Grace, So Amazing

The word “grace” has come up several times in conversations, during reading, and in small group study over this past week.

Is God trying to show me something? Reveal a truth? I ponder the word…slowly. Taking it all in. I wrap the word around me, as I contemplate what my Father is trying to tell me.

Grace…..this short and simple word, I quietly utter it. It slides off my tongue. This word that is meant for me.

Grace through salvation. Yes. Jesus, God in human flesh, took my place, unto death. He died for my sins. He pardoned me because He chose to, not because I did anything to deserve it. He bestowed grace. He gave me Himself. But, grace is more than that one moment in time. My relationship with Christ is ongoing. Every day. Daily grace.

Are my days about abiding in His grace towards me? Am I filled with His grace? Do I, could I possibly understand, what it is to live this grace? This gift? Right here. Right now. Not as just a word, but as the very air that I breathe. Am I showing grace to others? Or do I hold back? My fist gripping onto what was so freely given to me? Eyes so easily blinded to what truly matters.

I’m learning. Always learning.

Grace, so amazing.


**************************************************************************************************************************************************************   2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Acts 11:22-24 The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. Romans 3:20-24 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Read more:

Oh, That You Would Bless Me

I first heard of Jabez, well over a decade ago. Before the year 2000, I didn’t know who Jabez was, or how what he said was important. He was hidden away in the book of 1 Chronicles, his name and prayer, wedged in between family genealogy. Let’s face it, the who begat who is kind of dry reading. It wasn’t until Bruce Wilkenson wrote his book, The Prayer of Jabez, that this Bible character became real to me.

So, many weeks have come and gone. Time has passed. Yet, this man’s prayer has come back to me, over and over again through the years. In the midst of family ancestors, God saw fit to mention Jabez’s prayer to Him. Jabez wasn’t anyone that would be considered special. From what I understand, he was just an ordinary kind of a guy, just living his life. But, right there in 1 Chronicles 4:10, this is what is written, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

Some people think that Jabez should not have asked God to bless him, feeling that might be a bit selfish. I disagree. Scripture clearly states that God granted Jabez’s request. Why would God have allowed this short prayer, nestled into family ancestry, if He did not think it was worth reading? Small? Yes, but powerful. I think this tells us something about Jabez, but it also tells us something about God.

God loves us. He is Sovereign and He is Just, this is most definitely true, but doesn’t He enjoy hearing His children cry out to Him? Realizing that He is indeed the One who is in control? And with understanding know that all good things come from Him?

I believe that thanking God for all the ways that He chooses to bless, every single day, is music to His ears. The more ways our eyes are opened to all the daily gifts that God gives, the more we are blessed. There are times when I slow down and make the conscious decision to write out the blessings, and thank God. God knows me, intimately. He knows that He created me with a love and appreciation for the aesthetic. When I stop and notice the Queen Anne’s lace elegantly bowing to the wind in the pasture, and thank Him for it, when I see the morning dew sparkle like a million diamonds on the field of grass, when I walk down the driveway to get the mail and go through a cloud of dozens of yellow butterflies…….He has to smile. Some would chide me and say, “God is almighty, He doesn’t care about whether you like flowers and butterflies.”  I would reply, “I believe you are wrong.”

I Chronicles 16:34 

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 28:7

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.

Colossians 3:17 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
James 1:17 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Today I am thankful for:
*friends that invite my family over for lunch* laughter and pizza*afternoon naps*safety in the storm*family*celebrating a friend’s birthday*flowers of the meadow*the smell of rain soaked soil*green grass everywhere*beautiful ruby throated hummingbirds*the hoot of the Great Horned Owl*muddy dogs*dirty dishes in the sink, eating well*bare feet on summer days*gray storm clouds*an unseasonably cool breeze*no humidity*errands completed*excitement over son going to college*growing up *growing in Him*fruit smoothies*sleepy heads* soft worn rugs*God and His Son, Jesus—for it is through them that all of these blessings are possible. Amen.

