It’s Been A Long Minute…

goals for 2016 (1)

Remember me?

It’s been a long minute! Before today, most of my blog posts consisted of five minute blurbs. They’re a fantastically fun writing exercise, but I knew that I wasn’t giving my best. The main goal is to let your mind spew for five minutes (ish) and post. No editing, no worries.

No sincere investment of myself into my blog either. It was time to take a step back and reevaluate.

Was there anything significant about me and my writing that was worth offering in a public space?

Behind the scenes, there was a lot of personal development going on, including prayer, Bible study and the transformation of mind and body. I’ve been getting closer with God, working on knowing Him more intimately and becoming more prompt in my obedience. I’ve been working on my physical fitness consistently for over a year now. This has made a huge impact on my life… yet I’ve never mentioned it here.

I’ve become more confident with myself as I realized that I am significant.

I have value because I am valuable to God!

God cares about me, including every detail of my life. Sure, I’ve heard this countless times before and could probably recite all pleasant sweet nothings while half asleep. But it never really clicked until I accepted it and started living it, literally.

My whole mindset has shifted. It’s scary and it’s spectacular at the same time.
(PS: Please, pardon the dust. I’ve started redesigning my blog…all by my non-techy self. I’ll keep tweaking & fine-tuning as I go.)

When a Ball Lands in Flax

ball and flax


The ball landed with a muted thud and nestled into its resting spot. This was the one place I hoped it wouldn’t land: in my bowl of ground flaxseed.

While I prepared ingredients for bread baking, my four-year-old was playing nearby. She’d found a small bouncy rubber ball, purple with flecks of pink glitter. When she threw it on the floor, it bounced up in the air. This was an exciting discovery — that she could bounce the ball and catch it too. She kept moving farther into the kitchen as I kept cringing inwardly, hoping it wouldn’t land anywhere near my counter.

Yet it did.

She gasped and stopped mid-step.

“Sorry Mom!” Bowing her head, she braced herself for a negative reaction of some kind.

Instead, God spoke to me in the moment…

Please join me, over at (in)courage, to finish the story and to share in the conversation.

{You’re invited to sign up here to receive free daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage, right in your mailbox.}


Five Minute Friday: Belong

{Nearly one year ago, the five minute Friday prompt was also on this same topic.  I’m skipping the option to repost what I did last year (This is it, if you’d like to read it).  Gratefully, I have a bit more to add.}

I found some belonging this week, in two unlikely places.  Both of them are groups hosted through social media.  The first is a project-type group.  I noticed there were other members who had traits of shyness similar to my own.  Instantly there was a connection because no one person no longer felt alone.  While the rapport in this group is healthy and growing, it’s still not quite like home for me.

Enter the second group.  This one felt like home.  Here I met wonderful people from all walks of life.  Yet, we’re linked by this truth: the struggle is real.  Life is hard and unfair, especially when you don’t fit the preconceived mold that some have for you.  There are unrealistic demands thrown on you, with the expectation that you will conform and compromise to fit into a space that was never meant to be yours.  In this group, there is great freedom to be your authentic self.  Not the ‘public’ self or the ‘false’ persona that you create to cater to the audience of the moment.  No, this group celebrates reality and encourages honesty.

!n both groups, you can see the hints of pain from the members, each with a different story. As the song says, group 2 offers ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’.  To belong means that you’re a part of the movement.  To belong means that you’re wanted and cherished.

Five Minute Friday-


I’m linking up with the Five Minute Friday group again.  Would you like to join us?  Perhaps you can share more about ‘belong’

Finding Freedom In Our Stories

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.  (John 9:3, The Message)

Story telling is an art.  The ones we love to hear are dramatic and descriptive.  We’re transported right into the scene alongside the narrator.  Novels are critiqued for their storylines, their plots.  When the story is right, then someone is willing to invest in moving the story from page to screen.  No producer spends a ton of money with the intention of producing a snore-fest.  Stories are great.

Until they’re ours. 

When it comes to our story, many times we prefer to stay close-lipped.  There’s risk of boring someone or being misunderstood.  Let’s not talk about the all-too-familiar rejection.  Then there’s the falsehood we tell ourselves: that our story doesn’t matter or doesn’t count.  That there are others with the same story who can retell it much better than you can anyways.  So, we’ll leave the spotlight for them.  Except we’re practically bursting at the seams wanting to reveal our innermost selves as we hold back our tongues.

Freedom (in)

What happens to us is part of a bigger picture.  When we share our stories, we are showcasing what God has done, can do and will continue to do for us.  There is freedom in sharing our story.  Freedom for the teller and freedom for the receiver.  Someone needs your personal testimonial, even if you never know who.  They want to know and understand how someone similar to them found the strength to conquer this obstacle.  They want to know that they are not alone.

