The Snapshots of Summer

As summer winds down, let’s rewind mentally and take some mental snapshots of the joys this fun-filled season bestowed. For each of us they’ll be a little different while at the same time being much alike. May my latest poem help you recall the scenes of your own special summer!

Summer Snapshots

As the waning weeks of summer slip by
Its snapshots drift through our minds,
Classic moments, favorite memories
Keepsakes of the carefree days.
Toes painted for flip flop season,
Poolside parties and ballpark nights,
The grill fired up and ice cream churning
All part of the rhythm of summer.
Playing in sprinklers, drinks from the hose,
The Fourth filled with fun and fireworks,
Friends and fishing, bike rides and berry-picking
Each day holds hope for adventure.
Zoo days and picnics, gardens and flowers,
Loading the car for road trips,
Mountains and beaches, sunblock and shades
All leaving the gift of memories,
All captured in summer’s snapshots.

The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3 NIV

*What are your favorite snapshots from this summer?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Daniel Ray, Creative Commons License

Winter and Life Extremes: A Time to Hunker Down

Do you get any of winter’s deep freeze days where you live? You know, those days that start in the single digits or below and if you’re lucky climb well into the teens? We shiver our way through days like that each winter here in southeast Kansas. And I am not a fan.

In fact, I’m not a fan of winter in general, but I must admit, like everything else, winter has its perks. One of those perks for writers like me unfolds as nature speaks something new to us, something we can share through the written word. And sometimes those words come out as poetry.

So here’s my latest poem, friends—inspired and served up by Old Man Winter himself. I hope it blesses you. Even if you shiver a bit while reading it!

A Time to Hunker Down

We all notice the day
when winter blows in,
when autumn’s refreshing nip
takes a frigid turn.
Jackets and sweaters give way
to gloves and down,
and we all settle in
for Old Man Winter’s stay.

And then one night
the cold becomes colder
and we’re plunged into
deep freeze days,
days when nature itself hunkers down,
when nothing moves or makes a peep,
when frozen silence is all we hear.
Yes, nature holds its breath,
shuts down and waits it out.
The bitter extreme calls for a break.

As ever, we can learn from nature.
Let’s take our cues, follow its lead
when bitter extremes hit our lives.
We too might benefit
by stepping back and taking a breath,
by getting quiet and waiting on God.
We too may need to hunker down,
we too may need to take a break.
And one day the sun will come out,
one day sweet life will go on.

“. . . ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31

*When have you had to hunker down?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Starbucks 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! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

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

Friendship Reclaimed

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It’s happened to all of us. We’ve lost touch with a friend at one time or another. We grew up. We moved away. We changed jobs. We changed churches. Or we may have just drifted away. Unhappily, we might have even had a falling out.

Also, life is busy. And let’s face it, friendships take work—work that quite often we can’t find the time for. Effort that sometimes isn’t returned with equal interest.

Anyone have a friendship that needs to be reclaimed? Take a chance. Reach out. The reward may be rich and sweet. You’ll never know unless you try—take it from me. Here’s one of my stories:

Friendship Reclaimed

Second-hand news of an old friend’s distress
Heard amid a restaurant’s clamor,
Chance meeting with a friend in common
Renews the urge to reclaim the past.
The nagging questions come again
The ones I’ve brushed aside before,
Why haven’t we stayed in touch?
How could I let that friendship go?
It’s time now to take a step with bated breath
Time to build a bridge over the years
And hope my friend desires the same.
When first efforts seem to go unheard
A puzzled sadness settles in
Over something precious lost,
Until one day joy is renewed —
Familiar handwriting in the mail.
What seemed lost was not lost at all —
It just needed to be reclaimed.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

*What are some ways you might try to reclaim a friendship this week?

*I hope this encore post from April 2011 was a blessing to you today!

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

*Flickr photo by RowdyKittens, Creative Commons License

A Christmas Gift for You

As we head into this final week leading up to Christmas, I’d like to share my annual Christmas poem with you. Just a little gift from me to you to help you celebrate the birth of our Lord. Believe it or not, this year marks thirty years that I’ve been including an original Christmas poem in my Christmas cards. I think that might make me old! :)

I’ll be taking a break from my normal blogging schedule. I plan to enjoy a wonderful Christmas with loved ones, and I pray that you will as well. I’ll post a photo or two in the next couple of weeks and will resume regular blogging in the new year. And now, I hope you’re blessed by “A Song of Christmas Praise”!

A Song of Christmas Praise

If I could write a Christmas song
It would be a song of praise,
An offering to my God and King
For this holy holiday.

From my heart the words would spring
My spirit would find the tune,
His glory from my lips would spill
Fresh love for Him would bloom.

For one joyous night so long ago
My Savior came to earth for me,
To rescue me from sin’s dark hold
To give me hope, to set me free.

And now I celebrate His birth
And if I could write a song,
It would be a song of Christmas praise
For to the Savior I belong!

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

*If you don’t have the joy of knowing Christ as your personal Savior, consider the following and accept Him today!

God loves you and wants you to have eternal life: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

But our sin stands in the way: “For all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23

Jesus is the only way of salvation: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” John 14:6

Respond in faith and receive Jesus: “‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Rom. 10:13; “Whoever is thirsty, let him come”. Rev. 22:17

A Prayer To Receive Christ: Lord, thank You for loving me. I believe You died to pay for my sin and You were raised from the dead to give me eternal life. Forgive my sins and come into my life and be my Savior and Lord. Help me to follow You. Amen.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

*Flickr photo by alancleaver_2000, Creative Commons License