Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Heaviness of Sorrow

I am looking through my quote book this morning, trying to find words of comfort and courage for the day. The world is so filled with sadness.  The lives of precious children have been destroyed by the insane actions of a tortured soul.  Some who courageously stood to protect the vulnerable have given their lives. We have looked into the face of evil and have been speechless at the sight of the unspeakable.  It would be much easier to look away, but we cannot.  We see the pain, we feel helpless at the sight of it, and we lose our breath at the thought of the suffering.  The questions come but answers evade.  We seek to comfort one another with words, but often there are none.  We are faced with the reality that there is no limit to the evil and destruction sin brings into this world.  There is only One to whom we can turn, and we must.

"He had never ceased to be astonished by the weight of sorrow in the world.  'A vale of tears', the poet had called it, and rightly so."  ~ Jan Karon's central character, Father Tim, in "At Home in Mitford"

Friday, December 14, 2012

From the Lips of a Redeemed Scrooge

Honoring Christmas.....being faithful, hopeful, kind, compassionate, truthful, generous, loving, gracious, joyful.  Those of us who love and follow the One whose birth we celebrate strive to honor Him in our actions and attitudes.  Keeping Christ in Christmas is not enough....keeping Him in our hearts and minds every day is our desire.  We fall short, but His grace sustains us. 

Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season, and He is also the reason for the hope we have (1 Peter:3:15).

Christmas Blessings.....more than enough for 365 days!

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year..." ~ Charles Dickens ~

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And Again I Say Rejoice, part 2

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our little corner of the world always looked and felt like Christmas?  Perhaps that is up to those of us who carry the hope, beauty and light of Christmas in our hearts!

"The Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all the year round."
~  J.I. Packer  ~

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

And Again I Say Rejoice!

The sounds and scents and sights of Christmas!  Carollers, poinsettias, twinkling lights, freshly baked cookies, brightly wrapped gifts, beautifully decorated homes, family reunions, laughter, tears, tidings of comfort and joy.  All of these and so much more.  Why?  Because it all centers around hope!

Pick up a newspaper or watch the news and the impact of pain, devastation, hunger, corruption and sin will most likely bring a deep sigh of...what?  Despair?  Hopelessness for this poor world?  But it is Christmas.  And because of Christmas, because of grace, because of God's intervention in the downward spiral of history, because of Jesus.....we have hope restored. 

Light the lights, bake the goodies, invite the friends and family, write the cards, give the gifts, sing the songs, celebrate, worship and rejoice!  Joy to the world....

"This Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity." ~ J.I. Packer ~

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Meet Me There

I am reflecting on a sustaining truth: God meets us in the hard places.  I am learning that truth and  finding comfort there. I am finding comfort in knowing that He is with me in every disappointment, loss, and painful circumstance...that there is absolutely nothing He cannot see me safely through, a reality that my Pastor reminds us of every Sunday at worship. Life's hardest experiences are lined with grace, and that is the source of strength and hope for which we all hunger, whether we know it or not. The following quote speaks of this so beautifully. It speaks to me today.

"We never know where God hides His pools.  We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring.  We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain.  God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs."


Friday, November 16, 2012

Mixed Blessings

November ushers in a season of celebration with opportunities for family and friends to spend special, memory-making times together.  A season of joy, reunion, laughter, anticipation, appreciation, remembrance and reminiscence.  Those very wonderful elements of the season often bring tender, and sometimes painful,  reminders of those who are absent from the feasts and festivities. We miss the ones who should be filling the empty chairs.  The enjoyment of the celebration is quietly tinged with a sadness and a longing for those we wish were with us. 

The following quote comes from a surprising source.....one of my favorite Christmas movies!  Bob Cratchit,  played by none other than Kermit the Frog, gives us a bit of practical wisdom concerning the inevitable blending of joy and sadness we will experience as we enter this season.

"Life is made up of meetings and partings....that is the way of it."  ~ from The Muppet Christmas Carol

Friday, October 26, 2012


The weather forecasters are telling us that a huge storm is approaching and that we need to be prepared!  Just three days ago, the skies were bright blue and cloudless, the sunlight showing off the changing Autumn leaves and creating a banquet of colors on which to feast the eyes.  If nothing else, the weather is unpredictable and sometimes catches us by surprise with dramatic changes.  As does life. 

I am not looking forward to this probable hurricane we are facing.  We will do what is necessary to prepare, but the impact the storm will have is unknown at this point.  Storms come and go, as do beautiful autumn days.  Seasons change, almost always bringing with them a mix of bane and blessing.  Today there are clouds, probably the harbinger of rains to come, but there are also dancing leaves outside my window and a carpet of red and gold on the patio stones.  I will enjoy today.  I will scuff my way through the leaves and enjoy the sight of the colors under a gray sky.  I will remember and give thanks for many wonderful days throughout each season, and that will give strength to face the inevitable storms.  You have heard it before, I am sure.....today is a gift, and that is why it is called the present!

