Summer Photo Fun: Sisters Trip!

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Summer Photo Fun this year absolutely has to include a few shots of my sisters and me on our first-ever Sisters Trip. As you may remember, my theme word for this year is adventure, and I love how my sisters helped me live an adventure this summer. (Left to right above: me, Carolyn, Debbie, and Janice)

We had a wonderful time together in the Breckenridge, Colorado area making memories and building our already strong sister bond. We are so glad we made time in our schedules for this special time together. We don’t know if we’ll ever manage to pull off such a trip by ourselves again, but at least we’ll always have this trip to remember and rejoice in.

Hope you enjoy a peek at a few of the memories we made!

Debbie's pic of us downtownShopping in Breckenridge our first day. Nothing too strenuous so we could get used to the altitude. Love all their flowers downtown!

IMG_6277With my book release still fresh, I watched for appropriate shops and introduced the book to shop managers. Authors are ever on duty!

IMG_8581The next day was a hiking day. Off to Cucumber Gulch!

IMG_8584We saw lots of gorgeous wildflowers all week long on our hikes. Can you guess what these are?

Debbie's selfie of us on Cucumber Gulch trailWe tried to take selfies throughout the week, but it’s kind of tricky when you’re trying to get four people in the picture :)

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We had so much fun riding the ski lift and then hiking on up to the top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge.

IMG_8760Finished our day in Frisco with homemade ice cream from Foote’s Rest Sweet Shop and Eatery. Extremely yummy, especially after our hike to Rainbow Lake!

IMG_6447On our hike up to the top of the mountain at Hoosier Pass we stopped to catch our breath and get some photos. The altitude, steady climb, and steep portions of the trail along with hiking into the wind made it extremely difficult.

IMG_6483We made it to the top! Very proud and extremely wind-blown! :)

IMG_6469Hiking down was no joke either. Pretty nerve-wracking but we all made it okay.

IMG_6542Some of our last views of Breckenridge before we headed home the next morning. What a great adventure and an amazing time together!

Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth . . .” Isaiah 42:10a

*Do you ever take special trips with a specific part of your family?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter comes out this week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photos by me or my sisters

Dream Like Crazy

13026914033_d92fcaf0b0_zDo you have a dream? If so, be encouraged by my post today. Over seven years ago I wrote a piece called “Dream Like Crazy” for my very first Life Notes newsletter, and the dream I shared in that piece is in the process of coming true right now. That’s right, my first book will be released on July 1st!

So won’t you read “Dream Like Crazy” today and rejoice with me at how God is honoring the dreams of little ordinary me. Hope it encourages you to pursue those dreams of your own!

Dream Like Crazy (written in November 2008)

Are you a dreamer? I am. When I sleep, I dream like crazy, but for the past several years, I’ve become a dreamer of a different sort. I’m a writer now, and writers have to be dreamers. Not only do we have to dream up ideas and words, we must have vision—dreams and goals—if we hope to have our work published.

My writing dream didn’t start until I was 40 years old. Just as the world was telling me I was over the hill, I saw a new hill to climb. And even though I’ve had to take a couple of detours along the way, I’ve been climbing slowly but surely ever since. One step at a time.

The dream to touch other lives through my writing has grown over the years. When I began, I just hoped to have some articles and poems published, but within a few years, a desire to write a book took root as well. Now I have more than one book project tumbling around inside my mind and out onto my keyboard. I continue working at my ongoing goal of having more of my work used in various publications, compilation books, and on greeting cards, but now my dream encompasses seeing books of my own published as well.

A book sounds like a pretty big dream for a small-time gal like me, doesn’t it? Especially given the fact that my over the hill 40th birthday is now a distant memory. You know what keeps me pressing on, though? I believe God has given me my dreams and called me to write. I’m just following his lead.

As far as traditional book publication goes, I know the odds are stacked against me. In the publishing world, the market is more competitive than ever before. Some might say, “Why bother? Why go to all that effort? You’ll probably never get a book contract.” And you know what? They may be right. If so, I’m okay with that. I still feel incredibly blessed to have any of my work out there touching the lives of others.

Even so, I’m not ready to give up my dream of book publication. Those voices could be wrong. Jesus said, ‘”…with God all things are possible…'” (Matthew 19:26), and after all, God is the One who has given me my dreams as well as the ability to write. I’m just getting ready for his blessing. Just doing my part to see my dreams become reality!

