in my underwear. But, I wouldn’t want to scar anyone. My sister dated a lightweight wrestler in high school. He confided that if you lean forward you could make weight for the match. I think of him each time I step on the scale. I don’t do that now as with my balance not always at 100% I figure I would lean forward and crack my head on the wall behind the scale.

The second thing I can stress about is when they slap that cuff around you and start pumping up, and it gets tighter and tighter on you. Again, in my head I imagine springs bursting off of the blood pressure machine, the cuff blowing up and people asking how I am still alive. Today the machine was not working correctly, so after four tries the fifth time it recorded it correctly, up to that point, it would just turn off. So, switching arms and waiting a minute it worked.

Other than those two things you can poke, prod and push me and I am okay. I know those two things the enemy of our souls uses to get me upset.

But, I have a secret weapon. The scripture above and a worship song that goes with this scripture, He is our Peace.

Whenever I have an issue or a problem or a situation where I know I could become off center, I start to sing this song and I know without a doubt, that my Peace will be there, breaking down walls and taking any and all of cares upon Him.

Gotta Love a Sense of Humor

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

I have always felt that God has a sense of humor. Even more so, His humor is compatible with mine. I love to laugh and for those who know me, know that I have some remark to make for about everything. Fortunately, those who know me still love me.

Last week I had a skin cancer removed. It was right by my nose and into my cheek a bit. After the biopsy a few months ago, the dermatologist’s office called to schedule the appointment to have it removed and said at the time that I would need to have a plastic surgeon close it up since it was in a weird place.

I have laughed and joked about it since then. I have said that I am going to have a nose job. I figured the plastic surgeon would come in do a few fancy stitches and I’d go on my way. That’s what I thought.

Turns out it’s a bit more involved. But, that’s another story.

Last Friday I washed my face for the last time with the factory installed parts. That’s what came to mind as I washed my face. I laughed. I knew it was the Lord giving me those thoughts. I laughed, He laughed. I came out of the bathroom and mentioned that I was going to have some after market replacements. Dale, who is a car buff (that statement downplayed his enthusiasm) said, no, they are repurposing parts. He laughed, I laughed. It was very light hearted.

But, on the serious side, I have been frustrated that because of this, I cannot be available to head to my oldest daughter’s home while she is having radiation after her surgery. On this, I have not laughed. I have grumbled and complained.

Talking with friends, they all encourage me to take care of myself and put the rest in God’s hands. I know that all of this has not escaped the Lord’s attention. I know none of this has moved Him off His throne of grace. I know He is not wringing His hands wondering what to do next. He has a plan.

This morning as I read my devotion from Max Lucado,, I read the above verse. The devotional talked about being a work of God’s hands. I have read this page several times before, but a sentence came out and hit me in the face, “See yourself for what you are – God’s personal remodeling project”

I laughed out loud! I truly believe that the Lord allowed me to see this in all my grumbling. He is remodeling. Me. I’m His project.

God has a sense of humor. He has to. He created me. My factory issued parts are gone. The next few steps are remodeling. He gives me joy when I am not looking for it. He makes me laugh when I want to grumble. I can’t wait to see how this project ends!


“A bruised reed He will not break,” Matthew 12:20 a (NKJV)

I just finished listening to the livestream of our church service. I watched from home this morning and, as always, was blessed by the fresh bread given by our Pastor.

As he read this scripture this morning and spoke his message, I remembered a time in my life where I was bruised. Emotionally I was bruised, not wounded deeply, but bruised enough that I kept hitting it up against something or someone and I was emotionally sore.

Our pastor hit on things like this and although what happened to me years and years ago, it resonated and brought it back fresh to my mind.

For a while in San Diego I felt worthless, useless, less than okay. It was reemphasized through many of my companions at the time. It was often brought to my attention that my hair was not done right, my clothes were not in fashion, my make up was out of date, that my house was not clean enough. According to many this was because I wasn’t spiritual enough. I most likely wasn’t praying enough or reading my Bible enough.

Needless to say, guilt was heaped on me from all sides. Eventually many of those people exited my life and I continued on. Today’s sermon reminded me of those times, but, it also showed me that truly the bruised reed that I was was not broken. My distrust in people was restored by a loving group of women in my life who did not focus on the negative, but saw the best in me and encouraged me.

