For That Veteran

An unusual sense of foreboding hovered over the gloomy low-ceilinged parking garage. I drove cautiously to the second level before finding an empty spot, and was relieved it faced the outside light. An older grey sedan pulled in on my left moments later, and out popped an equally older, short, wiry man whose wrinkled, weathered face exuded kindness.

Just steps ahead of him as we approached the elevator, I pushed the button, the door opened, and we rode down together. Proceeding along the narrow walkway into the VA Medical Center, I inquired if he was a veteran.

“Yes,” he said. And I thanked him for his service.

“My husband, dad, and many men in my family are veterans, too,” I offered. Thinking of other family members and how we each also serve…as civilians living the collateral effects of military service…I added, “I’ve found it’s a shared family thing.”

As we waited in line in the busy lobby, he continued, his eyes darkening, “My dad served in WWII. The horribly inhumane things he experienced…there’s a reason those vets don’t want to talk about it.”

During our conversation I wondered aloud, “Do you feel those hurts have carried over to you? Generational pain is real, and I wonder how much we unknowingly carry.”

“Oh, there’s all kinds of therapy for that,” he replied. As the line moved forward and our chat ended, I thanked him again and said, “God bless you,” smiling as we parted. His face and eyes lit up and, with his affirming nods, I sensed a moment of spiritual solidarity.

Seconds later, after receiving directions to our son’s post-surgical room, I looked back. The man had vanished. What more would he have shared? What reason for such a random interchange? A mist of stories, a lightening of burdens? Or was he but a timely escort through a foreboding garage?

After a good visit with our son and daughter-in-law, I drove t’wards a stormy sky, my mind rewinding to the veteran’s brief story of his father, and the burden of untold stories so many still carry.

A vast sheet of mottled grey covering the sky turned progressively heavier and darker ‘til it touched the ground. The air felt oppressive, the darkness pulling the sky earthward as though an increasing weight of tears hung there…waiting. Hidden, stuffed pain begged to be released into weeping rain lest the atmosphere implode…nature reflecting the mounting collective hurts of the world. Would a person’s increasingly burdened spirit look the same? How many hurting souls refused to release their heavy rain, thundering only, or finding other ways to avoid being consumed by their stormy grief? Would they ever be free of such a load?

Just left of the misery, a section of brilliant blue sky held a great white cumulus cloud, the sun’s rays illuminating it from behind and shining around it…a proud fist of pure victory despite the dark, dismal gloom brooding nearby. Nature reflecting light overcoming the darkness. Hope rising. Burdens cast off. Freedom!

God bless us every one! Bless each veteran…generations standing to fight for goodness and right, enduring grave hardships of tortuous battle against evil and all who would defeat wholeness and peace. And for the untold families who bear the hardships as well…they are all of us. Please, God, wipe every tear away! And give us strength to overcome those unseen things in ourselves causing the pain we inflict on one another. Heal us through Your perfect peace and reconciliation. Thank You for truth, light, and freedom!


LORD, thank You for this brief encounter, and safe passage through a dark place. Help us to savor touch points like this, not feel hurried but wait in the quietness of Your Spirit to listen and hear. Bless each veteran, and every hurting person. Restore us all from the horrors and deep wounds inflicted on our bodies and spirits. Forgive the sins and brokenness we have committed against You and our fellow humans, and help us forgive ourselves and those who have caused harm. Heal our pain, dry our tears, and let us rejoice in the hope and glorious beauty of Your Light! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Revelation 21:4 NKJV “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Matthew 11:28 NLT ‘Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”’

John 8:12 NLT ‘Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”’

Mountain Spring Time

Old Man Winter began to shave 
His white beard shorter day by day
Balding head with white tufts plain
Sideburn whiskers yet remain

Ridges, crevices of his nose
All his wrinkles full exposed Now grow tender fuzzy hair
Eager sprouts on mountains fair

While he closes eyes to slumber
Sweating in the noonday sun
Rivulets pour from his crown
River rapids running down

And warming sheets melt ‘neath his chin
As he dreams remembering
Frozen castles, ice igloos
Snow and sleet, storms he blew

All aglow comes tumbling in
Youthful Spring, his time again
Laughing glad with all things new
Bursting at the seams to bloom

Winter sighs slow to leave
Parting snowflake flurries breezed
As crystal memories drip away
Mountain spring time’s here to stay


Thank You, LORD, for the changing seasons, the constancies of nature You’ve set in motion, the vast beauty of Your living art drawing our eyes upwards to see You. Open our hearts to know You and Your eternal purposes, and to walk in awareness of Your presence each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Genesis 8:22 NKJV
“While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

Jeremiah 8:7
“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the Lord.”