" Take the blue of the sky and the green of the forest, the gold and the brown of the freshly mown hay, and the pale shades of spring and the circus of autumn and weave you a lovely today." ~Gloria Gaither~

Thursday, October 18, 2012


My friend and I had been out of touch for quite a while. She lived across the ocean and came infrequently to the States. Although she and I had shared only a few times actually being together, we bonded quickly and continued to keep up with one another through cards and notes.  We shared our mutual joys and concerns, our family news, the birth of grandbabies, our hopes and, at times, our discouragement.

She wrote to me a few years ago and told me that she was having surgery to remove a cancerous growth.  She seemed to feel confident that she would be restored to good health.  I'm not sure exactly when we stopped writing.  Looking back, it is difficult for me to believe that we did.  I thought of her from time to time, but did not resume our correspondence.

Her daughter called yesterday to tell me that my friend had died.  Sadness was my first reaction, of course, not surprisingly followed by a sense of regret.  Why had I not written to her during these past few years?  How could we have neglected to keep up with one another?  Now it is too late.  I want to tell her once again how much I enjoyed our friendship, how funny she was, how glad I am that we met one another all those years ago, how much she meant to me.  The good times we had together, the little gifts and notes, the laughter that so often marked our conversations.....I will remember.  I will not forget her.

The lesson here is an obvious one.  Carpe Diem.  Seize the day, resist the temptation to put off until tomorrow the letter or note, e-mail or phone call.  Treasure family and friends and remind them frequently of their value.  Remind them today.

" She thought how much the death of any one person took out of the world; it took all that person had remembered."  ~ from The Fierce Dispute by Helen Hooven Santmyer ~

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindness

It is wonderful how the smallest acts of kindness can touch our hearts and lift our spirits.  A little child's hand softly touching a "booboo" reaches much deeper than the slight bump or scratch that has brought about the concern.  The thoughtful note or e-mail, letting us know that we are remembered and cared for can be much like sunshine breaking through on a cloudy day.  A friend's "here, let me...." might mean so much more than he or she realizes.  Small comforts often bring great blessing.

"How precious little deeds of love and sympathy are; how strong to bless, how easy to perform, how comfortable to recall."  ~  Louisa May Alcott ~

Saturday, October 13, 2012

True Hospitality

Having just returned home from a wonderful visit with family and friends, I have been giving some thought to what it is to be on the receiving end of hospitality. It is an experience that leaves me in awe of the impact of knowing I've been welcomed with open arms and countless gestures of comfort and generosity.

The word hospitality shares the same root as hospital and hospice, and as I was researching these words, one source reminded me that in reality, hospitality has to do with care-giving and healing. That is exactly right. Through hospitality extended to me, I have been refreshed, strengthened, encouraged and renewed.  I have been welcomed into the home and heart of my family.  I have been welcomed into the home of a friend.  I have been welcomed home.

Whether it is in hosting a guest, spending time with my family, sitting down with a friend over a cup of tea, or just pausing to greet someone in passing, I want to be that person who extends hospitality in every sense of the word.  Listening, giving a hug, seeing to needs, speaking words of encouragement, letting others know they are valued and worthy of time and attention.....all these and more define hospitality as it is meant to be.

" 'Stay' is a charming word in the vocabulary of a friend." ~  Louisa May Alcott ~ 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


There just isn't anything I don't appreciate about Autumn.  The beauty of the colors, the chill in the air, the sweaters and turtlenecks I begin to wear again, the apple and pumpkin picking, the baking, the fire pit, the quilts and comforters, even the fact that dusk comes earlier.....it is all a joy to me.  The sky appears to be a deeper blue against the brilliance of the leaves, and. although I am aware that this season is most often thought of as the ending of summer, I think of it as the colorful introduction to months of celebration.  Thanksgiving!  Christmas, following soon after!  So much to look forward to, so many new memories to make.  Like those scurrying squirrels I watch, I want to gather up all the goodness of this season and bury it deep in my heart.  Another Autumn to savor, another gift from our good Creator.

"As I ran under the arches of yellow and red leaves I sang for joy, my heart was so bright and the world so beautiful."  ~ Louisa May Alcott ~

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gentle Living

I enjoy "people-watching".  There are many opportunities to observe folks going through what are often the most routine situations.....the grocery store line, the shopping mall, the airport, a restaurant, the doctor's office.  My favorite is probably the airport.  Where are they going?  Is someone waiting anxiously to greet them?  Are they coming or going to a joyful reunion or is their heart  heavy as they travel to or from a painful experience?  My observations are often fun....parents playing with and enjoying their children, friends laughing together, large families sitting down for a meal together, folks fidgeting or trying to stay awake while waiting for their name to be called.  Sometimes, though, what I see and hear are  reminders of the harshness of this world.  Anger, inpatience, fear, negligence, tension, unkind words and actions. 

This quote from Mr. Dickens gives, in very few words, a recipe for a softer and more gentle way of going about life.  Good advice!

