Patches of Blue

Storms everywhere crowding me
With spiritual warfare cruel
Yet beyond great cumulus clouds
The sky held patches of blue

Some clouds white, others gray
Darkness lofty grew
Yet thunder signs could not blot out
Vibrant patches of blue

Be still my heart, all is well
Though pressures fall and rise
Pray, veer from internal storms
Look up, still blue’s the sky

Throughout the day with spits of rain
The cloudscapes gaily played
The thunder fled as currents changed
Cloud shapes in vast blue space

Came again through clouded day
Lessons from on high
Though warfare pelts, impairing me
Higher still is God’s blue sky

With lighter heart at end of day
With relief and gratitude
My heart and soul will n’er forget
Look up, see patches of blue


LORD, thank You for the wonders of nature, Your living art that declares Your glory and reminds us of Your everlasting, conquering Power. No matter what comes against us or dims our sight, You are with us, personally infusing new strength and courage at the very moment we need in beautiful and surprising ways. Thank You for Your eternal Love and presence that, like the great blue sky, covers us and is greater than any storm. All praise and glory to You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalm 19:1 NKJV
“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Luke 21:25-28
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Caterpillar Cousins

A crawling squirming worm
Destined one day to fly
Dreamed through mighty efforts
Would by itself lift high

Stuck still soundly grounded
Wrestling besetting things
Revealed in layers deeper
‘Twas yet a wormy being

In self it could do nothing
All energy to plod
‘Til resting in Christ’s presence
New birth a gift from God

Oh to be fully holy
Redeemed in every way
Like caterpillar cousins
Receive transforming grace


LORD, thank You for guiding us into Your presence, transforming us into all You have destined us to be. Help us understand our frustrations are but an invitation to come to You, to cocoon in Your arms of grace as You transform us, not only at the time of our earthly body’s death, but daily as we die to our impotent pride. Transform us, LORD. Bless us in this process…we cannot preserve, rescue, or deliver ourselves. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ezekiel 36:26a NKJV
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you”

Romans 12:2
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Psalm 131
“Lord, my heart is not haughty, Nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.
2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever.”

The Helmsman

What to do when asked to go
Into waters yet unknown
Matters not if calm or storm
Unfamiliar though they are
The Helmsman knows the way

How to navigate from deep
Through shallow shoals that want to catch
Would He who guides forsake us then
Leave our ship to list and wreck
Forgotten on the way

Fear not all you who ride along
Trustworthy is this Captain strong
He’s been this way o’re and o’re
Knows intimately that distant shore
His promises are sure

He’ll never leave though strife protests
He’s certain of the course that’s next
Listen to His clear commands
Obey, He helps us understand
He’s with us all the way


Thank You, LORD, that You are trustworthy and true. You are the way, the truth and the life. Draw us ever closer, through calm or storm, to see the truth of You! We praise You that the fiercest forces of nature obey Your command! Thank You for being our Helmsman through this sea of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 8:27 NKJV
“So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Acts 5:29
“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”

John 14:6
‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”’

The Strength of His Hand

She wasn’t completely sure who they were, this darling couple and others who came to visit time and again. They called her Momma or Auntie or Nona… who were these people?

Her once short coifed hair had grown long and limp, the slow loss of curl and shine reflective of the persistent fading of her mind, her bright wit clouding…a cataract blinding her thinking, with no surgical solution. Memories kept flattening, then slipping away, like premature fallen leaves blowing onto an endless flowing river. A glimpse of color would dance and float by…if she could just catch and hold onto it, collect her vanishing thoughts and stories, preserve them in a beautiful silken bouquet. It had become futile, for each time she lifted her hand they flew past her, swirling shapes just out of reach. She was at the mercy of the river. Would her body, too, dissolve and be swept away?

She had been walking these halls for years. They seemed familiar some days; others, she was lost and bewildered. She navigated the labyrinth one step at a time oblivious to day or hour, propelled in some silent fashion, her body intent on going here or there. There was nothing more to do but take the next step, or sit and wait for direction.

Some days fear and rage would reign as a primordial sense of survival welled up in her, flailing to gain control of her rapidly diminishing cognizance. Then the terror would pass as she was comforted and assured she was not alone. Someone was indeed watching out for her. Her loved ones and caregivers understood her random angry outbursts were erupted frustrations at her inability to grab all that was slipping away, fissures releasing her awful grief and loss…of herself.

Then came this couple again, or a sweet grandchild or neice or nephew, faces swimming in and out of her visual field, always with smiles and hugs and a teary eye or two. With pictures and stories of “remember when” and time to sit together. There in her hand was a gift to open…something beautiful to wear, and once a jolly Santa hat. Some days it would bring a smile to her face as she caught up with who they were, glimpses of her memories flooding in like a shaft of light in a dimmed tunnel, bringing color and clarity. Something was familiar when they were there, a peace in their spirits speaking to hers. Fragrances of home and rest. Her mind floated in and out of the conversations. Hard as it was to engage, she could not find that elusive connect button…where was it, what was it, could she reach for it? With things beyond her control there was nothing she could do but ride along the ebbs and flows of the river, her drifting memories and connections continually floating farther away.

She looked down at the feeling of pressure and saw her hand within the firm grip of another’s…a man’s. A man who had murmured, “I love you,” and had hugged her tenderly. She walked with him as he led her through the labyrinth back to her room. She found trust somehow in that sure steady hand, the strength of his presence beside her. Who again was he, this man that was leading her home? He knew he was her son-in-law, even if she could not remember who he was. Her spirit sensed the Savior who dwelt in him. Her only ability, to live one moment at a time. She was just there, wherever that existence was. All she knew and could feel was the strength of His hand.


