Fresh from God

17276672462_7b04d5b6fc_zSpring almost always motivates me to pen a new poem. Hope you’re blessed today with my latest!

Fresh from God

Spring bursts with life
fresh from God
tiptoeing in as winter retreats,
surprising with love gifts
wrapped in newness,
delighting our winter-worn hearts.
Spring’s colors splash,
look new, feel fresh,
her songs capture our attention
with the calls and melodies of birds
back from their southern sabbatical.
Ah, spring—so fresh from God.

More fresh-from-God gifts spring to mind
more love gifts wrapped in newness,
romance blooms, life partners given,
babies are born, tiny kisses from heaven,
two become three—or four or more—
new day, new year,
new strength, new plans,
new mercies every morning.
New life in Christ
new home in heaven,
the gifts of God, fresh from him,
ever fresh with life.
Ah life—so fresh from God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

*What fresh-from-God gift are you rejoicing in today?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a gift valued at $20 (shipping included) from Beigetone Soaps and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by SteveRish, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Glory Surrounds

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May is here and the glory of spring surrounds us, doesn’t it? Green is not just peeking any longer. It’s in full swing, setting the perfect emerald backdrop for the bursts of color the spring flowers are treating us to. Yes, glory surrounds.

Leafy fullness adorns our trees once again. No little buds just teasing us with what’s to come. We listen and hear the leaves swish in the breeze, we are energized by their testimony to life. Yes, glory surrounds.

Spring has brought more of our favorite birds back to us as well. They sing, they dash to and fro, busy with building this season’s homes. They remind us of the wonder of nature, the miracle of creation, and the mighty God who is responsible for it all. The loving God who shares it all with us. Yes, indeed, glory surrounds.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers . . . what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him.” Psalm 8:3a,4

*What’s your favorite part of spring’s glory?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my inspirational quarterly newsletter, came out earlier this week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

Blogging Break Calls for Grandson Photo Fun!

IMG_4808Hey everyone, I’m taking an extended Spring Break blogging break but will be back two weeks from today on March 28th. Sometimes I’m so busy over spring break that it’s much like that age old dilemma of needing a vacation to recover from vacation. So doggone it, I’m going to do it. I’m going to extend my blogging break to two weeks so I can give myself a little more leeway. Makes sense to me!

And what better to leave up my blog in the meantime than a few photos of my adorable grandsons, huh? I don’t post many pics of them here on my blog but now seems like the perfect time to do it. Spring break is for fun—and what could be more fun than twin grandsons?!

The photo above was taken on Isaiah and James’ first birthday in January. Isaiah is on the right and James is on the left. Hope you enjoy seeing our precious boys once again! See you in a couple of weeks!

IMG_4774These boys are on the move all the time now so it’s a challenge to get good photos of them anymore! :)

12509096_10153792390803232_4285918969609564987_nOur sweet Isaiah. Love him so much!

1929039_10153792391033232_4715517595459124427_nOur precious James. Love him equally as much!

IMG_5139Did I mention how busy they are? :)

IMG_4780And yes, they are even cute from behind! We are so blessed!

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise . . .” Psalm 8:2a

*What little ones do you love like crazy? Tell me about them!

*Photos by Kristin and me

A Peek at Spring

8601580968_eb015e0fc2_zNot long ago, we got our first real taste of spring here in our corner of Kansas this year. Sunny skies and temps climbing well into the 70s left me inspired to flex my poetic wings. After all, if spring doesn’t inspire a writer to dabble in poetry, what will, right? So, friends, here’s my latest—hope you enjoy!

A Peek at Spring

Savoring it, that’s what I’m doing,
the preview of spring
that came our way.
Winter pulled back
for a few delightful days,
and we frolicked with Spring,
we promised her our hearts
if she would but stay.
“Not quite yet,” she said, “but soon.
I’ll leave some calling cards
to remind you of hope,
to remind you I won’t be long,
for I’ll be back in all my glory
after Winter heaves another breath,
after Winter punches his time clock.”

And with that she was off,
but true to her word
she left behind buds
bursting through winter’s branches,
she dotted dry landscapes
with the redbreasts of robins,
she pushed early miracles through the soil
with a crocus here, a daffodil there
and spotty green evidence of life
to spruce up our yards of straw.

This peek at spring
what power it holds
to refresh and recharge
to give life anew
to remind us that hope
is not far away but always in reach,
to remind us that glory is on the way.
Thank you, Lord, for spring,
thank you for hope never-ending.

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5

*What part of spring’s preview do you most enjoy?

*Flickr photo by anneheathen, Creative Commons License

5 Ways to Make Valleys of Weeping into Places of Springs

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“As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs . . .” Psalm 84:6a

People have had to travel through tough times and places since the beginning of time. Ever since sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, difficulty and suffering have touched our lives.

In the verse from Psalm 84 above, pilgrims on their way to observe the religious festivals in Jerusalem (see v. 5) passed through the Valley of Baca—a valley of suffering. My NIV text note tells me that “Baca” means either “weeping” or “balsam trees.” It goes on to say that balsam trees were common in arid valleys. So whether the meaning here is a place of weeping or an arid place, both paint pictures of difficulty and suffering. The pilgrims didn’t have it easy. They had to travel through tough places.

Today believers are still pilgrims traveling through tough places, through valleys of weeping or struggles. Each one of us is walking life’s road toward our heavenly home. Each one of us faces tough places along the journey. Places and times when grief, trials, or spiritually dry times overwhelm us. Like the pilgrims of old, we don’t have it easy.

But notice how the scripture tells us that these Old Testament pilgrims made their valleys of weeping into places of springs. If you’re like me, you’re wondering how in the world they did that. Again, an NIV text note gives further insight. It says that the pilgrims’ expectations of joy transformed the difficult ways into places of refreshment. The promise of coming joy helped see them through.

So how can we transform our valleys of suffering into places of springs? Here are five ways that might help us:

1. Keep our eyes on the Lord and turn to him for solace. Even during our toughest times, he can supernaturally give us comfort, strength, refreshment, and even joy when we look to and depend on him.

2. Like the Old Testament pilgrims, expect and look forward to future joy. Instead of focusing only on the grief or difficulties we are currently dealing with, let’s keep an eye on future days when joy will be our portion again.

3. Find something every day to be thankful for. Expressing gratitude for something—for anything positive we see in the midst of our struggles—can lighten the moment, lift our spirits, or give us a fresh perspective.

4. Instead of isolating ourselves, stay involved with others and allow them to provide the comforting touch or encouraging word we need. Remember, God uses people to apply balm to our hurting hearts.

5. Read from the Bible every day—even if it’s just a few verses. God’s Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It can provide refreshment and comfort and wisdom and everything else we need on any given day. It has been a lifeline for me nearly all my life.

As we apply these strategies—and others you may be thinking of—I can almost guarantee that God will bless us with moments of refreshment in the tough places of our lives.

God wants to show us his love and he will honor the efforts we make as we look to him. We may not have it easy all the time, but we do have a God who walks with us and is able to transform our valleys of weeping into places of springs. Let’s keep our eyes on him.

“He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs;” Psalm 107:35

*Which of these strategies have made a difference in your life during tough times? What else could you add to the list?

*My photo