Monthly Archives: November 2017

Post Thanksgiving Post….

*** Hey blog friends…this is my email I sent today to my class and others who have signed on to that little treasure I send out every week. You all have the inside scoop if you visit here daily…but just indulge me. I have a tree to decorate and a bunch of lights to put up outside and a layer of dust to remove from the furniture and don’t even get me started on the bathrooms….so enjoy a different insight on last week’s email failure <3

Hello to you and happy last day of November…or as I like to call it, the day I realized it is perhaps too late to get my act together for 2017.

And so I shall take on the cry of all the loyal Cub fans I know and sigh…maybe next year.

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

Did you know I wrote you? Only if you read the Journey Onward blog on the internet (link at bottom of email) would you know this. Because I shared the letter I sent you Thanksgiving morning on last Friday’s post.

Since it was a holiday, I had decided to forego sending a note out, but as I was preparing our food for the noon meal, I began to think of so many of you who have “stuff” going on and I was praying for different people and decided to send a note of encouragement.

But whether it was the Black Friday overload on the internet (which we all know started wwwwwaaaaayyyy early and is still hanging out there for dear life along with #givingtuesday and #cyberwednesday and #endofyearclearance…etc etc etc…) or gmail had a fluke…every single email got returned to me.

All 107 …. for three days in a row…

So I am a little nervous about today’s.

I am wondering if I will be multiple deleting or if this will actually land in your mailbox.

I have been doing this little email for many years and this is the first time ever that I have had it returned like that.

So let’s say I started the email five years ago and send out once a week….I would have sent it 260 times…and one time I hit a snag.

Do I approach today with a focus on 259 times of success?

Absolutely not.

I am already mentally and emotionally gearing up for failure based on last week.

Anybody else operate like this?

I do believe that part of my struggle here on planet Earth is one I have had as long as I can remember and will probably battle until I am called Home.

My natural tendency is to zero in on the dark cloud and not the silver lining.

And my second default is to compare myself with those sweet, upbeat people in my life who are grinning up at the same image and reaching for their sunglasses because they can’t take their eyes off that blazing glory of light.

I want to be them and not me.

I need Jesus.

Every single moment of every single day.

I need Him to help me shift my focus.

I need Him to remind me that He made me the way I am for a reason and it is to bring glory to Him and to enjoy Him and that He is always transforming me…that it will always be by His grace that I fight the fear and dread of past failure.

I need Him to inspire me to try again, whether my success to failure rate is 259 to 1 or 1 to 259.

He is my success story.

He is my example.

He is my silver lining and He is the maker of the dark clouds that highlight His goodness.

I hope and pray you know His love for you – personally and individually TODAY!! Whether this makes it through to your inbox or bounces back…you are loved <3

Until we meet again <3

We gathered Monday night with many beloved friends. We packed the church pews to say goodbye to one of the good ones.

I don’t remember the exact moment I met Charlie, but every single memory of him includes him looking me square in the eye and really talking to me. Talking and listening both.

Whether he was imparting a poem or a quote that had something to do with the lesson in class that morning or stopping me to chat in the church lobby to ask how each one of our children was doing or standing for a while by the table at Panera where a friend and I were sharing breakfast, coffee and some Bible study…his eyes would twinkle and he was never in a hurry or preoccupied with other thoughts.

You knew you had his complete attention.

He was 100% engaged in encouraging, reassuring, listening and instilling hope.

Like the grandchildren arguing over who was the favorite of a beloved grandparent, Charlie made all of us…his family, his close friends, the nurse checking his blood pressure, the tired clerk behind the counter…feel like we were #1.

But we all also knew that it was simply and truthfully because Jesus was Charlie’s #1.

Always and forever.

Not in a preachy way.

Not in a holier-than-thou way.

Just in every way.

I think of one of my favorite quotes from Oswald Chambers

(wouldn’t Charlie smile in that way of his that included a squint of those eyes and a slight nod of his head to know he is making me think of a quote today…)

The loadstar of a saint is God Himself, not estimated usefulness. It is the work that God does through us that count, not what we do for Him.     My Utmost for His Highest

I looked up the word loadstar. It is the guiding star for a ship.

Surely the Lord Himself was Charlie’s guiding force and we were all blessed by the work of God in this gentle man.

While planet earth is a little sadder place today, we all still have the same Light of Truth to guide us as we move forward without our dear friend.

We will set our sights on God Himself and with one step at a time, move through the days God has given each of us, trusting that He will do His works through our broken hearts <3

The following message was left by one of our fellow sojourners. She wanted local people to know of an opportunity offered by Life Foursquare Church here in Decatur for those suffering loss this holiday season. Please share with others:

Laura, I’d like to share with anyone interested, our church, Life Foursquare, is offering a one night Grief Share class in the home of one of our members. This night is geared specifically to those who will be spending this holiday season without a loved one. It may be a recent loss or one from years ago.  You can call Life to get the time and location. It will begin with a video which features people and their stories. Together; ideas, feelings, comfort, and God’s Word will be shared to help with the process of navigating through this tough time of year for those who are hurting. I’ve not been through a class like this but have been told that they are a tremendous help. May God be close to those who are missing important people in their lives this time of year, and may they feel His presence.       Life Foursquare Church office: 217-875-2300

Thoughts of you that didn’t go through <3

Hello to you this Monday morning <3

We are making the transition from fall to the Advent season here which means the pumpkins are out in the trash bin and we have a lovely White Pine nestled in the corner of our living room waiting for lights and trim to be added.