A Beautiful Meeting

There he was…dark haired, mustached, tall and lean…just as in their youth. She’d heard, then saw him looking for tools in the workroom, his mannerisms reminding her of Dad, purposeful and precise.

Decades pulled them from each other, stretched like taffy. Previous grand gatherings dwindled with growing families, varying interests, different friends, the pandemic; all gradually replaced by social media, a phone call, holiday texts, an occasional visit. It was a loss, a diminishing of something fine and precious, perhaps a natural downhill progression, like mingled river headwaters separating in their long run towards the sea.

The years sculpted them differently, him more liberal, her more conservative. Yet their abiding love was unbroken, ultimately stronger than taffy. They stood looking at each other, he explaining what he was looking for, she amazed he was there. A soul meeting of sorts, a moment of reconnection, understanding flowing over things previously barred, walls of disagreements disappearing. Lumps and holes in their taffy being smoothed and filled as life kept folding and stretching them, this time bringing them closer again.

It was delightful for both, his eyes twinkling while speaking words she longed to hear. She captured that moment in the Love of her heart, writing it down for her eyes and mind to see. For a memory, an encounter, a dream, every occurrence spent in sweet communion with those one holds dear is a priceless gift in a world bent on pulling families apart.

There is a want deep within
To be accepted, understood
Something human souls long for
Commune with others, what is good
A family sort of thing

Yet human life has its points
Of challenges and disconnect
Joys and hurts all swirled in
Imperfect persons seeking yet
To be loved and heard

Love came down on Christmas Day
To live a Life that demonstrates
The way of Love and Listening
What it means to truly make
Relations in harmony

Thank You, God, for keeping us
Connected even when we’re stretched
For all we learn from life shared
With others’ lives ours intersects
On this journey back to You


LORD Jesus, thank You for Your abiding, unending Love! Thank You for loved ones who so richly bless our lives. Let us love one another as You have loved us. In Your name, Amen.

Romans 8:38-39 NKJV “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.”

Matthew 12:50 “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

Psalms 22:27 “All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.”

Overcoming Again

She lay flattened on the floor, the wind knocked out of her from the never ending battle. She awakened each day this way, a lingering shred of hopelessness refusing to let go. Was she a mother sorrowing for her adult children, their choices hurting them? A wife caring for her ailing husband? One enduring her own chronic health issues? One struggling day to day to provide food for her family? One standing against causes of suffering? A grandmother grieving for her grandchildren? Or was she bearing some other oppressive burden that just would not let go? And so she prayed…there was absolutely no higher place to bring her supplications for those of her heart, or for herself, than before Jesus, King above all kings, King of the Universe.

It was an ongoing battle. The world and forces of evil relentlessly sucked more into bondage through attacks aimed at most tender, vulnerable spots. Previously subtle covert measures had become blatant, public proclamations. And the masses…dumbed down over years of trickling twisted lies, the ploys of the evil one in the Garden of Eden stuck on replay through endless generations…drank in the poison, gulping it in their desperate need, not knowing it was killing them.

Overcoming. The call to all who follow Christ the King. Salvation and new life given to all who accept His unfathomable Holy gift…His own life sacrificed through death on a cross carrying the weight of all of mankind’s sins. Crucified and buried. Dead. For three days in a tomb His breathless physical body lay…flattened on the floor.

Thankfully she was still breathing, though sorrow pressed heavily. Her spirit’s only strength to overcome rested solely on Christ’s Risen Spirit lifting hers, He who overcame death itself, His body resurrected so hers, too, would be. She had received salvation, her spirit was reborn. Yet in the fierce spiritual battle of evil desperately clawing to defeat and claim all it could, she needed the refilling strength, presence of her King’s Holy Spirit within her to overcome and overcome again.

She breathed a prayer in her exhaustion, apologetic for her weakness, yet knowing the infinite Love and Grace of Jesus pouring over and filling her, enabling her to stand once more. It took the gift of time dwelling in His presence, listening to His words of encouragement. Time to be quiet and just be, let Hope strengthen her heart. He would show her the way, the Faithful Shepherd leading His lamb. With Him, one moment at a time, she, too, could overcome.


