Seasons

It is a rare Sunday afternoon where I am hanging out in my backyard with my laptop and my terrier. I live in a small town and it is quiet and peaceful out here. 

Except for one blaring distraction.

It is not the neighbor mowing his yard nor the EMS sirens as they travel to the hospital down the road. The distraction is less about audible noise and more about the inescapable comparison to my life at the moment.

Overgrown. The fence that needs to come down is overgrown with vegetation. Weeds to be exact. Why? Because we have been busy doing life. Because when we do have a free moment, it is easier to stay inside than stare at the work that needs done.

Life gets like this sometimes. We overcommit ourselves. We say yes when we should pause and pray first. We leave so little whitespace in our lives. The responsibilities grow around us and squelch the joy of things we once felt passionate about. Burnout threatens to set in.

So, here I am now after a message at church this morning…do not be afraid. Here I am contemplating decisions of where commitments have overgrown in my life and what must be reprioritized.

When we want to welcome something new in our lives, we must be brave. If we feel God’s blessing upon a new chapter and if we witness a door opening, we must be willing to close the doors that need closed. Yes, I believe God closes doors for us sometimes. I also believe there are times when we need to step back and realize that some areas in our lives are overgrown. 

For example, do you want to start writing a novel? Maybe you need to step back from a committee you serve on.

Ecclesiastes 3:1…There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…

What season are you in currently? Maybe it is a season for something new which also means an end of a different season.

Isaiah 43:18-19…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 

Life is full of seasons. Don’t be afraid to end one so a new one can bloom.

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Catch Your Breath

We all need a pause.
I attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) last week, and during those two days, had a wealth of information poured into me. I plan to share some of these things, but today I want to focus on one thing.

Reflection.

It is Friday morning at the moment. I am sitting on my couch in the quiet of my house. I wonder…how did Friday get here so fast?

I think of the busyness at work, situations faced, and things I must do yet today. I think of our situation at church and where we are in our pastoral search and as a church. My son started back to school yesterday. The days are getting shorter. So much is going on in the world that is so disheartening.

I need a pause.

At the GLS, Pastor Bill Hybels challenged us all to spend 15 minutes each morning to read and reflect on life…our leadership, faith, family, who we are becoming, are we fully surrendered? And then, are we getting better or busier?

Sometimes, life needs a pause button. 

My mornings are my pause time to step back and reflect. 

Am I getting better or busier?

In this stillness, I reflect, I pause, I pray, I am still.
I catch my breath. 

Some mornings it may be a run or walk. Some mornings I might journal. And many are much like this…quiet stillness on my couch reflecting and in the Word.

I encourage you to take at least 15 each morning.

Pause before you jump into the day.

Give yourself permission to catch your breath.


Everyday Goodness

I am tired this evening but grateful. These past few days have been filled with reminders of His love and hope. Through relationships with family and friends, nature, joy in my calling, and the blessing to celebrate freedom, His goodness prevails. 

As I watched  The Shack for the second time this past weekend, there is a line in the movie that I think many people struggle with. The character portraying God tells Mac that his real problem is that he does not think that God is good because if he did, he would be able to trust God even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.

It is easy to think and believe God is good when all is going well. It becomes harder when life doesn’t make sense. When my coworker lost her life in child birth, I found myself wondering what good was there in that. How could that possibly be part of God’s plan? I stopped wearing my bracelet that week.


As I worked through my grief, I realized that some things in life have no answers. While I don’t understand how this fits into His plan, I believe God is ultimately good. I believe He has a plan for my pain. 
So, this Fourth of July holiday, I chose to celebrate my freedom in Christ. God is good. I may not understand many things, but I can trust He is walking this journey of my life with me and has a plan for me.

His goodness is all around me, and He has a plan. ( I am wearing my bracelet again as a reminder to me that He is with me always).

Enjoy these reminders of His goodness, and seek to find your own everyday.


Right in Front of You

It’s Friday….I always seem amazed when Friday shows up again. I greet the day with a sigh of relief…I made it here again.

This week I particularly feel a sense of relief. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but God is good and continues to breathe His truth into my soul. 

In Psalm 37:3….trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness…

When I read that passage recently, I reflected on the name of​ my blog. Faith. Hope. Love. Food. My original intention for my blog was to share my food struggle journey, but God revealed a different focus to me.

The food that fuels my soul…His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His peace, mercy, grace… have ​been so clearly evident and alive this week in my life.

