Surrounded by the Lord

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2 NIV

I love this verse. After rediscovering it several years ago, I personalized it and made it part of my early morning prayer each day. Before even getting out of bed, I gave the Lord my day and placed my times in his hands. Then along with a few basic requests, I added, “And Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection.”

Sometimes the thought of being surrounded brings up negative images, but that’s certainly not the case here. Not for me—not when it’s the Lord doing the surrounding.

I suppose if someone didn’t love the Lord or was trying to run or hide from him, it would be a frightening prospect to be surrounded by the Almighty. But for those who know and love him and look to him for help, great comfort lies in the precious knowledge of his surrounding presence and care.

The image of mountains, so strong and protective, surrounding a little town paints the perfect picture of what the Lord does for us, his people. The Lord stands guard, ever watchful, ever ready to protect and guide. He provides majesty and beauty, adventure and stability. He keeps us nestled in his peace as we look to him.

Each day let’s picture ourselves surrounded by the Lord. Let’s relax in his care. Let’s snuggle down into that place of peace he has reserved for us. Let’s fix our eyes on him. Let’s be surrounded by his peace.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121 NIV

*When have you felt supernaturally surrounded by God’s peace?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*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 It’s No Game, Creative Commons License

Five Years of Blogging


I couldn’t let September 17th go by without bringing a mini-milestone to light. After all, five years of blogging deserves a mention, right? It might even call for some chocolate! :)

A few of you have probably been with me from the beginning and several more for three or four of those years now. Some of you are relatively new, possibly stopping by for only the last year or so. Whatever your time frame with me, I’m so happy you make me a part of your life.

That’s probably the best part of blogging—the opportunity to touch the lives of others, being able to bless and encourage and being blessed and encouraged in return. Your support and friendship mean so much to me.

To celebrate my five-year mark, let’s have some fun. For each of you who leave a comment on this post, I will leave a comment back (though I may group a few remarks in one comment) telling you five words or phrases that come to mind when I think of you. Five for five. Fun, huh?

If I don’t know you very well, feel free to go ahead and play. It will just challenge my creative abilities, right? And that will be fun, too :)

So go ahead. Leave a comment and find out my five for five for you. I’m so thankful for you all!

“[I] love you so much that [I am] delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but [my life] as well, because you have become so dear to [me].” 1 Thessalonians 2:8

*Do you remember when you first started visiting my blog? Do you remember how you found it or came to know about it?

*Flickr photo by TheDeliciousLife

The Dross Before the Gold

Compliments sure feel good, don’t they? I never dreamed they were in my future as I snapped photos right and left during our vacation to the Tetons and Yellowstone, but that’s exactly what happened after I started sharing my photos.

Much to my delight, several people commented about what great pictures I took while on our trip. What fun to hear people say things like “Beautiful shot” or “What wonderful photos” after they’d looked at my albums on Facebook, Snapfish, or here on the blog.

What they didn’t realize is that I took lots of bad shots in order to achieve the glory shots. They didn’t see the dross that preceded the gold.

Believe it or not, I downloaded over 750 photos to my computer after we returned home. Plus, I’d already deleted the without-a-doubt duds from my camera during the trip. After getting a chance to examine my haul more closely at home, I sent several more shots to my recycle bin. Even with that, I shared only a portion publicly. Bye, bye dross. Hello, gold.

Maybe as I learn more about my camera and put in more practice time, I won’t have quite as much dross to sift through during my next photo-athon. But you know what? I don’t mind the dross so much if I end up with some gold to enjoy.

Photography’s not much different from writing—or any other skill or art for that matter—in the dross and gold department. I write lots of so-so sentences before I finally get some good stuff. I delete and revise certain words or phrases as I type and get rid of others after closer examination. Then I select just the right ones to share with the world. Bye, bye dross. Hello, gold.

Looks like the old saying “practice makes perfect” proves true once again. It’s up to us to decide if we’re willing to put in the practice to perfect the skill, to deal in some dross in order to gain the gold.

Is it worth it? My spirit says “yes!” Does yours say the same? Okay then—what are we waiting for? Let’s go for the gold!

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23

In what skill are you working to achieve gold?

*Flickr photo by photosteve101

9 Things I Love About You

Before this week of all things “love” gets away from us (and by the way, hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day!), I’d like to say that I love you guys—you, the readers of this little ole blog of mine :)

I’m so happy that you drop by and share life with me. Whether you just pop in and read the latest or take time to join the conversation through comments, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. There are a lot of voices out there clamoring for a piece of your time, and I don’t take lightly the fact that you choose to join me here.

So in honor of all-things love this week, here are 9 Things I Love about You :)

1. You visit me! I love that you drop by and see what I’m up to, in writing and in life.

2. You keep visiting me! Yes, you come back time and again, and I love that! :)

3. You let me visit you! You welcome me and share life with me on your blog or on Facebook. So much fun that some of you are my Facebook friends, too.

4. You encourage me with sweet comments, both here and on Facebook. My post Ring On! told you how much your encouragement means to me. It’s priceless.

5. You share insight and wisdom with the comments you leave on my posts. You never know how what you say may impact me or another reader.

6. You show support for me by subscribing to Life Notes, my free inspirational newsletter. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

7. You pray for me and my loved ones as I share needs. What a precious, life-giving gift.

8. You are kind and gracious and fun to be around. Some bloggers have to worry about mean-spirited comments, but you all have such sweet spirits.

9. And finally, somehow I get the feeling that you love me, too! And that warms my heart and makes this week of love even more special.

So there you have it. Hope you leave feeling more loved than when you arrived. Have a great rest of the week!

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

*If you’d like, connect with me on Facebook. If I might not recognize your name, include a note about being one of my blog readers.

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

*Flickr photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

All Ears

I’m all ears today. You’ve listened to me tell you all kinds of things about my life, and now it’s your turn to talk to me. Like the pup above, I’m all primed and ready to hear what you have to say. It’s about time, huh? :)

For the next few days, let’s enjoy a little fun and fellowship. Everyone chime in and answer any or all of the following questions. Some are serious and some are light-hearted, but all will give me — and fellow readers — a chance to know you a little better. Can’t wait to hear from you! :)

1. Who is your all-time favorite movie star?
2. What’s one of your most embarrassing moments ever?
3. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far in 2010?
4. What Bible character (besides Jesus!) do you admire the most? Why?
5. Where do you hope to travel next?
6. What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far this year?
7. What was the last book that really wowed you? What do you hope to read soon?
8. Tell me one thing that drives you crazy — even if it’s about me! :)
9. What are you passionate about?
10. Last, but certainly not least, what’s your favorite sweet treat? :)

Okay, like I said, I’m all ears so let me hear from you. Yes, even you lurkers :) Join the fun and fellowship and let me know you’re out there! Blessings to you all this week!

“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us…” 1 John 1:3a

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out the first part of May. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by tanakawho