LORD, thank You that You give us Your strength to overcome. In ourselves we can do nothing against the forces we face. All ability, talent, intelligence we might have…even our brokenness…is a gift from You. As You have given us life, LORD, we give ours back to You to be strengthened and raised above all that would defeat us. Strengthen us, LORD, to overcome through You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Isaiah 12:2 NKJV “Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”

Psalm 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but You?
And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. 26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The Father’s Care

“Go! Into the house now!” her father thundered. His elder daughter’s defiant eyes flashed as she stood daring to glare at him. “Go now!” he growled, not with menace but authority. She spun on her heel and fled, slamming the door behind her as she stomped into the house. She, with her mother, had selfishly and ruinously hurt an innocent young woman, their sugary deception causing their victim to flee in fear while they sought to claim her prize. Their plot exposed, the two earned the painful consequences of…truth’s discipline.

The events leading to this scene (my interpretation from author Kit Morgan’s book The Christmas Mail Order Bride) struck me as an allegory of how the spirit of fear deceives us. Fear dances around, taunting, sometimes cooing and soothing, twisting our thoughts ‘til we are paralyzed, give up, or run away from our purpose rather than towards it. Shrinking back in fear is fear’s intent. To capture us and convince us from becoming all the Father has meant us to be. And like the deceivers of the above story, it would rob us of our prize.

My earthly father was a protective man. Tall with a big personality, he cared deeply for the welfare of his wife and children. He would have disciplined me – in love – had I intentionally set out to hurt another for my own gain. He also defended me from those who would harm me. I experienced his approval and disapproval. Disagreed with him on more than one occasion. Learned to stand my ground and live with my choices. Nearly lost him over our differences…and yet, as we faced our differences honestly, the bond of Love held fast. Though tested and stretched it was never broken. It remained steadfast…always forever, no matter whatever.

As I face challenges that appear overwhelming…when the spirit of fear tries to swirl around to block me from reaching my purpose…my mind’s eye sees my protective father thundering to all who would deceive or undo me, “Go! Now!”

How much more our Father God is there for us! How much greater His Love, defense, protection, wisdom than that of the best of earthly fathers! Praise be to live in the Love of the Father’s care! One who loves us enough to discipline us when needed. To redeem us when in humility we repent from our wrongs. Who nurtures us to wholeness. And who teaches us to stand strong against fear.


LORD, thank You that You are Love! That You have formed and fashioned Your creation in such a way for Love to abound. Forgive us for listening to the deception of fear and other unholy spirits who would turn us away from Your Great Love. Purify us, LORD. Bring us back to right relationship with You. Free us for all You have purposed. And keep us strong in Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans 5:8 NKJV “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”

Hope Deferred

Waiting with prayerful petition 
Goes on forever at times
Months slow turn into decades
Years roll languidly by

Heart sick heavy with sorrow
Refusing to heal, to mend
A shroud of heaviness hanging
Mulling its way in the dim

Why yet no answers so wanted
Those heartfelt cries to above
Oh to see the great picture
See with God’s eyes of pure Love

While waiting His strength is transplanted
Into hearts wounded deep
His sure accompanying presence
Available to fill every need

Take hope, all you who are weary
Exhausted and sick in your souls
Cling to the Giver of patience
One who can make all hearts whole

Practice resultant thanksgiving
No matter what outcome may be
With God in pain’s fertile soil
Beauty will grow mercifully


LORD, thank You that no matter the depth of our sorrow, Your Love is deeper still. Help us to have trust in Your good purposes especially when the resolution we so desire is delayed, or never comes. Show us Your will, Father. Help us to rest in Your promises as we wait on You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Proverbs 13:12 NIV
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Daniel 2:22 NKJV
“He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.”

Isaiah 60:2
“For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.”

Psalm 81:10
“I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”


Wispy like clouds…that’s how she felt. Stretched for so long it seemed holes were holding her together. No wonder an emptiness invaded. Not depression really, just a void. It was a strange experience, more tolerable the older she grew. Watching changes in her loved ones and friends added to the taste of life distancing…becoming less connected, unimportant, a sense of isolation, being forgotten. A growing towards that very private thing called dying each soul must singularly face.

She had always pre-grieved, perceiving losses to come; so began exploring the feelings visiting her, trying to learn the lessons waiting there. Nothing was a waste. Growth came from all experiences, even the hardest ones, some like composted manure necessary to nourish the soil so the flower would flourish, grow, and bloom. Thankfully the Master Gardner cultivated the garden well, transplanting her out of places where heaps of too much would-be manure would destroy her. She was at the mercy of Someone beyond herself. There was too much in the plowing, churning, cultivating, transplanting, and the endless changing seasons for her to understand. It was best now that she just rest…and watch the clouds.