Sometimes, what you are searching for is right in front of you, you just need a reminder that it’s there. My prayers this week have been an intense sense of needing direction, His direction. I have been feeding on His faithfulness and staying in the Word, praying His promises.

Ever heard someone speak to you and know it was exactly what God needed for you to hear? Ever received a hug and felt the love so deeply? I did this week. The answers I sought were right in front of me, I just needed reminded.

If you are struggling with making a hard decision, feed on His faithfulness and keep praying. The answer you yearn for just may be right in front of you.

Life as the Great Balancing Act

I miss the mountains. A lot.


Over the weekend, a close friend was asking how my vacation was. As I shared how much I love the mountains, she agreed she could see me living there. When she asked what I loved the most about vacation, I reflected on the slow paced mornings, coffee on the deck, and writing time. She laughed and said, “Sounds like you want the retired life.”
Sigh. Actually, though, I guess what I love about the mountains is the quiet beauty of them. Life is life and vacation doesn’t last forever, though.

What I long for is a piece of that mountain peace  I felt to seep into my daily life. My ongoing struggle is this whole work life balance thing. I know I am not alone. Many of us work a lot and struggle to find a balance. My daughter is an education major and just told me the average teacher works 53 hours a week. I work in healthcare and that is comparable. Every occupation has its times of long hours. 

Last Saturday afternoon, while reading my devotional and Bible, I stumbled upon this verse although I don’t think it was a random stumbling upon…

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones. Psalm 127:2 NLT

There is a message in those words. Balance is important in life. Work should not consume our lives. When work feels like it is becoming too much, what can we do to regain our sense of self?
For me, this area is an ongoing work in progress. I have implemented a few things to help me. I am in the process of reevaluating the things that I am involved in outside of work and setting boundaries. I have just started an inspirational Writing group which totally uplifted me over the weekend. I take time nightly for TV time with my son to laugh along to our favorite show The Middle. I am making snippets of time to write and exercise. I am trying to find moments to reconnect with my husband because he is in a season of working a lot of hours, too. 

The most important thing? I am keeping prayer and time in God’s Word as a priority. I am learning to give myself grace. I am trying to learn an important lesson my friend reminds me…No is a complete sentence.

Finding balance amist the chaos of life can feel a bit like driving through a thick fog. It can be easier to simply accept the busyness as okay. It is much more uncomfortable and disorienting to sort your way through the fog of finding balance.
Finding balance is a process. Don’t settle for crazy. What small changes can you make that may pave the way for big strides towards balance in your life?

Wednesday Words

I have really enjoyed my little piece of quiet stillness in the mountains these past few days. I have enjoyed lazy mornings, time to relax and reflect, the beauty of nature, witnessing hope in healing from the fires, and time with those whom I love.

Simple moments matter. Sometimes, doing nothing is the something that you need most.

As I bid the mountains farewell, I want to share some great words with you that have been staring back at me each day here in this cabin retreat.

Have a great day. I challenge you to choose a phrase from the picture and live those words today. As for me? I will strive to listen to others with my whole heart.
Have a great Wednesday. Make the best of it!

Old Fashioned Fun

Having spent a week without my phone, I reconnected with some entertainment that normally mindless phone time would have occupied. 

I read.

I journalled.

I savored the quiet.

I listened to God for His lessons in this time.

Thankfully, a new battery and less than $100 later, my phone is back good as new. No lost pictures. No permanent damage. No huge expense. I am grateful.

The time without my phone has opened my eyes to how people, myself included, spend our time. The act of everyday conversation is becoming a lost art. People don’t engage with each other as much. Just look around a restaurant. Unless, just maybe, you are at Cracker Barrel.

The other night at Cracker Barrel, I observed table after table engaging with one another over a friendly game. I love these little wooden peg games. In fact, my grandfather made me this one years ago. I will always cherish it.
It was refreshing to see so many people interacting and not on devices. I know that our world has shifted just in my short life to be more focused and centered on technology and various forms of media but breaks from all of it is a great thing.
Spending time with older adults daily in my work is also another great reminder of the need to engage and interact with one another in meaningful conversation.

Our family is planning a media free day for an upcoming weekend. As we look forward to this time to connect undistracted, we are very aware that we need to be intentional about our plans. 

The world that God created is too amazing of a place to let everyday moments pass by because our attention is focused downwards on a device.

What are your ideas for old fashioned fun?