Small Miracles At The Grocery Store

This Friday morning found me at Aldi, doing the weekly grocery shopping, enjoying the stroll up and down the aisles. It was around 11:30am as I was finishing up, ready to check out with my overly full cart. There was only one check out line open, and so I let an older gentleman in front of me. He only had a couple of items and a dozen, beautiful red roses, that I had just watched him choose from the store’s flower bin. He thanked me for letting him “cut” line. I gave him a big smile (I make a habit of smiling often when I am out shopping. I get a lot of smiles in return–a great experiment, you all should try it). I asked him if someone special was getting the roses? He got a grin on his face, and said, “Yes. My wife. This is the anniversary…it is the 21st, right? (I shook my head “yes”.)…..of our very first date.” I replied,”I am sure your wife will love the roses, and that you remembered your first date. That is so sweet.” He smiled and said, “I hope she thinks so.” After he paid and was turning to leave, he looked back at the cashier and at me and said, “We’ve been married 43 years.” I had a big grin on my face…… I hope that loving husband and his dear wife have a very special day celebrating their first date. 

I am thankful for the small miracles in life that God allows me to come across each day, even at the grocery store. 


It Is An Ongoing Process


I try hard to lead a balanced life.

I am learning it is okay to say “no” to things.

I am trying to simplify, so I can focus on the important.

It is an ongoing process, in my day to day life.

On some days I struggle with it more than others.

The earth at times seems to lean heavy on the hard things. The scary things, the painful. I wish it wasn’t this way. Yesterday, I found out a sweet young friend is struggling quietly with chronic health issues that I knew nothing about, another friend, who is now a grandma, waited last night for her grandson to be born, watching her daughter tense with pain from a 30+ hour labor. Yet, another teacher friend, told of her student who had special needs, that had passed away……and the earth continues to spin, making me dizzy with it all.

While taking a shower the tears flow, mixed with hot spray, both are washed down the drain. Cleansing the body, washing the soul. There is, all too often, much to cry about…..but, I cannot stay at this place.

For all the hard edges of this world, all the diagnoses, the pain, the sorrow, the scary nights, the close calls, and the misunderstandings…..there is still so much more to be thankful for. Being able to see the light in the darkness is a true gift. I consider it a wonderful opportunity to be able to offer thanks.

There are moments when I feel as if time is suspended and I am standing in slow motion, being allowed the privilege to truly see…to live this one life with my eyes wide open to all there is instead of all there isn’t.

The kind of life I will live, has much to do with where I keep my focus.

I am thankful for: 

*pulling the curtains back on a glorious pink and purple morning

*the soft padding of my footsteps as I let the dog out for his morning walk

*the rooster who crows a good morning, telling the world it is time to get up

*emails from friends with good news

*a chill in the air, even in late May

*getting my car back from the garage, driving down Main Street

*rabbits that run across the road ahead of me

*a new cria (baby llama)

*a kiss on the forehead before leaving for work, from my 20 year old son

*a daughter who is graduating in two days

*a husband that I love, and loves me back

*fence posts and wide open fields

*blue expanse of sky that kisses the horizon

*bright red barns with horses grazing

*freshly planted fields that will soon be sprouting

*lovely birthday cards and gifts, and a treat that arrived from Amazon

*phone call with my mom and sister….hearts touch over the miles

*looking forward to a family wedding in June

*Thank you, God. You are the giver of daily gifts. Some big. Some small. All valuable.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 

How Great Thou Art

Yesterday morning, at church, we sang, How Great Thou Art. This is one of my favorite hymns. I have been known to bust out a chorus or two of this song, while I am going back and forth from the barn. or sometimes when I am outside at night, looking up at the black velvet sky filled with stars. This song even came to mind the other night, when we had the blood moon make its astonishing appearance. I stand amazed.


O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.


When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.



And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”



Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish traditional melody and poem written by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940) in Sweden in 1885.

