Category Archives: Being a Disciple of Jesus

Flowers and an Apology

Received these beautiful flowers today from one of my children.


In Proverbs it says:

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

Never is this more tested than in the chaos and joy of FAMILY life. I think we stumble over each other all the time in a family – in a marriage, in parenting, in serving one another, in NOT serving one another.

So, even though I was hurt and frustrated by an interaction with one of my sweet kiddos, I purposed to be a servant who overlooks an offense. I understand that it’s hard to grow up. It’s frustrating and confusing and exhilarating all at once.

Don't let the sun go down on your anger.

Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.

And, when we hurt each other, the Lord is honored when we restore the relationship. Sometimes that means a hug. Sometimes it is a note. Sometimes it’s an apology. And sometimes it’s beautiful purple flowers.

I love you!

Project 365 – Day 166

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Can I be Content

Today was one of those odd, gloomy sort of days where my spirits were a bit downcast. I woke up early, messaged with a friend in Montana, read my Bible and saw that Tim and Daniel were both already up and out of the house. I got some breakfast and coffee and sat down with a book to read.

A stack of school books, essential oils, a Kindle and some journals.

A stack of school books, essential oils, a Kindle and some journals.

That messy stack pretty much offers a nice little snap shot of our school days – a box of my essential oils, a plastic massage roller, a Kindle Fire, some journals, poetry and history books, chargers for phones and tablets, pens for drawing, a napkin for snack time. Ha.

I’ve been thinking about backyards and landscape design and how to make things pretty here at home. We’re putting in new carpets and having the walls painted at our house on the Olympic Peninsula. It’s distracting and entertaining to look at Pinterest boards on covered porches. It’s fun to match and coordinate colors on the Benjamin Moore paint site. But in it all, I have to carefully guard my spirit. I am SO EASILY discontented and frustrated with my own yard, house, belongings, gifts, talents, and on and on and on.

Beautiful Mother's Day flowers from Daniel.

Beautiful Mother’s Day flowers from Daniel.

For the past two weeks, in our devotional study book, the kids and I have been studying the commandment NOT to covet. Such good teaching, and so many excellent reminders:

1) Everything we have is from the Lord
2) Both the good and the bad – God wants to use it in our lives
3) True satisfaction comes in loving and glorifying the Lord
4) We should rejoice in the gifts, talents, blessings of others (rather than covet them)
5) We need to guard our thoughts and our attitudes
6) The Commandments reveal our desperate need for a Savior

So, I can enjoy dreaming about adding flower boxes or a covered porch or painting the house, but if any of it causes me to stumble into discontent, anger or resentment, than I need to STOP. Instead I need to spend some time THANKING Jesus for all He has given me. I need to spend some time SERVING others. I need to REMEMBER those who are lost and hungry and homeless.

And I can take some pictures of my blessings and the little silly moments that make up TODAY.

Sarah gets in some reading before dinner.

Sarah gets in some reading before dinner.

Marco likes to snuggle up on the couch.

Marco likes to snuggle up on the couch.

David rode his bike to a friend's house and then spent some time swimming (or was it hanging out in the hot tub?).

David rode his bike to a friend’s house and then spent some time swimming (or was it hanging out in the hot tub?).

Even on gray days, there is so much beauty all around.

Waiting for Tim to come home.

Waiting for Tim to come home.

Where is my sweetie? Late coming home today. There he is!

My beloved!

My beloved!

As the Psalmist writes:

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:23-26

May this be true of me – desire Jesus more than anything else and remember that He is my strength and my portion forever!

Project 365 – Day 132

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Women’s Retreat Part 2

Tim and I are racing to post blogs tonight. He “forgot” (likely story) to take any pictures on the 1st, so no one blogged that day. Thankfully I had suspected such a thing might occur, so I snapped a few shots with my phone while I was at the women’s retreat. Whew! The sanctity of Project 365 was preserved. Hey, this is important stuff here. We’ve been taking a picture a day and blogging it EVERY DAY since January 1st. We can’t let lapses occur just because certain people “forget” to take a picture.

I managed to post date a blog for Tim’s day (the 1st), and now he’s writing something for the 2nd. I guess I’ll use the photo I took today, combined with the other retreat pictures from yesterday, and count this post as May 3rd blog.


Don’t worry. You can just sit back and enjoy the pictures, skim the cheerful, rambling words, and go back to your busy life. :)

Our women’s retreat was exactly what I needed – a weekend away with some of my closest and dearest friends, a time of relaxation and reflection, a chance to walk several of the beautiful paths of Gig Harbor, a sweet opportunity to hear a beloved friend teach 80 of us from God’s Word, and the blessing to get to know some new women from our church.

Heading out on a hike

Heading out on a hike

One of our beautiful views

One of our beautiful views

On Saturday afternoon, a friend and I hosted a breakout session on homeschooling. I love talking about homeschooling with curious, interested moms. And it was an extra joy to have several faithful, long-time homeschooling friends join us for the seminar. We talked about 10 Myths of Homeschooling and answered as many questions as we had time for. We all agreed many of these topics could be whole seminars all by themselves.

