Monthly Archives: January 2017

Well hello there…

Just checking in with you all in case you stop by today.

I have to confess I am struggling with what to share on here in light of all the seriousness of issues out there.

Everything from…

<3 total discord and upheaval as rapid fire policies are made and then met with loud resistance


<3 serious and heart-wrenching health issues in wee little ones, children, teens, young adults, middle agers and elderly friends and family


<3 rampant flu and viruses


<3 ridiculous levels of anything-goes in the entertainment industry


<3 you name it…because there is a lot of junk going on and we are each feeling the birth pangs of the end of it all while trying to live abundantly in the now.

So when I think of sitting down and sharing from my heart, I feel pretty shallow and empty and ill-equipped these days to make a dent in whatever is weighing YOU down if you happened to stop by for a chat with me.

On Sunday I was driving to Bloomington to help Russ with the troops while mommy recuperated from the flu….and every other song had the line…

It is well with my soul…

and I was struggling a bit because I surely wasn’t able at that point to give a strong testimony of agreement.

Tired and worn out and too many days without sunshine, and looking to a long week ahead were not conducive to this girl driving with one hand on the wheel and one hand raised in praise declaring joyfully…my soul is doing just fine thank you…

and then it hit me…

It IS EXACTLY in those times when we don’t feel it…at all…even in the least little bit..

when every single facet of life around us and inside would say it is NOT well…

THAT is when we most assuredly can say…

Although the enemy has come on with guns blazing and every foundation but God has been shaken…

it IS …

very much…



with my soul.

Because the work of my soul was accomplished and finished on the Cross…

By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us,

O God of our salvation,

You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth,

and of the far-off sea,

Who established mountains by His strength,

being clothed with power;

You who still the noise of the seas,

the noise of their waves,

and the tumult of the peoples.

They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs;

You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice. Psalm 65:5-8 NKJV     <3


A blessing from my first little guy <3

I talk a lot about those little grands, but this morning I share a heart tug from the first little guy God blessed us with…who isn’t so little any more.

A couple of years ago, he gave me a book for Christmas called 300 Writing Prompts..

it is just what you would think…300 ideas to get you thinking and writing.

I loved it because it was from him and because it meant he validated what I do like it matters and so I treasure it and the giver.

I laughed when I came across this one that he filled in for me to find…

So for fun I am sharing one I came across this morning….

“What takes too long?”

<3 Time when you have nothing to do

<3 Time between having all of your family together in one place at the same time

<3 Waiting for test results and answers to prayers

<3 Cleaning woodwork

<3 Geometry and learning the Periodic Table

<3 Scripture memorization

<3 Trips on winding back roads

<3 Jesus’ return

<3 Alzheimers

<3 Trains

There you go… a peek inside the depths of this shallow mind…

what would you write?

I’d love to know…

Have a blessed weekend and know that you are loved….

Of Valumtime’s and such <3

Oh my…it really is Thursday already, again.

When I write the date this week I have to gulp realizing January is all but over.

Time is accelerating, my friends.

I have a few dozen thoughts swirling around in me.

Like all of you I have penned letters and comments and tirades and pleadings this past week that I would like to launch out there in the arena.

And none of it would benefit you one iota, so I come today with a simple story and I pray God speaks through it to you in whatever way He might choose.

I pray you listen to whatever He whispers through my words.

Last week our Rachel sent out a video to family by text.

It features Graham, fresh from his bath with damp hair askew.

He is wearing a pair of How the Grinch Stole Christmas PJ’s that he winds around his fingers while reciting a precious Valentine’s poem.

Only he says “Valumtimes” …

and he uses all the appropriate tones that I am sure are exactly how the teacher taught it.

His voice goes up and down as he pauses briefly for effect.

And when he gets near the surprise ending, he starts a slow smile as if he can’t wait to see his hearer respond in delight at the fun twist the poem takes.

And I know all of this because I have watched it repeatedly..multiple times.

The first viewing, as I sat holding my phone, I literally thought my heart was going to break in 10,000 pieces of love.

I seriously felt an intensely painful level of joy that I cannot explain.

Those hazel gray eyes, that never fail to melt me, looked directly through the back of his mom’s iPhone, penetrated the gigabytes of the internet and carved an even deeper groove of love in this Lola-heart.

I wanted to reach through that screen and wrap him up in my arms and hold him tightly.

I wanted to protect him from ever being so grown up or jaded that he might roll his eyes at his five year old self.

I wanted to hold him forever in this sweet moment and protect him from anyone or anything that would ever cause him harm or shame or fear or doubt. Or me from having to watch it happen.

But I can’t.

Loving people is hard.

It gets messy and it hurts.