As the teller, you provide an authenticity to the story that is unmatched.  Your ethnicity, marital status, parental status,  spirituality, insight, ideas may all be similar in some way to another.  But they are never identical because there is only one you.

There is freedom in sharing your story.  Freedom for others to experience God and His almighty glory for themselves. 

The same way that you have.

Five Minute Friday: Release

In a moment of surety, she yanked the royal tiara from her carefully coiffed head and flung it into the abyss below.  This was her moment of release.  This act was her delivery from the prison-like life that she’d always known.  Gone was the familiarity of the enclosed walls of her chambers.  She was out in nature, living like one of the elements.  Unrestrained and unconfined.

This scene from Frozen struck me the moment I saw it because it’s rarely what we do.  We try to live the best of all worlds crammed into our one tiny little life.  We hide secrets and hoard skeletons.  We use all manner of designs, clothing, makeup, hairstyles, jewelry, shoes, purses, etc to ‘look the part’.  In our innermost private places, we allow ourselves the freedom to be who we are…as long as no one else sees.  It is hard to release security for the unknown.

Most of us can identify with this other young man.  He was well-liked and very well-known. Active in his community, he got involved in everything.  Helped here, participated there. His goal was to look like he was living out his faith.  Yet, he had a void.  There was something missing, that he couldn’t quite put his hand on.  No amount of volunteer work could fulfill him.  Finally, a famous Teacher was passing through.

This young man ran up to Jesus and asked him “What must I do to get eternal life?”  The reply shook him to the core.  “Jesus looked him hard in the eye–and loved him!  He said ‘There is one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor.  All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth.  And come follow me.’  The man’s face clouded over.  This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart.  He was holding tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.”  {Mark 10, the Message Bible}

He wasn’t ready to release.  To make that complete surrender and find freedom outside of himself.  He wanted to live for Christ…as long as it was on his own terms.   The things were too important that he made sure to grip them tightly.  You cannot let go of anything if you refuse to open your hands and your heart.

Without that release, you’re too full all the wrongs things and won’t have room to receive the heavenly gifts that Christ wants to shower us with.  FMF Release


Linking up with this Five-Minute Friday community today.

The Power of Encouragement

I refer to it as The Elijah Complex.  A moment when you feel so utterly alone and discouraged and begin to second-guess yourself.  Suddenly you start to question life and your existence and if anyone even notices you…

Cue encouragement.

That one gesture from an unsuspecting corner of the world that makes you smile.  Elijah got his.  Not in anything super huge—not that God can’t do huge.  He does ginormous each and every day.  But what Elijah needed in his moment of despair was a small voice to boost his low confidence.  Encouragement comes in just the form that we need it.  Because that’s how God rolls.  He meets our needs how we need them met.

Encouragement is also one of the many ways God uses us.  To stir up someone, helping to restore their faith.  Often it’s unbeknownst to me when God is using me to encourage someone else.  He gives me a nod and my only task is to trust Him and obey.  In following through, others are blessed.  It’s better this way, I think.  Because then I don’t become distracted from the task at hand.  If I knew beforehand who I was to encourage and when, then I may find myself caught up in impressing the recipient rather than focused on obeying God.

For those who do it well, they are said to have the gift of encouragement.  But this thing is so powerful that even if it’s not your gift, you can still work within your gifts to encourage those around you.  Everyone needs a lift from time to time, including ourselves.  Trust those odd impressions that God lays on your heart and follow through.  You may never know the outcome.

Five Minute Friday: Glue

Back in elementary school, before understanding the luxuries of the spa and beauty treatments, I was introduced manicures.  I’m sure this type of manicure would be frowned upon by licensed estheticians, but it worked well for a young girl.  Your nails could take on a whole new colour, thanks to two simple products:  markers and liquid glue.

The first step was to apply the ‘polish’.  The glue, when wet, was white and thick.  This quickly changed to a transparent colour as it dried.  When you could no longer see it, and it felt a bit firm, your nails were ready for the next step.  Select a marker of your choice and colour away.  Lucky were the girls who had the bigger packs of markers–they had so many options.

Once everything was all dry, it was done!  A simple and free manicure applied in only minutes.  It happened in class, during a down time, and away from the scrutiny of protective parents.  When you were ready to change polish colours or if it was time to head home at the end of the day, then came the fun part: removal.

Simply rub a finger along your cuticle bed and find a peeling corner of polish.  Grab and peel it off.  Done!