*Do you have a dream? Take it to the Lord and get ready for His blessing!

*Sign-up for my free Life Notes newsletter is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

Adventure Booster

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If you read the last issue of my Life Notes inspirational newsletter or if you caught my blog posts in January, you know that adventure is on my mind this year.

Adventure is my theme word for 2016 in fact.  But since it’s easy to forget a theme word as the year goes along, I thought June, the mid-point of the year, would be a good time to go a little more in-depth with it here on the blog.

So here is an acrostic of ideas and avenues for adventure—an adventure booster so to speak. Even if adventure is not your own personal theme word for the year, maybe you’ll find something here to incorporate into your life this summer. No time like the summer for adventure, right? Enjoy!

Ask someone to join you in trying out a new restaurant or ice cream shop.

Drive to a familiar destination by a new-to-you route.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a special needs camp, or other outreach for those in need.

Educate yourself on a topic that interests you.

Notice the amazing beauty and creativity of God’s ever-changing sky each day.

Travel to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

Unwind with a new-to-you book and a different variety of chocolate, coffee, or tea.

Risk a physical challenge that will push you out of your comfort zone or test your limits.

Enter a contest that spurs you to excel at one of your talents or abilities.

So here is the challenge: If an idea here caught your eye, determine now to make it your next adventure. It’s time to get out there and do something new!

“I will sing a new song to you, O God . . .” Psalm 144:9a

*What adventure are you going to try?

*CCO Public Domain photo

Midweek Morsel: God’s Call to Something New

travel-1233762_1920Has God ever asked you to do something entirely new to you? It happened to the Old Testament prophet Amos. This is how Amos described it to Amaziah the priest:

“‘. . . I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’” (Amos 7:14-15)

Amos had two work roles and was probably quite skilled in each, but God gave him an entirely new and different assignment. If you’re like me, you can just imagine what his initial response might have been. Lord, I’m used to dealing with sheep and trees. Are you sure you’ve got the right guy for the job? But whatever his first thoughts, we know Amos answered God’s call and followed where he led.

Are we ready to step out of our comfort zones to answer God’s call? Let’s remember Amos the next time God gives us a new and different assignment. Let’s remember that God can use us in unlikely ways!

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

*Has God ever asked you to do something you felt inadequate for?

*CCO Public Domain Photo

Sharing the Excitement of Those We Love

2745010680_a8a1d2d989_zOur twin grandsons just turned 15 months old, and life couldn’t be more exciting for them. They’re at a stage where they are experiencing and learning so much and are super excited about absolutely everything.

For example, Isaiah and James love to stand and look out their bedroom or living room window. If a bird hops by or a doggie runs past, you’d think the most exciting thing in the world happened. And if the mail truck pulls up, forget about it. It’s too wonderful for words. Life is one amazing adventure after another for them right now.

And of course, that means life is also super exciting for those of us who love them. We ooh and ahh and squeal right along with them. Their excitement and joy brings the same to us in equal measure—not only because we love them and it thrills us to see them happy, but also because seeing things through their excited little eyes is like seeing them with fresh eyes ourselves. Life is indeed an amazing adventure!

Must not God experience that same joy where we his children are concerned? I can’t help but think he gets a special thrill over the excitement we feel when we see the mountains, the ocean, or any of his other amazing creations for the first time. And even if they’re not completely new to us, if we take great joy in them, don’t you think he rejoices as we rejoice?

And how must God feel over our spiritual firsts and joys? When we were children, his heart must have swelled with joy over our first prayers and early renditions of “Jesus Loves Me.” And the day we gave our hearts to Jesus? I bet his joy was off the charts. Even today as adults, God’s heart must overflow with excitement and joy when spiritual light bulbs go off for us as we read his Word or as the joy of serving him in a new way puts smiles on our faces and songs in our hearts.

So let’s take joy in knowing that our excitement and joy brings our heavenly Father great joy. And let’s keep sharing in the excitement and joy of our loved ones. Let’s live life fully. Let’s remember that life is truly an amazing adventure.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice . . .” Romans 12:15a

*When have you recently shared in a loved one’s excitement? When was the last time you think God must have shared in your joy?

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

*Flickr photo by bloody marty mix, Creative Commons License