Clouds had become a near obsession. “Two hands on wheel!” her son admonished as she tried to get a picture while driving. The sky had been glorified daily with changing cloudscapes, light shimmering through, into, behind…displaying over the valley exquisite contrasts of blue and white; other days white and dark shapes backlit by velvet gray.

What a gift! The Master Artist unveiled daily surprises, the overarching dome alive with movement, color, change. As her fading soul contemplated the losses she bore and would bear, the final loss leaving this earthly place, she gazed at the clouds and remembered her lifelong dreams of bodily flying there. She would rather sit on a hill and take pictures imagining then fuss with daily demands.

Perhaps one day soon her spirit would rise and play through the majestic gladness of the clouds. The rolling ones, the sheets of gleam, the wispy cowlick feathers. The story-telling ones morphed into dinosaurs, dogs, and bunnies. And angel shapes hovering over city scenes. The gray velvet ones like comforters letting go crystal kisses of snow upon the earth. And in her play she would find herself full again.

The holes? Perhaps just new places to be filled with heavenly wonders beyond her imagination. Like eyelids briefly closing to open yet again.


LORD, thank You that when we come to the end of ourselves, actually or in our feelings, You are there. There is no place we can go where we are truly abandoned or alone. Our feelings are but wisps, changeable as clouds driven by unseen winds. Thank You for being the only Unchanging One, that Your Word and promises never vary, that You are fully trustworthy, and that You carry us through all life experiences. Thank You for the gift of filling us anew with Your resurrected life! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans 5:10-11 NKJV “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

Psalm 139:7-10 “Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 36:5 “Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

Our Tombs

The door slammed shut blocking any trace of light entering the pitch black room. He might as well have been dead and buried; the crushing experience was the same. Isolated, abandoned, rejected, ridiculed, he could only cower in a tight ball thankful he could still breathe. He had been beaten and bloodied…again.

The boy was eleven, small for his age, but wiry and strong. He could run like the wind, yet had not run from his uncle, his “guardian” whose heavy hand hurt him. They lived in a fine house near the center of town, the outside glitz shamming the ugliness inside. Summertime was the worse. He could be locked in his tomb for days, no one the wiser.

“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…”

A sweet voice reached his ears through the outside walls of his windowless room. The song brought memories of words sung and Bible stories heard when his parents, now dearly departed two years, took him to church. A picture of a small candle lighting up his darkness came to mind, and he gingerly sat up, groped to find the cot, and crawled onto it. He could just see it there on the small bookcase nearby, a little candle shining brightly, winking and twinkling friendliness. No, he was not alone. A wisp of happiness and hope wafted over him.

As he lay in his candle glow he thought of the story of Easter, Jesus rising from the dead, the sealed stone of His tomb found rolled away, and Jesus walking in the garden. “Jesus, I need You. Would You get me out of this tomb?” the boy simply asked. “I don’t know how to get out of here.” And falling asleep, he dreamed of his deliverance.


Jesus intimately understands vulnerability, humility, the pain of abuse, a gruesome death…and the tortured separation from His Father with Whom He was united in all ways. As He bore mankind’s sins, yours and mine, on the cross He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Sin does that…separates us from the Father. And though “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust,” His ideal is to resurrect us now to live above all that steals His goodness from us.

What has me entombed today? Where in my life am I clinging to sin or untruths that hold me hostage? Whether by the hand of others or my own choice, how am I bound? Is it despair, grief, hopelessness? Enticements of the world?Philosophies contrary to God’s plan? Fear of any kind? There is only One I know who has defeated death, thereby conquering all that would defeat me; who offers rebirth for my spirit to live free from my tombs day by day…redeemed, changed, and reconciled for eternity, to walk with Him – risen – in the garden.

“Jesus, I need You! Would You get me out of this tomb?”


LORD, thank You for Your sacrifice for me, for bearing my sin, for going through the torture and pain in my place. Thank You, Father, for Jesus’ triumph over death, and Your amazing gift of forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, and eternal life. Let me truly understand and appreciate Your great Love for me every day. Show me the Way, LORD, and let me be willing to follow. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Luke 24:36-40 NKJV “Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” 40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

In Glowing Winter Moonlight

Three o’clock in the morning was a ridiculous time to be awake. Frosty thoughts tripped over Rachael’s sleepy mind as she closed the weather app and set her phone down. “Happy New Year,” she frowned shaking her head at the bedside clock flashing <10:00>. “Just great! Who knows when the power will come back on?” She was freezing once again, this time through no fault of her own…her power bill had been paid.