Our first official December in this house and the cycle of the year coming to an end.

On Thanksgiving morning, I took time to leave the meal preparations and send out my weekly note to the 107 people who still receive the Thursday morning email that preceded this blogging gig.

I almost didn’t but I knew so many were struggling with different things and I wanted them to know they were being thought about and prayed for.

But apparently the internet and powers of the air decided to circumvent that message and for the next three days I received 107 returned emails each day….which was both annoying and disappointing.

Especially because Friday brought even more heartache to people I love so much and to my own heart and so last night as I was trying to think what to share today, I decided to just share the note that didn’t make it through.

It is always painful and difficult to lose people we love or to suffer loss of health or financial stability, but somehow at the holidays everything is magnified.

The joy of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, as expressed in all the traditions we have added to this season can make our losses seem even greater.

But it is for this very reason that He came.

We will probably be looking at this more in the coming weeks here on the Journey, but for today…here is the letter I sent that came back to me…321 times <3

Hello to you and Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are busy busy busy…too busy to check your email or your social media.

 But I realize that Thanksgiving, like all of our favorite holidays, can look very different from year to year or even for too many years in a row.

So I want to let you know…you are being thought about today.

This year we have the turkey in the roaster and mashed potatoes in the crock pot…trying that out …not sure it will work but we are not going to go hungry if it doesn’t. (inserting a note on Monday….not something I will probably do again unless I can figure out how to tweak it!!!)

We have a van headed here from up north with some wiggly jiggly boys and one sweet baby girl and we have a car headed up the highway from the south with a precious little driver that we are praying will arrive soon…oh and one large dog…who those wiggly boys look for every time Tia is involved in something.

But we have one face still down in Texas that we are missing this year…and we thank God for the family that invited him to dine with them because nothing harder for a mom than knowing her kiddo is alone on a holiday. 

Russ prayed for our day this morning and he covered not only our crew, but oh so many dear ones who are struggling today. 

Recent losses of family members, nose dives in health that came out of the blue, cancer, job changes …. on and on it goes and as he prayed, we were mindful that in this season of giving thanks, some are doing so with heavy hearts. 

So whatever this day looks like for you, please know you have been prayed for. That in the midst of the food and festivities or sitting beside someone you love in a hospital room…whatever it is…God is faithful. Even when it is hard to see His hand, hold fast. 

Be blessed in all you do today.

I am very thankful for each of you   <3

It is as true this morning.

I am very thankful for each of you who stop by here throughout the week.

I know a few of your faces, am often surprised by others I find out visit…but each of you…God knows and I am lifting your hearts in prayer today to know His very real presence. You are loved <3

How it went down <3

So here was the guest list.

And we took multiple pictures to get at least one where everyone was facing in the right direction. Let me just say Rocco, Zach and Rachel never moved from picture to picture but the rest of the cast must have thought I was taking a video.

Clicking through the pictures is like a flip book cartoon…hilarious.

Besides eating our weight in turkey and carbs…

we watched a smidgen of Elmo…

did some crafts…

which some people took to a whole different level…

fell more in love…

took selfies on mom’s camera when she wasn’t looking…

and walked off a little bit of our pumpkin pie…


All in all…

Best. Day. Ever.

Now it’s time to deck the halls so have a blessed weekend and I will see you on Monday




How it is supposed to be with God <3

PC Rachel Maxwell <3

Rachel sent me this sweet picture yesterday of how nap time ended up for this posse.

Joel is transitioning from his crib to the big boy bed and he is also an escape artist, so he joined his mommy and little sis on the couch for a cartoon and ended up succumbing to his sleepy side.

He has adapted well to sharing his baby status with our little miracle surprise and certainly does love his mommy right now.

He rarely misses an opportunity to snuggle up next to her when he is needing some hugs.

I told Rachel he helps me understand what David was saying  in Psalm 131.

A Song of Ascents, listen to the attitude of the heart of this King of Israel…

O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. verse 1 &2

Joel is the picture of this.

His mommy is no longer needed for his nourishment but his little soul needs her nearness intermittently throughout the day.

Sometimes when he bumps his head.

Sometimes when he is tired or frustrated.

and sometimes….

just because.

In the hustle and bustle of the festivities we are entering…we will have moments when we need to assume the position of a weaned child.

Moments when we need to say…

we are not proud or haughty….

we do not need to engage in every table discussion and Black Friday melee to save a bundle on that Christmas list.

We don’t need to have all the answers to our helpful guests about what we want to do with the leftovers that are now spilling out of the refrigerator and do we wash the unused silverware or put back in the drawer?

We can choose in the frantic moments when we are stretched thin and out of courtesy, tact and answers…to take a deep breath and rest against our Father.

Wanting nothing more than to just simply lean onto Him and draw comfort and solace in Him.

Be blessed as you do this thing well for His glory – whatever your holiday looks like – and remember to tell your soul to rest <3