Thank You, LORD, that You always know where we are. Keep our hands securely in Yours. When we wander away, confused by the mazes of life, let us never forget You are reaching t’wards us, hands outstretched offering Your presence and care. When we are lost, LORD, rescue us, please, and bring us securely back into Your embrace. Restore us to the joy of Your salvation and uphold us with Your free Spirit. Thank You for Your unending Love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans 8:38-39 KJV “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Psalm 51:10-12 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

Psalm 118:14 NKJV “The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”

While Waiting

‘Tis not a final failure when 
A vessel’s power drops
No wind to fill its sails full
Sans force it finally stops

Enters doldrums not foreseen
“Take charge and sail,” it’s told
“Make the choice, demand your way”
“Compel the winds to blow”

Inept to stir the mighty wind
Command, exert its will
Rather readies for the change
Of rising gusts and gale

Keeps watch for its appointed time
Sets sails to unfurl
Heeds not capriciously false winds
Waits steady when to sail


LORD, help us in our waiting to seek Your purposes and wisdom, especially in those times when waiting is hard, when we do not understand. Thank You that You see the grand scheme of things and work all for our good. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Isaiah 33:6 NKJV
“Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the Lord is His treasure.”

Isaiah 51:10
“Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over?”

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Heart Song

As if from the LORD:

Shhhh…can you hear the vibration? Beyond the noise of screeching, thumping, whirling? Beyond the voice of opinion, fear, confusion? Can you hear the music My sacrifice brings, conquering earth’s cacophony to touch your heart? Be still…listen. Quiet yourself that your soul might hear My still small voice whispering Love to you. My voice, My music, My vibration of sound there for you to hear, coming with My Light…each one of you tuned to hear Me personally, especially. And in one great symphony My heart song pours over a hurting world to bring peace, hope, and healing…individually, collectively.

Beyond the brilliance your eyes can see amidst various colors and shadows playing, My Light shines unchanging, has no shadow of turning, is never extinguished. So it is with My melodies and harmonies, the endlessness of My song sung over you. Listen. Listen. Be still. Open your heart to receive the fullness of My eternal Love. See with your eyes. Read My Word, read of the Kingdom of God and My Love-letter to you. And while you look, see, read…listen. Receive My Holy Spirit. Tune your heart to Me. Come. Listen and hear My heart song.


LORD, lift us from our vain attempts to fill our emptiness with earthly noise when what we need most desperately is You. Draw us with Your presence close, sing holiness over us, wash us clean within. Let us join in glad refrain, reconciled with You again, deeper, deeper, deeper still in eternal joy! Thank You! We praise You, LORD Jesus! Amen!

Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV “The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Psalm 40:3 “He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 14:15 “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”

Psalm 47:7 “For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.”

Seas of White

Purity glistening
Sunlight reflecting
Shimmering crystals
From iced boughs and sky

Miniature angels
Dancing and twirling
Transforming landscape
To vast seas of white

They spread and they cover Hovering o’er all us
Around the whole world
Seen by cleared eyes

Look now, imagine
Snowfields a’glazing
‘Neath wings’ a’stirring
As angels pass by

Messengers bringing
Good News and courage
Promises changeless
In God we rely

Snow fall’s reminder
Of manna once gifted
Supplied in the desert
God’s always on time

Pure white seas shining
Heaven’s outpouring
Majesty’s coming
Blessings divine

The Man on the Curb

Traffic slowed. The right hand lane emptied at flashing lights ahead. At the stoplight an enormous white pickup sat at a slight angle blocking the right hand turn; a man sat on the curb nearby; three police cars parked parallel to the sidewalk faced him and the truck. No other vehicles evidencing an accident were present, though five or six officers were walking along the adjacent sidewalk. One officer stood bent over speaking in a manner of patience and care with the man.

Feet firmly planted in the dry gutter the man sat forward, hands holding his knit-capped head, elbows resting on bent knees. Leaves swirled about in the cold, crisp autumn breeze. As cars filled the left lane, moving ever so slowly through the changing light, the man sat on display, each passing traveler holding court…or at least puzzling what had happened, the pieces falling into countless differing scenarios.

Another officer approached the two conversing men and, after a brief discussion with his fellow officer, assisted the man to stand and step up out of the gutter onto the sidewalk. Extremely thin, the man seemed to be blown backwards by the wind. A steadying hand helped him stabilize; then he was carefully patted down. He seemed very docile, not combative or arrogant. Was he drunk? Having a medical or mental problem? Was the truck his? Had he been hit? Why so many officers? It was so confusing, and yet my heart cried for the obvious despair of the man. For the despair of a broken, hurting world that cares not for the souls of men. His brokenness was mine as well, in desperate need for help, for rescuing, for healing. Driving on I could only cry out, “Heal the man, LORD! Whatever is going on! Don’t let him be consumed by whatever is overwhelming him. Set him free! Renew him to become whole!”


LORD, our brokenness is beyond comprehension. I worship You, God of hope, reconciliation, grace, and mercy, who meets each of us where we are…to heal us if we would but listen and accept Your love. Thank You that You are the God of righteousness, justice, and truth. All will be weighed and judged…oh, God, let us accept your free gift of redemption…spare us from Your righteous wrath! Thank You, Christ Jesus, for paying the penalty for us, anything in us that deserves punishment. Please, LORD, heal our brokenness that none would perish. Give us ears to hear You, to heed Your words, to accept Your gift of love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Psalms 34:18 NKJV “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

Psalms 60:2 “You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.”

