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

Christmas Poem 2013: When Christmas Changes

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My tradition of writing an original Christmas poem lives on, friends. After losing my mom unexpectedly on October 21st because of injuries she sustained in a car accident, I didn’t know if I’d be able to write a Christmas poem this year. I usually write my poem in October or early November to help take the pressure off closer to the holidays, but could I do that this year? I could write a poem about grief, but one about Christmas? I wasn’t so sure about that.

God is good, though. When I turned to him for help, he graciously gave it. Just eight days after Mom went home to heaven, God helped me write the poem below. I pray it holds just the message that someone needs to hear this holiday season.

I’ll be taking a blogging break until the first of the year—unless I hop on here to share a photo. May you enjoy sweet times with loved ones and have a truly blessed celebration of our Savior’s birth, my friends. Enjoy the poem—and see you in 2014!

     When Christmas Changes

Christmas looks different to me this year
Maybe to you as well,
Life’s changes have me looking back
Have me caught in nostalgia’s spell.

Yearning for sweet times gone by
My memories become treasure,
I’ll savor and safe-keep them
For future joy and pleasure.

And though my heart may ache with loss
While looking back today,
I’ll turn my eyes to Jesus Christ
I’ll look to Him and say:

“Christmas on earth may change, my Lord,
But You are forever the same,
My Savior, my Friend, my Comfort, my Guide,
Ever worthy of worship and praise.”

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NIV

*In loving memory of my mother, Charlene Hoy.

*Have you gone through a year when Christmas changed for you? How did God help you?

*Flickr photo by State Farm, Creative Commons License