Archives for February 2013

Midweek Morsel: A Prayer for Finishing Strong

Do you know someone trying to finish a project or reach a goal? Our son-in-law Jake will graduate from law school in May. As we said goodbye during our last visit, I encouraged him to finish strong, knowing how “senioritis” can affect any of us attempting to pound out the last stages of a project.

Maybe you’re in the trying-to-finish category yourself right now. I know I am. Remember, my theme word this year is finish. My goal is completion of my book and also pursuing publication. As I worked on writing the last chapter, senioritis set in—not for long, mind you, because so much remains to be done with editing, platform building, finding an agent, etc. But I had to battle the desire to let up nonetheless.

Join me, won’t you, in a prayer for all who are trying to finish strong:

Dear Lord, you are a finisher. You came to earth with a task to do, and you completed it. You are also busy completing the good works you began in each of us. Help us, Lord, as we push on to finish the tasks you’ve set before us.

Help us to not grow weary or distracted or discouraged. Please grant us the energy, the drive, and the skill needed to finish strong. And help us remember, Lord, to offer thanks and give you glory as we cross our finish lines. We need you, Lord, and can’t do it without you. Thank you for your help!

“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51

*Are you trying to finish something right now?

*Flickr photo by familymwr

*Be sure to check out my Dad’s guest post if you missed it!

Guest Blogger: Duane Hoy — My Dad!

My parents, Duane and Charlene, on their 60th wedding anniversary in January.

You may have already guessed this, but my dad is not really a blogger :) In fact, he doesn’t even own a computer. But he did send me a handwritten copy of the story below, and as soon as I read it, I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Dad recently told me he enjoys writing and feels he can sometimes express himself best through the written word. As I heard this and read his story, my writing rootscame more clearly into focus. An aptitude for writing seems to be in the blood. Hope you are blessed by his story!

The Christmas Cactus

This morning I walked into our front bedroom to view the Christmas cactus we’ve had for I don’t know how many years—several. It has faithfully produced profuse blooms each Christmas season.

This season it had gone through severe adversity, having undergone the pruner’s shears in preparation for our Oklahoma move from Nixa, Missouri in late August.

Even though the long trailing limbs were cut back severely, it seemed determined to bloom in spite of it, poking out its little bloom buds in various unexpected places.

We have enjoyed the colorful display well up into February, and still some small buds are making an appearance along with the present blooms.

I thought as I looked at the Christmas cactus, couldn’t we take a lesson from it? Regardless of setbacks, severe or otherwise, are we as determined to bloom where God put us?

“‘He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.’” John 15:2

*What fruit or new growth have you seen in your life after a setback?

Midweek Morsel: Hitchin’ a Ride

Sometimes we need to be carried. Just ask the little bird who’s hitchin’ a ride on the back of the pronghorn above—a sight we witnessed, by the way, on our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone last summer.

Maybe the little guy was tired from a long flight through the mountains or possibly he wasn’t feeling well. Maybe that was the best spot in the meadow to catch a refreshing breeze. Whatever the reason, he decided to use someone else’s strength for a bit.

I wonder if any of us need to be carried today, need to use someone else’s strength for a little while. Let’s not be afraid or embarrassed to accept help. Sometimes it’s okay to hitch a ride. Sometimes we need to be carried.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

*Do you have a burden we can help carry through prayer?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

Developing an Eye

I’m doing it! I’m developing an eye for taking better photos!

How can I tell? Certain hallmark signs are there. Lately, I’m spotting good light or noticing great vantage points. I’m focusing on color but noticing backgrounds and striving for centered shots. I’m giving attention to detail. (Notice the morning light and winter trees behind the icicles in the shot I took above? I didn’t even realize how cool that would look until after I took the picture. I was concentratig mainly on the icicles.)

Developing an eye doesn’t happen by accident—in photography or other endeavors. I’ve invested time in taking lots of shots. In other words, I’ve endured the dross before the gold. And to be honest, I end up with a lot more dross than gold.

At the same time, though, I’ve benefited in several ways from taking time out for wonder while taking a host of photos. Not only am I becoming more adept at capturing better pictures, but I’ve been energized by my new pursuit and have also grown more appreciative of the beautiful world God’s given us.

The concept of developing an eye certainly carries over into other areas of our lives as well.Consider the spiritual realm. Do we notice spiritual applications to things that we see or experience in our everyday lives? (Writing blog posts has helped me develop an awareness for this.) Do we spot God at work in people or situations or can we see him in the background? Do we notice when people are hurting or in need but also pick up on their joys?

If we don’t feel like we’re actively developing a spiritual eye, we can take steps to do it. Remember, developing an eye doesn’t happen by accident.

We need to invest time—time in learning to think in spiritual ways. We do this as we read, study, and meditate on God’s Word and as we talk with him. Talking with others about spiritual truths will also spur us on in our growth. And when we notice hurts or joys of others and interrupt our lives to share in what they’re going through, we’ll continue to develop that eye for spiritual things.

So what do you say? Let’s be people who continue to develop and grow in our lives, whether it be in our walk with the Lord or the pursuit of our interests and skills. Let’s continue to develop an eye!

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” 1 Peter 2:2

*For what interest or skill are you developing an eye?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

Midweek Morsel: A Winner and a Wish

Friends, the time has come. Time to make someone’s Valentine’s Day a little sweeter. The winner of the “I Love Dessert” Giveaway is Jennifer Dougan! Congratulations, Jennifer! Be sure to think of all of us here on the blog when you enjoy your Cheesecake Factory gift card. We’ll be wishing we were with you! :)

But for now, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and all things loving and sweet, here is a wish for one and all:

May today find you surrounded by love. May you know the sustaining love of family, the refreshing love of friendship, and the ever-present love of God. May you know the joy of sharing your love—and God’s love—with others, and may God give you a heart to love him more and more with each passing day. May love be your portion today and every day!

May this wish be true for each of you!

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12

*How has someone shown love to you this week?

*Flickr photo by aussiegall

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out Feb. 1st. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!