Ephesians 2:14, 17 “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.”

Romans 10:9, 13 “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 13 ‘For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”’

Chaos or Chorus

What undergirds my milieu
What pond floats my nest
Is it nourishing to me
Or a jumbled messy mess

What is my life’s tempo
Are there pauses and still rests
Peaceful sublime music score
Or constant turmoil’s test

And if a loud chaotic tract
How to move to gentle sounds
Tame the churning deep unrest
‘Til quiet can be found

I need the Concert Master
Replace needle in new groove
To bring a holy rhythm
For my soul to vibrate to


LORD, thank You that no matter what surrounds us, You are our calm and our rest. Tune our hearts to Yours, LORD, that our souls and spirits may soar in realms of healing joy, pulled up from fractured, shattering places that would leave us empty and spent. Thank You, LORD, that You know Love’s true score! With praise to Your Holy Name, Amen.

Isaiah 25:5 NKJV
“You will reduce the noise of aliens, As heat in a dry place; As heat in the shadow of a cloud, The song of the terrible ones will be diminished.”

Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Isaiah 49:13
“Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted.”

Singing to a Flat Soul

Barren as the windswept plains 
So my soul feels on this day
Homeward bound to unknown things
Earthly cares a’jumbling
Tugging on my heart

LORD, help me set aside the thoughts
Of things I cannot understand
And look to You to guide my day
Taking burdens from my hands
As I trust in You

Keep me on this narrow path
Walking with You step by step
Worry free from what’s to come
Letting You direct what’s next
Let me set aside concerns

Thank You, LORD, throughout this life
You have proven o’er and o’er
My hand safely held in Yours
All is secure forevermore
No matter what cares bring

King David’s Psalms especially are my go-to when my soul seeks utterance beyond my grasp. His eloquence never ceases to lift my eyes heavenward “from whence comes my help.” For David, a great warrior whose life was fraught with many battles and dangerous threats, does not ignore the depths of his personal confusion, fear, or pain, but shines honest light fully upon it, repeatedly finding the faithfulness of God lifting him up, turning his eyes away from what would keep him captured, and setting him free. What great joy that God walks with us through the mucky muck of our internal turmoil, or when our soul feels flat. What great relief that we can trust our God who already knows the mess we’re in, or the barren desert place we trod. What wondrous Love who comes to rescue us, holding up Himself - Unchanging Truth - for us to trust, rather than our capricious feelings and emotions. And what joy to join David in his praise of our Almighty God! The God who called and gave a young shepherd the preparation, ability, faith, and power to slay the giant Goliath! The God who is with us now, personally, helping us to overcome all that would defeat us.


Thank You, LORD, for lifting up my soul again today through Your Word, the Bible, speaking keys of truth specifically to my need, to unlock a door that would have kept me trapped in a darkened place. I praise You, God, from Whom all blessings flow! You are alive! Your Word is Truth! You set the captives free! You, LORD, are the One who empowers us to live victoriously! Thank You, in Jesus’ precious and mighty name, Amen.

Psalm 69:1 NKJV
“Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck.”

Psalm 118:5
“I called on the Lord in distress; The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.”

Psalm 3:3
“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.”

Psalm 121:1-2
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills — From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”

Unfettered Praise

The world did its best to silence the voice of Truth, to silence the purposes of Love, of Life. Yet there they stood, hundreds gathered…each one masked in obedience to man’s law of the day. The players of wind instruments had a measure of freedom…faces bare only when their instruments were at their lips. All other musicians, singers, the audience…their voices were blotted, suppressed, occluded. And yet…without eyes to see the black sheaths shutting and covering mouths and noses…one would never guess the feeble barriers there. Voices rich in tone and emotion flowed, undulated, soared throughout the cathedral in glorious songs of praise and prayer, winging on the currents of symphonic sound. 

On and on they played and sang. A lengthy holiday concert. How could they breathe sufficiently? Draw in deep breaths through the barriers? Have enough air to project and play fully what was want to burst from their souls?

All creation sings His praise!
Every knee shall bow!
The Light defeats the darkness!
The Light of the world has walked physically among us!
His Spirit remains to dwell within!
Emmanuel- God with us!

Beyond our masks or fetters
Or rude imprisoning bars
Our spirits may sing freely Lifting praises far
Silently or loudly
It matters not to He
Who hears each heart’s vibrations
No matter what the key


LORD, thank You that nothing can separate us from Your Love. Neither heights, nor depths, nor principalities, nor anything…Thank You, LORD. You are greater than all! Please help us to recognize Your presence in our lives and the innumerable ways You bless us every moment of every day…You are the very breath we breathe. We bless You, LORD. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Genesis 2:7 NKJV
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Psalm 150:6
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!”

Romans 8:38-39
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Broken for You

“Broken in my heart…then offered to the Father…” These were the words that highlighted her mind as she slowly awakened. Correlations came as she pondered why Christ’s body was broken for mankind. The ultimate offering of self for the uplifting, the nourishing, the restoration of life for others. What exactly did those words mean personally for her? Was this the answer to the question that had been plaguing her mind for years…”How do you live?”

