(photo credit - Jeff Goins' blog post)

My life is so simple here.

I just read Jeff Goin's post from Uganda.  What an amazing story, what an amazing place.  And here I sit in my lovely heated home, with electricity that is always on, water that always runs, toilets that always flush (I hope), and a closet full of clothes to choose from.  I am so blessed.

As a matter of fact, yesterday, my arm hurt from carrying too many groceries at once up the front steps.

Talk about a First World problem.  Sheesh.

Jeff's post transported me to another part of the world where life is hard.  I've been over there- past Africa, all the way to India.  Conditions are similar; cultures are vastly different.  Everyone should have to take a trip like that at one point in their life, because it's good to get "out there" and see some of the rest of the world.   By the same token, it's hard to know how to live differently when we come "back here" and are forced back into our comfortable lives, struggling to know how to make a difference.  Prayer, of course, always helps and works and is best.  God is in control of the entire world, every nation and country, so certainly speaking to Him about what we've seen and encountered when we've been far from home is a pretty good idea.

Contributing financially is also an option. The trip that Jeff is on is connected with Compassion International, and you can sponsor a child through that organization.  That might be the best human option, because our monthly contribution can translate directly to helping a child.  As he wrote,

"Despite how small $38/month may seem, it makes a tremendous difference in the life of a child. I saw the evidence today in the lives of slum children who now have school uniforms and books and a hope that defies circumstances."

I believe the key is to provide what we can now for the children, for they are that country's adults of tomorrow.

It stands to reason that by reaching the children, we are reaching the future.

(photo credit - Jeff Goins' blog post)

Trusting Tuesdays

I'm linking up today to Trusting Tuesdays at The Messy Middle, part of the OneWord365 project

A very smart gal named Amy Young gathered those of us with the word "trust" as our One Word for 2014 and invited us to join her the Third Tuesday of every month with our posts.   This way we can see how we're doing with being faithful to the word we chose.....good move, Amy!

I find it interesting that even though I've walked the trust road for only 21 days, God has gradually turned up the heat in areas where I need to trust Him.  In the beginning, it was similar to using flash cards; He and I went through the easy ones first.  I started out simply trusting Him with a person, a situation, or a relationship.  Common, ordinary, everyday scenarios where I just take a moment, breathe out a prayer of "I trust you God with so-and-so," inhale deeply with renewed resolve and press on.  Granted, it feels good to leave those things and people at His feet and let Him carry the burden. There were times I had to remind myself not to take back the burden for my so-and-so's; they were now God's to handle.  I like this trust thing, I thought;  it's working for me.  And it was.  It is.  I have experienced a newfound freedom.

And God must have said, "Good!", because right after that little victory, we moved swiftly along.

As a matter of fact, I think we jumped directly to the back of the flash cards. To the hard ones.

Let me set the scene for you.  I'm rarely sick.  Hardly a cold, nary a cough, and I only use the occasional tissue.  I'm not a plow-through-I'll-just-go-to-work-anyway-but-I'm-really-sick kind of person.  Not at all.  I just don't usually pick up germs that have me down for more than a few hours or a day.

But this past week has had me daily running through a strange array of physical symptoms; none of them life threatening or scary, all of them annoying and mind-consuming.  Like, "I can't stop focusing on them" consuming.

God knew where I needed direct training in the area of trusting Him.  And He brought it.

The cherry on top came yesterday when I was faced with a new symptom.  And this one brought pain.  I was more wondering what to do than I was concerned; sometimes the questioning of whether you're a hypochondriac or not is what's actually the most disconcerting.  Do I call the doctor again?  Or do I wait it out and hope to get better unaided, even when a snowstorm is coming and if I don't get an appointment today it's going to be a while?  The not-knowing-my-next-move was making me crazy.  I hadn't been to the doctor's office in over a year, and here I was looking at making my second appointment in a week.

So I called.  And I received a healthy recommendation to stay put, eat more yogurt and buy a costly over the counter product.

My gut told me that was not going to do a blooming thing for how I was feeling.

But wasn't I supposed to trust the doctor?  Was it right for me to tell her she was wrong? And where did trusting God in all this come into play?

After an hour or so, the nagging in my brain ( that You?) told me I had to take action.  Again I dialed the now familiar number and this time made an appointment asking to be seen (thereby disregarding the doctor's  phoned-in advice). It was the right thing to do; I knew it immediately. I had taken a step and listened to my body, mind and soul and what they were telling me to do.

And I realized in so doing, I had listened to God

This was new.  This was trust with a twist.  It wasn't a simple, "God, I give you this situation/person/relationship" and then walking away.  This time, trusting God meant listening to His voice in the midst of my confusion, and realizing He was leading me if only I'd stop long enough to notice.

Good thing I went to the doctor's.  I did in fact need to be seen, and the snow did in fact come. A lot of it.

And in it all I learned a new way to trust - by being quiet and listening.  And then stepping out in obedience to what He's telling me to do.

Next flash card.....

trust issues

I'm having trust issues.

I thought I had it all solved the other night when I had a situation on my mind and I whispered a "Yes God, I'll trust you..." as I dozed off. 

There.  I had trusted.  Once and done; good to go.

No one told me I'd have to sign up for this daily, hourly.

Another opportunity to trust came to visit about midnight last night.  This time it involved a slight medical issue. Very slight, mind you, but when it's happening to you in the middle of a Saturday night with doctor's offices closed on Sundays and the thoughts of " How am I going to deal with this until Monday", it seems rather ominous and concerning.

And does not easily invite sleep, but is quite conducive to tossing and turning.