Time for some research and review before our talk.

Time for some research and review before our talk.

And of course we had some giveaways.

A little Starbucks and Barnes & Noble gift cards for our audience.

A little Starbucks and Barnes & Noble gift cards for our audience.

The annual women’s retreat holds a special place in my heart. I have served on the planning committee many times. I’ve written and performed skits and co-taught various seminars over the years. I have enjoyed countless conversations, often lasting LATE into the night.

Love these friends!

Love these friends!

This year was no different except for one thing – I actually went to bed at a decent hour (for me anyway) AND I got up each morning to walk with the (I’ll just call them beautiful and crazy) morning walkers. The sun was shining so brilliantly this weekend, I couldn’t help but get outside and praise the Lord for the beauty of His Creation.

I know I’ll forget someone, but I just have to say a few Thank You’s!!!!

Thank you, Tim, for letting me sneak away this weekend.
Thank you, David and Sarah, for cleaning up the house BEFORE I came home today.
Thank you, Holly, for sharing your heart with all of us as you taught from the scriptures.
Thank you, Krystal and Michelle, for being great friends and roommates.
Thank you, Beckie, Krystal and Debi for taking the SHORT version of the hike with me on Saturday.
Thank you, Nancy for getting us outside walking each morning.
Thank you, to the wonderful women in my small group.
Thank you, Susan for co-teaching Homeschooling 101 with me.
Thank you, Debbie for putting together a relaxed, God-focused retreat.
Thank you, Krystal, Becky, Nina and Kirstin for planning and preparing and working on the retreat.
Thank you, Sue, Ellen and Lura for leading us in amazing worship.
Thank you, Amy, for picking me up some Starbucks on Saturday.
Thank you, Lisa, Karen and Jen for working the sound and PowerPoint for our worship this weekend.
Thank you, Amanda and Rebekah for selfie mixers and silly games.
Thank you, Shari, for making me laugh on Sunday morning with all your hugs.

Thank you to ALL the incredible women who came away from the busyness of our ordinary lives to celebrate together and learn something fresh about Jesus.

Until next year….

Project 365 – Day 123

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God’s Word Meets Me Once Again

Each one of these was bought by a friend or family member who was thinking of me and traveled the world.

Each one of these was bought by a friend or family member who was thinking of me as they traveled the world. They make me smile every day!

I’ve been pondering, reflecting, studying, and meditating on a passage of scripture from I Peter 3 this week.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. I Peter 3:8-17

With each phrase I find myself either comforted or challenged. I am serving in several different areas of leadership – in teams, in administration, in teaching. These positions take a great deal of time and energy, not to mention the responsibilities that accompany them. Every time I feel like I am confused as how to act, or am weary of doing good, or I am confident of my own abilities and talents, I am convicted to return to the Word. And I pray!

I can’t remember what brought me to I Peter 3:8-17. It’s not in my daily reading. It wasn’t in one of our family devotions. It might have just been something I skimmed past over the weekend. Whatever it was, I have been riveted and focused on these verses since.

Each portion seems to be directed right toward me. I appreciate the exhortation to have unity of mind. I know that in order to do that in the areas where I serve, I need to have a tender heart and a humble mind.

In my own strength, I seek for justice and fairness. I want “my rights” protected and defended. The scripture here says that I am to bless and not repay. And why do I live this way? What would cause me to choose this instead of the VERY gratifying satisfaction of justification and validation (and maybe even a little comeuppance every once in a while)?

It is because God’s Word is true. And I have lived it, breathed it, experienced it, and seen it to be proven true over and over again. And in this passage, it is clear that I am to keep my tongue from evil or deceit. I am to seek peace. I am to TRUST that the Lord sees the righteous and hears their prayers.

I am to act with gentleness and respect toward others. I am to honor Jesus and let Him do the protecting, defending, and upholding. And, even if I struggle or suffer, if that is God’s will, then I be sure that I am living righteously, that I am doing good, that I am following Him.

Prayer journal - hundreds of prayers in this little book.

One of my favorite prayer journals – oh the hundreds of prayers recorded in this little book.

This year in particular, I have felt God’s calling to serve in a new way. And with it has been the awareness that He wants to grow ME and stretch ME and meet ME in a new way. It’s not about the people I work with or the areas where I serve. Those things are just the means He is using to draw me closer to Him. It is a humbling thing to know how deeply I am loved and how much the Lord wants to bless, instruct, teach and pour into my life.

I truly desire to serve where He calls me. To walk in peace and humility. To love others. To honor Christ as Holy and follow Him. Thankfully these verses set my feet on a path to do these exact things.

Project 365 – Day 118

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Walking In Faith

What does it look like to walk in faith? Does it involve an ignorant blind trust, stumbling around in the darkness, trying to please a lofty, unknown God? Is it a scary thing, full of the unknown?