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts."
                                                         ~ Charles Dickens ~

Friday, September 7, 2012

Soul Food

Quite a while ago, I read a wonderful book written by John Piper, the title of which is "The Hidden Smile of God."  If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend it.  In his book, Piper quotes Richard Foster (also one of my favorite authors!), who, in his thought, quotes Alfred North Whitehead.  So...another triple quote!

Reading this quote reminded me of how small our world and our vision can become, especially when we are totally focused on daily duties or trials.  How essential it is to allow God to raise us up over this temporary place we inhabit....to look upward and inward and to ask Him to expand our understanding, to find that hope that does not disappoint, that is stirred up within us because it is God who pours out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Romans 5:5).  We can rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God (Romans 5:2b).....we can experience the fullness and richness of life on a daily basis and be strengthened and encouraged for the journey!  I want this joy, this hope, this peace.....this vision.  I imagine you do too.  I believe it is ours for the asking, because I believe it is what God intends for His children.

"Without 'an habitual vision of greatness', our soul will shrivel up and lose the capacity for beauty and mystery and transcendence."  ~ Richard Foster

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Power of Words

Having just celebrated a birthday, I have found myself on the receiving end of many expressions of loving and caring thoughts.  I've been thinking about how that affects me, of how encouraged and affirmed I have felt because of the thoughtful words of others.  I feel loved.  I feel appreciated.  I've been reminded over and over again of  wonderful experiences shared with friends and family.  I've looked back and remembered times, places and people....some remembrances have brought laughter, some tears, and many smiles.

As I was reflecting on this, a quote came to mind.  There it was in my little book, tucked away and saved for just this moment.  Another example of a small work of fiction, easy reading, containing a gem of wisdom worth remembering and applying to life.

"A person's words have the power to create, not only on paper, but in another human being." ~ From the book "Velma Still Cooks in Leeway" by Vinita Hampton Wright

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In the quiet

As the week moves on, I am still ruminating over Sunday's sermon.  My pastor gave his flock much to think about, centering his message on Isaiah 30 with a focus on verse 15 where we were reminded that through the prophet God tells His people "in quietness and trust is your strength."  The end of the verse tells us that those to whom God was giving the instruction "would have none of it."

I have been taught the great benefit of a quiet time each day and yet I often find myself filling the hours with so much activity that any opportunity for silence goes unattended.  All too often I, too, am one who is having none of it, ignoring what I know to be of great value. 

I am so thankful for this nudge from God.  I do not want to miss what He has for me, or allow that gentle whisper (1 Kings; 19:12) to go unheard.  Every day offers so many wonderful things to enjoy, most of which keep us busy, active and productive.  That is very good, but I do not want to miss the very best. 

"Deepest communion is beyond words, on the other side of silence."  ~ Madelyn L'Engle 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hush, Be Still

After listening to my Pastor's sermon on Sunday, I have been giving a lot of thought to the subject of silence.  There is not enough of it.  Daily life is filled with activity and that is a good thing.  It is balance I find lacking in mine.  The discipline of taking time to be still, to listen, to be quiet has been crowded out and I have let it happen.  This morning, I am listening.  There is a peaceful hush, and even the birdsong outside my window seems to be more soft and gentle than usual.

From what I have been reading this morning, I am reminded that it is in the stillness that wonderful things often happen.  God speaks.   Answers come.  Peace settles deep.  How foolish it is to fill hours and even days to the brim with business and activity, however good these things may be, leaving no room or time for quiet.  I have been convicted, and when it is the Holy Spirit doing the convicting, it is all good. 

I am going to stop writing now and spend some time being still.  It will be good.

" Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to have plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence."  ~ A.W. Tozer

Monday, August 6, 2012

Short and Sweet

More often than not, a quote that inspires me most comes from a wise person who has spoken great truth using very few words.  I think I will follow that example today and let the quote speak for itself!
"Work and watch, never worry."  ~  Martin Luther

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

For Today

Quite some time ago, I copied into my quote book a small sentence spoken by a woman I have respected and admired for years.  This morning, as I was reading, I discovered that the sentence is actually a part of a prayer written by her.  I had just read from Colossians 3:1-17 and picked up a book of devotional thoughts.  The prayer, contained in a writing titled "This Day", resonated and expressed beautifully what is on my heart this morning.  "Loving Lord and heavenly Father, I offer up today all that I am, all that I have, all that I do, and all that I suffer, to be Yours today and Yours forever. Give me grace, Lord, to do all that I know of Your holy will.  Purify my heart, sanctify my thinking, correct my desires. Teach me, in all of today's work and trouble and joy, to respond with honest praise, simple trust, and instant obedience, that my life may be in truth a living sacrifice, by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, my Master and my all.  Amen."

"Give me grace, Lord, to do all that I know of Your holy will."  ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Morning

There is so much for which to give thanks.  A good night's sleep, a new morning, family and friends with whom to share this new day, freedom to worship, a church that feels like family, activities to anticipate, a car to drive, a choice of food for breakfast, the sound of children waking, air to breathe, memories to cherish......and it is only 8 o'clock in the morning!  At the end of this new day, what other blessings will cause my heart to give thanks?  God is good....all the time.

