A Beautiful Life: Wrap-Up


He runs with his whole self — arms pumping and knees high and it’s full body engagement, all the way down to his toes, his running.

Her limbs keep growing — long and lanky. Legs keep her grounded and confident and arms emphasize the truth she speaks when it counts the most. They don’t stop growing, those arms and legs.

They climb the leafless tree into their self-proclaimed fort. She’s the mom and he’s catching the bad guys. They hop over the babbling stream and look for tadpoles, although I suspect it’s a tad early. Her shoes have been come off and the water tickles her toes. She squeals in delight.

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He must catch up to her — though he’s four, he’s almost as strong and fast as she is (in his mind) and trails just steps behind. He plays anything she requests for the sheer pleasure of being with her, but I suspect it won’t be long before he starts demanding his own way.

These trees are still bare and the sunlight filters through gently, casting long, sinewy shadows just like her limbs. In a blink the leaves will appear then disappear again and she’ll be old enough to leave…long shadows of those arms and legs resting in her wake.

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I didn’t plan to take this time today…to press pause on my to-dos and come to this meadow — our Eden — to play. I didn’t plan to be still on the large rock and lay back to feel the sun on my face, hear the babbling of the steam and be lulled into a peaceful surrender by the breeze.

I didn’t plan on watching them age before my very eyes and be moved to tears by their laughter. I didn’t plan to notice with excruciating detail how quickly they’re growing up. I didn’t plan on any of it.

My plans included a bullet pointed list anxiously waiting to be slayed — a dinner to be prepared, a laundry basket to unload, a work project to complete. And, and, and.

But He directed my steps today. I chose to walk with Him and he led me on a more important path, and it led to this beautiful moment.

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Here on this rock, despite my stress and worry, I found pleasure never-ending in the sound of little footsteps and pebbles tossed into the stream. Here on this rock, I found true joy in the laughter of fighting bad guys and playing tag. I found contentment and that supernatural way time can stand still when you are.

Here, on this Rock.

I didn’t plan any of this today, but He did.

My cup overflows.

You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life.
As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending,
and I know true joy and contentment. (Psalm 16:11)

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I hope you’ve been blessed by this series, and I pray the varying voices of the guest writers has left a melodic symphony playing across your heart. But most importantly, I pray you’ve been encouraged to Tharseo — to be of good courage and good cheer — simply you are free. Click here to read the rest of the series — posts by bloggers I adore with my whole heart.

Watercolor hearts photo ©iStock.com/beastfromeast (modified by Elevate Ideas)

Being in Communion (31 Days #20)

To read all the posts in the 31 Days series, click here.

On weekends, I’m posting a graphic and verse…a simple reminder to Be.

(And can we pause for a moment to acknowledge this is my 20th post? IN A ROW??? 11 more to go. I think I can, I think I can…)

Today’s verse is Psalm 4:4. I used the American Standard Version for the graphic, but also love The Message Translation: “Complain if you must, but don’t lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.”

I love this so much, because it gives us permission to feel. Permission to be. Whether it’s anger or frustration or outrage, it tells us to go ahead and feel what we feel, but to also search for the reason behind the feeling…to get to the root of it. Is it fear? Pride? Hurt? Those feelings are valid. But it’s our reactions to those feelings that become the sin. And instead of acting on the feeling — God’s saying to stop, sink in, relax and BE STILL. The hardest time to do it — no doubt. But also the most important time.

Still practicing this myself. Daily.

Have a blessed Sunday, friends.


Tuesday’s Morning

PSALM 19-01

grab this


David’s lyrical writing, detailed analogies and ability to show-not-tell convince me when I’m the most doubtful that God is a huge fan of writing.

May your Tuesday morning sun

Wake from the tent

And burst forth on your day

With zeal and fervor

Smiling and showering you with kisses

From God Himself.

Are you eager to face your challenge today?


Fan of Passion?

I’m honored to participate in our pastor’s current sermon series, “#1 Fan?” as a guest writer. Here is the sixth installment — you can find the others by clicking here.


I pulled out some old prayer journals the other day. Journals documenting verses I’ve read and prayers I’ve prayed and emotions I experienced  — all recorded in mechanical pencil (always mechanical pencil), in carefully selected journals with lines that are light (not dark) and not too wide and not too narrow.