Uncovering The Mystery

I love to get gifts. Don’t most of us? Gift giving is one of the few times that I actually enjoy surprises. I slowly unwrap the paper, prolonging the anticipation of what might be inside the box, uncovering the mystery. Gifts need not be expensive, actually some of the best gifts I’ve ever received have not been held by a box.

And isn’t it all a gift, if we know Jesus Christ? The mysteries of this life wrapped in His love for us. He gave us Himself…if we never received another thing that single gift, alone, would have been enough. Enough to last for all of eternity, but He still chooses to gift us lavishly, each day.

You understand, none of this ….none of these gifts ….would have been without Him.












The pretty smile, the love of your spouse, your newborn, strong friendships, laughter, the winter sky pregnant with snow, a kiss, a held hand, a good book, a refrigerator with food in it, a cold drink on a hot day, lush green grass, meadows of wild flowers, wet soil on a rainy day, dog licks from your furry friend, safe travel back and forth, strong and healthy teens, chores completed, rumpled sheets and a soft pillow, college acceptance letters, a card from a loved one, Christmas memories, birthday cake, new nail polish, a car that is reliable, a good run, and each breath we take.

Gifts, each and every one.

Because He was full of grace and truth- from Him we all received one gift after another. John 1:16 

Seeing Life in 20/20

I couldn’t even see the big neon numbers on the alarm clock. Squinting hard, it just looked like a greenish haze. My vision was terrible. I had worn glasses since I was in first grade, and went through years of different styles of glasses and contacts…all so I could see.

I wanted good vision. I longed for it actually. img_0211.jpg

And isn’t that what we all long for? To have 20/20 about the important things of life?

Living this life with eyes wide open to all that truly matters.

Shouldn’t we all long to see?

I was 36. I had opportunity to have LASIK surgery on my eyes. I was scared. What if my vision became worse? What if something happened? My desire to see clearly was stronger than my fear. I had the surgery with my eyes wide open. The surgeon told me, “Your vision will go gray and you won’t be able to see anything for a few seconds…but, that is normal. It will be fine, just trust me.”

Ten minutes later I looked out on my world with perfect 20/20 vision. Thirty-six years of blurriness, replaced with perfect vision in 10 minutes.

I tell people it is the closest thing to a modern day miracle that I have ever witnessed. Incredible. Life changing.

I looked at the world differently….being able to see, changed everything. It changed me.

My physical eyes allow me to see my world around me in all its crisp brilliance.

My spiritual eyes allow me to see all the amazing gifts that God gives each and every day, and for that I am truly thankful.

Psalm 106:1 
 Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

The Gift

This morning, quiet and gray, with snow crunching under my feet…Ohio winter is already here. On the way to the barn I was mulling over my past and thinking about my future. When I’m outside doing chores, I always have time to think.  So much has changed, but the most important things have stayed the same. This time of year I am reminded. Reminded of difficult times, true friends, and the One who loves me.

I would like to share some of my past with you, as well as my future. This blog post is one I wrote three years ago around this time. I have it at the top of my blog page, but I wanted to share it here, today. I don’t want it to be overlooked. This passage speaks to who I am as a person, and how my life and memories are etched with the greatest gift of all.

The Greatest Gift Of Allphoto(2)

Even though I love Christmas….I am aware it is a difficult time of the year for many. So many who have suffered a loss, struggle through Christmas. Trying to smile. Wanting to celebrate, but are in too much pain to enjoy it. I want to help them….just like I was helped so many years ago.

FLASHBACK to Christmas 2000….my husband had died the month before. My 5 year old son and I would be spending Christmas in a different way that year. I tried to keep things as normal as possible. Unknown to me at the time, when I got up on that  Christmas morning, I would have a surprise.