"Being thankful causes the demons of lack to flee and praise to spring forth from the core of our being."  ~ T.D. Jakes

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bane and Blessing

There are days when just about everything seems to be going well.  Smooth sailing.  Upon deeper reflection, however, we will always find a bump.  The thought that there is always something wrong does not seem depressing to me, but simply realistic.  We can be sure that, in this life, we will consistently face troubles and difficulties.  The good news is that there will also be much happiness and blessing to savor.  The following quote, I think, gives very practical advice when it comes to finding balance in the ups and downs of life.

"Make the most of the best and the least of the worst."  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Bit of Humor From Two "Saints"

I recently read a footnote in my Bible, commenting on Acts 2:46 and 16:34, which stated that "joy is to be the mood of the believer."  We understand that life will not always feel happy, but joy is another matter.  There is nothing much sadder to me than the Christian who appears to be joyless.  As God's own people, we have everything we need to not only survive in this broken world, but to live victoriously...with joy intact!

My son once told me a joke that absolutely cracked me up....it was about an alligator that walked into a bar and ordered a drink, causing the bartender to ask "Why the long face?"  The joke may not be quite as effective in written form, lacking my son's delivery, but you get the point. I do so hope that, wherever I walk, I give no cause for folks to wonder "why the long face?"!

"May God protect me from gloomy saints."  ~ St. Teresa of Avila

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What Matters

As I was reading this morning, I came across a statement that resonated deeply....."do not be uninformed about life's significance" (these words are Dr. Joseph Stowell's, contained in a daily online devotion I receive from a ministry called Griefshare).  Dr. Stowell's admonition got me to thinking about what really matters in life.  I had been planning on writing today and using the quote you will see below.  I guess this could be considered a double-quote post!

What really matters in life?  People.  I am thinking this morning of the ones I  love, share with, am inspired by, challenged and encouraged by....whose lives touch mine. I am thinking of family and friends...some I have not seen in years but who still impact my life through their influence.  Some have gone on to be with the Lord.  Some are with me daily, weekly....some only with careful planning for opportunities to be together.  There are some I have never, and most likely will never, meet....those whose writings and words have influenced my thinking and therefore my life. 

Time matters, too.  How I spend my time, what I do with the 24 hours I am given each day...it matters.  Last night, at a brilliant fireworks display, my little granddaughter, amazed at the beauty of those explosions, uttered "this is a memory I will never forget!" ( well, I guess this is a triple-quote post!)  My best "memories I will never forget" almost always include the people with whom I share them.  Of course there are moments of solitude that I remember, reflect upon and treasure.  Balance is important, and "alone time" is valuable and productive, but sharing life with others is what this post is all about.  The fireworks display that so impressed a little girl was made more memorable because she was sharing it with those who love her.  I am sure of that. 

Today, and every day of my life, I want to be aware of what matters!

"Life is too precious to squander on trivial things."   ~ John Piper

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Little Bit More on Good People

I am rich. My wealth is found in relationships...family and friends.  I am so aware of this treasure that is mine, the blessing God has bestowed upon me, and have decided that a second post on "good people" is appropriate.  The first was a quote from a work of fiction.....this one is from the pen of an old saint.  She expresses well what is on my heart this morning.

"What a great favor God does to those He places in the company of good people."
  ~ St. Teresa of Avila ~

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Horse Sense

I love the public library and all that it offers.  Having worked in that most wonderful atmosphere, I have benefited from its wide variety of blessings.  Now, as a volunteer and patron, I enjoy browsing the stacks and discovering new offerings and, sometimes, old favorites. My selections are most often for my own reading pleasure, but I also have the privilege of introducing good books to children.  A number of years ago, I was facilitating a book club for young girls.  We were exploring the oldies but goodies...the classics.  It was while reading one of these that I found the quote below.

Now, something one must never, ever do is underline a word, a sentence or a passage in a library book.  That is where my little quote book comes in handy.  Every once in a while, on the page of a good piece of fiction, a bit of wisdom jumps out, resonates strongly and demands to be remembered long after the book is returned to the library.  Jotting it down in my quote book insures that it will not fade away and gives opportunity to share it with others.

Yesterday, while enjoying the company of a dear friend, our conversation turned to appreciation for the good folks God has put into our lives.  We voiced our gratitude for His hand of blessing and provision, for where He has led us and for the wonderful people He has placed on our paths....for our homes and families, for our churches, for kindred spirits.  We spoke of the unexpected pleasure found in those little conversations with a stranger in line at the grocery store, where God seems to open a door to speak a word of encouragement or comfort.  We reminded one another of how often we are blessed through the friendly faces, smiles and words of people we meet in ordinary places.   I was instantly reminded of the following quote, shared it with my friend, and knew it would be my next entry on this blog.