After my 2 hour nap this afternoon because of my lack of any meaningful rest last night, the deeper content to what had actually transpired became clear to me.  I had been given another opportunity to trust and instead of actually doing that, I took to fretting and worrying and the only prayer I had uttered was just to be delivered from how I was feeling so that I could once again wake up to my rose-y uninterrupted life where things didn't usually go awry.

The farthest thing from my mind at midnight last night was trust; it was more akin to fear.

Trust of course doesn't mean that God will fix things they way I think they should be fixed.  It doesn't mean He'll remove discomfort or uncertainty so that I never have to deal with something unpleasant.  It certainly isn't a guarantee that things will go my way.

It's a certainty that He knows best and is doing that best in my life, no matter what "best" looks like to me.

Things happen and I see my life through a microscope, but God sees with binoculars.

I may not know all the answers, but I can have all the trust. 

That's all He asks of me.


Seven days into my word "trust" for 2014, and I've got a situation already.  Gee, that didn't take long.

Throughout yesterday nagging bits of worry tugged at my brain, but with busy-ness going on around me I ignored the catcalls of what was on my mind. 

The trouble with that is eventually every day gets quiet.

Last night as I tried to fall asleep, I found myself staring into darkened space, my heart heavy. I was plagued by sadness for the situation that was threatening to overtake and plunge me into concern.

And then I heard it.  Inside my head.  A simple question that challenged. 

"Is this what trusting looks like?"

I paused. The moment was here.  Already.  I thought I had until at least March 1 before I was going to have to really do this.  

I had a choice to make.  Was I going to trust, like I said I would when I had nothing pressing that I needed to trust God with, or was I going to lay here and lament my poor estate and hope that lack of sleep would solve everything?

The room was still dark.  The air was still silent.  The question still loud.

Was this what trusting looked like?

My answer came quicker than I might have liked, because I knew the answer all too well.

No.  This isn't what trusting looks like.  Not even a little bit.  

So I did what I said I would do.  I took a moment in the dark and prayed, "Okay God.  I trust that You have this, even this..... something that I'd rather worry about take care of myself.  You take it and handle it; I trust you."  And with that, the burden shifted.  It was out of my hands and into His.  Nothing had changed about the situation, but my responsibility for solving it was gone.

Trust - it sounds easy to do, but it's hard to pry away the gripping fingers that hold onto things we'd rather keep in our care.   Trust is a choice, as are most things in life.  If I choose it, trust brings freedom instead of weightiness, liberation instead of bondage, release instead of restriction.

Sounds like the right choice to me. 


Snow came softly last night.  It was beautiful to wake up this morning not only to find the storm over, but the sun shining.

Lucy was pleased as punch to tag along with my husband to clear all manner of snow- from cars, driveway, sidewalks and patio.  She never left his side, and was a faithful companion.

Meanwhile, with schools closed and the rest of the house still asleep, I found myself again with the gift of time.  Time to photograph, time to putter, time to write, time to think.  That seems to be a recurring gift to me from God so far in 2014.  During a stressful and wrung-out December, at one point I distinctly remember feeling that I never had the opportunity to retreat; I was never alone.  I never had any time to simply gather my thoughts, run mentally through my plans, organize the chaos in my head or, just think for any extended period of time. 
I was exhausted.
Ever since that little epiphany (you know - that wonderful feeling you get when you finally put your finger exactly on the problem), it was as if God heard me loud and clear, and while He knew my problem all along, He was waiting for me to realize it so that I could see how desperately I need downtime and alone-time in my life.  And more than that, time with Him - to refresh and refill my weary soul.
Where does that time come from in a busy life?  How do I make sure days don't go by where the time slithers so easily away?  The answer is that minutes, hours, must be carved out, planned for, penciled in the calendar if necessary.  On the other hand, an opportunity may come surprisingly, quietly, like snow cold covering frozen ground in the night.  I need to be watchful for and seek out those times - like this morning- that are nudges from Him saying, "Here is my love gift to you.  Take it.  Spend time with Me."
I am not of use, service, or refreshment to others if my well-soul is dry.  I cannot give what I do not have.  Filling my own cavernous need for Him is something that needs to be a priority.  I have to have something to give if I want God to use me.
There'll be a change in my life moving forward.  It will be about taking the time.  About letting God fill me.  It'll be looking for His gifts and absorbing His love.
It will be time well spent.


A new year, mentally, provides such a clean slate.  There's certainly nothing wrong with that; it's contagious, healthy and human nature.  I believe we need this once every 365 days.

Interestingly enough, I don't feel this way every time a new month rolls around. I rarely get this determined and organized on March's Eve or August 31st.  Kind of wish I did....

I enjoy choosing one word that will be the focus idea of the days ahead.  Recently, when I was walking the dog and my stomach was in knots over many complex situations we have going on and I was wondering how I was going to handle everything, neon lights went on in my head that simply spelled out, "Trust God." 

I was surprised that immediately the thought relaxed me.  My stomach literally loosened and my fear took a downturn, right then and there while the dog was still walking.

Is it really that simple? I thought.  Just trusting God with all the giants in my life that compete for my attention and drain my mind and soul?

I couldn't answer that question with whole hearted definitiveness at that moment, but the way my body physically reacted to the thought of placing everything in His hands was something I couldn't deny.  Mentally I just needed to catch up.

That became my word for 2014.  Trust.  (Note - The antonym for that word being Control, of which I have none but like to think I do.)

Trusting is so much harder, because it means I need to put more in God's hands and work out less on my own.  It means I will have to wait more.  It means I'll need to be patient.  It means things probably will not won't go as I have planned.

It means I can relax.  He's got whatever it is that comes my way.  Trusting God is about my faith growing, because as I see Him work, I only long to trust Him more.

Looking forward to a 2014 filled with trust in a heavenly Father who always has my back, and is always there for me.