Upon leaving San Diego, the Lord put us where we are today. In a church that loves bruises. They are tender enough to gently hold you up, and tough enough to show you a reflection of your strength when the bruise is healed.

Healing comes in many ways, through doctors, through surgery, through medication, through love, faith, and prayer. I have experienced all these types of healing. But, as I reflect on my life, that time of bruising also was a gift to me. Through it all, I learned what not to be or do for others. I learned humility in being castigated. I learned to lean on to a Friend who never leaves me.

I now have experienced in the road I traveled. I once heard that you can only lead someone as far as you have been. I am awful with physical directions. If you are ever with me and I start walking one direction, do not follow, for it will be the wrong direction. But, the path I walked during that season of my life, I know it well. I will gently take a hand and lead through that and direct you to the end of that path. I know the way through and I definitely know Who is at the end of the path and Who will walk that path with anyone.


“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)

We married young. I had an idea of what marriage would be, but, I confess it was based on Disney princess movies, and 50’s sitcoms like Donna Reed, Father Knows Best and like shows. What I needed back in 1974/75 was Roseann Barr.

So, the dream I had of marriage met with the reality of being a military spouse. They came crashing together abruptly two days after I said “I do”.

This caused anger in me. An undefined anger and resentment. It continued even after our salvation experience. People talk of great testimonies of being saved from addiction, vile life styles, crime and they are incredible testimonies. Not many people will testify that on the outside they looked good, and all together. Actually, I have never heard a person stand up and say, “I was an angry woman. I had resentment up to my eyeballs. I was redeemed from this.”

We don’t hear things like this because we are selfish. Everyone has a measure of selfishness in them. I am no different.

Today as I ironed Dale’s shirt the Lord walked me down memory lane. It was not a good memory trip.

“Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap  burning coals of shame on their heads.” Romans 12:20 (NLT)

This scripture came to mind shortly into my trip down memory lane this morning. I was enjoying ironing a shirt for Dale (I know, but I like to iron). I could almost hear the Lord laughing at me when I pressed the wrinkles out of the shirt. That is when my memory lane started.

I remember how much I hated to iron when we were first married. The creases that needed to be in the uniforms, the precision that needed to be there.

Sometimes being married to a Navy man who likes perfection was more than I could bear. Hence, the anger and resentment.

One day I was complaining loudly to the Lord about that man He blessed me with. And the scripture in Romans came to mind. I determined then, years and years ago, to do everything as perfect as I could, hoping to heap lots and lots of burning coals on Dale’s head.

At first I can remember growling over the things I did, seeing that he did not notice or stand up to applaud me. But, I continued to do so, praying for him to notice my diligence. I was doing things out of a selfish motive. I would do this, but, I wanted him to see me and lavish affection and gifts over me.

Years passed, I gritted my teeth many times. I whined to the Lord that I was not being appreciated. I refused to quit “heaping burning coals” on Dale’s head. After all, I was going that extra mile. I was being selfish.

Slowly I realized that as I ironed shirts and uniforms, my prayers were changing. Instead of praying for notice of my perfect creases in the shirts and pants, I was praying for my husband while he wore these uniforms and clothes.

I had found joy in the doing and without realizing it at the time, I was actually heaping burning coals upon myself. The coals finally burned through that selfishness and anger, revealing a love that was dormant for my husband.

I once heard a pastor say regarding marriage, “What ever was strong enough to draw you down the aisle, should be strong enough to keep you there.” There are a lot of arguments about that statement, but, to me, it made me realize that the young love I had when I married was indeed strong enough to keep me in the marriage.

When dreams and reality crash dynamics change. Continuing to be selfish does not help matters. After 48 years of marriage I can honestly say, I am still a bit selfish. I still want that applause and recognition from Dale. WE all crave that from our spouse, family, friends. But, the peace, and joy and satisfaction that with God’s help and strength, I can look at what I accomplish and say to our Lord, “Here is my effort. I may be more of a Roseann Barr type of Mom and wife, than a Donna Reed wife and mom, but this is from me. May it find worth in Your eyes.”