As this busy, full day comes to a close, I see that the Lord has been weaving together a message for me. I don’t know if it is meant to be a song, a story, or perhaps a painting. He is the grand artist, creative beyond all measure, breadth or wonder, so I am in awe that He would speak to me and give me even just a little glimpse of His heart.

From this morning’s Sunday School Bible study on Exodus, baptisms, preschool lessons on Luke, an afternoon hospital visit, and a evening prayer walk, I see that He has taken the events of my day, gathered them all up, and used them to paint, stroke by stroke, another one of His masterpieces.

May my ears be open to hear what He wants to teach me. May it deepen my love for Him, strengthen my faith, and produce in me obedience and WORSHIP. That is my prayer tonight as I write this post.

This morning we studied Exodus 19 in our Sunday School class. We are on the cusp of chapter 20, about to see God reveal His 10 Commandments to Moses and the Israelites. We have witnessed the incredible power and might of the Lord’s anger, justice and compassion as He brought the Israelites OUT OF EGYPT. We have watched as the sea was parted, the people delivered, the enemy crushed, food and water provided for – all by the Lord. And today we talked about the holiness of God. He calls the Israelites his treasured possessions. And the people answered – “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.”

They were committing to walking in faith. To follow this God that had rescued them and shown them great and mighty works. Brush strokes – a path is laid before the people.

I hope these boys will all say YES to the Lord's call on their lives!

I hope these boys will all say YES to the Lord’s call on their lives!

Tim ended class early this morning so we could go and watch the baptisms taking place at the end of the 1st service. 15 people chose to make a public proclamation of their faith this weekend at our church. One by one they shared their story. The unique and precious way that they have found their way to the Lord; how He rescued them and revealed Himself to them. One by one – buried in the likeness of His death and raised to new life in Him! More brush strokes – faithfulness chosen. Obedience to the call to be baptized.

Joyful moments.

Joyful moments.

Next David, Sarah and I found ourselves in the 4 & 5 year old class room with 18 preschoolers. What a busy time, full of energy! We play, sing songs, color papers, eat snacks, and listen to a lesson. I LOVE the 4 and 5 year olds because they have thoughts and opinions and ideas and can really LISTEN to the stories from the Bible. Today we studied Luke 17 and heard about the 10 men that Jesus healed from leprosy. We talked about being thankful like the one man who returned to Jesus and praised Him for the healing. But this evening, when I think about Walking in Faith and obedience and living a life that is focused on God, I can’t help but see the faith demonstrated by those men. Jesus didn’t do anything that they could see. He told them to go and show themselves to the priests. Basically He sent them away. And they obeyed Him. They literally walked in faith

Again I am struck by the thread of this message. To Walk in Faith isn’t to stumble along blindly. It’s to follow the One who saves. It’s to trust that He is mighty and powerful and good. It’s to proclaim His message to others. It’s to be obedient. It’s to thank Him when He works in my life.

This afternoon Tim and I went to the hospital to visit the mother of one of my closest friends. Tomorrow she is facing heart surgery. And my friend is out of the country. She flew halfway across the world to walk alongside another friend in the midst of her adoption. More steps of faith. More obedience. Hardship and struggle and delays, but still faithful walking. What is God trying to teach me? What does He want me to learn through all of this?

Covering the bed with flowers and fruit and taking a picture!

Covering the bed with flowers and fruit and taking a picture!

Walking in Faith doesn’t mean easy or simple. It doesn’t mean a life full of ease and comfort without sickness or pain or death. I think it means Hope and Peace. The beautiful face of my friend’s mother as she greeted us with hugs and kisses, as she spoke to the anesthesiologist about the surgery tomorrow, as she shared with us the details leading up to all of this and the outcome ahead of her, and she beamed at the nurse, through it all this face was nothing less than a picture of Faith and Joy. This is a woman who has seen hardship and pain in her life, and yet, through it all she is walking in faith. And she’s walking in faith with a Savior who loves her and comforts her and upholds her. The verse she shared with us:

…yet will I rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)

Her walk of faith challenges me. It inspires and encourages me to press in more deeply to my Savior.

And tonight, cozy and comfy on the couch, Tim called us out of our Sunday evening relaxing and brought us to church for a prayer walk. In the setting sun, joining together with a group of fellow pray-ers, we circled the church grounds over and over. We lifted up the work of the Lord in our community, the future plans for our church, the people loving, serving, growing in our amidst.

Prayer walk - God is moving!

Prayer walk – God is moving!

We walked.
We prayed.

And I had to laugh. All my thoughts about being obedient. All the things I’ve seen and studied and taught ended in a literal WALK. A prayer walk is a physical act of faith – we’re asking God to move and work, and we’re doing so in FAITH that He will hear us, that He will direct our steps. That He will enable us to continue Walking in Faith.

Over and over I am struck by this tapestry, picture, or song that God created for me in this day. I’m facing some definite challenges ahead of me, and I think they are going to involve struggle and possible pain. I’m Walking in Faith that the Lord knows best, that He will guide me, that He will protect me, that He will comfort me, that He will give me wisdom and strength.

Project 365 – Day 81

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