"It is good people that make good places."  ~      from Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Rainy Day Thoughts

Another rainy day.  It has been one of those off and on again rains, more on than off.  A good day to stay home, dry and warm.  My thoughts have been on so many little things that bring comfort.  Warm chocolate cookies, comfy clothes, soft socks, a book to read, vanilla scented candles burning, the tea kettle always ready, a sleepy, lazy dog curled up close, a phone call from a friend.  It is one of those days where the luxury of having nothing urgent on the to-do list gives permission to just live in the day.

This is an atmosphere that encourages gratitude for these small pleasures....and memories.  The sound of rain falling on the camper roof.  Or better yet, drumming softly on the tent.  Storms that brought power failures, along with candlelight.  A trip to the Jersey shore, interrupted by a rainstorm, but punctuated with a gorgeous rainbow over the ocean. 

I think it is time for another cup of tea, accompanied by memories, raindrops, and comfort. 

"Small comforts help to soften large griefs." ~  unknown ~

Monday, June 4, 2012

Light Hearted!

There is something so very wonderful about a rainbow.  It is always a surprise and a delight.  After the rain, when the air seems to have that certain almost-glow, I usually dash outside to check.....maybe, just maybe there will be a rainbow.  Last evening there was.....and it was spectacular! 

The thrill of that rainbow is still on my mind.  It seems that sunlight is actually made up of different colors, but in the sunbeam we can only see white light.....until it hits the raindrops at a particular angle.  Then...we see its colors in the form of a rainbow.  Amazing! 

And as if the rainbow wasn't joy enough, there was a full moon last night!   The sky cleared after the rain and there was the moon, reflecting the glory of the sun. 

I pray that my life might be a reflection of God's mercy, grace, love and compassion.....just as the moon's shining only reflects the sun's light, may my life overflow with Sonlight.  May my heart, like the raindrops, catch the color of God's amazing promises and faithfulness.

The following quote, one of my favorites, is from a little book entitled "Diary of an Old Soul".  I've read it as a devotional and have found wonderful nuggets of truth within those pages.

"Lord, make my mirror-heart Thy shining place."   ~  George MacDonald

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Blessing in a Book

Every once in a while, I come across a work of fiction that becomes a source not only of reading pleasure, but of unforgettable characters and wonderful gems of wisdom and insight.  One such character is Father Tim, author Jan Karon's central figure in her "Mitford Years" series.  Father Tim is a lovable Episcopal pastor who is a wise, gentle, caring man.  The following quote is from "At Home in Mitford", the first book in the series.  If you haven't already become acquainted with these books, please do yourself a favor and add them to your summer reading.  I revisit Mitford every so often and am always glad to be turning the pages there.

"He had just come from the hospital, where he had put his arms around a very ill patient, doing for someone else what God had so often done for him." 

~ "He", of course, is Father Tim  ~

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spring Rain

It is one of those gentle rains.  I love sitting at the window, listening to the raindrops falling onto the patio and watching the birds enjoying their bath.   A good day to stay home and be quiet.  This will be a good day for the flowers, the grass and the potted plants, too.  God's provision. 

It is a good day for thinking.  I am mulling over yesterday's sermon, a very heavy one.  It came from the lips of a guest preacher, one who has known much pain in his life and has allowed God to use the  hurtful things he experienced as a youth to feed a ministry to young people who desperately need someone who understands and comes along side to help carry the load.

I am thinking about forgiveness, trust, mercy.....God's grace, raining down and transforming lives, bringing beauty from ashes.  A good day for gratitude, for prayer, for thinking.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."  ~  Mark Twain

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Definition of Faith

I read the following quote on the jacket of a music CD and it brought to mind two Scriptures that have been so meaningful to me during difficult and challenging times.  The first is Psalm 40: 1-3 where David speaks of the Lord lifting him and setting his feet upon a rock.  The second is found in  Isaiah 40. At the end of that chapter we are told that those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength and will soar on wings like eagles.  This quote points beautifully to these two truths.

"Faith is coming to the edge of all you know and trusting God will give you something to stand on or you will be taught to fly." ~ Mark Schultz

Friday, May 4, 2012

Let's Get Started!

Life can seem overwhelming at times, both in the mountain and the mundane.  This advice from the past applies so well to those times when we just don't know quite where or how to start. 

Attempting to acquire a new discipline?  Packing for a trip?  In need of forgiving someone who has wronged you?  Spring cleaning?  Stepping into a new chapter in your life?  I hope this simple advice encourages you today!

"Start small, but begin." ~ Puritan saying

Friday, April 27, 2012

A trained mind

I am so thankful for Christian radio stations. I have access to great teaching and encouraging messages at any time of the day or night.  What a blessing!  I also like to get on the websites of various ministries and often find words full of wisdom for living.  Just the other day, I was browsing the website of one of my favorites, "Truth for Life", and found the following quote.  I believe it is quite profound.