You would think that a product design to help with adhering things to each other would have a more permanent effect.  However, if you read the fine print, the liquid glue used in school is recommended for craft work and best with paper products.  Nowhere does it suggest using for personal beautification.

When we use things out of context, it may not have the intended effect.


Linking up with the Five-Minute Friday community today.

Five Minute Friday: Fly

Oh some days how I wish to be a fly.  On a wall.  A wall in people’s minds.

I’m serious.

I know people who make all kinds of decisions that I just can’t comprehend.  Not that people need to live based on my understanding of their lives.  Whatever goes on in the privacy of your home is your business.  Yet, too often, I find that these decisions trickle out to a more public arena.  And too many times, I’m left going “huhhh?!  I don’t get it…”

For example, when I see some parents being obviously inconsistent with their discipline.  By obvious, I mean even my 5 year old starts asking me why the adults made that choice.  I don’t question others out loud, nor do I try to explain it to my kids, other than to say that they’re trying to do their best for their family.  I always pray for the families in these moments.  But I also walk away asking God what’s going on?  Having insight into their thinking would help me understand them better.  More importantly, it would help me love them better in the way that they need.

Another example:  Those who consistently exhibit Christ-like behaviour.  How do you do it???  I want to be inside your brain to see how to stifle the mean thoughts and snarky retorts.  How to make forgiveness swift and anger slow.  How to assert yourself when wronged with eloquence and grace.  How to love those who make loving others the world’s biggest challenge.

Yes, that’s how I’d use my abilities if I were a fly.  I’d want to understand you more.  To see what God already knows about you.

To love you as He does.


It’s Friday, the day of the week I link up with Lisa-Jo and the five minute Friday community.  I had some fun with today’s post.  That’s one of the perks to these free-write sessions.

Goodness {day 24}

I’m doing something special today–guest posting over at my friend Zohary’s place.  She is currently running a series through October entitled “31 Days of Living God’s Promises“.  She invited me to participate.  Since God has a huge book full of promises, I managed to narrow it down to just one and share.  But before I link to my post, I need to share today’s funny with you.

I worked hard on my guest post for Zohary’s series and emailed it to her last week.  When I went to read it live this morning, I discovered something horrifying–what was posted wasn’t my intended post!!  The first post still made sense, in a way, for the topic of Goodness.  I thought perhaps Zohary just did a very elaborate editing job.  After all, it is her blog, so she gets the final decision on production, right?

As I reread the list a few times over and over, I realized the issue.  I had included the WRONG attachment in the email.  What I had actually sent her was a list of potential blog names when I had kept when I was redesigning my blog months ago.

At first I was horrified, but then I was able to laugh about the entire thing.  Needless to say, I’ll be carefully naming all my files with some obviously different names.  Why name one file ‘Psalm 34″ and another ‘Ps 34’??  

My friend was gracious enough to change the poem-like post.  Thank you, Zohary!!!

To read more about Goodness, please join me here… 

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Peace-Filled Shoes {day 3}

**Here is something I’ve learned that was so profound that I’m breaking it into two parts.**

At my church’s weekly prayer meeting, we’ve been focusing on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).  This week’s piece was the shoes, which represent the gospel of peace.  Though I’ve heard and read this passage numerous times, this is the first time I’ve studied each individual piece of the armor.  The shoes were really eye-opening.

Shoes are the foundation to any outfit, including armor.  They must be sturdy and thick enough to withstand the dangers that lie in the ground.  The enemy would sometimes hide sharp blades in the grass, in attempts to injure the soldiers, disabling them from battle.  A soldier’s footwear also needed to be comfortable for long periods of wearing and marching.  Your feet require proper support to endure for the long haul.

The gospel does exactly this.  God’s Word gives us a solid foundation of peace.  Our lives are often unstable and uncertain.  We make plans, but we cannot control everything around us—things can change in the blink of an eye.  This peace helps us to maintain sure footing in an unsure life.  The soles must be thick enough so that the lies and negativity that try to dig into our souls will not touch us.  There’s also the turmoil of trials and hardships which can drag on for weeks, months or even years.  We need the correct support to endure.

With a solid foundation as our base, it boosts our confidence.  We’re able to live right and to testify.  Without shame.  Shame is hard to release, isn’t it?  Once we believe that God’s forgiveness is truly enough, it shifts our focus.  Part of the peace that comes from the gospel is when we give God all our guilt and shame, He takes it all and gets rid of it.  He doesn’t store any bit of it to taunt us later.  It’s gone!  This freedom enables us to reach out to others, freely and boldly, in love.

Reach out?  We’ll talk more about this tomorrow…

31 Button 2013