Seeking to know the Biblical Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the woman and her husband had been believers for years, both just two regular humans doing their best to make sense of their own personal hurts while learning the realities of what loving others required. Marriage, blended family, raising their children, juggling jobs, trying to defend their little brood from the onslaughts of a world that would take them down…they were like most other people on the planet trying to make sense of it all. Finding meaning, purpose, value, giving back into the messy world that was so rife with hurt and need. It was overwhelming. Perhaps the whole world was silently shouting, “How do you live?”

Life challenges kept testing their beliefs of how to live. Deaths of personal expectations, hurtful relationships, dashed dreams, and cultural strife had sucked enthusiasm from their bones…and yet, because of the historic Jesus who overcame, who defeated ALL those things, they had hope. Jesus’s words, old words of the Bible, were timeless living words that never lost their ability to infuse life back into their bones…and their souls. Words whispered in an ongoing conversation with their reborn spirits through the Holy Spirit. Life was much more than this temporal world.

“Broken for you.” Christ’s whole earthly life of teaching, serving, demonstrating the love of the Father to a confused, self-centered world seemed to end with His final sacrifice…His body broken, hanging on a cross for the remission of sins of the sick, messy, dying world. Until three days later…when He appeared to not only His disciples, but hundreds and hundreds of witnesses. “He is alive!” was the testament of those who saw Him after His resurrection. “He is alive!” is the testament of those who know Him through His Holy Spirit dwelling in them. They, His followers, carry on the work of reconciliation…the restoration of relationship with God the Father reaching out to all creation who have rejected Him. No wonder Christ Jesus was known as the Man of Sorrows. He carried all of the world’s woes, each person’s; and dare I say, the grief of the Father?

Sharing in Christ’s sufferings is part of the experience of living as a Christ-follower. Should one not be surprised when unexpected turmoil or grief sideswipes an otherwise enjoyable day? It does whether or not one believes in the Savior. Yet, when one realizes the goodness that comes through brokenness, it is then the “joy in momentary light afflictions” from an eternal perspective begins to make sense. Personal sorrows and hurts can be transformed into a glorious act of worship as one offers up their confusion and pain with supplication, reaching in trust to the love of the Father, the One who bandages our knees, dries our tears, holds us close as we sob into His arms, and reveals to us the lessons of true healing that only He can reveal. Broken in heart…offered back to the Father. Yes, this is how one may live.

Happily, not all of life brings sorrowed days. God’s beautiful creation shouts encouragement and uplift, trumpets joy and hope. Light and new life blaze with each day’s promise. Rainbows and miracles bring wonder. And we have the gift of laughter. Jesus also has a great sense of humor! He loves to laugh, and welcomes our joys, emotions, and experiences to be shared with Him. He knows them anyway…”for in Him we live and move and have our being!” Laughing with Jesus! Can you imagine sounds of laughter echoing across the expanses of heaven? JOY! Through His Holy Spirit we may laugh with Him now, commune with Him now, know Him personally now. The Man of Sorrows has defeated all that would defeat us! Yes! He is alive! In Him is how to live!


LORD, thank You for Your great love for us. Our words cannot express the depth of gratitude, nor our hearts fully embrace Your sacrifice to redeem us from the wages of sin, from death. Thank you for walking this earth to show us with your Life how to love and live. Thank You that no matter the reasons for our brokenness, all can be transformed as You heal us and make things new. Take my brokenness. Teach me the lessons that will help me grow. May all be an offering for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, and for His sake, Amen.

John 14:6 NKJV “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Luke 22:19 ‘And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”’

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”

Acts 17:28 “for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Turkey Trot

While returning home from a glorious trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada, dear husband and I were enjoying a leisurely drive through Northern Idaho. The beauty of mountains and pastoral scenes surrounded us in peace and quiet as we drove into the gathering dusk. Without warning our reverie was jolted as something banged against our front left fender, lifted up over us, and disappeared! “Wow! What in the world was that?” we both exclaimed as we slowed to see what we hit, or rather, what hit us.

My husband recalled a passing glimpse of a turkey running full bore. Was its lift-off a bit low and it smacked us on its way up? Minus a few feathers left as evidence, and with no blood on the pavement or our car, our assailant was escaping a predator we thought. Not seeing anything in pursuit it was still the only logical conclusion to our question…why was the turkey running?

We drove on wishing that turkey many more days, hoping it was not injured, thankful it was not left dead in our wake. We laughed for miles at how random this event had been, and remembered other game encounters over the years…deer out of nowhere suddenly trying to outrace us; deer skating like Bambi down a dark frozen road in our headlights; deer hitting us. Looking out for deer we understood. But we had never considered getting hit by a turkey! It seemed our surreal, weird bump in the early night was a new twist on an old story…one of another bird crossing the road. Yet, we still wonder what the turkey would say. What do you think?


Thank You, LORD, for the surprising things that bring delight and wonder to our lives. For the joys of unexpected blessings, and laughter. For Your beautiful creation and the gifts of humor we encounter along the way. Thank You for all the ways You nurture us and lighten our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Job 8:21 “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.”


She was petite in body with an inviting and generous spirit that radiated from her quiet demeanor. The mother of my dearest nursing school friend, Freddie was a pastor’s wife who had a penchant for small owls that trapped themselves in her fireplace, working with young children, and collaborating with her family to write and publish fabulous books. There is so much more I wish I knew about Freddie, the myriad details of her life that only those close to her know. The grace and genteel beauty I see in my friend speaks of the depth of her mother’s lovely character, beauty that comes through the refining love of years walking with the LORD.