" A Christian way of thinking is not just thinking Christian thoughts, singing Christian songs, reading Christian books, going to Christian schools; it is learning to think about the whole spectrum of life from the perspective of a mind that has been trained in truth."  ~ Alistair Begg

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Simple Formula for Happiness

I'm not sure where I read or heard this quote, but its simplicity still gives food for thought.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."  ~ Joseph Addison

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What next?

I love Elisabeth Elliot's writing.  I have great admiration and respect for this godly woman who models courage, strength and wisdom.  I imagine most of you know her story, but if not, please do yourself a favor and get acquainted with her work.

Years ago, at a conference where she was speaking, I heard her reference an old Saxon legend and a poem that had been written about the legend.  Within that poem are words that have been of great help to me at various times in my life.  Here is the poem:

"From an old English parsonage, down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration -
Do the next thing.

Many a questioning, many a a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King.
Trust them with Jesus -
Do the next thing.

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverance, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee
With earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence,
Safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings -
Do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, even serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons -
Do the next thing.

I am particularly touched by the second stanza of this old poem....the writer has reminded me once again of the "quieting" of fears and doubts....the quiet heart that is mine when I am abiding in the presence of my King.

                              "Do the next thing." ~ Elisabeth Elliot, quoting from the poem.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Few Words Can Say It All!

I'm not sure who actually entitled their sermon with the following quote....I've seen it attributed to a Pastor Samuel Lockridge and to Tony Campolo.  Whoever came up with it first found words that sort of sum up this Easter weekend and perhaps life itself!  How wonderful to remember, when going through the valley, that God has promised a far better day...in His time.

                                               "It's Friday....but Sunday's Coming!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012


What fun I had recently accompanying my grandchildren, their mother, and a dear friend on a field trip to a wonderful farm where we viewed newborn lambs, piglets and twin goats!  It was a joy to watch the delight on the children's faces as they took in the wonder of those tiny baby animals, so new to the world.  A recipe for a very refreshing day:  children, friendship, and the beauty of God's creation.

         "He is the God of the daisies and the lambs and the merry child hearts!" ~ Lilias Trotter

Saturday, March 31, 2012


The following quote brought an attitude adjustment after my peaceful night's sleep was interrupted by thunderstorms. The sound of the birds' singing outside my window early this morning brought another reminder.....give thanks, in all kinds of weather!

"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, and snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." ~ John Ruskin

Friday, March 30, 2012

An Easter "Yes!"

In just over a week, we will celebrate Easter!  The flowers, trees and birds seem to be shouting out "Yes!  We are alive!" Even though it has been unseasonably cold this spring, the signs of renewal and new life are everywhere.

For many, many years now, buying and wearing a new "Easter outfit" has not been a part of my plans for participating in Resurrection Sunday worship and celebration.....but this year I have had a happy desire to do just that....to wear something colorful and bright and new on Easter morning.  This yearning took me by surprise and I gave some thought to why it was happening and what it means.  Why?  The answer, I think, is that a burst of color reflects what is happening in my heart.

 We sing a song...."My hope is in You, Lord"....and there it is, the reason to celebrate, to sing, to dance, to worship with a joyful "Yes!"   My hope, my joy, my comfort, my strength, my life is in Him, and I look forward to Easter with a renewed sense of excitement and anticipation.  So I am going to wear something new and bright on Easter Sunday this year and try to keep myself from dancing up the aisle at church shouting my "Yes!" and "Alleluia!"  Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed!

                                            " Deck yourself with joy!" ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What the World Needs Now.....

If we look only to the media for an assessment of the state of the world and mankind, we will be tempted to shake our heads in dismay at the dismal picture we see painted.  The problems are overwhelming, solutions inadequate at best, and mediocrity seems to describe our general condition.  Violence, greed and corruption leap off the page and the screen daily.  Where are the selfless, the loving, the honest, the peacemakers, the generous, those who inspire and encourage?

 I know where they are.....they are in my home, in my church, in my neighborhood and beyond.  When I am feeling discouraged because of a steady stream of bad news, I need only to think of the acts of kindness, compassion, friendliness, generosity, courage, comfort, tenderness, beauty, humility and thoughtfulness that I see, hear, and am touched by every day.

 The world may be a very troubled place, but it is also a world filled with people who care deeply and who demonstrate their love for God and for others.  It is a dark place but it is also a place filled with people who shine the light of Christ into the darkness.  These are imperfect people, serving a perfect God and striving to honor Him with their lives.  They pour courage into the discouraged and remind us that there is hope for this hurting world.

                   "A true saint exaggerates what the world neglects."  ~ G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You are welcome

After writing a thank you note to dear friends who had welcomed me into their home for a brief stay, I  looked for an added touch for the envelope.  Looking through my small collection of decorative stamps, I found just the perfect sentiment.  The words expressed my thoughts so well, and I decided to add the quote to my collection. 
It is a comfort and a source of such pleasure when the doors to our homes, and hearts, are opened to welcome a friend.  It might be a quick cup of tea, a lengthy conversation over lunch, or an overnight visit......it is in the welcoming that the blessing is found.