Words Can Change Things


Cards and notes from my grandmother, sent to me while away at college. Old love letters from a boyfriend, bringing back memories of first love. Letters and cards of encouragement from my mom, always making me feel better. A bible verse written in my late husband’s handwriting, reminding me of what is truly important. Those that speak words of encouragement, those that teach and preach, and whose words can stir the soul. Letters and sounds that have great meaning. Simple, yet uniquely powerful.

Words, whether spoken or written, have the ability to transform.

Words can change things. They are able to build up or break down. Or change a life forever.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have see His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father full of grace and truth. John 1:14 

Strength When I Am Weak


Are you, like me? Is life causing you to feel the strain?

Sometimes life throws things at all of us that leave us gasping for air. Worry can suffocate. The best laid plans can be left laying at our feet, cracked and broken. How does one edit plans, accept change, be reminded that sometimes the things we thought we wanted are not what we really need?

I was desperate to read these verses from Paul, this morning.

I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 

Yes! Oh, yes. Thank you for the reminder. I can do this life, even through the rough times, the hard times, the uncertain and unsure times……because on days when I have no strength of my own, He gives me the strength. Amen.

A Day For Slowing And Relaxing

The Moors

The rain had persisted for yet another day.  After pulling on my boots, I stepped out onto the deck. Each step to the barn was a soggy one. White-gray fog hugged the ground, and as I looked around I felt like surely this must be what the Moors of England look like. The grassy fields, low places in the earth, swampy with water, and enshrouded in fog. There was a still quietness in the morning hours, with the exception of 3 geese honking their arrival at the winter lake across the road, followed by their wet splashes.

This is the kind of morning that is made for warm sweaters, a hot cup of coffee, and maybe a good book or movie. This is the time for quiet pondering as I watched the rivulets of water slide down the kitchen window.

A day for slowing down and relaxing.

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.  Psalm 46:10-11 

God Is Bigger


I have had much on my mind lately. I’ve done battle with worry, and it has left me weary. Doesn’t it always seem that bad things happen in threes? I ticked off the worries on my fingers. One. Two. Three. My first thought was…..What should I do?  I reminded myself that I am not the one in control. I like to think I am, but ultimately that is not true. It is just a lie I tell myself.

I’m going to be honest. There are times that things happen in my life and I just don’t get it. I don’t know why. I don’t know what good is going to come from it. I get resentful that I have to go through certain trials. Even though I know that life is never easy or even happy, 100% of the time, and we all bear our own burdens, the worrisome stuff always seems to catch me unaware. Sigh.

This afternoon God decided to join me, right in the middle of my pity party.

He spoke to me….in my car…on my way back home. Okay, so it wasn’t an audible voice, it was through old song verses I had memorized from years past… Great Is Thy Faithfulness. It was as if God, Himself, was reminding me that we have a history together. That He has always proved faithful in the past and He will again. No matter the circumstances, God is bigger.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Proverbs 16:9 “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

What I Love About Winter


A cold snowy day in mid February, finds me sitting at the kitchen counter while gazing out the window. Winter….people either love it or they hate it. I tend to love winter. I prefer the cold of this season to summer’s heat and humidity. I can always put on more layers, but when it is overly hot….there is only so much one can take off….before being arrested. You see my predicament?

Here are the top 10 things that I love about winter (David Letterman Style):

#10. Snow makes the whole world look fresh and clean….and magical. The hush of a snow blanketed world is lovely!

#9. I get to wear all the scarves in my rather large collection. Having moved to Ohio from Tennessee, this is a huge deal:)

#8. Hot drinks always taste better when it is cold outside. I mean who wants to drink hot cocoa in mid-July?

#7. Being a teacher, I still and always will, love snow days. It is a thing.

#6. I get a kick out of seeing all the mailbox contraptions people around here put up to defend their boxes against the snow plow. (see story here)

#5. I don’t sweat in the winter months. At all.

#4. Icicles and glittering snow diamonds on a sunny winter morning….amazing light and clarity in nature.