Dear hubby and I had the joyous pleasure of visiting my dear friend and her husband, their family, and Freddie several years ago. I had a number of visits with Freddie nearly fifty years earlier when my friend and I were new graduates, and again at my friends’ wedding. Living on opposite sides of the USA prevented those weekend outings and shared times we would have liked to enjoy through the years. I still remember a group camping trip with my friends before they were married, complete with a skunk-y nighttime visitor. Fun just seemed to follow us, or we found it.

Joy in life is what I saw in Freddie. She had a lady’s gracefulness about her, and a happy sense of humor, all the while ready with an astute listening ear. She delighted in her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Observing her interact with her two grade-school-age great grandchildren, who helped illustrate and contribute to several of her books, was such fun. I could imagine the children and the family working out the storyline and illustrations with her, formatting, editing, and finally publishing. Even in just these interactions what a memory and legacy she has given her family and inspired in the children! I imagine years of her and her husband discovering where and how their lives would unfold, loving and raising their children, teaching godly values to them and to many others; of family dinners and outings; laughter and tears; trips to the beach, and to Texas to visit Freddie’s newest great grandson; quiet moments sitting together sharing heart to heart; prayers united in supplication, praise, and gratitude; her forbearance as she gracefully aged, became a widow, and endured discomforts. My friend stated she and her husband had to talk her mother into moving in with them, Freddie one day admitting she was so glad for that decision.

During our last visit Freddie gifted me with a set of her published books, as well as our very own stuffy of Ollie the Owl, originally designed by Freddie after the real Ollie who had been trapped in her fireplace. Ollie inspired numerous stories for her books, delighting our grands with his “flight” cross country to meet them and the lessons he brought. Freddie inspired me that just maybe I could publish a book for my grands, too. Her encouragement is part of my backstory of publishing Little Bit in the Great Wide Forest, ten short stories written for and read to my grands. Freddie also wrote a more personal testament of grief, sharing her hope amidst loss, comforting others with the comfort with which she had been comforted through our LORD’s love and grace.

A random pocket-dial brought my friend and me together as dear hubby and I were driving cross-country for a family Thanksgiving. A moment in time. And the sad-for-us-left-behind news that Freddie had flown to higher realms. Though she now resides in Heaven, and for that we rejoice, missing her is hard. When someone is joined to us in love their departure leaves a rift in the calm of our sea. For those departed with whom we are joined in God’s Spirit, though their earthly body is no longer of use, the spirit remains vibrantly alive. And our connection in the LORD is never lost. What joy and glories must have met Freddie as she stepped into eternity!

What can one say in a few words to capture a person’s precious life? A wonderful Mama and matriarch. A godly woman who loved her family and community well. A ninety-seven year young woman who’s daughter will carry on the family matriarchy with the same love and grace. Freddie, a dear genteel woman pouring out God’s love in her care for others. Whose kindness and love towards me still warms my heart. And whose steady forbearance, like my mother’s, is a testament of a life of faithful living and aging in true beauty by God’s amazing grace.

Check out some of Freddie’s (Laura Lee Mason) books on Amazon:

Lots of Ways to Win

For Kids from One to Ninety-Two: A Collection of Christmas Stories

Together with God: A Journey Through Grief


Psalm 116:15 NKJV “Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.”

Taking Down the Tree

Such a glorious thing, that tree that springs up in our living room each December. Aglow day and night it needs none other to bring light into the room. The ambiance feels warmer than a cozy blanket or sweater. It seeps deep into one’s very being…and longings…of past, present, future. 

Glad ornaments festoon the branches, dancing either formally or in wild abandon, depending on who placed them there. No matter how they’ve landed, the tree dressed in such finery, humble or costly, is magnificent…a swirl of celebration and joy pointing straight up to the One for whom all this rejoicing transpires, praise and thanksgiving lifting straight to Heaven.

When January breaks, the rush of preparations and gatherings, gifts and wrappings, joys and disappointments melt away in winter sunshine and the far promise of spring. A yet…must we leave this gloried spot? Where memories knit decades, repairing the moth-eaten shrouds of souls longing to be made whole. Must we put away this visual reminder, halt the lighting of our internal Christmas lights?

Some sprint forward into the New Year ready to leave what has passed. Others lag behind, loath to step from this winter spa of refreshing…a soak in a snowy mountain hot springs, warm and deeply satisfying, though all around is freezing. Have frigid winds of life covered this tree in ice? If so, may it thaw in the warmth of glowing lights…

Eventually the pull of the new day calls one to step away from that warm winter spa, to walk on. With a lingering look at all the experience has given, one might choose to step out…take down the tree…or not.

Oh, joy!