               " 'Stay' is a charming word in a friend's vocabulary." ~ Louisa May Alcott

Monday, March 19, 2012


Tomorrow marks the official beginning of the spring season.  As a true lover of autumn and winter, I am always less enthusiastic than most folks about the approach of warm weather...espcially when the trend, over the past few years, seems to be to skip right over lovely spring and running headlong into hot, humid summer. However, this year I am somehow deeply touched by the early signs of spring. The soft pink of flowering trees, the brilliant yellow forsythia and daffodils, the birdsong, the warmth of the afternoon sun...all speak to me of the mystery of the emerging of new life.  I intend to enjoy this season, whether brief or long lasting, and learn from its secrets.

                            "Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."  ~ Roethke

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Restless Heart

Just reading the newspaper, watching the news on TV or engaging in conversation concerning the state of the nation and the condition of so many lives leads us to sometimes wonder what on earth is happening in our world.  According to St. Augustine and many other great thinkers, past and present, it is really quite simple.  Chaos reigns where the sovereignty of God is neither acknowledged or revered, both in individual lives and among nations.  We cannot find peace apart from God.....it just isn't possible.  We may have what resembles peace for a time, but true and lasting peace is found only in Him.

   "Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee."

                                                           ~Augustine of Hippo~

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Confident Living

Some of the quotes in my little book were written after attending conferences or retreats where I heard rich and inspiring teaching.  The quote I am sharing tonight came from one of those experiences.  After listening to a particular teaching, I was challenged to consider a question:  how is God treating me, and what effect does that have on my life?  As I reflect on that question again tonight, I am comforted and encouraged by the response.  How is God treating me?  With compassion, patience, mercy, love beyond comprehension, tenderness, faithfulness, generosity....these come to mind instantly, and much more.  As I wrote those words, I heard "How Deep the Father's Love For Us....", lyrics from a beautiful hymn written by Stuart Townend.  So loved by my Father, how can I not be encouraged and strengthened  every day of my life?

               "I will live life daily based on how I am being treated by God." ~ Sheila Walsh


Friday, March 2, 2012

Good Advice

It seems to me that there is much wisdom in the advice quoted below. Wouldn't following this prescription lead to healthier, happier, more effective, well-balanced, peaceful living?

"Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts."           
                                                        ~Charles Dickens~


Monday, February 27, 2012

Finding Wise Words in Unexpected Places

In my introduction to this blog, I mentioned that some quotes would be from fictional characters.  Today's is one of those.  In the 1971 version of the movie "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", based on a book by Roald Dahl, Willie is surprised and relieved when Charlie does the right thing and returns the Everlasting Gobstopper, a candy he had been tempted to steal.  The quote below is Willie Wonka's response to Charlie's integrity.

How encouraging a simple act of honesty, kindness or compassion is to those of us who are on the receiving end, or may even be merely an observer.  In Charlie's case, the reward he received was beyond what he had ever imagined possible.  Our reward may not be as immediate or tangible, but the peace that results from doing the right and honorable thing is immeasurable, even in the smallest situation.  

                                         "So shines a good deed in a weary world." 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Holding on to Hope

These words, a prayer, from St. Augustine's writing are full of understanding, comfort and encouragement when days seem long and dark and there is a sense of heaviness that isn't easily lifted.

" God of life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and wear us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies gray and threatening; when our lives have no music in them and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have lost their courage.  Flood the path with light, we beseech you; turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise."  ~ Saint Augustine

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Sense of Order Sets Us Free

I am remembering a very unique and special time spent at the Liberty Corner Deaconry, a retreat and conference center, many years ago.  I was tired, worn down, and needed a respite from a hectic schedule at the time, and so decided to treat myself to a 24 hour personal get-away.  The retreat center was conveniently located near our home and my kind husband agreed that it would be good for me to take a bit of time to just rest and have some quiet time. 

It was twilight when I arrived at the Deaconry on that chilly Autumn evening.  A flock of wild Canadian geese greeted me, flying high above in their vee pattern, calling out their encouragement to one another, on their way south I supposed.  I felt the peaceful atmosphere almost immediately.  The straight rows of vegetables in a perfectly weeded garden, the well swept walks, the neat appearance of the guest buildings......the quiet.  I knew the peaceful order I sensed was very much due to the labor and care given by the Deaconesses who lived there and dedicated themselves to providing a true retreat for the guests who came to them. 

As I walked across the campus, I felt the weariness begin to lift, replaced by a sense of freedom, an anticipation of what awaited me.  I was not disappointed.  At the end of my 24 hour retreat, I went home refreshed, strengthened and renewed.  As I later reflected upon my time spent there, and wrote in my journal, I gave much thought to the fact that the order and balance so thoughtfully provided by those who managed that special place resulted in a sense of freedom and peace for me and, I am sure, for so many others who spent happy hours there.  What a blessing.

