Guest Jeneal Rogers: From My Front Porch


Today I’m happy to share a beautiful piece written by my dear friend Jeneal Rogers. Sit back, relax with Jeneal on her front porch, and let her words usher in peace and beauty. Let them transport you to the thin edge of dawn.

From My Front Porch

It’s the thin edge of dawn. I sit in the rocking chair, on my front porch. Crickets and tree frogs still harmonize. A squirrel scolds emphatically. I wonder. Is it her children she so passionately lectures? Or has her mate somehow unwittingly incurred her wrath?

I watch a spider scurry up the post in front of me. Hurried. Intent. Eager, perhaps, to begin her morning weaving.

Birds start to tune up for today’s concert.
Coos, chirps, and twitters.
Tweets, whistles, and caws.
The rapid percussion of a woodpecker, searching for his breakfast.
An arrogant cardinal warms his voice, “pretty, pretty, pretty bird.”
I listen for the satiny call of the owl, asking his perpetual question. “Who? Who? Who cooks for you?”

Leaves, twigs, and acorns fall from the huge oak.
Announcing Autumn’s arrival as surely as the air of chilled fog.

How blessed I am. My weekend filled with warm love and laughter.
Friends sharing
Pieces of their lives, graciously offered
Gratefully received.

A beautiful gift, wrapped up and adorned with this sweet symphony of nature, received on my front porch, this early morning, at the thin edge of dawn.

Writer and visual artist Jeneal Rogers of southeast Missouri enjoys writing essays, short stories, and poetry along with creating visual arts of all kinds. An illustrator for Armonia Publishing, Jeneal is currently working on creating an illustrated book, New Wings For An Old Bird, which will combine her love of written and visual media. Jeneal invites you to keep your eye out for the book.

*Photo above by Jeneal Rogers

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One current or new subscriber will win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble so don’t miss out. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Appreciation Giveaway in Every Life Notes Issue Now!


Something new is on the horizon for all subscribers to my Life Notes newsletter—a giveaway in every regularly scheduled quarterly issue! I probably won’t do many giveaways here on my blog anymore, but don’t worry, you can still get in on the giveaway fun if you’re a Life Notes subscriber.

All current and new subscribers will automatically be entered to win each time, and I will announce a winner in each November, February, May, and August issue. Occasionally I send out a special issue with big news, but those issues won’t include giveaways—unless it’s just a surprise. Who knows, that might happen sometime!

The giveaway prizes will be varied throughout the year, but the next issue of Life Notes will come out in early November and the prize will be a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

The past several years I’ve had a subscriber appreciation giveaway this time of year and have given the B&N gift card so I thought I would go ahead and continue that tradition for our November issue this year. For other issues, the prize may be a book, a gift card, or whatever else I happen to decide. Fun, huh?

So, if you haven’t yet subscribed to Life Notes, why not go ahead and do it today? Sign-up is free and to the right. To be included in the draw this time, be sure to sign up by Oct. 31st. Doing the giveaways will give me a chance to show appreciation for my subscribers all year long now. I really am grateful for each and every one of you who take an interest in my life and writing. Thank you so much, friends!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 NIV

*How do you like to show appreciation for people in your life who support you?

*Flickr photo by racineur, Creative Commons License

The Trickster


No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That’s a picture of a shirt hanging in a garden. My dad’s shirt in his garden in Missouri a few years ago, in fact. I actually took this shot on a July visit, but as long as anything was left growing in the garden through early fall, the shirt stood guard.

Back then we never knew what project Dad might be at work on or what problem he might be solving when we arrived for a visit. Kelli will never forget the year she and I pulled in the drive and caught Grandpa on the tail-end of a squirrel skinning. He was stretching the hide on some kind of contraption out by the wood pile. The shirt in the garden is tame by comparison but still a sight that made me take a second look and start asking questions.

As some of you may have already guessed, this was Dad’s version of a scarecrow. He’d been trying to trick some pesky garden-eating deer into thinking someone was standing there—and it worked.

Not just the sight of a potential enemy kept the deer away, but the scent as well. I didn’t realize scent was part of Dad’s scheme until I heard one of the grandkids announce one morning, “Grandpa’s stripping down outside!” Come to find out, it was just his shirt (thank goodness!) He was replacing the one that had been hanging in the garden for a few days with the sweaty one he had been working in. Tricky, tricky Grandpa. The result? My dad outwitted the deer.

Too bad deer aren’t the only ones susceptible to trickery. The Bible teaches we have an enemy, an enemy to our souls, who is doing all he can to scheme against us—to keep us from knowing God, to keep us from living for him. Ephesians 6:11 speaks specifically of the devil’s schemes, and 1 Peter 5:8 instructs us to stay alert because “[our] enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Sometimes he’s hard to recognize, though. The apostle Paul taught that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Are we wise to Satan’s schemes in our lives? Or is he managing to outwit us with his tricks and his masquerades? Like my dad, let’s put our problem-solving skills to work and outwit the enemy instead.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

*What are you doing to stay alert to the tactics of the enemy? How do you take your stand against him? What has God taught you about dealing with Satan?

*Hope you were blessed today by this updated encore post from October 2008!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early November. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*My photo

The Lifeline

5433549942_a8c4cea1fd_zWhat do our Bibles say about us? Are they placed in handy spots or put away on bookshelves? Are they worn with use or are the pages still in pristine condition? Have we made personal notes in them or could they belong to anyone?

The poem below, which I wrote well over a decade ago, describes what I hope my daughters will one day think about me and my Bible. Does it express your heart’s desire as well?

The Lifeline

Who would have guessed that a mundane chore
Could lead to such precious discovery,
A familiar book seen in new light
Became a gem, a treasure to me.
Lifting the Bible to dust all around
I noticed its cover, worn with use,
And automatically thought of my mother.
This was her Bible—
Her Lifeline, she lovingly called it,
It told of God’s love and sustaining grace
On which she daily relied.
And as I glanced through its well-marked pages
Another lifeline came into view,
The life of my mother scattered throughout
In handwritten notes and underlined verses,
In special dates to remember.
Her spiritual journey could also be traced
Through verses of praise and anguish,
Her walk with God stamped o’er its pages,
A remembrance of what she lived.
What a gift God gave me that day—
Mom’s life, tucked inside her Lifeline.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

*Is there a particular verse from the Bible that has served as a lifeline for you during a difficult time?

*Flickr photo by Lel4nd, Creative Commons License

One Perfect Way to Pray for Those in Crisis

img_7208“‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:42-43

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest crisis of his earthly life—his impending crucifixion—God showed him his love.  The scripture above allows us to be witness to that tender display.

As Jesus plead with the Father to take his cup of suffering away, yet submitted to God’s will at the same time, we see the Father reach out to Jesus in love by sending one of the very angels of heaven to minister to him. And when God did this, when God showed Jesus his love, it strengthened him.

So when we watch others go through times of great difficulty or crisis—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—one perfect way we can pray for them is by asking God to show them his love. And as God tenderly finds personally tailored ways to do just that, those hurting and struggling will experience God’s loving touch. Those in crisis will be strengthened.

Do you long to help loved ones and others in crisis today? Get down on your knees in prayer and cry out, “Lord, show them your love!”

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*How has God shown you his love in a time of crisis?

*My photo