#3. Winter nights are the most clear and brilliant. I am awestruck by the beauty.

#2. Being forced to be inside if it snows or ices, allows me to get more done around the house.

#1. The God who created winter, is preparing the world for spring….sometimes we all need to be quiet and dormant for awhile and wait for the new beginnings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Whiter Than Snow


This morning I trudged to the barn through the freshly fallen snow and drifts, that were created by last night’s blur of flakes and wind. I was thinking about the beauty of the whiteness that surrounded me, the sun that valiantly attempted to brighten a gray winter sky, and the frigid air that numbed my fingers, even in insulated work gloves. A new day, one that is starting out fresh and clean.

The verses from Lamentations 3, came to my mind.…“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”… (verses 22-24 NIV)  These verses have long been some favorites of mine.

The ground early yesterday was dirty and muddy, filled full of dog and cat prints, patches of dirty snow from a previous winter storm, and grass that was obviously brown and dead…….and yet……in one afternoon and night the outside was miraculously transformed into a pristine and glowing place. Fresh. New. Beautiful.

God is the God of second chances….and third…and fourth.  Second chances in nature, and second chances with His most loved creations. Us. If you are anything like me, there are times when you feel that life has left you dirty and scarred. You have been bruised by the memories, beaten down by the events. You long for a fresh start, a clean slate, a new beginning.

God is here, in the midst of the dirt and grime of life. He is not a callous God who leaves us to mire in the mud of the day to day. David (of the Bible) understood what it was to feel broken, and he wrote a psalm to God, “I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.… (Psalm 40:1-3)

Dear friends and fellow readers, if you are feeling down today, I encourage you to read Psalms. Also, to read the gospels–Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Let them speak to your heart. God is not arrogant, nor does He push Himself on individuals….but, if you come to Him, He will not turn you away.

You can be a new creation in Him…..and He will wash you whiter than snow.


What Does It Mean To Be Real?


“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” —The Skin Horse, to the Velveteen Rabbit, on being real.   ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

This quote is from one of my favorite childhood books. I think the skin horse was pretty wise, for being a toy. Sounds to me as if he understood the realities of living better than humans, wouldn’t you say?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to “be real” with other people. It can be a scary thought for many of us, but necessary if we are going to have relationships with other people that really matter, and aren’t just pleasantries and plastic facades. I’m not saying that we should let everyone know all our business, or that we should blurt out anything that comes to our mind in the name of “being honest and keeping it real”, because quite frankly, that more times than not, is less than helpful. I’m not talking about being real in bold smugness, but more in allowing us to have a humble servant’s heart towards others.

I am considering what it means to be imperfect with others. To not be scared to allow people to see my mistakes, my failures, my shortcomings. There is something about knowing another person has the same problems as you, it makes the problems a little less scary, and a lot more human. Don’t we look at another person sometimes and think to ourselves, if he/she can do it, I can too! Many times it really isn’t necessary that anyone do anything in particular, just lend genuine support, a listening ear, and maybe some heartfelt empathy for what the other person is going through.

Life has it’s wonderful “mountain top” experiences, where everything is right with the world…..but, those times tend to be a rare triumph. Most of us live in the shadows of the mountains, here in the day to day. Oh, life is still good, or it can be, but we deal more with the routines and struggles of a climber that is out of breath and out of sorts. Deadlines and dead loved ones, forgotten appointments and disappointments, meals to plan and plans to make, jobs with bosses that just don’t get it and getting it all wrong for the umpteenth time. College, and careers. Dates and do-overs. Marriages and misunderstandings. Kids and courage. Tears and laughter and everything in between. That is where we live. That is real.

As a follower of Christ, He calls me to be real with people. Often times, it is in our most vulnerable moments, when the mask falls to the floor and shatters into a million jagged pieces, that our hearts are softened and we can be genuine and real. It draws others to us—because they understand. They have been there too.

Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31 
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2