A mysterious phone call. Caller unknown was on my phone’s ID. “Check your front porch”, the voice said.  I peered out my front door at 7 am in the morning. My front porch was filled with presents addressed to my son and me. He and I had so much fun opening the gifts that were so lovingly left on our front porch, early that Christmas morning. I later found out that my church’s Sunday Schoolclass had collected gifts and wrapped all of them…just for us. Then one of my dear friends and her husband secretly, and quietly delivered the gifts to my house at daybreak. I should have known. These were the same people that prayed for my husband throughout his illness. Held my hand at the hospital. Girlfriends that slept on the couch at my house, my first night alone…they stayed so I wouldn’t wake up to an empty house. Brought me meals. Bought me a dress for the funeral. Stood by me at the services.  Men that changed the oil in my vehicle. Ordered pizza to my house and visited with me while we all ate. I had people willing to babysit if I needed it, and fix food when I didn’t feel like it. I had a dear friend mow my yard during my husband’s illness and afterward. They showed HIS love through their numerous actions.They were real. Their love was practical. They were Jesus hands and feet to me.

What might have been one of the worst days for me, turned out to be a wonderful memory. A memory that still warms me all these years later. That special Christmas morning was a gift to me. I loved all the thoughtful presents, but even more was my love for my friends who had not forgotten me as they all celebrated on that Christmas morning. That is what warms my heart, even  more than a decade later.

Flashback over 2000 years ago… A dark night. A man and a woman who needed a place to stay. No one could help them out. The city was busy and there was not one room available. They were bone tired. The young woman was not feeling so well, she knew that this child that she had been carrying for the past 9 months, was ready to be born. But where?  The man managed to talk an inn keeper into allowing them to sleep in his stable, which was really not much more than a cave.  A literal hole in the wall.

In the stench of barnyard animals, the greatest gift to mankind was born that night. A night where people were running to and fro, busy with their lives. A night where no one was really paying much attention. A night not so unlike what we have now. God came into the world. Jesus left Heaven to come to this earth in human flesh. AND THE WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. A divine gift. A gift of love to humankind. A light to the world. Light that split the enveloping darkness of that night, as well as all the days and nights to come.

For all those people that I mentioned earlier…those in pain, those that are hurting for whatever reason…my desire is that they would know the greatest gift of all. Because He lives you CAN face tomorrow. This life we all live, is never easy. Most days it is hard. Some days life downright hurts. This is nothing new. Knowing Jesus doesn’t mean that life will be perfect, or problem free. Anyone that says that is a liar. We live in a fallen world, and that alone brings sadness. But the good news is this:  Jesus didn’t stay a baby in manger. He grew up. He touched lives.

Lives were changed. He explained the scripture. He attended weddings, and family get togethers. He hung out with his friends…and he hung out with the outcasts of society. He gave sight to the blind both literally and figuratively. He was every bit human, as he was every bit God.  Decades after his humble birth in that cave, on a bed of straw He walked a road to the cross. Where His gift to you (YesYOU!) was given. Your name was on his mind. He knew that one day you would be born and live a life on this earth. He knew. He laid down his own life–in your place. He took the punishment for your sin (the bad things we all do). He did it because He loves you. Really loves you. And He knew that we weren’t capable of ever paying that price on our own. Impossible. The gap was too wide. We’d never make it. So, He did it for us. The gift of salvation just needs to be acknowledged and  accepted. (John 3:16)


I realize I have a lot of people that read my blog…people from all over the world, actually.  Some people  know me personally and some only know me through my words. I will be the first one to tell you that I am not perfect. I have good days and bad days just like everyone else. I tend towards selfishness. I like my own way. I’m too stubborn for my own good. Yep. That’s me. Sure, I like to think I have my good points too. But, some days are better than others. On a beautiful spring day in May of 1979 I accepted the gift. Life didn’t suddenly change for me. I didn’t start skipping through meadows of daisies with a perpetual smile on my face. Life can still be gritty at times. I’ve gone through great joys and intense tragedies. Even in the midst of all these things, Jesus has never left me. He promised me he’d never leave me, nor forsake me. Not ever. And He hasn’t. I want to share that gift with you. I want you to know, what I know.