Christ within is ever bright
Though Christmas tree is lost from view
His Holy Spirit power brings
His presence to our souls anew

New spirit He to us does birth
A gift He bought at costly price
New life the greatest present given
For all He is the Christmas Light

Come to know Him personally
Live, commune direct with Him
Step into eternal life
Begin to know this Jesus Christ

He is the Spring of Life also
Living water quenching thirst
His Holy shroud replaces ours
In His presence new life bursts


LORD, thank You for bending down to come to dwell with us. For demonstrating Your Love personally by living among us, giving Your life up for our salvation, and defeating death that we, too, might have eternal life. You, LORD, are The Gift of Christmas. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who dwells in those who accept Your gift of forgiveness and redemption…our Comforter, Helper, Teacher, Friend. With gladness we open our hearts to You, and ask all hearts be softened to do so. Let us not forget You are here with us. Help us, LORD, to never turn from the Light, from You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

John 1:1-2, 4, 14 NKJV
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 8:12
‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”’

John 14:26
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

At the New Year


Stop the noise and listen
Silence the numbing sounds
God calls for our attention
Let holiness come down

Hear Abba’s Words eternal
Infusing to our souls
The Spirit’s holy whisperings
Brings life to make us whole

Wait upon His strengthening
Deeper to greater need
Be still and know that He is God
Oh hear Yeshua speak

Teach us LORD this New Year
To know You closer still
To walk in tandem with You
In all things do Your will

Thank You Father, Spirit, Son
For Your redeeming grace
We bow before Your Holiness
Lift hands in grateful praise

Receiving now with thankful hearts
At threshold of the year
Your sacrifice poured out for us
Your Love and blessings here


Isaiah 30:15a NKJV
‘“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”’

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Ecclesiastes 12:1
‘“Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”:’

Winter’s Celebration

Frosted white trees splay in celebration, their shimmering coated branches reaching for the heavens and cascading towards the earth. They are fat sparklers’ explosions, fireworks frozen, the surrounding fog evidence of their jubilance…and that a great burning light has been here. Dark green conifers bearing white loads of snow march through groves of jubilant trees, like great stiff-haired mastodons carrying away the burdens of the world.

A sense of pristine silence permeates the air, the hoarfrost and deep snow dampening the sounds of cars passing by. It’s dangerous driving in this frozen bliss…the velour gray sky and the overwhelming beauty are distracting. One needs to be in a solitary vehicle inching along, or walking in this ethereal place, with opportunity to gaze, stop at will, become lost within this living art, and commune with the Artist.

It is near otherworldly…perhaps to capture our attention? To remind us to slow down, take time to look and see? A foretaste of life beyond this temporal plane?

Hoarfrost – congealed dew drops. Snowflakes – ice crystals. Frozen, crystalline miracles silently appearing out of thin air. Each form, each crystal a fabulous work of art that reflects that great burning light, then…melts away. Oh, to have the capacity to begin to understand the majesty of our Creator! Nature is singing praises, glorifying the Most High. Let us pause, too…to see, and praise, and sing!


Psalms 89: 11 “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.”

Psalms 47: 6-7 “Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with understanding.”

Psalms 148: 8-9, 13 “Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word; 9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars”

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.”

This Christmas Day

God Himself put on our skin 
Knows our mind games, our life race
Came to defeat the sin we’re in
Walked this dusty earthly place
Gives every single person choice
Transforms us by His matchless grace
Desires we hear, obey His voice
Trust and grow in Him

Oh the thought that God Most High
Would care enough to bend so low
To redeem each wayward child
To sacrificially Love us so
To lift us up and up again
Strengthening for keeping on
Closer drawing us to Him
Giving us a glad new song

And yet, and yet when life turns rude
When we’re brought low
Forced to look
Yanked out of our expected things
May our costly humbling bring
This Christmas Day remembering
Christ’s incarnation holy place
Was in a stable crude

No matter what this day may bring
We can entrust all to His hand
For His birth, His death, His LIFE
His unending sacrifice
His LOVE forever draws us in
To want to dwell in His embrace
To gaze upon His Holy face
N’er be apart again

Merry Christmas, Trinity
Father, Holy Spirit, Son
Thank You for each blessing given
Thank You for immeasurable Love
Far beyond what hearts can kin
Let these praises raise to heaven
To glorify Your Holy Name
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Messiah, Savior, Immanuel…my King…


LORD, help us to think more on the meanings of Your glorious name (so many more than listed above). We cannot comprehend the countless ways You have Loved, cared for, and lifted us…Thank You, LORD, for the amazing things You have done! Thank You that still Your nail-pierced hands are reaching towards us, desiring that no one should perish. Thank You, our Father, for this Christmas gift today and every day…Yourself. We bless, honor, glorify, and praise You. Amen.

Luke 2:11 NKJV “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Matthew 1:23 ‘“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”’

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Broken Lantern

A newly crafted lantern, shined and bejeweled through hours of careful attention, sat proudly on the shelf in all its glory, waiting to fulfill its purpose. The shop hummed busily with browsers, many hands touching, grabbing, turning, checking the lantern from all angles. Did it meet their needs, was it just right for their intent, would it function as they desired? Long days went by and still the lantern waited on the shelf. Finally purchased, with a group of other lamps, the lantern was moved…to yet another shop, another shelf.

Knocked to the floor more than once by a hurried patron, the lantern lost a bit of luster, though still was of use and worth. Several times it had been lit, tried for display, examined for value, tested for brilliance. Still, never purchased. Never quite just right.

Years went by and for unknown reasons the lantern was never chosen. Humbled from its loftiness, it became dusty and old fashioned, pushed back behind the newly-styled creations. Still the shop owner kept it in working order. One never knew when the right buyer would happen by. It was unique, one of a kind, whatever that meant to the rush-a-by world. Yet the cracks and dents it now wore deterred those who craved glitter and shine. The lantern had long given up its dreams of brilliance. It just sat on the shelf, reconciled to dust.