    "Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony" 
                                                     ~ Thomas Merton~


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bits of Happiness

We know that there is a vast difference between joy and happiness.  True joy, found in a deep and eternal relationship with God, cannot be stolen or taken from us.  Happiness, on the other hand, is very much an up and down sort of human experience, often dependent on circumstances.  However....finding pleasure in everyday, simple things can bring us so many opportunities to feel just plain happy.  Today I am taking great pleasure in watching the snow fall...in listening to good music... and savoring my cup of tea.  Where are you finding your moments of happiness today?

"We are about as happy as we make up our minds to be."  ~  Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Laughing Well

As I remember and think of my many wonderful friends, I find I can "hear" their laughter, and I am reminded of the extraordinary qualities that make each one so very unique and precious to me.  I have been given the gift of friends who are persons of integrity, warmth, depth, character, loyalty, and humor!  If you are reading this, you are most likely one of them!

"If you wish to glimpse inside a human soul and get to know a man, don't bother analyzing his ways of being silent, of talking, of weeping, or seeing how much he is moved by noble ideas; you'll get better results if you just watch him laugh.  If he laughs well, he's a good man."  ~  Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Monday, January 30, 2012

Use What You've Been Given

Listening to the children's choir singing their "Amen"s yesterday, I was blessed by their enthusiastic worship.  Sweet smiling faces, voices lifted in song.  Some sang softly, some at the top of their lungs, some right on key and some with a melody of their own!  Each child bringing their own offering of music, and what a delight it was!

"Use whatever talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."  ~ Henry Van Dyke

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Deeper than Words

This is one of my all time favorites!  Think about the hope that dwells deep within.  Sometimes there just are no words adequate to define or explain it.  None are needed.  It is that deep place where, really, only God can speak.

" Hope is the thing with feathers
        That perches in the soul
And sings a tune without the words
          And never stops at all."

            ~Emily Dickinson~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Appreciating God's Creation

As wonderful as technology, science, great inventions and discoveries are....I must say I agree with Lindbergh.  He had the right perspective.  Nothing is as brilliant or thrilling as the wonder of His creation!

"I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes." ~ Charles Lindbergh

Monday, January 23, 2012

Everyday Life

 I am thinking of the simple pleasures that are mine each day;  a good meal, a call from a friend, a child's laughter, a sunrise, birds at the birdfeeder, warm blankets, a hug, a cup of tea, a good book, quiet moments and sweet memories.....and so much more.  At the end of the day, as I reflect on the blessings that have been mine, my heart responds in praise and thanksgiving.

"In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we're pleased.  He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our Maker's praise without anxiety."  ~  A.W. Tozer

Friday, January 20, 2012


The following quote brings immediately to mind a passage of Scripture from Isaiah 40:31...."but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint".  What a wonderful picture!

"Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her and yet sings, knowing that she hath wings."  Victor Hugo

Monday, January 16, 2012

That Little Bird

  I am impressed by how often I read inspiring writing in which the writer uses the image of birds to teach us wonderful little nuggets of wisdom concerning life.  The next few quotes will be a sampling of just that.  Enjoy!

"That little bird has chosen his shelter.  Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.  Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow's lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him."  Martin Luther

Monday, January 9, 2012

Learning to Wait

As a person who by nature would like things done yesterday, who likes the "touch it once" rule and who does NOT like the "let's just do this for now" theory, I often find it frustrating to wait.  The following quote from Dr. Tony Evans on his Urban Alternative radio program spoke clearly to me concerning my frequent impatience with delays, especially in the more serious situations in life, but even in the inconsequential.  I am beginning to understand, on a deeper level, that waiting is often related to simply trusting God's timing.

"Sometimes God delays because He is doing something bigger than my situation."  ~  Dr. Tony Evans

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lessons Learned in the Valley

Surely one of the most valuable truths we learn as we go through the difficult seasons of our lives is that....... "It is in the Valleys I Grow".  That is the title of a poem sent to me years ago by a friend who was seeking to encourage me as I was finding my way through a painful loss.
Are you feeling light-hearted today?  Experiencing joy upon joy and blessing upon blessing?  If so, then you must celebrate and savor every moment!  But we know that seasons change..... struggles, hardship and suffering will inevitably come to challenge us and darken our path.  If this is where you find yourself today, take heart, and remember that the rugged terrain can produce in us bravery, patience, perseverence, character and hope.....if we walk through it with God and allow Him to do His redeeming work in us.

"We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world" ~ Helen Keller

Monday, January 2, 2012

Welcome to "Quotable Wisdom"

For the past few years, I have had a little book that I called "my quote book" and have used it to collect thoughts and quotes that have inspired, convicted, comforted and encouraged me.  A few months ago, I decided that it would be fun to share these little gems with friends who just might find them a source of inspiration.  You will find a wide variety of sources, from fictional characters to great theologians.

My first entry on my new blog is a thought for the new year.  Enjoy! 

"And I said to the one who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand  into the hand of God.  That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'"  ~ Minnie Haskins