I want you to have the Greatest Gift of all.

The One Who Returns

Yesterday a visiting pastor spoke at my church. His sermon was on Luke 17:11-19. Ten men were healed, just through Jesus’ words, and yet only one returned to thank Him. Their lives were changed, their futures touched by the hand of the One who makes all things possible.

And only one came back. 3529885_f260

Only one remembered to praise. To thank. To worship.

Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy[a] met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”


14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.


15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”      Luke 17  NIV


How many times am I like the nine?

God blesses and I take for granted.

Christ gives and I take.

I forget. I get busy. ….and I don’t come back to Him.

Oh, God! I am sorry. What is the matter with me? Why am I like this?

Forgive me. Please.

I want to be the one. I need to be the one. The one who returns.


Today I am thankful for all the gifts that He so freely gives: 102_3858

*cloudy, foggy mornings

*morning chill

*conversation with my son

*books whose words change me


*my Bible…God’s words written to me

*sparkling lights on the Christmas trees

*lights reflecting in the windows

*the smell of freshly cut evergreen

*the nativity scene

*bowing low before the Christ child

*Jesus, the One I come back to…

All Thanks, Big and Small

the cloud and the rays of light

Image by bernat... via Flickr

Here I sit at my kitchen counter…on yet another Monday morning. A morning that is gray and rainy…again. It seems like the rain is here to stay this Spring. Even though the day outside is wet and drizzly, I have so much for which to be thankful. The light of yesterday breaks through the gray of today. Light shining into this world…light that changed the world forever.

Mondays are always a rough day for me, and yet these days are part of Multitudes On Mondays. A reminder to me and to everyone, that there is always much to be thankful for…in all things big and small. Life truly is a gift.

* Safe travel for my sons as they traveled with friends.

* Time spent with my daughter.

* Discovering that old is new again

* Laughing together

* Quietly working in the kitchen

* Family

* Knowing the TRUTH

* Chocolate peanut butter icecream

* Love

* Conversations with sons

* Helpful daughter

* A husband who is there for me

* Time to just breathe

* Groceries in the pantry

* Cold tea

* Beautiful clouds

* Rain

* An old, rugged cross

* Blood covered

* “It is finished”

* An empty tomb

* A Savior lives


* A promise that He will come again as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Amen and Hallelujah!

Cold Beauty

Snow Globe

Image by David Hepworth via Flickr

Yes. This winter seems unending. It has been cold and chaotic since the first snow fell on December 1.

And yet…as I stand at my kitchen window, I am amazed at the beauty of it all.

I quietly sigh. I stare upward.

White gray.

Snow blowing every which way. A blur of flakes.

Each one different. Unusual.

The scene before me resembles a snow globe that has been shook hard.

A flake frenzy.

Cold beauty.

Dogs with snowy fur.

Schools closed.

Gray sky filled with flakes.

The roar of wind.

I feel the need to snap a picture. To remember.

To pull out on the hot, sticky days of late July.

A cool memory to ease the pain of the heat.

Lord, I am thankful for this day you have given me.

And for the eyes wide open…to see your gift to me.




The Gifts That Keep On Giving

Courtney in Snuggie

Image via Wikipedia

With the wonder of the internet, infomercials, and open 24 hour stuff marts…..we can all buy the niftiest gifts for those we love.

1. The Shake Weight……For all those loved ones that have under arm jiggle.

2. Pajama Jeans….because they are soft and cuddly and tons of people are already wearing their actual pj’s to Wal-mart. So, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

3. Snuggie— Why shouldn’t we all look like monks? And while I’m on the subject, aren’t Snuggie’s really just robes turned around backward?

4. Slanket— Which is really just another Snuggie, which is really just a bath robe… why not just buy a bathrobe?

5. The Potty Patch— For all those pet lovers in your life. Who doesn’t need to get an artificial turf square for their pet to “use” when inside? The great part is, one can wash it with just soap and water!!!

Who really comes up with these things? I mean, really.