A tiny child scurried through the shop door one cold winter evening, as if blown in by a gale. “Child, what is it?” asked the kind shopkeeper. “Why are you out so late this dark night?” Rubbing her arms through her thin coat, she looked up at him as her words came tumbling forth…“A lantern, I need a lantern for the stable.” “Whatever for, child?” the proprietor patiently asked. There was no need for a child to request such a thing, a potential fire hazard. He would not lend to that possibility. And on a night like tonight? She should be home in bed! “It’s not for me, sir,” she replied, as though understanding the reasons for his hesitation. “My father, the inn keeper, needs it for guests.” “Guests? Guests in a stable?” “Oh, yes sir, and please hurry. The lady is near to having her baby. We need a good lantern that will last through the night and for several days. Please hurry, sir! The lady is in pain!”

“Yes, yes, alright child. Let me find the one I have in mind.” The shop keeper knew of the inn in the neighboring district, and that during this time of census the city was filled with travelers. Considering the child’s story plausible he searched his shelves for the old lantern, his mind resolved he would offer it in charity. It was a little thing he could do, and the lantern would go to a place of need. Lifting the lantern gently from its dusty spot, he wiped it clean, filled it with oil, and wrapped it carefully for the child to carry. “Mind your steps now, will you?” he spoke, suddenly feeling quite grandfatherly towards the girl. “Oh, yes sir,” she smiled widely, bending slightly in respectful bow before cradling the lantern and rushing out the door.

“Father! Father! Here is the lantern!” she shouted running up the path to the stable. “Thank you, daughter,” her father smiled with appreciation. “You are just in time. All is ready here, and we will leave this lovely couple with your lantern to give them light and warmth through the night.” Lighting the old lantern the inn keeper hung it on a post near the place the husband was tending to his wife.

As the night transpired a wondrous event occurred in that stable, under the watchful eyes of the barn animals, and the glowing warmth of the lantern. A tiny child through long labor was born, a child who would one day give up His life for the whole world. Over all a holiness covered that stable, and somehow for many days the lantern glowed on and on, its oil never diminishing. Its light shone on visitors, shepherds and lambs, those who brought gifts. It provided warmth and comfort for the young family and their tiny babe. It moved with them to a nearby humble home, til suddenly one day news came that they must flee.

“Dear child,” the baby’s mother spoke softly to the girl, who could not seem to stay away from the beautiful three, “We must leave now, and wish to thank you and your family for the kind care you have given us in our time of need, and for this light you brought to us. Please give our blessing also…we shall never forget you.” While the husband tenderly helped his wife and child onto the back of their trusted donkey, the small girl looked on in wonder. “I shall never forget you either,” she whispered as the family carefully, yet with haste, began their long journey.

Having taken the lantern from their hands the girl walked slowly to the inn. “They’ve gone,” she told her father, “with blessings and thanks for all we’ve done.” “Yes,” the father replied gravely. “It was time.”

Walking toward the lantern shop, her father having instructed her to return the borrowed gift, the girl wondered at all she had seen. She wondered, too, that the lantern had burned so long without additional oil. “Did you fill this with special oil?” she politely asked the old shop keeper. “No, no my dear. Why do you ask?” Cocking her head with a puzzled look she replied, “It has been burning constantly since you lent it. No oil was added. How can that be?”

The old man, a seeker of truth, had wondered at the birth of the child in the stable, the visitations to that humble place, the brilliant star that had marked its location. “I believe, child, there has been a miracle or two. This old broken lantern has been waiting for its purpose to be fulfilled. And while it was being used for such, it burned brightly. Only Yahweh knows and works to completion His purposes for each of us, and for all things.” The girl nodded slowly, as she recalled the events that had occurred since she had first come to this shop. Miracles indeed. Miracles that would enlighten her whole life.

The lantern was spent. Though it had performed brilliantly, gone were its desires for recognition and glory. Looking at the lantern one would never know the mystery of its transformation. Broken, yet fulfilled. Imperfect, yet chosen. Limited, yet supplied. In humility it had shone for the King of Kings.


Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

The Bluebird

Did a bird in fact flit by
Blue iridescence blazing
Or was it but a moment’s glimpse
My mind’s eye then amazing

Color blazed through gloomy gray
Of sky and soul in winter
Rarely seen in busy town
Mountain birds its kinder

Yet blue it flew to bright the day
Reminders in my sorrow
That gladness pierces even gloom
God-sent a bright-winged arrow

Oh bluebird take my love and fly
To those my arms are missing
And pierce them with your glad surprise
Of joy and heart-filled blessing


LORD, thank You for those perfectly timed occurrences that turn our eyes off our gloom and onto the brightness of Your presence and promise. May all who mourn today see You, Your provision, Your great abiding Love. You know our sorrows even more than we do…comfort us, I pray. Thank You, Lord, for joy amidst our suffering. Only in You may we experience such a thing! Bless You, LORD! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Matthew 5:4 NKJV
“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted”

Psalms 124:7-8
“Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; The snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, Who made heaven and earth”

Holiday Book Gift Guide 2022

Merry Christmas blessings and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

The Holiday Book Gift Guide, and link below to nearly eighty books written by members of a Christian writer’s group, was graciously compiled by friend and fellow member, Lana Scroggins. Many different genres are included, each book with the author’s brief description and link for purchasing.

Little Bit in the Great Wide Forest, my children’s book inspired by and written/illustrated for our grands, is also in this guide.