“Enough grumping!” she muttered, hugging her blanket and purring cat closer. Earlier she had donned long underwear, two layers of socks, her thickest pants, a fleece top, and a down vest. She was bundled…not her first winter rodeo.

Three days of storms, blown in on high winds, consumed the valley. It was depressing or beautiful depending on one’s point of view, and the availability of warm shelter. Staccato hail turned to swirling sleet, finally giving way to long quiet hours of great tumbling flakes. But for the present lack of heat, Rachael loved the Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaid scenes the storms left behind.

With a heavy sigh she gazed out the bedroom window. Like a giant mellow spotlight, the moonlight’s reflection on the snow illuminated the park behind her apartment. Exquisitely beautiful, the light begged Rachael’s company. “Why not? It’s a balmy twenty-one degrees Fahrenheit,” she announced to Madeleine, her silky gray, six-toed cat. “It’s a glorious night for a walk!” Amidst Madeleine’s protesting meows of being jettisoned from a warm lap, Rachael grabbed her hat, scarf, and gloves, zipped up her down coat, stepped into snow boots, and fairly waltzed out the door. Well, as gracefully as one can waltz in snow boots.

An old wrought iron gate separating her yard from the park stood frozen open just enough to allow access to the pristine winter wonderland. Enthralled with the golden glow shimmering everywhere, Rachael crunched along the path into the park, the noise of her steps muffled by the dense snow. Icy crystal-coated limbs of pines and deciduous trees, and drooping feathered branches of firs, twinkled as though nature had woven lights around every branch and needle. Lower clumps of bushes also glimmered, their shoots long upright fingers holding glistening cottony snowballs.

Memories engulfed Rachael as she stood under the twinkling trees, memories of family when she was young, and more recent sorrowful ones. Kaleidoscopic images flashed through her mind, both comforting and painful in the serene silence, while celestial songs heard not by her ears but by her spirit soothed her wounded heart. Barely breathing she whispered into the ethereal balm, “Thank You.”

The heartbreak of Rachael’s darkest night flooded her once again, and tears coursed down her cold cheeks. “Oh, Michael! I miss you so much! I wish you were here with me now in this beautiful place.” Her husband’s sudden death seven months previous blindsided Rachael in every way. While still grieving the miscarriage of their first child, Rachael received the awful news of the accident…an eighteen-wheeler flipped on the freeway, crushing Michael’s car as it tumbled and flew crashing across two lanes of traffic. The light of her own life nearly snuffed out that night in her overwhelming despair. Not even the stars had shown through her gloom. Often isolated in the icy grip of her grief, Rachael, mercifully, never felt completely alone. Friends and family reached out to her, though she preferred the unobtrusive company of her own thoughts, the undergirding of her faith, and Madeleine.

“I’m still here, Rachael,” a voice whispered in her ear.

“What? LORD? Is that You?” Rachael’s eyes grew wide as she spun around. Her heartbeat sped up, then slowed again as she saw not another soul in the park. She had heard the LORD’s voice before, in the first hours of losing her husband.

“It was Me, Love, in him whom you loved, and I Am still here.”

Rachael stood quietly, the glow of light washing waves of peace over her. Yes, she missed Michael fiercely, his presence, his laughter, his strong arms holding her. Yet as she stood there bereft, the absence of Michael’s tangible love leaving such a great emptiness in her, something more than moonlight began filling and warming her soul. She welcomed the thaw she could discern deep inside, a drenching touch melting her frozen heart.

Lost in thought, Rachael walked towards her apartment. Suddenly, the exterior lights of her building snapped on, flooding the walkway. “Such a metaphor,” she mused. In the freezing power-robbing darkness of her grief, on this power-lost night following the winter’s worst storm, in glowing winter moonlight Love overcame her darkness, unexpectedly illuminating her heart. She walked on knowing as she stepped closer to the light, holding to the One who would never leave her, she would soon be warm again.


Thank You, LORD, that no matter our emotional pain or burdens Your Love remains. Teach us to abide in You so that we may experience this truth and Your presence. When facing the wrenching losses of those we hold dear, those upon whom we depend, those who fill our hearts, remind us that in You we are never left alone. Thank You for Your living written Word and Holy Spirit who ministers to us. Thank You that You are Love, the One who truly fills us and makes us whole. With praise and thanksgiving 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.”

I John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

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.”’

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”:’