I remember vividly every detail surrounding those mornings that I’d get up for my quiet time and write in those carefully selected pages. Opening my bedroom door silently and tip-toeing downstairs trying not to let Jaana, my perpetual light sleeper, hear a peep. Padding downstairs in my fuzzy slippers and long gray sweater and turning on the coffee with more than a little glee. Settling into the oversized chair with my Bible, warm blanket and carefully selected journal and mechanical pencil — and picking up in Psalms wherever I left off. Always in Psalms.

It was those mornings that made me fall in love with words of David and with the God of David. Morning after morning, it was words like

Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter. (Psalm 74:16-17, NLT)


In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. (Psalm 19:4-5)

that would swirl in my head like music and inspired me to love David’s God as much as He did. And it was words like

Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. (Psalm 57:8)

that wooed me out of a dark room and cozy bed to steal moments away with my God before the rest of the world could battle over my mind and my heart and my treasure and my time.

Isn’t it fascinating how God authored His book in so many varying ways? All His authority, but writers who speak to differing souls and personalities and spirits. For some, the wisdom of Solomon satisfies their need for common sense and logic. For others, the historical accounts in Exodus and the Samuels feed their curiosity and desire for facts. For others still, it’s the black and white directives of Paul that stir their heart toward obedience. And for some like me, it’s the poetry of David that entices me to get to know this God of Israel on a level that makes music in my soul.

For God is smart, you see. He knew once you are drawn in by whichever author you prefer, you just can’t help but want to read the rest of it, too.

The differing authors and varied styles all hand-picked by David’s God are for one divine purpose…

…to woo you into reading His words.

…to stir you to awaken the dawn and settle in with your pencil and your journal and to read the love story He wrote just for you.

…to protect you with the same boundaries He set for the earth and cover and shade you while you let the words of His truth wash over your head and pour onto your toes and slowly and gently, yet passionately, call you to love Him more than you already do.

…to ignite the zeal that flickers in your core and turn it into a blaze that requires Him to pitch a tent just for you.

Bid your soul to awaken, and it will…for it was created to.


I quit.

Life was getting too chaotic and too pressured, and the things that were a priority were slipping and sliding like a squealing child on a water slide. I wanted to enjoy the ride, but had a gnawing sense that I was on the wrong one.

There were times I could get a grip, stop myself from getting too carried away. But it was just momentary. And left me with slight burns on the palms of my hands and soles of my feet.

The slide wasn’t bad. Individually, each twist and turn was good. But combined, it was a lethal combination of distraction and lack of focus. My priorities only got my leftovers, never the full breadth of my attention. I hated that. I wanted to enjoy the fullness of the ride, and squeal with delight and not frustration.

So I quit. I listed all the things that I enjoyed but weren’t fitting into the swift direction of the slide I needed to be on. It was hard — the people-pleaser in me protested with accusations of “you’re irresponsible!” and “what will people think?” and “you’re just being lazy!”

I agreed with them most of the time.

But I quit anyway.

God says in Psalm 81:10, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” To me, this means that God commands us to position ourselves to receive first, and then He will provide. Like He’s waiting to give, but I haven’t made room for what He wants to give. I can’t get a new couch if I don’t have a living room for it first. I can’t get joy if I haven’t let go of bitterness. I can’t get the main dish if I don’t have a plate ready.

So I opened my mouth wide and quit. And you know what? God is filling it.

I remember what it was like going down the water slide as a child. Swishing and sliding back and forth while zipping down as fast as I could imagine. Not really knowing when it would end, when it would plunge me into the pool and I’d be fully submerged under water. It was that not knowing that made the slide so exciting. The excited anticipation of each twist and turn, wondering, is this it? Is it now?

Since quitting, joy has returned. And the things God has placed before me as priority are getting my best, not the leftovers. And they’re flourishing. And the slide is fun again. I’m squealing, and with delight. I’m not trying to stop myself along the ride anymore. No more burned palms and feet. The unknown of when I’ll be plunged into the fullness of His plans is exciting. Is this it? Is it now?

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” (Matthew 16:25, NLT)

What do you need to quit today?