May you find messages and stories of hope to strengthen you and those you love. No matter what circumstances life has brought or brings your way, God bless and keep you and give you peace!🎄🌟

Holiday Gift Guide 2022

Snow Fences

Undulating with the land 
Lining roads like concert chairs
Or spiked hair on shaven heads
Stalwartly just standing there

Oft’ a perch for falcon’s rest
Summer frame for winding vine
Holding firm they pass the test
Braving weather of all kinds

Catching troves of tumbling weeds
Flat toothpicks knit in stout rows
Cannot bind the blowing wind
Yet guard roads from drifting snow

Countless passers-by go on
Hurrying yet to places fair
Through gusting winds, o’er slippery roads
Safer for snow fences there


Thank You, LORD, for the myriad ways protection is given as we travel through this world. Please bless all whose efforts bring ease, safety. and comfort to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV
“And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

Kansas Wind

It skips across the rolling plains 
Down grassy streams, o’er rippled ponds
Bends trees and landscape to it’s will
Then swirls away to somewhere Oz

Clutching steering wheel tight
Rocking through buffeting sounds
Will we also fly away
Spinning up and round and round
To land in someplace Oz

No Munchkins seen along this path
Not yellow-bricked but asphalt gray
Roads leading home eventually
Miles by step, years by day

Perhaps the birds in glorious flocks
Soaring, twisting in the light
Are darting in and out of Oz
Will take our wonder with their flight
Into other realms

No matter where these winds do blow
Or wondrous stories left behind
“…no place like home” rings in our hearts
Belonging’s quest a home to find


Ecclesiastes 1:6 NKJV
“The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit”

Hebrews 11:16
“But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”

Philippians 3:20
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”

Note: The old movie “Wizard of Oz” comes to mind every time we drive through Kansas. Last year I wrote a short piece titled Somewhere In Kansas. If you’d like another peek at Kansas you can find that post alphabetically in the Musings Library. When in Kansas hang on to your hat!

Those Things Between

What are those myriad things that wash against our souls, tidal waves lapping, churning, that retreat only to return again? Crests that are braved leaving us weathered and worn before the relief of calm, sun’s piercing light scattering the grey, blowing the gale away?

What when those tides are words and looks, voice inflections, or body speaking differently than lips? What of hurts buried deep, covertly eroding strength while unresolved things sit like festering infections begging for light and air to heal? Is it you, is it me, or is it things that divide us?

How do we heal our individual hurts so that we do not erect barriers, separate, disconnect ourselves from each other, from those we love the best? Or them who might have hurt us the most? How to walk the road together, taking down the barriers, brick by brick, to bring back the joy known before tenacious pain? How to keep the tidal waves at bay so no further abutments are built? How to live well in a world full of crashing waves and tumultuous storms, things bent on defeat? Let us dwell not on the storm, but look beyond to help and heal, and keep walking together. Let not the things isolate us from one another.


LORD, help us have the strength to stand, the wisdom to navigate the changing tides of one another’s behavior, Your Spirit’s guidance to direct our hearts and emotions in Love, and the patience to build connection. May we build up, not diminish others; see clearly Your will how we are to respond; wait on You before rushing ahead to “fix things” on our own; and remember always to call upon You. Gentle us, LORD. Please start here with me. Thank You for knowing those things that are between me and others…things I must repent of or that I need to forgive. Heal our hurts, LORD, and heal the hurts of all the weary souls around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ephesians 4:32 NKJV “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Jeremiah 7:23 “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’”

Hebrews 12:14-15 “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled”

Psalms 107:29 “He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still.”

Thanksgiving Thoughts 2022

Transplanted seedlings we were once 
Or perhaps some started here
In this valley verdant green
With rivers, mountains, trees and streams

Deserts near for those who would
Leave this vale where they did start
Planting new shoots far away
In climes calling to their hearts

Yet our roots are intertwined
No matter how far they have grown
Not seas nor land nor death itself
Have severed ties so deeply sown

Such gratitude this thankful time
Memories sweet and hard too
This treasured gift our heritage
Plus blessed gift of life with you

Like the spreading aspen grove
Whose roots entwined grow far and wide
Would our roots, our legacy
Bring new growth, our best abide

May the Love that has upheld
Good we’ve known along the way
Guard and keep dear family, friends
Now, tomorrow, every day


“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hand and voices…”


The hymn “Now thank we all our God” was written in 1636 by Martin Rinkart, later translated by Catherine Winkworth:

1 Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

2 O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
(Psalter Hymnal (Gray), 1987)

Martin Rinkart (1586-1649) was the Bishop of Eilenberg, Germany during the Thirty Years' War. Since Eilenberg was a walled city it became a place of refuge for fugitives of the war, and also a place of famine and disease due to overcrowding. In 1637 at the height of their misery, Rinkart was the only clergyman left in the city who could perform the 40 or 50 necessary burial services daily -- one of which was for his wife. As if that weren't enough, the city was sacked three times by invaders, one of which imposed a large tribute payment upon the people. During this time, Rinkart managed to find the time to write 7 dramas and 66 hymns.
The hymn "Nun danket alle Gott" was originally titled "Tisch-Gebetlein," or a "little prayer before the meal." This humble prayer of thanksgiving is laid out simply and beautifully in the first verse, but it's the next two verses that expand the hymn's focus and have given it its lasting appeal. You can see the Thirty Years' War pressing on his mind in verse two:
And keep us in His grace, And guide us when perplexed, And free us from all ills In this world and the next.
After a verse of thanks, and a verse that asks for strength during the trials of life, he ends with a paraphrase of the doxology as if to say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, may the name of the Lord be praised." --Greg Scheer, 1995

Notes and hymn copied from