Archives for June 2011


5241046624_76bb6b5145_z“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

“Us.” One tiny word, two little letters, with giant impact.

Who is to throw off everything that hinders? Us. Who is to run with perseverance? Us. Who is the race marked out for? Us. Not me. Not you. Us. We don’t have to run the race alone.

Just think of how that one little word changes everything. We can have support. We can have camaraderie. We can have the encouragement of others as we run our races, whether they’re races wrapped up in relationships, jobs, illnesses, goals, losses, or living lives of faith with victory.

In fact, we’re not meant to live the Christian life independent of other believers. Another passage in Hebrews (10:24-25) tells us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Do you see it again? Us. Yes, we need to run together.

Let’s consider each of the races in our lives right now. Do we have running partners or groups running alongside for each one? Do we have those who are spurring us on, encouraging us, and giving us strength to persevere—or are we out there all on our own?

Let’s not forget the little word that changes everything. Let’s not forget “us”.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

*Flickr photo by Drongowski, Creative Commons License

*Next post will bring the return of Summer Photo Fun. Don’t miss it! :)

The Tried and True

This generation calls them besties or BFFs. I call them Teri and Jeneal. The tried and true. My best friends for nearly 28 and 23 years respectively (Teri on the left, Jeneal on the right).

Lucky for us, we got to spend a day together this past week. That’s no small feat, given the fact that Jeneal moved away over fifteen years ago and currently lives around seven hours away. Since she was going to be visiting about three hours from here, we decided to meet up for a visit. And am I ever glad we did.

It’s not very often I get to hang out with both best friends at the same time. You see, Teri and Jeneal are friends mainly through their friendship with me. I’m the link they have in common. So when the three of us can actually all get together, that’s a special treat.

These gals mean more than the world to me. One or the other or both have been with me, either in person or in spirit, through everything from pregnancy to mother-of-the-bride-hood.

They’ve stood beside me in times of grief and in times of great joy. They’ve gotten downright silly with me and given me the wonderful gift of shared laughter. (Barnes & Noble is still trying to recover from our visit to their store the other day! :)) They’ve also cheered me on as I’ve tackled new chapters of my life, and they’ve been among my best supporters where my writing is concerned.

And they don’t go away. No matter where we live, we stay in touch and know that the support, the love, and the friendship is always there. Yes, they are the tried and true.

I pray that you have some tried and true friends in your life, too, for they are truly some of the most valuable treasures you’ll ever be able to call your own. If you’re too young to have developed these kinds of relationships yet, be patient. They will come as you begin to invest in a few special friendships. And take it from me, the investment’s worth it.

So go ahead. Go invest with your BFF. Go have fun with your bestie. Celebrate your tried and true!

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24b

*Have you celebrated lately with your tried and true? Any plans on the horizon? I’d love to hear about it!

No Accidental Beauty

During a visit last year to Mom and Dad’s, I woke early one morning and looked out the bedroom window. Sitting on the edge of the bed, I took a few moments and basked in the beauty of their backyard — the lush woodland hills of Missouri. The photo above shows part of what I saw, but my camera and photography skills don’t do it justice. They have a gorgeous view that is not only a treat for the eyes but for the spirit as well.

My thought that morning as I feasted on the scene before me? Beauty doesn’t happen by accident.

That’s right. No accidents in the world of nature. There is a Creator. Whether it’s the hills of Missouri, the beaches of Mexico, or the birds that sing outside my door each day, the beauty of the world around us proclaims the handiwork of a Master Designer.

Each one of us bears his signature as well “For we are God’s workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10a). And just as our outward beauty (yes, we are beautiful!) is no accident, our inner beauty doesn’t happen by accident either. The same Creator who sculpted the mountains and painted the seas will mold us into loveliness if we present ourselves to him and submit to his loving and all-wise touch.

Do we trust him? Are we ready to become the masterpiece he envisions? Let’s allow him to unleash his handiwork on the inside, too. For after all, beauty doesn’t happen by accident.

“Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

*My photo

When Times Are Bad

IMG_0677“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14a

Nothing like a little gem from God’s Word to put things in perspective, huh?

Why is it, I wonder, we are so quick to thank God and acknowledge his presence and hand in the awesome blessings that come our way, but when something bad happens, we say, “Where were you, God? Why did you let that happen?”

When tough times come, has God really stepped away from us? When painful events descend, has he removed his hand from our lives?

If we believe the Word of God—and in particular the above verse from Ecclesiastes—no, God is not an aloof observer when our world is falling apart. He allows grief, hardship, and pain to touch our lives and will use those experiences for good in some way.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) says, ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The question is will we believe that truth and trust God when we are hurting?

Let’s remember that we are dearly loved children of God (1 John 3:1), and he stands ready, just as we do with our children, to help and comfort us through our bad times. Let’s not let our trials distance us from our Father. Let’s draw close to him and let him carry us, trusting all the while that he will not waste our pain.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. ” Lamentations 3:32-33

*My photo

Want-to-Read List

Every now and then we talk books here on the blog, and no better time to do it than while many of us are thinking about what we’d like to read this summer. So instead of shouting out our favorite latest read, let’s talk about what’s on our want-to-read list right now.

I’ll go first — as usual :) Here are the books I’d love to read as soon as I can get my hands on them. (Lucky for me, I snagged #4 for half-price at Mardel in Tulsa yesterday!)

Want-to-Read List:

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
2. Broken Wings by Carla Stewart
3. Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner
4. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
5. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
6. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
7. Writing Articles from the Heart by Marjorie Holmes

Some of these come highly recommended from fellow readers or writers and others are on the list because I loved a previous book by that particular author. Of course, I have a much longer list tucked away in my desk, but these are front and center on my radar right now. Until I can catch them on sale or find them at the library, though, I’ll settle for reading some of the freebies on my Kindle or pick up some other titles at the library.

While we immerse ourselves in our next great read, let’s remember to immerse ourselves in the Word of God this summer, too. I’m so grateful we live in a nation where we can always get our hands on a copy of His Word. May we never take that for granted.

Now it’s your turn. What’s on your want-to-read list?

“May he give you the desire of your heart…” Psalm 20:4a

*Flickr photo by >Zitona< <

*p.s. I have a feeling I’ll be adding to my list as I read your answers! :)