It cuts down into places and mixes joys and sorrows until they flow into one huge surge that can be more than you bargained for when you opened your heart and let someone in.

The longer I live the more I learn about it….

and the more I realize how little I know.

So when God says He loves me and that His ways are higher than mine…I can’t even take it in.

And when He says He so loved the world…

the whole stinking, messy, confused, lost, totally-not-at-all-Valumtime’s-cute world…

that He sent His one and ONLY Son to save it….

that any single one of us who believes in Him will be forever wrapped in HIS LOVE…

I am undone.

Finally and completely undone.

So I bow my head and thank Him.

God bless you all to grow in love…even though it hurts…

may our hearts expand this week in new ways as we learn to love like He does <3

Sacred places <3

I stopped by church one day last week because I was craving a sacred place.

A place where the world could be shut out and I could feel closer to God.

I am a visual person and surroundings influence me greatly.

Whether hand crafted by Divine Design or anointed craftsmanship breathed into human hands…I see God in my surroundings and sometimes…I just need a dose of Holy space in which I can
“Be Still and Know” for a minute….or sixty.

But there was none to be had that day I stopped in.

I am quite certain the staff was less than impressed with my displeasure that all the quiet places were filled with productive activity that day.

The after-school program occupied the nooks in the atrium….preparations for Sunday were being completed in the sanctuary….and music lessons were happening in the prayer room.

The kind people trying to get work done in the office made some suggestions of places I could find solitude…but solitude was not what I was looking for.

I can find solitude in my car or our empty house.

I wanted…


I wanted a tangible touch of God through something I could see and could surround myself with in a concrete way. I wanted it desperately that day…but it eluded me.

And I am so thankful I came up empty because it makes me seek harder after Him, who alone is HOLY and is SACRED…

it makes the things that would distract from my need of Him lose their appeal.

It makes everything that glitters pale in comparison…shiny things lose their draw  for me as I pray with greater urgency….

Lord, show us YOUR glory….for nothing else will satisfy the hunger of our human hearts.



Because sometimes I need help remembering to speak the truth in love…

As I continue to move through the study notes of my Bible as I mentioned in this post…//

and trust me…I am moving through them at a SNAIL’S pace…

I keep finding little nuggets to apply.

My recent venture is exploring the importance of speaking the Truth IN LOVE…and this is such a difficult thing to conquer when we live in a world where there is such confusion about truth.

We have everything from…”truth is what you want it to be” to “let’s just speak love and then hope they get the truth on their own”.

So as I read from the notes in my study Bible this week, I love these reminders:

<3 We will most likely be very passionate and urgent in delivering truth as lies escalate around us. If we carry God’s truth in a weighty way in our hearts, and are heavily burdened with Christ’s heart for the lost and wandering and confused; that sense of concern over the eternal state of others will most likely cause us to appear to them as almost fanatical.

Guilty as charged.

I carry such a burden for those who are walking in deception. I want desperately for them to know Jesus and the freedom I have found in Him. So I can tend to be like a bull in a china shop as I erupt with passion for His Passion.

I was raised in a home where we sounded angry and fired up just discussing the cartoons in the Sunday paper.

We were loud and emotional and intense about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

And my enthusiasm can definitely be anything but loving if left to my own natural inclinations and default nature.

The study points out that anger…impatience…irritation…are not characteristics of the Spirit of God.

So I have to ask God to help me temper my sense of urgency with a generous dose of His patience and grace and yes, love.

One thing I picked up this month that helps came from a lovely meditation shared at the end of an exercise class.

Trying to insert here….hope it works.


if my link doesn’t work, google The Inheritance Message Graham Cooke….

In this meditation, he says how God loves us 100%…whether we are trying or not…He loves us 100%…and so when I am thinking of or speaking to anyone who I want to reach for Him, I spend as much or more time reminding myself of this TRUTH…so that when I speak TRUTH…it is anchored 100% in HIS LOVE…because I do not have it in ME to give life…

ONLY The Spirit gives truth and life….TRUTH and LIFE…and I am simply a willing vessel of His Spirit.

The teaching in my Bible convicts me…we can speak the Truth very accurately but if it is not accompanied with love…it does not give life.

That does not mean we speak love without truth…that would be equally impotent and would not give life.

The Truth in Love…

{Use the spiritual gifts that He has given you}…for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till …we all come to the unity of the faith…and of the knowledge of the Son of God…to the fullness of Christ…that we should no longer be children that are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine or by the trickery and deceit of men…but instead…to speak the TRUTH in LOVE so that we may all grow up and be matured into Christ, who is the head…all of us …joined and knit together as one body under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, as each part does what it is meant to do so that the whole body grows and flourishes in love .    

 paraphrased from Ephesians 4: 11-16